Appellation: Columbia Valley, $25
The Gamache brothers longtime friend, winemaker Charlie Hoppes, has helped raise the profile of their vineyard north of Pasco, Wash. This seamless bottling is 100 percent estate Merlot and features a barrel program of 52 percent neutral oak, 24 percent new French oak and 24 percent new American oak, and the results are stunning with aromas of dusty cherry, blackberry, Cinnamon Bear candy, vanilla, cocoa powder and toast. On the pour are flavors of cherries and chocolate with a hint of earthiness. Fine-grained tannins arrive early, followed by a lovely punch of blueberry on the midpalate, capped by a finish of cola. Rated "Outstanding!" by Great Northwest Wine. (14.9 percent alcohol)
Cases produced: 292
Food pairings: Enjoy this beautiful Merlot with braised meats, beef stew, veggie pizza, grilled portobello mushrooms or Cornish game hens.
Gamache Vintners, 505 Cabernet Court, Prosser, 509-786-7800, www.gamachevintners.com.