Excellent. Early on, Bob Delf's operation in Kirkland, Wash., made its name withe personalized labels, but the wines soon became serious. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (51%), Syrah (22$), Pinot Noir (18%) and Carmenere is eclectic and enthralling, starting with blackberry, boysenberry and a slice of green bell pepper as well as coffee. Big blue fruit streams in and stretches across the juicy palate with French oak accents and chocolaty tannin.
Outstanding: Fruit from Dick Beightol's Phinny Hill Vineyard continues to raise the profile of lesser-known Bordeaux varieties Carmenere and Malbec. This bottling exemplifies the leafy qualities of this grape, starting in the nose that's backed by red currant, elderberry, green bell pepper and a sneeze of black pepper. The drink is both bold and delicate with black raspberry, Van cherry and more elderberry, augmented by barrel time that shows off coffee, vanilla bean and bittersweet chocolate. Hints of moist earth, thyme, tobacco and more pepper bode well for homemade meatloaf.