Living and making wine in Snoqualmie, Wash., means Jim Larsen has a shorter drive than most winemakers in Western Washington to pick up bins full of Columbia Valley grapes yet to be crushed. He produces small lots of award-winning, single-designated wines from several sites, and his three barrels of Malbec from Colin Morrell’s vineyard near Benton City is a head-turner. The smell of new shoe leather and dark purple fruit create excitement, then black cherry fills the palate, followed by milk chocolate, leather and pipe tobacco. The finish shows its textural side with a soft, velvety grip that brings out more of that tobacco and black cherry. Last fall, Last fall, it was selected best of class and a gold medal at the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, a judging staged on behalf of some of the Northwest’s leading wine buyers, merchants, sommeliers and writers at the Columbia Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore.
Production: 70 cases