2019 J. Bookwalter, “Conflict,” $55
Winery info: Before founding his eponymous winery in 1982, Jerry Bookwalter helped manage the planting of three top Washington vineyards, Sagemoor, Bacchus, and Dionysus.
He also became the vineyard manager of the iconic Conner Lee Vineyard, which remains the largest source of fruit for Bookwalter wines. In 1997 Jerry’s son John returned to the winery and set about helping to improve and expand operations.
Winemaker: Caleb Foster (co-founder of Buty Winery) took over as winemaker in 2014.
Grapes: 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot. Aged in large French oak barrels for 18 months.
Vineyards: Sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA.
Flavor profile: This bright, elegant blend has aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and fresh herbs. Aging in large format French oak accentuates the savory character of the wine and adds a soft texture and finish.
Availability: 2,487 cases made. This wine is limited in supply.
Drinking window: Enjoy now or up to around 2025.
Food pairing: The winery recommends cannelloni, pork tenderloin, or steak.
2020 Mark Ryan Winery, Monkey Wrench, $32
Winery info: Founded in 1999 by Mark Ryan McNeilly. As production increased, he relocated to his current location in Woodinville. His goal from the beginning has been to produce handcrafted wines that represent the vineyards from which they came, the character of the grape variety, and the winery style.
Winemaker: Mark Ryan McNeilly and Mike MacMorran
Grapes: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 19% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot, aged 22 months in French oak, 10% new and 90% used.
Vineyards: The Cab and Malbec are from Red Mountain, and the Merlot from Yakima Valley. Vineyards include Red Willow, Quintessence, Olsen, Phinny Hill, and Ciel du Cheval.
Flavor profile: The winery notes that in this blend, the Red Mountain fruit adds power and intense layers of ripe fruit, while the Yakima Valley Merlot adds elegance, floral notes, and delicate spice. It is a rich, refined wine with dark fruit flavors and great depth and texture.
Availability: 2,718 cases produced. As it was just released, this wine is still in decent supply.
Drinking window: This wine is ready to drink now or over the next four or five years.
Food pairing: Enjoy with grilled meat, roast chicken or lamb, or with roasted fall root vegetables.