Overview


Washington Wine Report is an independent publication focused on bringing Northwest wine to you and bringing you to Northwest wine. Our goal is:
  • To help you select Pacific Northwest wines at a variety of price levels
  • To keep you up-to-date about the Northwest’s wineries, vineyards, and individuals
  • To help you plan trips to wine country
  • To connect you to the larger wine community

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'16 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Harvest begins in Washington

Monday, August 15, 2016 0 comments

Harvest has begun in Washington, with Chelan's Karma Vineyards bringing in five tons of Wente clone Chardonnay from French Creek Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. The fruit, which came in on August 15th, will be used for sparkling wine. Landon Sam Keirsey, cellar master at Karma, said that the winery brought in this same fruit on August 17th last year. Sugar was measured on August 12th at 16 to 18 Brix and will be measured again tomorrow at the winery.

Let harvest begin!

Pictures courtesy of Damon LaLonde (left picture) and Landon Sam Kiersey

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Resident photographer Richard Duval captured veraison at Hightower Vineyard on Red Mountain earlier this month. “If bud break is the starting gun of the race to harvest, then surely veraison – the change of grape color that signifies ripening – is the beginning of the bell lap towards full fruit,” he noted. “Harvest is coming and that means your favorite wineries will gear up soon for grapes arriving on the crush pad - the colorful, chaotic finale of the wine season.” Stay tuned.

Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from August 1st to 7th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Greenville News writes about Columbia Winery.


From the blogosphere…

Great Northwest Wine writes about Red Mountain. They also write about Chateau Ste Michelle focusing on aged Riesling, a wild fire barely missing DavenLore Winery, and DANCIN Vineyards.

Washington Wine Blog writes about Alexandria Nicole.

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Wines of the Month – July 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 0 comments

The following are some of the standout wines from recent tastings.

Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2013 $70
Adams Bench has made a name for itself on the strength of its Cabernet and this is an impressive addition to the lineup, full of rich black fruit flavors and firm, chewy tannins.

Angel Vine Zinfandel Alder Ridge Vineyard Columbia Valley 2012 $24
Angel Vine focuses largely on Zinfandel and Primitivo and crafts some of the most compelling versions of these varieties the state has to offer. Raspberry and cranberry aromas lead to tart, broad fruit flavors that show a fine sense of balance.

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for September 2016. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read additional information on how I review wines here. All of these reviews are freely available on-line at the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. There is also a freely available Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide app. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

283 wines reviewed in the September issue of Wine Enthusiast. EFESTE leads the way with a strong set of red, white, and rosé releases. A few particular standouts are the Boushey and Red Willow Syrahs (EFESTE 2013 Jolie Bouche Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $44, 92 pointsEFESTE 2013 Eleni Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $54, 92 points); a standout second vintage of the Oldfield Rosé (EFESTE 2015 Oldfield Estate Rosé Yakima Valley $22, 92 pointsand finally a stellar oyster wine in the Feral Sauvignon Blanc (EFESTE 2015 Feral Evergreen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Ancient Lakes $20, 91 points).

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The following is an excerpt from the September 2016 Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide.

Washington State is generally known for the consistent quality and style of its wines, largely thanks to warm summers and irrigation. Recent vintages, however, have resulted in wines that show dramatic stylistic differences.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from July 1st to 7th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Sports Illustrated writes about Doubleback.

Brides writes about a Washington wine country honeymoon.

D Magazine recommends some Washington reds.

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June Pic of the Vine

Thursday, June 30, 2016 0 comments

The Washington wine industry continues to surge: new wineries are opening almost daily (at last count, the number is over 900) and vineyard planting is on the rise as well. You can easily see newly planted vines dotting the Red Mountain landscape as well as expansion in the Walla Walla Valley. Perhaps the most ambitious project in the latter area is Éritage Vineyards, spearheaded by Justin Wylie from Va Piano Vineyards.

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The following are some of the standout wines from my tastings last month.

B. Leighton Gratitude Red Wine Yakima Valley 2013 $45
Mourvèdre (70%) takes the lead on this GSM blend which puts a premium on purity. It’s loaded with mesmerizing aromas and flavors of cranberry, black pepper, orange peel and dried herbs, showing - a flat out stunner.

Block Wines Golden Block Grenache Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley Washington 2014 $35
It’s impossible to drink Grenache from Boushey Vineyard and not think about how he once swore never to plant the variety due to its notorious cold tenderness. Grenache clearly excels there, as shown by this lush, pure offering, which comes from Full Pull Wines.

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for July 2016. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read additional information on how I review wines here. All of these reviews are freely available on-line at the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. There is also a freely available Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide app. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

The July issue contains a strong set of releases from Gramercy Cellars. While the winery’s Rhone-style wines always dazzle (Gramercy 2013 The Third Man Grenache Columbia Valley $42, 92 points; Gramercy 2013 The Deuce Syrah Walla Walla Valley $54,  93 points), its Cabernet Sauvignon (Gramercy 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $48, 93 points) is impossible to ignore. Additionally, some of the best values out there can be found in the winery’s Lower East series (Gramercy 2013 Lower East Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $28, 92 points; Gramercy 2013 Lower East Syrah Columbia Valley $28, 93 points).

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from June 1st to 7th 2016. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes that Oregon homes in on Chardonnay.


From the blogosphere…

Great Northwest wine writes that 2016 tracks ahead of 2015. They also write that wineries hope to restore glory to SunnysideSyrah playing a vital role in Northwest blends, and Amelia Wynn finding a home on Bainbridge Island.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from May 22nd to May 31st 2016. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Enthusiast writes that Willamette Valley moves in to Walla Walla.

Orange Coast magazine writes that there is more to love in Oregon than Pinot Noir.

Journal Review (Indiana) writes about white wine.

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The June-July issue of Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine has two articles I wrote. The first, linked to yesterday, is on vineyard development in the Walla Walla Valley. The second is on recent innovations in wine closures and capsules.

See a complete list of print articles, most with links, here.

Enjoy!

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The following is an excerpt from an article in the June-July issue of Vineyard Winery Management magazine. 

Since Gary Figgins and his family planted the first modern-day grape- vines in the Walla Walla Valley at Leonetti Cellar in 1977, the region has been a crucial part of Washington state’s wine identity. However, the knock on Walla Walla, for many years, was it was home to numerous wineries and tasting rooms (cur- rently more than 120) but few vineyards. Decades later, while many local wineries still source fruit from throughout the larger Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley is flour- ishing as a grapegrowing region, with sev- eral new areas being explored to broaden its offerings and impact.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from May 15th to 21st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wines and Vines writes that Whitman sells again.

The Cape Gazette (Delware) writes about Oregon.


From the blogosphere…

Great Northwest Wine writes about the rise and fall of Lemberger. They also write about the groundbreaking at Pambrun, the Oregon Wine Board’s first touring guide, and Seattle gearing up for Riesling Rendezvous.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from May 8th to 14th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The St. Cloud Times writes about the 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc.

D Magazine writes about the Salud wine auction.


From the blogosphere…

Ship Compliant gives an overview of the Washington wine market.

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Pic of the Vine - May 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016 0 comments

Spring has sprung in Washington wine country, and the onset of the sun is the starting flag for resident photographer Richard Duval. On a recent two-day shoot of the Lake Chelan AVA, he spied serious growth on both sides of the lake. Particularly riveting is Mellisoni Vineyards on the lake’s south side.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from May 1st to 7th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Kyle MacLachlan of Pursued by Bear.

D Magazine writes about wines for mom.

St Cloud Times writes about the Milbrandt Malbec.

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This past month I tasted strong sets of new releases from Ardor CellarsBaer WineryEFESTE, and Kerloo Cellars to name just a few. Below are some highlights from these wineries and others.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from April 22nd to 30th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes that Washington red develop a bite.

The Cape Gazette writes that Oregon wines can suit any palate.

San Diego Reader writes about Buty’s Beast.

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Returning from a long pause, a round-up of stories on Northwest wine from April 15th to 21st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Jackson Family acquiring Penner Ash. They also write about Ste Michelle Wine Estates purchasing Patz & Hall.

Wines & Vines writes about Ste. Michelle flipping the script on buyouts.

D Magazine recommends several Northwest whites.

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Wines of the Month - March 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 2 comments

This past month I tasted strong sets of new releases from Waters WinerySaviah CellarsFidelitas, and Mark Ryan. I've listed a few highlights below but there is plenty more top quality wines in each of those lineups. Of particular note in terms of Waters, the 2012 Interlude (not listed below) at $28 continues to be one of the best bang for the buck wines in the state. 

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Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for May 2016. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read additional information on how I review wines here. All of these reviews are freely available on-line at the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. There is also a freely available Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide app. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast's on-line database here.

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Bud break has begun on eastern Washington. This picture is of Nebbiolo, which broke on March 23rd at Windrow Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. The second image is of Merlot from the same site.

Windrow Vineyard and Tero Estates co-owner Jan Roskelley, who took the pictures, said this is about two weeks ahead of historical averages. In 2012 - a year with heat accumulation that tracked closely to 20-year averages, we posted images of Windrow Nebbiolo bud break on April 6th. It looks like 2016 will be the fourth consecutive early start to Washington's growing season.

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The 2016 Washington State Wine Tour Guide has been released. I had the pleasure of authoring two articles in this year's guide. The first is titled "Then and Now: A history of Washington wine" and starts on page 29. The second is on the "Walla Walla Valley" and begins on page 87.

You can see the entire guide here.

Enjoy!

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