Historically, this prized grape native to Portugal’s Douro Valley is most often seen in North America bottled as a key component in fortified dessert wine. However, many of the qualities that make it a cherished blender for those after-dinner sippers emerge as a standalone single variety red table wine, particularly at a Red Mountain site such as Red Heaven Vineyard and under the watchful eye of vineyard manager Marshall Edwards. Liberty Lake winemaker Mark Lathrop invested 18 months of barrel time in this lot, and the results feature a nose that’s perfumy with blueberry pie, elderberry compote, clove and horehound. On the palate, the entry is reminiscent of blueberry syrup poured over a fresh-baked brownie. Black currant juice and fresh-ground nutmeg play deliciously with restrained tannins, a structure that shows the winemaker’s experience. At this point, sales are limited to those who are club members at the 2022 Washington Winery to Watch.
Rating: 91 points — Outstanding!
Production: 61 cases