Clarkston pharmacist Rick Wasem spotlights underrated Willard Farms Vineyard in the Yakima Valley within his GSM program, which routinely ranks among the Northwest’s best vintage after vintage — evidenced by now having earned three Platinums in the past five years. All of the Grenache (50%) of the blend, and some of the Syrah (30%) come from Willard, as Bacchus Vineyard in the newly established White Bluffs appellation contributes half of the Syrah. However, Wasem’s own vineyard overlooking the Snake River also carries a role. Toast and chocolate from the French oak swirl behind the cured meat, black cherry, boysenberry and earthiness as it’s fun to get a sense for each of the Rhône varieties in play here. Despite all of the awards this bottling is still early in its release. Awards: San Francisco Chronicle (double gold), Wine Press Northwest (Unanimously Outstanding!) Winemaker Challenge (gold).
Rating: Platinum, 93 points
Production: 348 cases