NV Va Piano Vineyards Bruno’s Blend V

Hello friends.  Here’s some grease for you squeaky wheels who have been asking for more great red wines under $20 (on that note, I have been very happy to hear that so many of you are enjoying the Stained Tooth Syrah from Dusted Valley.

While the direct translation of Va Piano is “go slowly,” that is not what we did when I visited winemaker Justin Wylie in Walla Walla. Indeed, I had trouble keeping up with Justin as we blazed through his barrels: 2008 Syrah from his estate vineyards; 2008 Syrah from Portteus Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills; 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 1 of his estate vineyard: it was enough to make my head (and palate) spin, but I wasn’t surprised that we had to move fast. Justin is one of those rare specimens who handles (and excels at) both winegrowing and winemaking duties: a busy vigneron who seems as comfortable on his riding tractor as he does in his barrel room.

Justin has kept Va Piano focused since its first releases (2003 vintage), producing consistent, excellent Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. But I have always had a soft spot for his less consistent release: Bruno’s Blend. This blend (always a combination of different grapes and different vintages) seems to be the place where Justin allows some playfulness into his winemaking, and this sense of whimsy and joy translates into the glass.

Each new release of Bruno’s Blend is adorned with a painting by a man named Bruno Segatta, a one-man philanthropic whirlwind who travels the world selling his paintings to support a number of charitable causes. As a student at Gonzaga University, Justin met Bruno, who at that time ran the university’s Italian exchange program, and he now supports Bruno’s work by donating a portion of the proceeds generated by the blend.

As with each release of Bruno’s Blend, the painting on the outside of the bottle is beautiful. Fortunately, what’s inside is equally good. Two-thirds Syrah, with the remainder split between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is driven by bright red fruit aromas and flavors. There is a surprising amount of structure (moderate acid and fine-grained tannins) and complexity (background hints of dust and mint) here, especially for the price point.

First come first served up to a maximum of 6 bottles. We should have the wine in our warehouse in less than a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping.

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