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Spain has arrived in Washington! So says Doug McCrea.

At McCrea Cellars, Doug McCrea has been one of Washington wine’s pioneers, continuously exploring new grape varieties in partnership with Dick Boushey of Boushey Vineyards. After several decades of exploring Rhone grapes, McCrea has now set his sites on Spanish varieties.

McCrea’s new venture, Salida Wines, gets its name from the Spanish word to ‘exit’ or ‘leave.’ For McCrea, the term is a metaphor for the fall harvest. Salida Wines had its beginnings in the fall of 2006. That year, Doug McCrea received one ton of Tempranillo. Fruit for this wine came from Two Coyote Vineyard. This vineyard, which produced its first fruit that same year, is located northwest of Zillah in the Yakima Valley.

Both the 2006 vintage as well as the second vintage, reviewed here, are 100% Tempranillo. A mere two barrels were produced each year. As with all of his wines, McCrea shows a deft touch with the 2007 Salida Tempranillo. This wine, easily among the best Tempranillo I have had from Washington, shows why numerous wineries, such as Gramercy and Kerloo Cellars, are excited about the potential of this grape in Washington State.

In subsequent vintages, Salida will also be using fruit from a second vineyard called Sugarloaf. This vineyard, also located in the Yakima Valley, is planted to Tempranillo, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. The first fruit from this vineyard was produced in 2008.

Starting with the 2008 vintage, Salida plans to expand to three red wines. The winery’s flagship wine will remain the Tempranillo. However, the winery will also have a second wine called ‘Tres Vinos’ – a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), and Monastrell (Mourvèdre). The winery will also have a third wine, which will be called ‘Fuego Sagrado’, meaning ‘Sacred Flame.’ This wine will be a blend of Tempranillo and Malbec. While not a native grape to Spain, McCrea is intrigued by the dark, inky element that this grape contributes to the wine.

Salida Wines produced 300 cases for the 2008 vintage. 5% of all sales benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Salida Tempranillo Yakima Valley 2007 $34
Rating: * (Excellent) A fascinating, lightly aromatic nose with earth, carob, red fruit, green tea leaves, and pencil eraser. An absolutely gorgeous texture on the palate with pure fruit flavors. Rounded with firm but polished tannins that coat the palate. Hangs and hangs on the finish. One of the best Tempranillo I have had from Washington. 100% Tempranillo. Two Coyote Vineyard (Yakima Valley). Aged 4 months in one year old American oak and 14 months in three year old French oak. 14.2% alcohol. 42 cases produced.