William Church Winery 2013 Billy’s Vintage Sur La Mer Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $38

The Balsleys have earned a reputation as one of the best blending houses in Woodinville, and Noah Fox Reed furthers that with this Meritage-style blend of Merlot (58%), Cabernet Sauvignon (18%), Petit Verdot (8%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Malbec. Its pedigree of Red Willow, Dineen, Elephant Mountain, Gamache and Northridge vineyards is illustrious. And the French oak program includes coopers such as Saury, Ermitage and Demptos barrels — nearly half of those barrels are new. Aromas of Sugarfina Finnska Red strawberry licorice, plum juice and powdered cinnamon lead to smooth and bright flavors of cherry and raspberry. There’s an Old World approach to the structure as the Cabernet Franc contributes finesse and a food-friendly finish with pinches of sweet herbs and cherry pipe tobacco.

Rating: Excellent

Production: 286 cases

Alcohol: 14.5%

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