Walla Walla Valley winemaker Brett Isenhower develops his El Conquistador blend as a tribute to the Iberian Peninsula, using Tempranillo (70%) from nearby Les Collines Vineyard with Mourvedre from The Benches (26%) near the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers, and a dab of Syrah from Olsen Ranch Vineyard. Tempranillo, an early ripening grape, was the first to be harvested on Oct. 3, nearly a week ahead of Mourvèdre. Indigenous yeast, free-run juice and 18 months in primarily neutral French oak presents a rich and concentrated nose of cherries, chocolate and toast with hints of cured meat, forest floor and mint. Inside, there’s the sinewy power of young Tempranillo among the flavors of plum, cola and blueberry jam, backed by black currant skins and pomegranate acidity. Isenhower took a five-vintage hiatus after his inaugural 2008 vintage of El Conquistador, and this latest expression seems like a worthy candidate for Turkey with Mole Sauce or marinated hanger steak.
Production: 262 cases
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