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Image: NashCo Photo

1. Cadence Red Wine Tapteil Vineyard Red Mountain 2012 $45

Few Washington winemakers so convincingly capture a specific site in the bottle year after year than Ben Smith. This blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc offers aromas of earth, dried herbs, and black cherries backed by firm tannins and a textured feel.  

2. Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon Red Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley 2012 - $60

Red Willow has a well-earned place as one of Washington’s best vineyards. Here winemaker Tim Blue delivers a beautiful expression of this particular location, showing cherry, earth, and herb elements, all backed up by some chewy tannins. 

3. Seven Hills Winery Vintage Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2012 - $45

In an appellation often known for its power, Ciel du Cheval—French for “horse heaven”—always brings grace along with it. This blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, and cabernet franc brings all that and more with plum, licorice, and coffee flavors plus firm tannins.  

4. Spring Valley Vineyard Estate Grown Uriah Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2012 - $50

Located in the rolling Palouse north of downtown Walla Walla, this vineyard is not only outrageously scenic; it also consistently produces some of the state’s best wines. The 2012 vintage of the Uriah is as good as it gets, with notes of herbs, flowers, and moist soil and displaying elegance and persistence.  

5. Buty Columbia Rediviva Phinny Hill Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2012 - $50

Mostly cabernet sauvignon (84 percent) with the balance syrah, this wine’s bold aromas of dried cherry, dusty earth, and herb lead to ripe fruit and tightly wound tannins. Make sure to give it a few hours to open up.

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