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ayresOn our recent trip to Willamette Valley, this was one of my favorite wines. The medium intensity nose is complex with great dimension—black cherry and blackberry are encased in seductive, musky mushroom and  chicken fat aromas. With aeration, black olive notes and caramel become more prominent. You can get lost in this olfactory orgy for hours. On the palate, cola is added to the mix. Medium bodied and lively, a swelling tide of mid-palate acidity gives this wine momentum and introduces a long, spicy, almost peppery finish with refined, very firm, dry tannins. On the continuum between light, elegant, perfumed Pinot Noir and big, bombastic fruit bombs, this is right at the midpoint in style. The alcohol is restrained at 13.5% and the nose is pretty enough, but the wine exudes subtle power with an undertow of seriousness, great balance and structure.

Think of how Billie Holiday did “pretty”.

Score: 93

Alc: 13.5

Price: $47