Cadaretta 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $50

Walla Walla winemaker Brian Rudin, now with famed Duckhorn, handed this project off to Kendall Mix, a veteran of more than 20 vintages in Washington state alone. The winemaking transition appears as seamless as the wine. Four respected sites for Cab — Obelisco, Red Mountain Vineyard, Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills and Heather Hill in the Walla Walla Valley — received some Petit Verdot (6%) from Seven Hills and a healthy contribution of Merlot (5%) from Cadaretta’s Southwind Vineyard, too. After 20 months in 90% new French oak barrels, it’s dark and lovely from start to finish, opening with hints of cherry syrup, plums, chocolate, chai spices and tar. The palate echoes those aromas, with touches of graphite, dusty tannins and black currant in the finish.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 840 cases

Alcohol: 14.8%

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