For this bottling, Andrew Browne’s winemaker — John Freeman — pulled clone 02 Petit Verdot not from Browne Family Estate Vineyard near Spring Valley in the north end of the Walla Walla Valley but off Bordeaux-focused Summit View Vineyard near Milton-Freewater, Ore. The berries from the decade-old site planted above historic Seven Hills Vineyard include a contribution from Precept-controlled Canyon Vineyard Ranch in the Yakima Valley that’s less than 26%, allowing Browne’s team to list “Walla Walla Valley” as the American Viticultural Area on the label. The 20 months in a barrel program of 40% new French oak accounts for the nose of brownie mix and baking spice that makes room for Bing cherry and blackberry. That fruitness takes the lead on the palate where Marionberry, rich black cherry-skin tannins and blueberry juice combine for rewarding mouth feel and late firmness. Its rewarding level of fruit and age-worthy structure also will reward those who cellar this for three to five years. In the meantime, enjoy with strongly flavored cheese, earthy dishes, grilled lamb, barbecued meat or burgers.
Rating: Excellent – 89 points
Production: 518 cases