2019 Tranche Estate, Cabernet Franc, $45
Winery info: As most of you know, Tranche is the sister label of Corliss Estates, which was founded in Walla Walla in 2001 and quickly became one of the top wineries in the state, thanks to ample resources, excellent vineyard sites, and meticulous attention to detail at every stage.
Their Tranche wines, while more affordable, are made with the same impeccable care as the Corliss line.
Winemaker: Spencer Williams, former assistant winemaker to Andrew Trio who has returned to Australia. The transition has been seamless.
Grapes: 100% Cabernet Franc, aged 20 months in 40% new French oak.
Vineyards: Their Blue Mountain estate vineyard, one of the highest elevation vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. This cool site, with wind-deposited silt loess soil, produces dark, complex wines with well-developed flavors and supple tannins.
Flavor profile: Fruit from their Blue Mountain Vineyard produces excellent Cab Franc, showcasing the distinctive dark earth and floral notes characteristic of the grape. This one is complex and savory with very expressive aromatics and notes of dark cherry, cassis, and crushed pepper.
Availability: 549 cases produced. It was just released so it should be available through the summer.
Drinking window: While very approachable now, we recommend holding it for two to three years, then enjoying it anytime up to ten years from vintage.
Food pairing: Lamb or other meat dishes with mildly spicy preparations, or root vegetable dishes. Also delicious with pork tenderloin with a soy, garlic, honey Dijon marinade.
2019 Betz Family Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, “The Untold Story” $35
Winery info: Bob Betz has long been one of Washington’s most respected winemakers and is one of very few people in the world (and even fewer winemakers) to have earned the esteemed qualification of Master of Wine. He sold his winery in 2011 but remains as patriarch and consulting winemaker. In 2016 Louis Skinner was promoted to full time winemaker. Always strong believers in giving back to their community, they created The Untold Story to be a wine with a purpose, supporting local charities ever since its initial release during the pandemic.
Winemaker: Louis Skinner (with consulting winemaker, Bob Betz)
Grapes: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot. Aged 19 months in French oak, 25% new.
Vineyards: Sourced from the same top vineyards Betz works with for their regular stunning line-up.
Flavor profile: Created to be approachable even when young, it is rich, full bodied, and aromatic, with layered flavors of dark plum and cassis. It has great depth, well balanced by its fresh acidity and smooth tannins.
Availability: 3,800 cases produced. It should be available for another 12 months or so.
Drinking window: Very approachable now, enjoy it anytime over the next three to five years.
Food pairing: It would pair well with bacon burgers with caramelized onions, grilled red meats, Texas-style barbecue, or even lasagna.