2012 Balboa Winery Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Summit View Vineyard ($30)

This is an attractively styled Merlot. It offers a brilliant ruby color and inviting aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, cassis, rosebuds, mulberry, tobacco leaf and incense. The medium bodied flavors are engaging as well, with notes of red licorice, cocoa, black tea and silt/stone minerals. The back picks up pressed berry juices, roasted nuts, crème de cassis and dried cherries, followed by a lingering, ripe, supple sweet-dry tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.

 

2012 Balboa Winery Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, Summit View Vineyard ($40)

This is a top notch Cab Franc from a high elevation site (above Seven Hills) planted in 2009. It exhibits a deep ruby color and a rich, smoky nose of wild blackberry, cherry, plum, cassis, mulberry, tobacco, rubbed sage and smoldering incense. The medium full-bodied flavors mirror the aromatics with loads of ripe black and red fruits that are intermixed with licorice, cocoa powder, roasted coffee beans and basaltic earth. The chewy textured back picks up roasted berries and nuts, dried spiced cherries, touches of leather and toffee, followed by a lingering herb (rosemary, sage) and spice (nutmeg, clove) accented sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points.

 

2012 Balboa Winery “Mith” Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($45)

Produced from all estate vineyards, this is a combination of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 13% Merlot. It displays a nearly opaque ruby color and intense aromas of blackberry, Bing cherry, Damson plum and black currant, with scents of crushed black roses, juniper berry, sandalwood, sweet pipe tobacco, vanilla bean and smoldering incense. The wine’s sultry character continues on the palate with layers of full-bore dark fruit flavors that are intermixed with black licorice, bittersweet chocolate and basaltic minerals. The back reveals sensations of roasted berries and nuts, dried cherries, mocha, and crème de cassis, and marches directly on to a lingering, oak, spice and herb accented sweetish tannin finish. 19/20 points.