Seven Hills West serves as a touchstone for the Walla Walla Valley wine industry because it marks the region’s first commercial planting of Merlot. Casey McClellan was home from his studies at the University of Washington when he worked alongside his father to establish the vineyard in 1982, which helps explain why this bottling is designated as “SHW Founding Vineyard.” This marks the 30th vintage of making Merlot from this venerable vines, and it lines up as another classic with a nose redolent of dense black cherry, sweet baking spices, lime oil and pleasing toast. There’s richness to the entry of Bing cherry, pipe tobacco and vanilla bean amid a solid, age-worthy structure and a long finish of cherry juice. Enjoy with Risotto, Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Smoky Bacon.
Production: 500 cases