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Walla Walla Vintners 2016 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $35
The red-roofed barn along Mill Creek Road in Walla Walla made famous by Walla Walla Vintners’ former owners Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri also set the standard for Cabernet Franc in the Pacific Northwest. Their apprentice-turned-winemaker William VonMetzger crafted Walla Walla Vintners’ 21st release of Cab Franc into something his erstwhile mentors could be proud of. Fruit came from sources such as Sagemoor Farms’ Bacchus and Weinbau vineyards as well as Dwelley, Kilian, Lodmell and Bella Vista, and the natural leafiness of Cab Franc wasn’t enough, so VonMetzger included a bit of Carménère (3%) to work in the background with the added tannin structure of Merlot (6%). The influence of 36% new oak barrels, both French and Hungarian, stays behind the dark fruit tones of black cherry and blueberry as the hints of chocolate and black licorice complement the pleasing mouth feel. It earned a gold medal at the 2018 Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition, which serves as a scholarship fundraiser for Walla Walla Community College’s winemaking program.
Production: 1,170 cases