Drink Washington State 2014 Enjoy Walla Walla Carménère, Walla Walla Valley, $26
Empire State native Brad Binko turned his back on the life of a somm for that of a winemaker, and the recent grad from College Cellars in Walla Walla now earns high marks outside of the classroom with much of his juice. This Carm is an amped-up Cabernet Franc, offering a big nose rub of cigar leaf, green peppercorn and clove NECCO wafer backed by blueberry. On the attack, there’s considerably more fruit as flavors of Marionberry and plum are framed by black currant skin tannins, milk chocolate, jalapeño and white pepper. It’s an exotic young red that’s starting to come into its own after a bronze medal at the Tri-Cities Wine Festival in November and a silver medal at the San Francisco Chronicle in January.