Boomtown by Dusted Valley 2015 Merlot, Washington, $19

Merlot tends to make for a rather strapping red wine in Washington state, but each vintage the boys at Dusted Valley Vintners in Walla Walla work with the Wahluke Wine Co., in Mattawa to produce an approachable wine for this their entry-level Boomtown brand. They use small additions of Cabernet Sauvignon (6%) and Petit Verdot (3%) to create a long, juicy and somewhat silky Merlot. Sweet blue fruit aromas of blackcurrant and plum include dried cherry and caramel. Inside, there’s Bing cherry, more plum and ripe blueberry flavors, backed by black tea, clove and milk chocolate from the 20% new French oak.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 2,750 cases

Alcohol: 14.2%

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