While the 2021 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year is nationally known for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, Ed King’s team — led by Brent Stone — also does award-winning bottlings of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and this Merlot. Here is the only expression from the 2015 vintage to go gold in this tasting, but its sourcing from Sagemoor farms at Weinbau Vineyard on Washington’s warm Wahluke Slope helps explain its high score. Light toast, Bing cherry, almond extract and dusty minerality are among the hallmarks in this Merlot, which shows delicious acidity, skillful tannin management and a knockout cherry-pom finish. It’s consumer-friendly and will be a hit at a dinner party.
Rating: Gold medal – 93 points
Production: 284 cases