A 62% Cab/38% Merlot blend with a dark side. Winemaker Charlie Hoppes goes after the licorice/smoke/tar/toast elements, but matches them to perfectly ripe fruit that is balanced with acid and tannin. Alcohol comes in at a sensible 14.1%, proving that big wines need not be hot and raisiny. Drink this one young.
Paul Gregutt is a Contributing Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel, and reviews the wines of Oregon and Canada. The author of the critically-acclaimed Washington Wines & Wineries—The Essential Guide, he consulted on the Pacific Northwest entries in current versions of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.