Pure varietal, just 13.5% alcohol, and priced in the low $20s—that would seem to be a recipe for a thin, wimpy red. Not here. Scents of bramble and baked bread, smoke and crushed rock, mingle with strawberry/cranberry fruit. The smoke has a wood fire penetration, but it works here, as the wine opens into a finish of caramel and buttered nuts.
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.