2014 Sheridan Vineyard, l’Orage Cabernet Sauvignon, $58
Winery info: After a career in finance, Scott Greer purchased 76 acres in 1996 on a hilltop in the Yakima Valley. He began planting his estate vineyard the following year, mentored early on by Chris Camarda of Andrew Will (who bought adjacent vineyard land where he established his Two Blondes Vineyard). Scott’s first harvest was in 2000. He continues to oversee all aspects, from growing the grapes to winemaking.
Winemaker: Scott Greer
Grapes: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard source: The l’Orage is always sourced from the same two blocks of Scott’s estate vineyard.
Flavor profile: Concentrated and smooth, with great structure, fine tannins and flavors of dark fruit and herbs.
Production/Availability: 750 cases. It is sold out, but they were holding some back for their own club members and we were able to get three cases for this month’s club.
Drinkability: Very approachable now, it will age well for ten to 15 years. They strongly suggest decanting it and letting it sit over night—that it’s even better the second day!
Food Pairing: The winery’s in-house chef suggests a two-inch bone-in rib eye on the grill, with a side of arugula drizzled with olive or walnut oil and goat cheese.
2014 Walla Walla Vintners, Merlot, $29.75
Winery info: Founded by Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri, with their first release in 1995, making them one of the earliest wineries in the region. They have been producing consistently excellent wines ever since. (Wine Press Northwest named them 2016 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year.) They brought on William Von Metzger in 2002 as part of the winemaking team. Miles recently retired, although he still participates in winery operations.
Winemakers: Gordy Venneri and William Von Metzger
Grapes: 91% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc. Aged 15 months in about one third each new French and American oak, once-filled French and American oak, and neutral oak barrels.
Vineyard sources: Walla Walla Vintners Estate, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge, Yellow Bird, Lodmell, and Dwelley vineyards, all in the Walla Walla Valley. 2014 was the hottest vintage on record to date.
Flavor profile: It opens with sumptuous and inviting aromas of dark cherry and spice. Perfect balance of subtle oak notes with layered flavors of fruit, baking spice, and touch of earthiness. Finishes with nice, soft tannins.
Production/Availability: 761 cases. It should be available for a while longer.
Drinkability: Walla Walla Vintners wines are typically ready to drink upon release, though they can also age beautifully.
Food Pairing: A wide range of food, from pork or roast duck, to Portobello mushroom chops.