A year ago, viticulturist/winemaker Ken Hart produced the best Cabernet Sauvignon of the 2020 Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition under his own Tulpen Cellars brand. This year, his three barrels of Merlot from Yellow Bird Vineyard — the Chan family’s dry-farmed planting that overlooks Walla Walla Vintners — emerged as the top-scoring Merlot of the Platinum. Its spicy nose and layers of raspberry, sweet herbs and tobacco leaf make for a bold wine with a big finish that’s built for the long-haul but already revealing itself as one of the Northwest’s best. Award: Great Northwest Invitational (double gold).
Rating: Double Platinum, 97 points
Production: 72 cases