Norm McKibben recruited Jean-François Pellet to the Walla Walla Valley with the goal of producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, which they’ve done since 1998. The vineyard named Pepper Bridge played a minor role in this bottling dominated by Seven Hills Vineyard, and Pellet’s blending skill is on display as the five classic Bordeaux grapes come together. His 19-month program of 44% new French barrels leads to aromas of cocoa powder, black cherry and blueberry with dusty oak, but the hallmark is the finesse inside. Flavors of Chukar Cherry and black currant are backed by lush blackberry acidity and suave tannins. Pepper Bridge operates tasting rooms near the Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville and at the Walla Walla estate near the stateline. For an intimate experience, sign up for J-F’s cooking class May 12 at Tom Douglas’ Hot Stove Society in Seattle.
Production: 2,197 cases