Appellation: Columbia Valley
Malbec, a grape from Bordeaux that has become famous in recent years in Argentina, is a strong candidate for Washington's next big thing. This is a great example of what the state can produce, using grapes from Gamache Vineyards near the town of Basin City. It opens with aromas of dark plum, blackberry, watermelon, strawberry and mint, followed by rich, dark, spicy flavors of mineral, black cherry and pomegranate. It's packed with bright acidity and sturdy tannins, which provide ample structure for this fruit-driven red wine. Rated "Outstanding" by Great Northwest Wine. (15 percent alc.)
Cases produced: 168
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Food pairings: Grilled or braised meats will work well with this big wine, as well a lentil and mushroom casserole or stew.
William Church Winery, 14455 Woodinville-Redmond Road N.E., Woodinville, 425-482-2510, www.williamchurchwinery.com.