Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2012 Phinny Hill Vineyard Carménère, Washington, $28

By on June 15, 2014

clearwater-canyon-cellars-phinny-hill-vineyard-carmenere-2012-labelFor decades, this almost-forgotten variety from the Medoc region of Bordeaux largely was believed to be lost to the world after phylloxera devastated European vineyards in the later half of the 1800s. However, the grape was discovered in Chile during the 1990s and  slowly made its way to the Pacific Northwest. It’s nowhere near the popularity of Malbec, thanks in part to Argentina’s success with the grape, but this late-ripener has found a home in Dick Beightol’s vineyard near famed Champoux Vineyard. Idaho winemaker Coco Umiker produces a few barrels of it at her Lewiston winery, creating a food-friendly wine that should appeal to those who enjoy herbaceous Cabernet Franc. There are aromas of crushed leaf, green peppercorns, tomato vine, black olive and moist earth. On the palate, it’s a peppery presentation as black cherry and blueberry flavors are framed by a lighter tannin structure that allows for pleasing length. Serve with homemade meatloaf or lean meats such as London broil.

Rating: Excellent

Production: 134 cases

Alcohol: 14.4%

Winery website

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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