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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'14 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

A summary of articles from November 22nd to 30th on Washington wine.


From around the country…


Wine Spectator writes about the recent Massachusetts court ruling regarding direct shipping.

The San Francisco Chronicle gives a callout to Hedges Three Vineyards Red Mountain Red Wine.

The Aniston Star gives callouts to Kiona and Magnificent Wine Co.


From the blogosphere…


Media Musings writes about singer Geoff Tates “INSANIA” wine.

The Yelp Blog writes about Washington wine with callouts to Guardian Cellars, Des Voigne Cellars, Efeste, Pondera, and Brian Carter.

Wells on Wine checks out Waters Winery Interlude 2005.

Swordfern Wines checks out Ross Andrews Boushey Syrah 2006 and also takes a look at three Washington Syrah.

The Wine Commentator checks out L’Ecole’s 2007 Chardonnay.

The Bend Blog writes about a trip to Walla Walla.

Beyond the Bottle writes about upcoming wine events in Washington as well as L'Ecole and Columbia Winery.

Viajes de la Costa Chica writes about wine touring in Washington.

Wine Peeps does a spotlight on Dunham Cellars.

Hustle’s Wine on Trial looks at Covey Run’s 2005 Gewurztraminer.


From the locals…


The Tri-City Herald writes about Vineyards Resort filing for bankruptcy. The Seattle PI also picks up the AP story.

The Puget Sound Business Journal gives a quick note on new Martinez and Martinez winery. The also write about Columbia Winery signing a long term deal to stay in Woodinville.

Tech Flash writes about Amazon’s consideration of on-line wine sales.

The Tri-City Herald also writes about the Port of Kennewick’s consideration of creating a wine incubator.

The Seattle PI writes about the upcoming St. Nicholas weekend in Woodinville.

The Seattle Times gives some advice on exploring wine country in the area.

KUOW talks to Andy Purdue and Paul Gregutt about Thanksgiving wine selections.

KIMATV talks about wineries going green.

The Oregon Statesman Journal writes about Thanksgiving wines.

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Mescolanza di Rosso Riserva is Yellow Hawk Cellar's reserve wine (Note: In the most recent vintage, the wine has been rebranded as "Solstice"). It is offered for a very reasonable $23, although it has recently been available at some Seattle area wine stores, such as West Seattle Cellars, for less. The wine has an exceptional nose. Like all of Yellow Hawk’s wines, it is made to be consumed with food.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Yellow Hawk Cellar Mescolanza di Rosso Riserva Columbia Valley 2003

A complex, vibrant nose with cranberry, earth, herb, and floral notes. The nose continuously evolves as the wine opens up with black licorice coming through late. On the taste, the wine is tart and pleasing with just a bit of a hole in the middle. This becomes less apparent as the wine opens up. Overall, a very good effort. 45% Sangiovese; 33% Syrah; 22% Cabernet. 13.1% alcohol. Recommended.

$23

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This is a rare find – a Washington Cabernet with some age on it that can not only be found on the shelves but can be found for less than twenty dollars.


Wilridge Winery is located in residential Seattle in the neighborhood of Madrona. Recently, while in the neighborhood, I came upon tons of Cab Franc grapes waiting by the curb to be processed in Wilridge’s cellar.


The 2002 Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet has been considerably discounted at Seattle area retailers. While not a knockout, it is a very solid and enjoyable wine and is worth looking for if for no other reason than to try an older wine from one of Washington’s most famous vineyards.


Wilridge’s wines are also regularly available at The Tasting Room in Post Alley by Pike’s Place.



Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Wilridge Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet 2002

A very enjoyable nose with anise, spicy oak, and rich black cherry. As it opens up, floral notes start to show through. Fairly even across the palate with some grippy tannins but a little wanting on the mid-palate.

265 cases produced.


Where: Pete’s ($18), Esquin ($20)

$30

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After a trip through the cellar I pulled out a couple roses I will open tomorrow that I thought I would put out there:

McCrea Vin Rose NV $18
Where: Esquin



Trust Cab Franc Rose 2007 $16 (Note: Link opens .pdf)
Where: Esquin




These wines are a bit more exotic than others I have mentioned so definitely call ahead if you want to go on a hunt for them.

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A friend wrote last night asking for some additional white wine recommendations for Thanksgiving. In my initial post, I hadn't mentioned any Riesling which also goes well with Thanksgiving fare. A couple I would recommend that I have reviewed recently are:

Arlington Road Cellars Imperium 2007 (or 2006)$13-26*
Where: Esquin
* Price has decreased at winery but may not be reflected at wine stores


Poet's Leap Riesling 2007 (or 2006) $20
Where: Esquin, Pete's



These wines were at these locations recently but may not still be there now. Call ahead if you want to make sure. They also may be available at other locations so call your local wine store to check.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Five Under Fifteen - November

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 0 comments

In hard times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines…



While Abbey Page is located in Oregon, the grapes for this chardonnay are sourced from the Columbia Valley. Chardonnay has never been one of my favorite varietals. However, I am always willing to give it a try, especially when it is unoaked as in this case.

Castle Rock is a large producer located in southern California. With an annual production of over 400,000 cases, Castle Rock makes wine from California, Oregon, and Washington grapes.

The next three wines are all from wineries based in Zillah which is located about 20 miles south of Yakima in eastern Washington.

Bonair Winery is owned and operated by Gail and Shirley Puryear. You have to love the world map on their website showing latitude lines for Yakima that line up with Burgundy, France and latitude lines for California that line up with Baghdad, Iraq. Some sort of political statement here?


Covey Run is named after the coveys of quail at the winery’s vineyards. The winery has an annual production of over 300,000 cases. Interestingly with the 2004 Cabernet, I really enjoyed the wine when it was a bit warmer than I usually like (70 degrees versus 65). At the colder temperature, the nose was a bit less compelling.

Hyatt Vineyards was established in 1983 by Leland and Lynda Hyatt. Their first vintage was in 1987. Hyatt currently makes about 30,000 cases of wine per year.

All of these wines were enjoyable overall and good values. The Castle Rock Syrah I particularly enjoyed and recommend.

Have a favorite wine under $15? Send me an e-mail or leave a comment.


Wines:


Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Abbey Page Columbia Valley Chardonnay 2006

Lemon and floral notes on the nose and lemon on the taste. This is a great, albeit simple, easy drinking wine. 13.5% alcohol. Purchased at Esquin for $9.


$9

+

Castle Rock Columbia Valley Syrah 2006

Blueberry and a little gaminess on the nose. Tons of blueberry on the taste and a good, reasonably full body. This is a very enjoyable wine for the money. 14.7% alcohol. 2,500 cases produced. Purchased at Esquin for $10. Recommended.


$10

+

Bonair Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley 2006

On first pour, the wine shows rich chocolate aromas laced with black pepper and fruit. As it opens up, it becomes more fruit driven with cherry and currants. The nose changes quite a bit over time. On the taste, the wine is a straightforward pleaser straight down the fairway with a light to medium body and a decent finish. There’s a touch of sweetness on the taste. 12.5% alcohol. Purchased at Pete’s for $9.


$15

+

Covey Run Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2004

A lively nose with a lot of complexity. Loaded with aged fruit, spice, and cardamom. A very good wine for the price. A bit of a metallic taste on the back end detracts from the wine a bit. 13.5% alcohol. 27,500 cases produced. Purchased for $9.29 at Pete’s Bellevue.


$13

+

Hyatt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley 2004

A pleasing nose with rich black fruit and lots of anise. A good texture on the taste although a little thinner than I would like. Ultimately this wine is all about anise on both the nose and taste. 13.5% alcohol. Purchased at Pete’s Bellevue for $8.39.

$13

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Owner and winemaker Larry Krivoshein began making wine at his home in eastern Washington twenty years ago. His early wines were under the “Digger” label, a nod to his nickname from his days as a funeral director. Russell Creek Winery, named after a stream located by Krivoshein’s farm, was bonded in 1998. The winery is located in the airport region of Walla Walla, Washington.

Russell Creek devotes itself almost exclusively to single varietal wines, a Sangiovese – their biggest seller - a Cabernet, a Merlot, a Syrah, and series of “Winemaker’s Select” wines of these varietals. The Tributary Red is the only red blend the winery makes.

The Tributary Red has consistently received high marks from Wine Spectator – 2004 (91); 2003 (89); 2002 (91); 2001 (90) – especially for a $20 wine. I liked the 2006 Tributary quite a bit. I thought that it had a good deal going on in terms of both the nose and the taste. I gave the wine a + as opposed to a * because I did not think all of those things were completely in balance. I decanted the wine for an hour plus without significant changes, although a bit of an herbal component started to come through. Overall, a fun, enjoyable wine and a good wine for the money.

For this virtual tasting, I also did a live tasting as well which was a lot of fun. Hopefully we will get some of those notes up soon.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Russell Creek Winery Tributary Red 2006

On first pour, spice mixed with chocolate and black pepper. As the wine opens up, the chocolate comes off and stewed plum and sweet currant dominates. On the taste, the wine coats the palette and has a nice mouth feel with a lot of dried fruit flavors. The wine is fairly astringent and has a touch more alcohol on it than I care for. Tasted at 65 degrees. 56% Cabernet; 44% Merlot. 14.1% alcohol. 1,700 cases produced.

Where: Purchased at Pete's for $18.70. Esquin, Pete’s Bellevue

$20

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This is not a drill soldier! November's Virtual Tasting will take place tonight. The wine is Russell Creek's Tributary Red 2006. If you would like to join us and are in Seattle, both Pete's Bellevue and Esquin had it in stock recently but make sure to call ahead if you are going to stop by to pick up a bottle (Note: I heard from someone that Pete's Seattle does not have it in stock at present). Otherwise, give your local wine store a call to see if they have it in stock.

I'll be cracking the bottle open at 7pm and looking to get my notes up about 9pm. I look forward to hearing what you all think of the wine. Hope you will join us.

Read more about this month's virtual tasting here.

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REMINDER: November’s virtual tasting will be Monday November 24th. Read more about it here.

A summary of articles from November 15st to 21st on Washington wine.


From around the country…


Bryn Mawr and Haverford College’s Bi-College News writes about Thanksgiving wines with callouts to Ch. Ste. Michelle Riesling and Ice Wine from Vin du Lac.

The San Antonio Express writes about Washington wine with callouts to Col Solare, Ch. Ste. Michelle, Hogue, and Pepper Bridge.

The San Francisco Chronicle writes about wine touring in Washington.


From the blogosphere…


NW Wine Press writes about Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the year and the “Spectator effect”. Swordfern Wines weighs in as well.

NW Wine Press also reports that Columbia Winery is staying put in Woodinville.

Through the Walla Walla Grapevine interviews Erika Strum of Wine Enthusiast.

Daily Wine Tasting reviews Abeja’s 2006 Syrah.

Wine Peeps makes some calls on Thanksgiving wine with callouts to Fielding Hills and Columbia Crest. They also write about Elephant and Boushey Vineyards.

RJ’s wine blog writes about Sleight of Hand.

Graham's Wine Reflections write about Viognier with callouts to Mt. Baker Vineyards and Five Star.



From the locals…


The Tri-City Herald gives a pitch to traveling to wine country for Thanksgiving.

Wenatchee World writes about Northwest Thanksgiving wines. The Bellingham Herald writes on this as well. The Yakima Herald also gets in on this action. The Tacoma News Tribune piles on.

Oregon Live gives Top 20 wine picks with callouts to Chateau Rollat, Gramercy, Hyatt, Long Shadows, Beresan, and K Vintners.

The Yakima Herald follows up on the story of the proposed Naches Heights AVA. They also write about the increased need for trained wine workers due to the explosion of the industry in the state.

The Seattle PI also writes about the proposed Naches Heights AVA in an AP story.

KIMA TV does a story about the new Washington Wine board game from the WineTrails folks.

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Washington wines for Thanksgiving

Friday, November 21, 2008 0 comments

REMINDER: This month's virtual tasting will take place on Monday November 24th. Read more about it here.

Okay folks, Thanksgiving is right around the corner so its time for some holiday recommendations. Below are some wines you might want to consider. I used the following criteria: only light reds and whites were considered – definitely stay away from the oak monsters during dinner; I tried to stay under $25 given that a) the economy is bad and b) it is just family after all.

Yellow Hawk Sangiovese 2004 $19 (NOTE: link opens .pdf)


Where: City Cellars, Pete’s Bellevue, Esquin


Cougar Crest Grenache Rose 2007$18


Where: Winery

L’Ecole No. 41 Luminesce 2007$19

Where: Esquin


Novelty Hill Roussanne 2006 $20


Where: Pete’s Bellevue, Esquin


For those with a lot of friends coming over, consider these guzzlers:

Yellow Hawk Red Barn Red 2006 $14


Where: City Cellars, West Seattle Cellars


Washington Hills Rainier Red NV $8


Where: Pete’s, Safeway

Please note, these wines were at these locations recently but may not still be there now. Call ahead if you want to make sure. They also may be available at other locations (leave if a comment if you are aware of some).

Leave a comment if you have wines you recommend.

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Earlier this year, we welcomed the first print magazine dedicated exclusively to Washington wine – WINO. Now that WINO has six months or so under its belt, let’s take an extended look at how they are doing.

WINO fills a clear void in writing about Washington and its wine. While the industry has exploded over the past five to ten years, Wine Press Northwest, the only other periodical to dedicate a substantial portion of its magazine to Washington wine, has remained a quarterly and largely unchanged in format. While still offering excellent reviews and features articles, it has been challenged to keep up with the fast growing Washington wine industry where wineries and wine appear almost by the day.

Enter WINO. WINO was created publisher Josh LaRosee and editor Doug Haugen. The magazine, as its irreverent title would suggest, is dedicated to bringing wine writing and drinking down a notch or two to where the non-country club set can discuss wine and enjoy it. For this, they should be commended.

WINO has settled into a rhythm with the following sections: First Impressions – This section has articles on the latest items in the industry, such as breathable wine glasses and “wine wipes”. First Impressions also includes a “Label of the Month” and a section reviewing a specific “Wine Club” with a description of the club and its offerings. The items in First Impressions have been informative, interesting, and well written. This section also contains a Venue Spotlight which focuses on an area wine bar. The strength of this section is that they stray farther afield than many a local wine drinker may. One suggestion here would be to include the address and phone number for the establishment they are reviewing. Although this information is easily available, I often find myself wondering where exactly the spot is while I am reading the article.

Ask a WINO is just what it sounds like. While many question and answer sections can be mundane (Savage Love being an obvious exception), Ask a WINO provides detailed information on topics such as Noble Rot and Residual Sugar. What are these you say? See Ask a WINO to find out.

The Features section has provided solid, if somewhat short, articles on such topics as wine touring companies and women winemakers.

Each issue, WINO focuses on a particular wine region within Washington in their Focus Region section. This section is complimented by the Wine Touring section where WINO lists specific wineries, giving each a short description and rating them on a one to five scale as: a venue, the service they provide; and their wine. For standout wineries, they give a “WINO Approved” label. This section provides excellent information on where you should go and what you can expect to find there.

In the Round Table section, WINO rates specific wines. They also provide the label for the winery which is extremely helpful. WINO’s approach to wine rating however is unique. Rather than provide a short description of the wine and a rating of some sort, WINO provides a list of descriptors by individual provided by a group of different tasters. While I love the idea of this – wine rating is always very subjective and controversial and including different people’s opinions provides value – it makes for a bit of a difficult read. It also does not answer the fundamental question or whether the taster liked the wine or not. While this is obviously deliberate, this information in my opinion is important in helping to direct people to or away from wine. Perhaps a simple thumbs up/thumbs down from each? With so much wine out there and an increasingly shrinking dollar, not to mention expanding wine prices, I find myself wanting a little bit more direction about individual wines than I find here. However, as we all know, wine rating is a slippery slope, and WINO has deliberately steered away from it.

Much more successful in the Round Table section is their graphical charts (Note: these do not appear in the on-line edition) for each wine that show, in a visual form, the wine’s Sweet/Fruit, Sour/Acid, Earthy/Herbacious, Bitter/Tannic profile. A friend of mine and I have long been drawing pictures of how the wines we are sampling taste. These pictures convey a great deal of information missing from most wine evaluations, my own included I might add. This is an excellent addition that I would expect other publications might adopt.

The Cheapskate section focuses on the inexpensive wines we all seek out. These reviews are informative and well written. Interestingly, in each issue, the author compares each wine to something – a Mario Brothers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character, a country, etc. This is a cute idea to mix it up a bit but does not come off entirely in my opinion, not to mention it will most likely become increasingly difficult to do.

The Vine Curmudgeon section has focused on several different areas, from organic viticulture to prohibition. I have, however, not quite been able to get the general idea behind this section.

Higher Learning has focused on different topics from the science behind “mouth feel” (successful) to Mesopotamia (less successful).

The Last Glass which closes out the magazine has varied from interviews with winemakers to guest articles by the likes of Rusty Figgins.

Overall, WINO has filled a clear gap in Washington wine writing and has done it very well, evolving and improving with each issue. WINO helps in addressing one of the fundamental problems with Washington wine at the moment – with so many wineries out there, how does one know where to go or what wine to choose.

WINO is free and can be found at the locations listed here. You can also have the magazine delivered to your doorstep for a very affordable $3 an issue. The magazine is currently published bi-monthly. WINO also has a website that started as a supplemental to the magazine but has evolved into a full fledged site that contains each issue as well as additional articles and information.

If you haven’t picked up an issue yet, the November/December issue recently hit the shelves. Pick it up or check it out on-line.

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A reminder that this month's virtual tasting will be the Russell Creek Tributary Red 2006 on Monday November 24th. Read more about it here.

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All good things must come to an end. Arlington Road Cellars, located in the Woodinville, will be closing its doors later this year. Apparently founders Ken Nydam and Robin Rutz have gone their separate ways and decided to close the venture.

Arlington Road’s first wine – the 2004 red blend called Monolith – was released a year and a half ago to a good deal of acclaim (See my write-up of the 2004 Monolith and other Woodinville area wines in my 2007 Passport to Woodinville Report). The winery used consulting winemaker Matthew Loso, formerly of Matthews Cellars, to craft their wines with excellent results.

The recently released 2007 Imperium - an off-dry Riesling - the 2006 Monolith, and the 2005 Monolith are currently for sale at the winery at half of their original price. The winery will be open on Saturdays and also for St. Nick’s weekend (tickets required) in December.

They will be missed.


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Arlington Road Cellars Imperium 2007

Pale in color, the wine has a lively nose with honey, spice, mineral, and melon aromas. On the taste, the wine is marked by apple notes and a good finish. An excellent wine for pairing with spicy food. 12.1% alcohol.


$13

*

Arlington Road Cellars Monolith 2005

An elegant, appealing nose with spice, anise, tobacco, and dates. The wine is smooth with soft tannins. Overall, an impressive wine although the taste doesn’t quite deliver all the nose promises. 63% Cabernet; 22% Merlot; 11% Cab Franc; 3% Malbec; 1% Petit Verdot. 14.5% alcohol.


$25

+

Arlington Road Cellars Monolith 2006

Still a very young wine that is a bit green but has lots of spice and black fruit. Needs time to settle down but will be a good wine. 66% Cabernet; 21% Merlot; 11% Cab Franc; 2% Petit Verdot. 14.5% alcohol.

$25

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Following up my post of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2008, Paul Zitarelli over at Swordfern Wines inquired why I thought Quilceda Creek’s 2005 Cabernet had not made the list. I noticed this omission as well as this is a truly stunning wine. Moreover, the last two releases of Quilceda Creek's Cabernet have been featured in the Top 100 in 2007 (#28, 2004 vintage) and 2006 (#2, 2003 vintage). Given how much I liked this wine, I thought I would delve into this a bit.

For the Top 100 in 2008, Wine Spectator used the following criteria:
Quality, represented by score

- Value, reflected by release price

- Availability, measured by case production or cases imported

- An X-factor which they call “excitement”

The Wine Spectator staff put this all together into a subjective rating and came up with the list. Let’s take a look at the 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet along each of these dimensions.

In terms of Quality, the 2005 Cabernet received a 94 rating. This is compared to the 2004 and 2003 which both received a 95. All of the Top 100 wines received a rating of 90 points or higher. In this regard, the 2005 Cabernet faired quite well.

In terms of Value, the 2005 comes in at $115. Looking at Wine Spectator’s wines rated in the most recent 12 months, 80% of the wines rated 90 points or higher were priced $100 or less. All other things being equal, we could therefore expect about 80% of the wines in the Top 100 to cost $100 or less. However, for the 2008 list, 91% of the wines cost less than $100. This is what they mean when they say that “Value” is taken into consideration. In this regard, the Quilceda Creek is a bit expensive.

In terms of Availability, Quilceda Creek produced 3,400 cases of this wine. This is a reasonable amount and comparable to a number of other wines on the list. However, Quilceda Creek’s wine is generally only available to mailing list members. This might have affected the wine's rating along this dimension.

Finally, in terms of X-factor - excitement - I personally would score this wine quite high as I thought about it for (literally) weeks after tasting it. I can’t say that has happened with many wines. Then again, I don't sample 20,000 wines a year. I have no idea how they might have scored this wine on the X factor.

Overall, I think Quilceda Creek’s 2005 Cabernet didn’t make the list due to a combination of these factors, specifically the Quality to Price Ratio - QPR in modern parlance. While the Quality rating of the wine was high (94), the price was also high compared to other wines on the list ($115). In fact, of the wines over $100 on the 2008 Top 100 list, all received a Quality rating of 96 or higher. The fact that the wine has somewhat limited availability may have contributed as well. As I mentioned in my earlier post, one of the goals of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list is to drive wine sales. Any wine buyer who has seen the march of the shelf-talkers in wine stores after the release of this list knows what I’m talking about. I believe however that the limited availability was a secondary factor.

In summary, another point or two higher and the wine might have made it on the list despite the high price and the limited availability. This just goes to show the problem with rating wines. A point or two higher from an acclaimed source drives tens of thousands of dollars of sales and might put you in the Top 100. A point or two lower and it's curtains! Not to worry about Quilceda Creek. At their last release weekend, my friend did a back of the envelope calculation of the dollar value of the wine on palettes in front of us. They are doing okay.

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Each year at this time, Wine Spectator releases their list of the top 100 wines of the year. The list always contains a handful of Washington wines. Here is their pre-amble to the list:

"In 2008, we reviewed more than 19,500 wines from around the world in blind tastings. More than 5,300 of them earned outstanding ratings (90 points or higher on our 100-point scale). We then narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by case production or cases imported); and an X-factor we call excitement. But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect our editors' judgment and passion about the wines we tasted."

Obviously there is a great deal of subjectivity to the list, but it still is a somewhat fun exercise and, more importantly for the wine industry, drives sales.

For the year 2008, the Washington wines represented on this list were as follows:

No. 61 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2005 93 pts $30

No. 48 DeLille Doyenne Aix Red Columbia Valley 2005 93 pts $37

No. 42 Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2005 92 pts $25

No. 25 Andrew Will Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2005 94 pts $58

No surprise to see Januik, DeLille, and Andrew Will as each has been a heavy hitter in the industry for some time. The inclusion of Amavi 2005 Cabernet, an excellent accomplishment for this winery, is also not surprising. Earlier this year I wrote about the usual nexus between the rating and the price point of this wine. Eric McKibben, General Manager/ Partner at Amavi Cellars followed up with some interesting information which you can see here. Amavi's 2006 Cabernet is every bit as good in my opinion. See my review of it here.

Overall having four wines in the Top 100 is about the norm for Washington over the past few years. 2007 had four - Quilceda Creek Cabernet 2004, Owen Roe Ex Umbris 2005, DeLille D2 2004, Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2004. 2006 also had four - Quilceda Creek Cabernet 2003 at Number 2, Spring Valley Uriah 2005, Ch. Ste. Michelle Chardonnay 2004, Novelty Hill Cabernet 2003. I had thought the number might increase a bit this year given the excellence of the 2005 vintage but...

As for finding these wines, most have released more recent vintages. However, some of the older vintages can still be found. As noted in a previous post, the Amavi Cabernet 2005 is long gone from the shelves. I have seen the Januik, Andrew Will, and DeLille not too long ago, so you may still be able to find a bottle of them somewhere if you do some searching.

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A summary of articles from November 1st to 14th on Washington wine.


From around the country…


The Kansas City Star among many others pick up on the AP’s story of the lobbying for a new Washington AVA called Naches Heights.

The San Francisco Chronicle writes about the correlation between Obama’s victory and wine consumption in the states he won, including Washington state.


From the blogosphere…


Our friends at Wine Peeps write about Cadence Winery.

The Wine Commentator writes about Cave B and L’Ecole No. 41.

The Hazel Files writes about wine touring in Walla Walla with callouts to Beresan, Buty, Cayuse Vineyards, Dunham Cellars, Flying Trout, Forgeron Cellars, Otis Kenyon, Sapolil, Spring Valley Vineyard, and SYZYGY.

Seattle Wine Blog writes about increased availability of Washington wine in Arizona.

AmericanWinery.com interviews Skylite Cellars Angela Locati.

IS and Beyond writes about Basel Cellars.


From the locals…


The Eastside Business Journal also picks up on the story of the proposed Naches Heights AVA.

The Bellingham Herald writes about Mercer Estates.

Wine Press Northwest writes about a tasting of Northstar and Bordeaux wines.

The Tri-City Herald writes about the local wine festival with callouts to Anelare, Columbia Crest, Kestrel, Kiona, Tagaris, Saint Laurent, and Five Star. They also write about the increase in exports of Washington wine.

The Yakima Herald also writes about the Tri-City wine festival.

The Oregon Statesman Journal writes about the Port of Walla Walla winery incubator complex at the Walla Walla airport.

The Seattle Times writes about Walla Walla’s women winemakers and the emerging wine region in Lake Chelan.

The Walla Walla Union Bulletin writes about Cayuse Weekend.

The Tacoma News Tribune writes about the 2008 harvest.

Paul Gregutt writes about changes in Walla Walla with callouts to Balboa, Boomtown, and Wines of Substance.

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L'Ecole No. 41 2007 Luminesce

Friday, November 14, 2008 0 comments

L’Ecole No. 41’s 2007 Luminesce is a Bordeaux-style blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The Semillon vines used for this wine were planted in 1998 and the Sauvignon Blanc vines in 2004. As with all of their offerings, this is a well made, enjoyable wine.



Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

L’Ecole No. 41 Luminesce Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2007

Lots of lemon and toasty oak notes on the nose. On the taste, this is a nice, smooth wine that coats the palette. 70% Semillon; 30% Sauvignon Blanc. 14.5% alcohol. 520 cases produced.

$19

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Dumas Station came on my radar screen in the spring of this year while wine touring in Walla Walla. I saw a bottle of their wine on the shelves of a local store and shortly thereafter noticed that one of the retailers in Seattle had picked them up. A positive Wine Spectator review later, and their wines started appearing in a number of Seattle-area stores (Note: I assume that it was the Spectator review not my own which you can see here).

Dumas Station’s wines have shown a true consistency in style and quality. The 2004 Cabernet, while not a standout, is remarkable for the fact so few Walla Walla producers were able to make wine from local fruit due to the freeze that year. The grapes from this wine were sourced from Minnick Hills Vineyard which has a slightly higher elevation and thus managed to escape the cold.

For those in the Seattle area, West Seattle Cellars will be hosting Dumas Station winemaker this Saturday from 3pm-5pm. They will be pouring their 2003-2005 Cabernet as well as their 2005 Merlot. (Note: This event is not listed on the website but was in their weekly e-mail.)


Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

*

Dumas Station Merlot 2005

The nose is almost reminiscent of a syrah with smoky notes predominant. On the taste, the wine has an excellent body, mid-palate and finish. Tart cherry runs throughout with herb notes showing through after the wine opens up a bit. There are a fair amount of tannins on the backend. 205 cases produced.


$24

+

Dumas Station Cabernet 2004

Sour cherries and earth aromas on first pour. Rosemary and floral notes as the wine opens up. The wine has a nice plushness at the start but thins out on the mid-palate. This is a very smooth wine with soft tannins. 95 cases produced.

$25

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Trio Vintners Zinfandel 2006

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2 comments

Trio Vintners is a joint venture between Tim Boushey, Denise Slattery and Steve Michener, all recent graduates of the Institute of Enology and Viticulture in Walla Walla. The winery is located in the airport region.


Zinfandel is a still a pretty rare beast is Washington state. The grapes for this bottling came from the Wahluke Slope AVA. I found this wine to be a very interesting effort but ultimately a little over extracted, and the whopping 16.2% alcohol shows. Still, there is promise there, and it makes me interested to try some other zins from the state. If you know of some others, leave a comment and let me know.



Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

.

Trio Vintners Zinfandel 2006

The nose is marked by spice, plum, and tobacco aromas. On the taste, the wine is a bit aggressive on the palate with a lot of fruit up front, a bit too much in my opinion. 76% Zinfandel, 16% Mourvèdre, 7% Sangiovese, 1% Syrah.16.2% alcohol. 80 cases.

$26

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