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'14 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

For the past three years I’ve published an annual list of some of my favorite wines based on those I’ve sampled for the blog from the year gone by (see 2009 here and 2008 here). Belatedly, below is a look back at some of my personal favorites from 2010.

The list was compiled in the following manner.

1. To be considered, a review needed to be published on my blog in 2010. No barrel samples were considered (See the complete list of wines reviewed in my Tasting Note Database here).

2. I considered wines based on rating, my overall excitement about the wine, and price. In terms of rating, all wines below received either a double or single star in my rating system. In terms of excitement, I focused on wines that stood out in the weeks and months after I sampled them.

3. Although there were many wines I sampled for the blog last year, there were many (many) more that I did not. For this reason, there are, as always, a number of significant omissions. This is not meant as a reflection on the numerous wineries producing excellent wines that are not listed here. It is rather a reflection of what I was able to sample and review.

As with previous years, I included only one wine from each winery. Without further ado.

1. Grand Reve Vintners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2007 $75

Black licorice, light herbal streaks, coffee, high-toned fruit, and chocolate on an alluring, although still moderately closed up nose. On the palate, a complete ‘Wow!’ wine with a beautiful texture, incredibly focused fruit, and firm but appealing tannins. A statement of a Washington State Cabernet that is among the finest I have had. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 24 months in French oak (100% new). 14.3% Alcohol. 100 cases produced. To be released fall 2010. Mark McNeilly (Mark Ryan) and Ross Mickel (Ross Andrew) winemakers. Reviewed August 13, 2010

2. Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $79


Intoxicating varietal aromatics of intensely dark fruit and chocolate along with spice and licorice. The palate is seamless and structured, rich and intense. Beautifully layered with a long, long finish. Nothing short of an accomplishment of a wine. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Champoux (74%) and Sagemoor vineyards (26%). Aged in new French oak. 14.8% alcohol. 628 cases produced. Reviewed December 24, 2010

3. Cayuse Vineyards Syrah Armada Vineyards Walla Walla Valley 2007 $65


Holy smokes! Full on black pepper along with violets and game on a nose that is significantly more evolved due to the extra year of bottle age. A persistent intensity on the palate with crazy game tastes. Rich without being fruity. 100% Syrah. 14.2% alcohol. Reviewed March 26, 2010

4. Reynvaan Family Vineyards The Contender Walla Walla Valley 2008 $55


A downright stinky, aromatic, intense nose marked by floral notes, earth, black olive juice, and meat. The palate is rich and layered with abundant umami flavors and roast beef. There is a weight and intensity that is nothing short of breathtaking. Among the best wines I have had this year. 94% Syrah co-fermented with 4% Marsanne and 2% Viognier. Approximately 450 cases produced. Reviewed September 7, 2010

5. Gramercy Cellars John Lewis Reserve Syrah 2007 $65


An aromatic powerhouse with violets, game, and chocolate aromas. Boasts a fullness on the palate, especially the mid-palate, that is simply breathtaking. The purity of the fruit and the balance of this wine are beyond exceptional. 100% Syrah. Les Collines and Forgotten Hills vineyards. Aged in French oak (approximately 15% new). 13.7% alcohol. 146 cases produced. Reviewed March 8, 2010

6. Waters Winery Syrah Forgotten Hills Walla Walla Valley 2007 $40


On the nose, an exclamation point of aromatics. Spice, light game, and floral notes. On the palate, a beautifully textured and nuanced wine full of game and fruit flavors. An accomplishment of a wine. 100% Syrah. Forgotten Hills Vineyard. Aged in French oak (approximately 10% new). 514 cases produced. Reviewed July 22, 2010

7. Betz Family Winery Pere de Famille Columbia Valley 2007 $55


Dark and brilliant in color. An alluring nose with high-toned toasty oak, sweet spices, and dark, penetrating fruit. On the palate, a tight core of black fruit along with silky oak wrapped around elegantly structured tannins. A perfect mixture of power and elegance. A long, evolving finish. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. Fruit is 74% Red Mountain, 17% Horse Heaven Hills, and 9% Yakima Valley (Ciel du Cheval, Kiona, Klipsun, Alder Ridge, and Red Willow vineyards). Aged 17 months in French barriques (70% new). 14.7% alcohol. Give 3-4 years. Reviewed March 23, 2010

8. Andrew Will Sorella Horse Heaven Hills 2007 $70


Nose is marked by light graphite, herbal tones, licorice, and light red fruit. Palate is beautifully refined with polished tannins and intensely focused fruit flavors. Give three to five years. 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Champoux Vineyard. Aged twenty-one months in French oak (35% new). 14.3% alcohol. 958 cases produced. Reviewed June 7, 2010

9. Quilceda Creek Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $35


Dark to the point of being opaque. A pretty nose with licorice, oak spices, blackberry, red fruit, and light floral notes. On the taste, an opulent, rich, outrageously textured wine with gobs of black fruit, chocolate, and spice. Very tightly compact on the palate at present. Shows a little heat at times. Give two to three years. 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. 15.2% alcohol. To be released in Fall 2010. Reviewed April 1, 2010

10. Rasa Vineyards QED Walla Walla Valley 2007 $50


Outrageous game and violet aromas pop out on a nose that shows a lot of Les Collines Vineyard elements. Intense and powerful on the palate with a beguiling texture. Give 2-3 years. 94% Syrah, 3% Grenache, and 3% Mourvedre. Les Collines, Lewis, Seven Hills, and Minnick vineyards. Aged seventeen months in French oak (20% new). 14.8% alcohol. 640 cases produced. Sampled at 60 degrees. Reviewed March 2, 2010

11. Sparkman Cellars Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2007 $56


Pretty aromatics of cedar, bright red cherries, dust, and fresh red fruit over a layer of dark berries. A big, impressive wine loaded with red fruit flavors and a firm scaffolding of tannins. The fruit is beautifully intense. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon (Klipsun), 4% Merlot (Klipsun), 11% Petit Verdot (Snipes Canyon). Aged 22 months in 66% new French oak. 14.7% alcohol. 219 cases produced. Reviewed December 6, 2010

12. Gorman Winery The Evil Twin Red Mountain 2008 $60


A perfumed nose marked by licorice, spice, oak notes, and black cherry. On the palate, a gigantic, colossal wine with an iron fist grip of fruit and tannins and an extended finish. Alcohol shows through at times. Give two years. 65% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. 300 cases produced. Reviewed September 30, 2010

13. Seven Hills Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Klipsun Red Mountain 2007 $32


Bright cherry fruit, floral notes, earth, and hints of licorice mark an aromatic nose. The palate boasts lots of structure while still remaining elegant. The fruit flavors are incredibly fresh along with well-integrated tannins and bright acidity. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French oak (40% new). 13.8% alcohol. 510 cases produced. Reviewed November 18, 2010

14. Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $43


Blackberry, black cherry, chocolate, earth, and touches of spice on a complex, evolving nose. The palate brings rich, intense cherry fruit and chocolate. Easily among the best Cabernets the winery has ever produced. 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. Heather Hill, Sagemoor (Bacchus and Weinbau), Hedges Estate, Blue Mountain, and Wallula vineyards. Aged in French oak (60% new). 14.9% alcohol. 2,294 cases produced. Reviewed July 28, 2010

15. Cadence Winery Red Wine Ciel du Cheval 2007 $45


An attractive nose with lots of earth, floral notes, chocolate, and black fruit. Tight and tannic on the taste with a lot of currant flavors. Give this layered, exceptional wine three to five years. 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot. 14.4% alcohol. 495 cases produced. Reviewed January 14, 2010

16. Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007 $85


An outrageously enjoyable nose with toasty smoke and oak spices floating above earth aromas, licorice, and high-toned cherries. Rich but elegant on the palate with penetrating cherry fruit and a firm backbone of tannins. A seemingly endless finish. A beautiful expression of Walla Walla fruit in general and Leonetti estate vineyards in particular. Stands tall among the best wines produced in the exceptional 2007 vintage. Give three years to five years. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Carmenère, and 3% Malbec. Loess, Mill Creek Upland, and Seven Hills vineyards. Aged 22 months in new and neutral French and American oak. Reviewed April 16, 2010

17. Corliss Estates Red Wine Columbia Valley 2005 $65


A very pretty, seductive nose with cedar, dust, coffee bean, caramel, and black cherries. A big but beautifully integrated wine plush with black cherry fruit accented by silky oak flavors. A thirty-plus second finish. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Petit Verdot. Red Mountain, Stillwater, Weinbau, Northridge, Bacchus, and Stonetree vineyards. Aged 33 months in French oak (73% new). 14.9% alcohol. 450 cases produced. Reviewed December 28, 2010

18. K Vintners The Boy Walla Walla Valley 2008 $45


Aromas jump from the glass including sliced black olives, seaweed, umami, and game. Intensely flavorful on the palate with red fruit and game. A spectacular effort. 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah. Armada Vineyard. Aged in French oak. 14.5% alcohol. 318 cases produced. Reviewed July 26, 2010

19. Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope 2008 $42


The nose is enticing with rich chocolate, blackberry, red currant, very light herbal notes, and a whiff of cough syrup accented by sweet spices. The palate is dry and tightly wound with rich, sinewy fruit flavors that cross the palate in waves and linger long after the last sip. A prototype of Cabernet Sauvignon. 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot. Aged 19 months in American and French oak (72% new). 15.2% alcohol. 192 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed December 21, 2010

20. Maison Bleue Soleil Roussanne Yakima Valley 2009 $28


Very pretty floral notes, exotic spices, and intense minerality on an incredibly complex nose. A creamy, richly textured mouthfeel on a palate marked by mineral, apricots, and lemon notes. 100% Roussanne, Olsen Vineyard. Whole cluster pressed and fermented in French oak barrels (20% new). Aged sur lie for approximately 7 months. Partial (20%) malolactic fermentation. 14.1% alcohol. 160 cases produced. Reviewed September 14, 2010

21. Rotie Cellars Northern Blend Washington State 2008 $35


An aromatic nose with violets, bacon fat, and blueberries. A meaty, rich, intense wine loaded with fresh fruit and umami flavors along with a textured mouthfeel. Oak is very far in the background putting the focus firmly on the fruit. 97% Syrah, 3% Viognier. 14.2% alcohol. 396 cases produced. Reviewed August 20, 2010

22. Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon Sagemoor Vineyard 2007 $40


A rich, opulent, complex nose marked by chocolate covered cherries, licorice, and earth. Polished and seamless on an elegantly structured palate. A beautifully long finish. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot and 5% Malbec. 14.3% alcohol. Reviewed September 15, 2010

23. Soos Creek Artist Series #7 Red Wine 2007 Columbia Valley $27


An aromatic nose with loads of black and red fruit, spice, light herbal notes, cranberries, and chocolate. The palate pops with big, rich, chewy red fruit flavors and beautifully integrated tannins. Capped off by an exceptionally long finish. 52% Cabernet Franc, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.1% alcohol. Reviewed December 9, 2010

24. Kerloo Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $32


Jumps from the glass with floral notes, plum, smoke, spice, and dark fruit. A seamless palate with full of fruit and chocolate along with a solid backbone of tannins beautifully balanced by acidity. A persistent finish. 100% Syrah. Va Piano Block 6 (80%) and Les Collines Block 30 (20%). 20% whole-cluster fermented. Aged in French oak (20% new). 14.6% alcohol. 115 cases produced. Reviewed December 30, 2010

25. Sleight of Hand Levitation Syrah Columbia Valley 2007 $40


Stains the glass with a brilliant purple hue. Nose shows wild blueberries, mushroom, and forest floor aromas. The palate is seamlessly stitched together with abundant berry and umami flavors accented by exceptionally well balanced oak. The finish goes on as long as you care to count. 100% Syrah. Les Collines, Lewis, and Portteus vineyards. 14.9% alcohol. 300 cases produced. Reviewed December 29, 2010

26. 21 Grams Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $125


Nose is locked up pretty tightly at the moment but shows light herbal notes, licorice, freshly ground cranberries, pencil shavings, and very light earth aromas. Pretty fruit flavors shine through on an elegantly structured palate. Give two years. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. Cold Creek, Pepper Bridge, Portteus, Seven Hills, Nostra Terra, and Sagemoor vineyards. 100 cases produced. Reviewed July 22, 2010

27. Guardian Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $39


An arresting aroma profile that is a prototype for Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon with earth, black cherries, and light herbal notes. The palate is dry and grippy with a firm tannic backbone. Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain. Aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. 140 cases produced. Reviewed December 14, 2010

28. SYZYGY Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2007 $33


Roasted meats, violets, and purple fruit mark a compelling nose. Rich and full of fruit on a palate that boasts an extended finish. 100% Syrah. Seven Hills, Les Collines, and Morrison Lane vineyards. Aged 18 months in French oak. 435 cases produced. Reviewed September 30, 2010

29. Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007 $85


A nose that informs you on the first sniff that there is serious stuff in your glass with sweet French oak spices, toast, bittersweet chocolate, intense red and black fruit aromas, high-toned herbal notes, and a dusting of earth. An intriguing mixture of bold and lithe flavors on a palate tightly packed with opulent blackberry and cherry fruit robed in silky oak. Has a big black fruit lick on the mid-palate accented by silky tannins. Winds and weaves on the finish. Reviewed April 23, 2010

30. Northstar Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2006 $50


Takes some time to open up but once it does this wine sings. An intriguing, complex nose with spice, tobacco, cocoa, dark fruit, and a light earthiness. Glides along the palate with a bit more fruit intensity than the Columbia Valley offering. Lingers on the finish. A prototype for Washington Merlot in general and Walla Walla Valley Merlot in particular. 78% Merlot (Spring Valley, Anna Marie, and Loess vineyards), 17% Cabernet Sauvignon (Anna Marie and Loess vineyards), 5% Cabernet Franc (Minnick Hills Vineyard). Aged in French oak (56% new). 2,500 cases produced. Reviewed May 18, 2010

31. Salida Tempranillo Yakima Valley 2007 $34


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. Reviewed April 14, 2010

32. Col Solare Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $70


A thrilling nose with aromas of spice, vanilla, black cherry and licorice. Big and power packed on the palate with tightly wound fruit, beautifully integrated tannins, and silky oak flavors. A wine with a long life ahead of it. Best I have had from this winery. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Klipsun, Cold Creek, Andrews Horse Heaven, Weinbau, Hedges, Four Feathers, Stone Tree, and Coyote Canyon vineyards. Aged in 85% French and 15% American new oak barrels. 14.5% alcohol. Reviewed September 30, 2010

33. Trust Cellars Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $28


Dark purple in color, almost stains the glass. Bright blueberry aromas, violets, and touches of chocolate. Great intensity on the palate with silky fruit with grainy tannins and a slight citric note. Give one to two years. 100% Syrah. Les Collines, Old Stones, and Davidson vineyards. Aged in French oak 18% new). 13.8% alcohol. 272 cases produced. Reviewed August 2, 2010

34. Saviah Cellars Une Vallee Walla Walla Valley 2008 $32


An aromatic nose with plum, spice, and black fruit. A gorgeous palate that shows deft balance with abundant cherry and plum flavors. One of the best vintages made of this consistently excellent wine. Give 6-12 months. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon (Pepper Bridge and McClellan Vineyards), 38% Merlot (Seven Hills Vineyard), and 6% Cabernet Franc. Aged 17 months in French oak (60% new). 14.1% alcohol. 341 cases produced. Reviewed October 10, 2010

35. Bunchgrass Syrah Morrison Lane Walla Walla Valley 2007 $32


Richly aromatic with black licorice, blueberry, cherry, milk chocolate, and light game. Gorgeously textured with gauzy fruit flavors and zippy acidity. 100% Syrah. Morrison Lane Vineyard. Aged 23 months in French oak (30% new). 14.5% alcohol. 50 cases produced. Reviewed July 6, 2010

36. Lantz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $34


An appealing nose with abundant toast and smoke notes along with black cherry and a touch of anise. Very dry and chalky on the palate with firm tannins and light herbal flavors. An extended finish. A beautiful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. 94 % Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Lawrence Vineyards. Aged 24 months in French oak. 15.9% alcohol. Reviewed December 21, 2010

37. àMaurice Malbec Columbia Valley 2007 $35


Floral notes, spice, and pepper mark an expressive nose. A beautifully restrained palate. 100% Malbec. Gamache and Stone Valley vineyards. Aged in 100% French oak (30% new). 13.9% alcohol. 244 cases produced. Reviewed March 3, 2010

38. Stevens Winery Another Thought Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley 2009 $19


An intriguing nose with lime zest, grass, herbal notes, and mineral. Beautifully balanced and rounded on a palate full of crisp fruit flavors and a long, lingering finish. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Klipsun Vineyard. Aged in stainless steel. 13.9% alcohol. 120 cases produced. Reviewed July 27, 2010

39. Reininger Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2006 $36


A very pretty, intricate nose with layer aromatics of abundant red fruit, a whiff of mint, licorice, and a pleasing earthiness. Clean and well put together with a good grip of tannins and fresh red fruit flavors. Dips just slightly 2/3 of the way through. 82% Merlot, 16% Cabernet, 2% Malbec. Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge vineyards. Aged in 67% American and 33% French oak (35% new). 636 cases produced. Reviewed November 18, 2010

40. DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc Yakima Valley 2008 $34


An alluring nose with gooseberry, toast, and light tropical fruit. A very pretty texture on the palate with a slightly rounded feel with retaining crisp acidity. Mineral notes linger on the finish. 62% Sauvignon Blanc, 38 Semillon. 100% barrel fermented (70% new). 2,400 cases produced. Reviewed April 9, 2010

41. Otis Kenyon Wine Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2007 $30


An outrageous nose with loads of black olive juice and cherries. Palate has a plush, velvety feel with black olive juice and orange peel flavors. An unusual aroma and flavor profile for a merlot but quite compelling. 100% Merlot. Seven Hills Vineyard. 14.2% alcohol. 230 cases produced. Reviewed September 13, 2010

42. Ramseyer Vineyards Vintage 3 Red Wine Yakima Valley 2007 $40


Nose shows a lot of blackberry, earth, and syrupy anise aromas. Palate has opulent amounts of blackberry fruit. This is a big, bold, fruit laden wine with silky tannins and a long finish. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc. Dineen and Sheridan vineyards. Aged in French oak. 14.4% alcohol. 300 cases produced. Reviewed July 13, 2010

43. Tero Estates Windrow Vineyard Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2007 $45


An aromatic wine with rich black cherry aromas, milk chocolate, tobacco leaf, and pepper. The palate is marked by rich, tightly wound up fruit wrapped in a silky layer of oak. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Malbec. 14.1% alcohol. 108 cases produced. Reviewed August 11, 2010

44. Barrage Cellars Outcast Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley 2007


An aromatic wine with abundant licorice, chocolate, and light herbal notes. Delicious, sinewy fruit flavors that wind and weave on an incredibly persistent palate. A big wine with a puckering, long lasting finish. 100% Cabernet Franc. Boushey Vineyard. Aged 21 months in French oak (50% new, 50% second fill). 15.1% alcohol. 121 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed December 20, 2010

45. Tranche Cellars Slice of Pape Red Wine Columbia Valley 2005 $35


An alluring nose with dusky spices, leather, earth, and berries. Beautifully textured with weighty red fruit across the palate. Hangs on for a long finish. A tribute to the style. 56% Grenache, 38% Syrah, and 6% Cinsault. Northridge, Birch Creek, and Stillwater vineyards. Aged 30 months in neutral French oak. 15.2% alcohol. 143 cases produced. Reviewed April 21, 2010

46. Pomum Cellars Red Blend Columbia Valley 2007 $20


Black cherry, a dusting of black tea, mocha powder, earth, and light herbal streaks on a gorgeous, engaging nose. Intense and loaded with fresh cherry and cranberries on the palate while still showing incredible lightness. Opens up in series of concentric rings before making a giant exclamation point on the finish. An outrageously high Quality-to-Price ratio wine. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc. 14.3% alcohol. 140 cases produced. Reviewed April 6, 2010

47. Va Piano Vineyards Syrah Columbia Valley 2007 $40


Abundant ground black licorice along with cherry on an aromatic wine. Big and rich on the palate with gobs of fruit and chocolate. Best Syrah from this winery to date. 100% Syrah. 14% Va Piano Estate, 16% Minnick, 32% Portteus, and 38% Lewis. Aged 15 months in French oak (30% new). 14.5% alcohol. 689 cases produced. Reviewed December 26, 2010

48. William Church Viognier Columbia Valley 2009 $21


An aromatic wine with floral notes, peaches, and melon. Full and round on the palate with abundant fruit but beautiful balance. Lingers on the finish. Beautifully done. Conner Lee Vineyard. 14.3% alcohol. 240 cases produced. Reviewed December 27, 2010

49. Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $40


Somewhat brooding on the nose with blackberry, black cherry, herbal notes, spice box, and sweet spices. Rich with fruit and espresso flavors buffeted by dry tannins. An evolving finish. 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.8% Merlot, 0.2% Cabernet Franc. Aged for 25 months in 82% new French oak (82%) and American (18%) oak. 14.4% alcohol. 5,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed November 18, 2010

50. OS Winery Riesling Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008 $15


Pale in color with a slight greenish tinge. A complex nose with acidic aromas along with mineral, spiced green apples, and light floral notes. Off-dry in style, the palate is exceptionally smooth and well balanced. 2% Residual Sugar. 9% alcohol. 325 cases produced. Reviewed January 15, 2010

51. Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah Walla Walla Valley 2007 $50


A very lightly aromatic nose with lots of dust, baker’s chocolate, very light cherries, rose hips, and a distinct herbal streak. Big and opulent on the palate with abundant dry cherry fruit wrapped with a firm layer of tannins. Tart on the finish. Give one year. 60% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec. 14.8% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed September 30, 2010

52. L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc Walla Voila Columbia Valley 2007 $14


Light lemon yellow in color. A very pretty, aromatic nose with honeysuckle, mineral, straw, and floral notes. The palate brings a lot of fruit while remaining very crisp with a slight citric tinge and a touch of sweetness toward the finish. 100% Chenin Blanc. Willard Family Farms, Rattlesnake Hills. 13.5% alcohol. 1% Residual Sugar. 2,536 cases produced. Reviewed July 7, 2010

53. Hestia Cellars Merlot Columbia Valley 2008 $28


The nose is reasonably restrained at present with blackberries, dust, cola, licorice, cherries, and a light medicinal note. The palate is rich and opulent, full of dark cherry flavors and soft, silky tannins. A hedonistic example of Washington Merlot. 100% Merlot. Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. Aged 22 months in new and second fill French oak. 250 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed December 2, 2010

54. Fall Line Winery Artz Red Blend Red Mountain 2007 $28


An engaging nose with smoke, mineral, and currant. Tight, tart, and intensely focused with fruit on the palate. A pleasing balance of acid and tannins, although the latter are a bit drying at times. Give three years. 39% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. 490 cases produced. Reviewed January 19, 2010

55. Pacific Rim Vin de Glacier Columbia Valley 2007 $14 2007


Ever so slightly copper in color. Leaps from the glass with diesel, lemon peel, orange rind, pear, and brown sugar. Coats the palate with orange peel flavors. A thick, rich wine with well-balanced acidity. A persistent finish. 10.4%, acid is 0.88%, pH 3.14, and Residual Sugar 16.0%. Reviewed December 22, 2010

56. Dumas Station Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2006 $32


An exciting nose with coffee, spice, black cherry, dust, and light herbal streaks. Excellently balanced on the palate with a persistent finish. 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot. 100% Minnick Hills Vineyard. 15.0% alcohol. 490 cases produced. Reviewed February 24, 2010

57. Kiona Chenin Blanc Ice Wine Red Mountain 2008 $25


A very intriguing nose with lots of dried, sugared pineapple, floral notes, and papaya. A thick wine and rich with sugar and tropical fruit flavors. Needs to be a bit colder. Fans of the super sweet sticky will enjoy this well-priced ice wine. 100% Chenin Blanc. 26.8% Residual Sugar. 9.6% alcohol. 2,700 cases produced (375 milliliter bottles). Reviewed February 26, 2010

58. Viento Gewurztraminer Ice Wine Columbia Gorge 2009 $45


An aromatic wine that leaps from the glass with white flowers, pear, orange peel, white grapefruit, and ripe pineapple. The palate is thick and rich with honey flavors but is beautifully balanced by acidity. Carries on seemingly endlessly on the finish. 17% Residual Sugar. 11.9% alcohol. 126 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed December 2, 2010

59. Cooper Wine Co. L’Inizio Columbia Valley 2007 $40


Nose marked by coffee, vanilla, cherry, and light oak spices. A creamy mouthfeel on a wine that is richly flavored with fruit. Shows a fair amount of oak aromas and flavors at times, especially as it warms up. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot. Weinbau, Conner Lee, Northridge, Champoux, Stillwater, Red Mountain, and Boushey Vineyards. Aged in new French (60%) and American oak (40%). 14.9% alcohol. 200 cases produced. Sampled at 64 degrees. Reviewed February 10, 2010

60. Sinclair Estates Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009 $25


Spice, toasty oak aromas, light tropical fruit, and hay mark the nose. A creamy texture on the palate with a lemony, mango-laden finish. 100% Chardonnay. Lewis vineyard. Aged in 100% new French oak for 12 months, 9 months sur lie. 14.1% alcohol. Sampled at 60 degrees. Reviewed December 2, 2010

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9 comments

  1. Alan K. Says:
  2. Thanks for posting this list, Sean. Thanks to you (and Paul Zitarelli) I have quite a few of these bottles in my cellar.

     
  3. John P Says:
  4. Is this a ranked list?

     
  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. Thanks for the list. I'll use it as a map of chartered and unchartered warters!

     
  7. Great list, wish there were more white wines, specifically Riesling.

     
  8. Ky Says:
  9. Thanks Sean. A lot of the usual suspects and some new entrants. Washington wine industry continues to amaze.

     
  10. Anonymous Says:
  11. What no Rulo?

     
  12. All, thanks for the comments and thoughts.

    John P, the list is ranked considering rating, price, and the ever elusive 'excitement' factor.

    Justin Christoph, I noticed a lack of proper riesling representation as well (as well as white wines more generally). I'll make sure this doesn't happen next year as Riesling is one of our best grapes. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Anon, sadly I didn't post any notes on Rulo last year but did this year so the winery will surely be on the 2011 list. Rulo was one of a number of wineries that is making top wines that I unfortunately wasn't able to post on last year.

     
  13. Anonymous Says:
  14. What happened to Obelisco Estate

     
  15. Anon 4/5, sadly didn't review the Obelisco wines in 2010.

     

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