Two of the Walla Walla Valley’s most respected winemakers — Roger Cockerline of Bunchgrass fame and Walla Walla Vintners co-founder Gordy Venneri — work in tandem on this ultra-boutique label for the Neher family. Labeled as a tribute to the late Richard Neher, a longtime high school principal, the proprietary name would indicate that this is a red blend. However, in this instance, both barrels were filled with Merlot from venerable Sagemoor. The fanciful nose shows a discrete use of oak and hints of a fresh bag of Twizzlers cherry licorice. On the palate, its well-balanced structure and lower profile of alcohol combine to offer complete enjoyment of cherry, blackberry and blueberry flavors, providing a lengthy finish. These wines are extremely limited, and sales are limited to the Neher family’s Clay in Motion pottery salesroom in Milton-Freewater, Ore.
Rating: Double gold medal – 98 points
Production: 50 cases