Woodinville vintner Jim Dahlman, on track to open a tasting room in Tacoma’s Stadium District this spring, takes a Left Bank-Bordeaux approach to his blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (74%) from French Creek Vineyard in the Yakima Valley that’s nicely accented by third-leaf Cabernet Franc from Red Mountain Railroad Vineyard – a 10-acre planting near Hightower. The link between them is that both were managed by acclaimed viticulturist Damon LaLonde, and this lot of Cabernet Franc that went to Dahlman was the first harvest off Hongfei Rasmussen’s vineyard. Dahlman invested in a pair of new French oak barrels for this four-barrel effort, yet he keeps the focus on the dark plum and dusty blackberry, allowing for the Franc’s natural herbaceousness to gracefully reside in the background. Light toast and beveled tannins akin to black currant skins help explain why a number of the region’s top wine merchants and sommeliers awarded it a gold medal at the 2021 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, which is staged at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore.
Rating: Outstanding! 92 points
Production: 106 cases