Appellation: Columbia Valley
The Gallo family purchased Columbia Winery in 2012 and moved Canadian winemaker Sean Hails from one of their key production facilities in California's Central Valley to lead the historic Washington state brand. Hails has proven to be a quick study. Those who visit the Woodinville tasting room or join the wine club can experience his stellar small-lot bottlings, but his approachable flagship Cab can be easily found at regional grocers. The nose opens with lifted red fruit - cherries and currants are at play here - accented by fennel, citrus pith, baking spice and toasted wood. The palate follows suit, coursing with succulent acidity and firm wood tannin. There's remarkable complexity at this price point. And last month, it received a gold medal at the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition in Hood River, Ore., a judging staged at the Columbia Gorge Hotel on behalf of some of the regions top wine buyers.
Rated Outstanding! by Great Northwest Wine. (13.9% alc.)
Cases produced: 30,000
Food pairings: Suggestions includes a hearty beef stew or savory pot roast with seasoned vegetables.
Columbia Winery Tasting room, 14030 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, 855-374-9463, www.columbiawinery.com.