2014 Buty Winery, Conner Lee Vineyard, Merlot-Cabernet Franc, $45
Winery info: Buty made its debut with the 2000 vintage. They quickly became one of the most respected wineries in the state, given their talent, experience, and the assistance of legendary consulting winemaker, Zelma Long. With their ongoing focus on quality and detail they continue to produce wines of remarkable nuance, depth, and balance, vintage after vintage.
Winemaker: Chris Dowsett, who grew up in a winemaking family in Oregon and worked in Australia, California, and Walla Walla before joining Buty. He also has his own label, Dowsett Family Winery.
Grapes: 63% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard source: Conner Lee, originally planted in the 1980s at an elevation of 1,125 feet.
Flavor profile: Although it was a warm vintage, they felt that 2014 yielded one of their most exciting vintages of this wine to date. It combines the lush, savory dark fruit flavors of the Merlot with the Cab Franc flavors of blueberry and spice for a rich, silky textured, and aromatic wine.
Production/Availability: 325 cases produced. There is still a bit left of this vintage.
Drinkability: Drinking well now or over the next ten to fifteen years.
Food Pairing: Try it with porchetta or lamb tagine. It will stand up to bigger, bolder flavors.
2015 WT Vintners, Mourvèdre, $45
Winery info: Woodinville-based WT Vintners was founded in 2007 by Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen, his wife, and two business partners. In addition to being an award-winning sommelier and wine director at RN 74, Jeff has worked harvests at top estates in Burgundy, New Zealand, and the northwest. His focus is on limited production, terroir-driven wines sourced from top vineyard sites in Washington.
Winemaker: Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen
Grapes: 100% Mourvèdre
Vineyard source: Boushey in the Yakima Valley, a relatively cool growing site, with a mix of silt/loam topsoil over Missoula flood deposits in the lower block, transitioning to shallow silt/loam over fractured basalt at higher elevations. This wine is sourced from the mid slope of the vineyard.
Flavor profile: Smooth, spicy, and elegant, with juicy flavors of red and black fruit, notes of dried herbs, and a hint of grilled meat. Full-bodied with lovely depth and texture.
Production/Availability: 70 cases produced. There is still more available.
Drinkability: Jeff says this one will be most enjoyable now through 2023.
Food Pairing: Try it with braised, roasted, or grilled meats, such as lamb, pork, or game, or with mushroom dishes with wild rice or lentils. Season with Provençal herbs such as thyme or rosemary.