Beginner’s Luck 2011 Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $11
Best Buy! The Claar Wine Group is a small, multi-generation company north of Pasco, Wash., with a large Salmon Safe estate vineyard behind it. Its farming practices overlooking the Columbia River, combined with the work of veteran winemaker Joe Hudon, allows it to produce award-winning wines at a variety of price points, including their Beginner’s Luck brand. This blend of Bordeaux varieties, includes contributions of Syrah (20%) and Sangiovese (4%) from a cool vintage. Enticing aromas of black cherry and sweet plums pick up hints of light smoke, vine-ripened tomato, mocha and vanilla. Blackberry and Bing cherry flavors dominate without much tannin getting in the way as boysenberry acidity makes for a long finish. This juicy and food-friendly offering is made especially for the Myers Group IGA grocers along Western Washington in Camano Island, Normandy Park, Ocean Shores and Snoqualmie, including the Kress IGA Supermarket near Westlake Mall in Seattle. It’s also distributed in Oregon.
Production: 240 cases