College Cellars 2014 Cockburn Ranch Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $26
While some of the credit goes to instructors Tim Donahue and Sabrina Lueck, the success of College Cellars wines starts with growers. In this case, it’s Cecil Zerba, who owns Cockburn Ranch Vineyard and sold this lot on Sept. 18, 2014. Attractive aromas of black currant, blackberry and dark chocolate lead to a round and rich drink of Marionberry, boysenberry and Devil’s Food Cake. Underlying notes of banana chip and lavender add to its amazing complexity and balanced structure. This earned a gold medal at the 2016 Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition and the equivalent honor at Wine Press Northwest magazine’s “Affordable Reds” judging. And the students who deserved an “A” on this project were Craig Johnson, Devin Schell, Hannah Thorning (now at Gramercy Cellars) and Brad Binko, now owner/winemaker of Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State.
Production: 93 cases