1. La Rata Red Blend Walla Walla Valley 2013 $75
In her new (and very exciting) side project, Cayuse Vineyards assistant vigneronne Elizabeth -Bourcier marries two Rocks-area varieties seldom seen together: grenache and cabernet sauvignon. And it works, elegantly, with aromas and flavors of herbs, funk, strawberry, white pepper, and smoked meat.
2. Force Majeure Collaboration Series VII Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2013 $65
Avennia’s Chris Peterson crafted this wine which, despite its red wine label, is almost all syrah. Aromas of dark fruit, spice, and orange peel are followed by rich, palate-coating fruit flavors that show Peterson’s sense of finesse and detail.
3. Corvus Cellars Syrah-Petite Sirah Red Mountain 2012 $35
An equal split between these two varieties, this wine is redolent of potting soil, baking spice, and dark fruit aromas. The palate is full bodied, packed tightly with fruit backed by firm tannins.
4. Tranche Cellars Slice of Pape Columbia Valley 2012 $35
Though aromas of red fruit and barrel spice are still quite locked up, this blend—predominantly grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre—already brings rich and generous cranberry and cherry flavors, along with hints of dark chocolate.