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upchurchChris Upchurch co-founded DeLille Cellars in 1992, and as Executive Winemaker, has built it into one of the top wineries in Washington State. This wine is from his family winery in the Red Mountain AVA which he runs with his wife and daughter. Red Mountain AVA is a hot, barren hill, about 1400 feet in elevation at its highest point, located in the larger Columbia Valley AVA. It’s a desert with only about 5 inches of rainfall per year. Yet it is the fastest growing region in Washington and home to many dense, concentrated wines made from Bordeaux varietals.

With great concentration up front, this wine promises power and depth but then turns on the charm with striking tenderness and elegance, its dark tranquility a respite for a burdened soul.

Soothing aromas of black currant with a soft vanilla penumbra, gentle wood notes more like balsa than cedar, and sage, shaded by pepper and a clove note.

On the palate there is a significant drop in fruit intensity as the finish launches a slow, concise crescendo but the fruit power is sustained at a lower volume with a relaxed, tender core framed by ebullient acidity that seems to rush along the periphery as the fruit softens. The lengthy finish is absolutely mouthwatering. There is plenty of breadth from the advanced tannins but they are gracious and supple willing to share the spotlight with the bright acidity.

A big wine with a heart of gold, with oak and tannins now well-integrated, it’s adorned for a superior grace for the next 5-15 years.

Quietly centered, gently flowing but with latent power like Massive Attack’s Teardrop

Technical Notes: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 100% new French oak.

Score: 93

Price: $70

Alc: 14.6%