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'16 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Wine Enthusiast reviews for December 2015

Friday, February 26, 2016

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for December 2015. 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.

These reviews include a strong set of wines from former Charles Smith Wines/K Vintners winemaker Andrew Latta of Latta Wines. In particular, the 2012 Latta Grenache Snipes Mountain ($40, 94 points) is a gorgeous example of the variety. Meanwhile the 2013 Latta Lawrence Vineyards Roussanne Columbia Valley ($30, 92) is one of the best whites to come out of the vintage. Another wine well worth seeking out is the Airfield Estates 2012 Mustang Red Blend Yakima Valley ($25, 91 points). It's high quality example of a Rhone-style blend to find at this price. Meanwhile College Cellars, the teaching winery for the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College, impresses with its College Cellars 2013 Summit View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley ($35, 90 points). Keep an eye out for more vineyard-designated wines from this up-and-coming vineyard. 

On the value side, the 2013 Lone Birch Syrah Yakima Valley ($13, 89 points) is a terrific example of this variety. Another standout is the 2014 Airfield Estates Viognier Yakima Valley ($15, 90 points). High quality Viognier is rarely seen at this price.

Enjoy!

14 Hands 2014 The Reserve Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $25 90 points
This wine is made in a full-throttle style, with aromas of toast, melted butter, spice and vanilla—the latter from the 100% new American oak aging. It’s creamy in feel, with citrus and stone-fruit flavors on the finish. The barrel influence is a bit obvious but it’s hard to deny its appeal.

14 Hands 2014 Moscato Columbia Valley $10 88 points
Vibrant aromas of tangerine and flowers lead to sweet fruit flavors that show persistence. Enjoy it as an apéritif. Best Buy

14 Hands 2013 Hot to Trot Red Blend Columbia Valley $10 88 points
A blend of predominantly Merlot and Syrah, this wine offers aromas of raspberries, herbs, plum and vanilla. The flavors are sweet, plump and juicy, delivering a lot of bang for the buck. Best Buy

14 Hands 2014 Riesling Columbia Valley $10 88 points
This moderately aromatic wine offers notes of pear, citrus and apricot. It drinks medium sweet with stone-fruit and citrus flavors along with spritely acidity, bringing a whole lot of appeal. Best Buy

14 Hands 2014 The Reserve Rosé of Malbec Horse Heaven Hills $24 87 points
Electric-pink in color, that offers aromas of cranberries and watermelon that lead to dry fruit flavors with a tart finish. It doesn’t entirely stand up on its own but should fit in nicely at the dinner table.

14 Hands 2013 Merlot Columbia Valley $12 87 points
Aromas of fresh coffee, cocoa, peppery spices and red fruit lead to silky fruit and barrel flavors. It brings a whole lot of easy-drinking appeal. Best Buy

14 Hands 2014 The Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $22 85 points
Grass, herb and passion-fruit aromas are followed by citrus and tropical flavors. It’s pleasant but the concentration seems lacking.

14 Hands 2014 Pinot Gris Washington $10 83 points
This wine starts out quite reductive which provides distraction. Aromas of flowers and ripe pear lead to broad flavors that seem to fall a bit flat.

Airfield Estates 2012 Mustang Red Blend Yakima Valley $25 91 points
This wine is a blend of Syrah (45%), Mourvèdre (27%), Grenache (25%) and Cinsault. It charms with complex, pure aromas of boysenberry, white pepper, raspberries and herbs. The flavors are full in feel, with the judicious use of oak heightening the enjoyment. Editors Choice

Airfield Estates 2014 Viognier Yakima Valley $15 90 points
The aromas pop, with notes of white flowers, pear and ripe peach. It’s full bodied in feel, drinking dry with a textured feel and a drawn-out finish—a very pleasing example of the variety. Best Buy

Airfield Estates 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $25 89 points
This is 100% varietal with all of the fruit coming from 1989 plantings. Bittersweet chocolate, green herb and barrel aromas are followed by cherry flavors with a chalky feel.

Airfield Estates 2012 Merlot Yakima Valley $25 88 points
Cocoa, toast, vanilla, cigar box, coconut and raspberry aromas lead the way on this 100% varietal wine. The palate is full of dark fruit flavors with slightly gritty tannins and tart acids. Give it some time to come together.

Airfield Estates 2013 Bombshell Red Vineyard Salute Red Blend Yakima Valley $18 88 points
Syrah (51%) makes up most of this wine with the balance Merlot (35%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Malbec (2%) and Petit Verdot. Vanilla, baking spice and plum aromas are followed by sweet blue-fruit flavors that go down easy.

Airfield Estates 2014 Reserve Chardonnay Yakima Valley $25 87 points
Barrel aromas of vanilla, toast and woodspice are at the fore. The palate brings a full feel, with the wood taking over.

Airfield Estates 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $15 87 points
This wine’s aromas of melon and citrus don’t seem entirely varietal. Still, it brings plenty of appeal with zippy, elegant flavors that linger.

Ashan 2014 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay Columbia Valley $25 91 points
This wine offers a pleasing mixture of aromas and flavors of baking spices, pear and apple. Viscosity and weight gives it a sense of gravitas but never gets bogged down.

Avennia 2013 Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $50 92 points
Mineral, mulberry, dried herb and black-fruit aromas lead to layered dark-fruit flavors that show intensity as well as exceptional balance. This has a delicious factor that is impossible to ignore.

Avennia 2013 Justine Red Blend Columbia Valley $40 91 points
This wine is a blend of Grenache (47%), Mourvèdre (38%) and Syrah. It’s loaded with aromas and flavors of black raspberry, herbs, potpourri, peppery spices and kirsch. The plump red and black-fruit flavors show an exquisite balance of richness and restraint that carries through the long finish.

Avennia 2014 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $28 91 points
A blend of fruit from esteemed Boushey and Red Willow vineyards, this was aged in a mixture of concrete and French oak (10% new). The herb, lemon verbana and citrus flavors are light on their feet with a creamy texture and a tart zing of mouthwatering acidity that stitches it all together.

Castillo De Feliciana 2012 Reserve Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $32 87 points
White pepper, toffee and vanilla aromas are followed by full-bodied flavors backed by rustic tannins. It needs some hearty food alongside it to be properly enjoyed.

Cavatappi 2014 Sangiovese Columbia Valley $13 86 points
This youthful wine offers aromas of fresh raspberries, plum and tire rubber. The flavors are soft and generous, with tart acids and no new oak anywhere in sight. It doesn’t seem entirely varietal but brings appeal all the same.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $48 91 points
Cold Creek Vineyard provides the majority of the fruit for this wine, with the rest coming from the Wahluke Slope. It’s immediate in its appeal with aromas of cocoa, dark chocolate and black fruit. The coffee flavors show a mixture of fruit and barrel, with some graininess to the tannins.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Artist Series Meritage Columbia Valley $65 91 points
The 20th anniversary of this bottling, this wine is principally Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Merlot (26%) with the fruit coming largely from Canoe Ridge and Cold Creek vineyards. Alluring café au lait, toast, dark chocolate and cherry aromas are followed by black and blue fruit flavors that linger on the finish.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Ethos Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley $50 91 points
This wine provides a unique aroma profile of boysenberry, coffee, toast and chocolate. The flavors are full bodied, concentrated and rich with a lingering finish.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling Columbia Valley $16 90 points
Honeysuckle, mineral, honey and botrytis aromas lead the way. This drinks off dry with exceptionally well-balanced acidity that carries through the lingering finish.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Riesling Columbia Valley $9 89 points
This wine is immediate in its appeal with aromas of lime leaf, flowers and peach. It drinks off dry with a zing of acidity that beautifully frames the full-fruit flavors. Best Buy

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Harvest Select Riesling Columbia Valley $9 88 points
The aromas of lime leaf and peach are bright and appealing. It drinks medium sweet with a finish that lingers. Best Buy

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $16 88 points
The herb, grapefruit, tropical fruit and melon aromas are light but very varietal. The palate has a slight spritz that perks up the tangy fruit flavors.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Gewürztraminer Columbia Valley $10 87 points
The aromas of lychee and rose water pop. The palate brings a slight spritz, with lighter-bodied flavors that linger on the finish. The style is reserved but it shows a good sense of balance. Best Buy

Claar 2013 Ice Wine White Bluffs Vineyards Riesling Columbia Valley $40 90 points
Pear and white flower aromas are light, while the palate is full of sweet brown sugar and honey flavors that persist on the finish. It’s sweet, but well balanced, with ample acidity and a clean finish.

Claar 2011 Estate Grown and Bottled Merlot Columbia Valley $25 87 points
This wine opens with aromas of vanilla and baking spices that are followed by broad, silky-feeling fruit and barrel flavors, finishing on a somewhat bitter note. The oak holds a prominent role but still plays its part well.

Col Solare 2012 Component Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $85 91 points
Coming all from the winery’s young estate vineyard, this wine displays aromas of dried herbs, bittersweet chocolate, barrel spices and dried cherries. The black-fruit flavors are sweet and rich, backed by a firm scaffolding of tannins.

College Cellars 2013 Summit View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $35 90 points
Cocoa, herb, cranberry and cherry aromas lead to plush-feeling coffee and black-fruit flavors that carry through the finish. It brings a whole lot of enjoyment and appeal.

College Cellars 2014 Cockburn Ranch Vineyard Chardonnay Walla Walla Valley $20 89 points 
There’s plenty of appeal to the aromas, with notes of toast, spice and peach. The palate offers sweet, lightly creamy-feeling stone and tropical-fruit flavors that convey balance. The barrel influence (new 500L puncheon) is there but doesn’t get in the way.

College Cellars 2013 Cockburn Ranch Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $26 89 points
Ripe in style, this offers aromas of blueberry pie and spice that lead to rich, full-bodied blue- and black-fruit flavors. There’s quite a bit of warmth but the wine’s appeal is hard to ignore.

College Cellars 2014 Anderson Estate Vineyard Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $20 88 points
This wine intrigues with its aromas of peppery spices, tobacco and purple fruit. The flavors are lush and focused, bringing a lot of hedonistic pleasure, though it trails a bit toward the finish.

Columbia Crest 2012 Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Blend Columbia Valley $35 91 points
Merlot (80%) is in the lead on this blend, with the rest rounded out by Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Cocoa, dark raspberry, vanilla and toast aromas lead to supple fruit and barrel flavors backed by grainy tannins that need some time in the cellar to smooth out.

Columbia Crest 2013 H3 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $15 90 points B
The oak (40% new French and American) is up front, with aromas of barrel spices, cocoa and generous amounts of vanilla followed by cherries and blue fruit. This wine is velvety in feel, displaying a mixture of fruit and barrel that carries through the finish. The oak influence is heavy but the appeal is impossible to ignore.

Columbia Crest 2013 Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 90 points
Cocoa, plum and vanilla aromas are followed by creamy-feeling blue-fruit flavors that display a mixture of fruit and barrel. The barrel influence is heavy but it’s delicious all the same. Best Buy

Columbia Crest 2013 Reserve Estate Grown Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $26 90 points
This wine was aged 15 months sur lee in all-new French oak. The barrel aromas and flavors are in the lead, with notes of vanilla, butterscotch and spice followed by pear. It’s creamy in feel but with an elegant styling.

Columbia Crest 2014 Reserve Estate Unoaked Chardonnay Columbia Valley $24 89 points
There’s plenty of nuance and detail on this concrete-aged wine, with its baked apple and spice aromas and flavors. It shows a fine sense of elegance and balance.

Columbia Crest 2014 Reserve Late Harvest Muscat Canelli Columbia Valley $12 89 points
Mandarin orange and orange-blossom aromas leap up from the glass. It drinks sweet with abundant orange flavors that linger. Best Buy

Columbia Crest 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 88 points
All varietal, this wine is a blend of fruit from Beverly, Shaw and Stone Tree vineyards. Aged in all-new French oak, it leads with barrel spices followed by aromas and flavors of medicine cabinet, cherry and chocolate. It offers appeal but the tannins need time to unwind.

Columbia Crest 2013 Grand Estates Merlot Columbia Valley $12 88 points
The toast, freshly ground coffee, dark chocolate and cherry aromas pop. Plum and chocolate flavors are smooth in feel and linger on the finish. Best Buy

Columbia Crest 2013 Limited Release Gold Red Blend Columbia Valley $12 88 points
This Cabernet Franc (70%) and Merlot blend brings aromas of green herbs, dark chocolate, flowers and a mixture of red and black fruit. It’s soft in feel with polished fruit and barrel flavors that linger. Best Buy

Columbia Crest 2014 Reserve Chenin Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $26 87 points
Hailing from a single-vineyard block planted in 1979, this wine is aromatically reticent with notes of pear and flowers. It drinks off dry with stone- and tree-fruit flavors.

Columbia Crest 2014 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $24 87 points
Brooding, very varietal aromas of grass, herbs and citrus lead to broad fruit flavors that dip in the middle, with some reduction providing a bit of distraction. It doesn’t quite stand up on its own but should perk up at the dinner table.

Columbia Crest 2014 Grand Estates Pinot Gris Columbia Valley $12 85 points
Freshly cut pear and tropical aromas lead to medium-bodied flavors. The style is clean and well made, with the concentration dipping a bit at times.

Columbia Winery 2012 Limited Release Petit Verdot Columbia Valley $35 89 points
Coffee tones along with floral and vanilla aromas pervade on the nose. The tart-cherry palate is supported by mouthwatering acidity and chewy, slightly dry tannins. Pair alongside a juicy steak.

Columbia Winery 2014 Limited Release Grenache Rosé Horse Heaven Hills $26 88 points
A medium cherry-red color, this wine offer fruit-filled aromas of strawberry bubble gum, pomegranate and cherry. It drinks a hair off dry, with broad, fleshy fruit flavors that linger.

Convergence Zone 2011 Black Cloud Malbec Red Mountain $35 88 points
Aromatically, this wine seems locked up with notes of tire rubber, herbs, pepper, woodspice and plum. Favors are supple and reserved in style. It’s a unique expression of the variety from this cool vintage.

Convergence Zone 2014 Dewpoint Bacchus Vineyard Riesling Columbia Valley $17 87 points
Light aromas of citrus, white peach, soda water and herbs are followed by elegant, just off-dry, spritzy fruit flavors backed by a zing of acidity.

Convergence Zone 2014 Sunbreak Upland Vineyard Chenin Blanc Snipes Mountain $19 85 points
Reductive aromas take the lead and distract from the notes of apple and citrus. It drinks off dry with an elegant styling.

Convergence Zone 2013 Drizzle Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Pinot Gris Red Mountain $19 85 points
White wines are extremely rare in this blazing-hot appellation. This off-dry example brings aromas and flavors of dried pears and apples, with the sugar writing much of the story.

Convergence Zone 2013 Dewpoint Bacchus Vineyard Riesling Columbia Valley $17 84 points
The aromas of mandarin orange and apricot seem to show a touch of oxygen exposure. This drinks just off dry with stone-fruit flavors throughout.

Convergence Zone 2014 Drizzle Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Pinot Gris Red Mountain $19 83 points
This wine still seems to be in its shell, showing considerable reduction that persists in the aromas and flavors. It drinks off dry with broad apple flavors.

Convergence Zone 2013 Sunbreak Upland Vineyard Chenin Blanc Snipes Mountain $19 82 points
The aromas of lees and honeycomb seem to show a touch of oxidation that distracts. It drinks medium sweet, lacking the concentration or acid to stand it up.

David James 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 85 points
Aromas of tire rubber and plum lead to soft, sweet cherry and mocha flavors. It’s a solid, easy drinker.

Dubindil 2012 Quell Merlot Red Mountain $34 87 points
Made from 75% Merlot with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine saw just a 25% new French oak, putting the focus squarely on the fruit. Aromas of spice, prune, medicine cabinet and cherry cola are followed by luscious, full-bodied black-fruit flavors that bring some warmth on the finish. Drink now.

Dubindil 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $34 86 points
Aromas seem advanced, with notes of cherry liqueur, leather, barrel spices and raisinated dark fruit. The dried-fruit flavors are full with chalky tannins. Drink now.

Dunham 2012 Syrah Columbia Valley $35 91 points
There’s a pleasing mixture of fruit and barrel on this wine, with aromas of cocoa and vanilla followed by red fruit and spice. The palate displays a plush texture with a sense of concentration and richness. The balance is spot-on.

Dunham 2012 XVIII Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 89 points
The dried tobacco, vanilla, green olive and cocoa aromas seem somewhat unusual for the variety and vintage. The chocolate and cherry flavors are creamy in feel, displaying a good sense of balance and length.

Finn Hill 2012 Le Beau Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $35 90 points
All varietal coming from Hedges Estate Vineyard, this all-new French-oak-aged wine opens with aromas of toast, spicebox, espresso and cherry. The palate is tightly wound with dark fruit flavors and abundant oak accents throughout that linger on the finish. The wood (all new French) needs time to integrate but there is much to enjoy.

Finn Hill 2012 Bon Mot Cabernet Franc Wahluke Slope $35 88 points
The aromas offer barrel spices, toast, black licorice and red fruit while the palate brings dark fruit flavors with a grainy feel. The oak (100% new French) juts out a bit and overrides the fruit.

Foundry Vineyards 2014 White on White White Blend Walla Walla Valley $NA 83 points
This wine is half Viognier with the balance a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay. Aromas display a considerable amount of reduction that detracts from notes of peach and almond. It’s dry and broad in feel, showing some bitterness on the finish.

Full Pull & Friends 2012 Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $30 92 points
Aromas of flowers, graphite, licorice and high-toned herbs are followed by red- and black-fruit flavors that coat the palate from end to end. This has an extremely high yum factor that demands another sip. Editor’s Choice

Full Pull & Friends 2012 Klipsun Vineyard Merlot Red Mountain $34 91 points
There’s a whole lot of appeal in this wine, with aromas of dark raspberries and barrel spices leading to rich, full-bodied fruit flavors with a velvety texture. It’s a shamelessly appealing example of the variety.

Full Pull & Friends 2012 Angela’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $34 90 points
The aromas on this wine are quite reserved, while the flavors bring down a hammer of rich, tightly coiled, jammy black fruit flavors. If the aromas and flavors come together it goes up a notch or two.

Full Pull & Friends 2012 Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $34 89 points
Barrel spice, dried herb, toast and cherry aromas lead to tart fruit flavors that narrow toward the finish, with tart acids livening it all up. Perhaps some more time will pull it all together.

Gorman 2013 Old Scratch Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $28 92 points
This wine is 100% varietal, all aged in once-used French oak. It’s packed to the brim with black fruit, herbs, licorice, jalapeño pepper and barrel spices, with crystalline clarity to the aromas. There’s plenty of depth and richness to the full-bodied flavors, with exquisite balance and a finish that lingers. Editor’s Choice

Gorman 2014 Big Sissy Chardonnay Columbia Valley $35 91 points
Fermented and aged in new French oak, this wine shows pleasing pear and apple aromas along with toast and baking spices. The medium-bodied flavors show refinement, depth and balance.

Gorman 2013 The Devil You Don’t Know Red Blend Columbia Valley $28 91 points
True to the winery’s style, this wine pulls no punches, with aromas of black licorice, dark cherries and woodspice. It’s rich and full bodied with a grainy feel.

Gorman 2013 Behind the Black Curtain Reserve Syrah Red Mountain $80 91 points
The fruit pops on this wine, with notes of blackberry and blueberry pie. It pulls no punches with a full-throttled style. It’s a bit one-note but hits that note hard.

Gorman 2013 The Devil You Know Red Blend Red Mountain $28 88 points
The aromas of black cherry, blackberries and spice seem a bit dried out. The flavors are full in feel with a dry finish.

Lachini 2012 La Contrada Red Blend Red Mountain $55 90 points
This blend is principally Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a pinch of Petit Verdot blended in. The barrel aromas (24 months in all-new French) stand out at first, with notes of chocolate, coffee and spice. The black-fruit flavors are full bodied and high-octane, showing some warmth on the finish. The oak needs more time to integrate.

Lachini 2012 La Bestia Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $55 89 points
Notes of dried cranberry, cherry, licorice and medicine cabinet predominate, with the aromas seeming somewhat advanced. The flavors are full bodied and high-octane, with the tannins needing time to stretch their legs.

Latta 2012 Upland Vineyard Grenache Snipes Mountain $40 94 points
This wine arrests the senses with dazzlingly pure aromas of dark raspberries, cherries, clove, mineral and spice. Flavors are intense, layered, and rich without sacrificing one iota of balance. The plush mouthfeel and long finish only add to the enjoyment and sensory experience. Editor’s Choice

Latta 2013 Lawrence Vineyards Roussanne Columbia Valley $30 92 points
Aromas of beeswax, honeysuckle and mineral charm the senses. The flavors are palate-coating and creamy in feel with an extended finish—extremely impressive stuff! Editor’s Choice

Latta 2012 Northridge Vineyard Malbec Wahluke Slope $50 91 points
This wine is redolent with aromas of blackberry, leather and spice. It’s full bodied, with sweet fruit flavors that show richness, depth and purity, finishing warm.

Lone Birch 2013 Syrah Yakima Valley $13 89 points
Blue-fruit and spice aromas are vibrant and expressive. The palate is plush and flavorful with a supple feel, while the oak seems dialed back and the balance spot on. Best Buy

Lone Birch 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $13 88 points
Aromas of cherry, baking spices, cocoa and herbs are followed by dark fruit and vanilla flavors with a creamy feel. It’s a bit oak-driven but overall it works. Best Buy

Lone Birch 2013 Chardonnay Yakima Valley $12 87 points
Pear, white flower and cantaloupe aromas lead to a rounded, creamy-feeling palate. It brings a lot of appeal and the balance is spot-on. Best Buy

Lone Birch 2014 Pinot Gris Yakima Valley $12 86 points
Pear, melon and white peach aromas are followed by rounded tropical-fruit flavors that drink off dry. It’s enjoyable but the sugar seems a bit out of place.

Luke 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope $25 88 points
This is the inaugural release of this Clifton Hill and Clifton Bluff vineyards wine. Aromas of plum, dark berries, pencil lead and chocolate precede soft, plump fruit flavors. It goes down far too easy.

Manu Propria 2012 Ex Animo Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $35 91 points
The aromas of fresh tobacco, bittersweet chocolate, thyme, dried flowers and dark fruit are brooding and distinctive. Black-fruit flavors come tightly wrapped in firm tannins. This wine needs time in the cellar to strut its stuff. It will be best after 2020.

Market Vineyards 2011 Basis Points Red Blend Columbia Valley $35 90 points
This blend is a third each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with the rest equal parts Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Aromas of cocoa, cherry, vanilla and baking spices show restraint while the flavors bring a supple feel. It’s equal parts fruit and barrel.

Market Vineyards 2011 Acquisition Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $52 90 points
High-toned baking spice, flower and herb aromas are backed by broad yet well-balanced dark-fruit flavors. The tannins are present but are polished to a fine sheen.

Market Vineyards 2011 Alpha Merlot Red Mountain $52 90 points
Coffee, dark chocolate, dark raspberry and spice aromas lead to full-bodied, palate-coating dark-fruit flavors backed by grainy tannins. The barrel influence rides high but it generally pulls it off.

Market Vineyards 2011 Derivative Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 89 points
This wine is half Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It leans slightly into the green, with aromas of fresh herbs mixed with vanilla, chocolate and other barrel spices. The palate is elegant, with a soft feel to the chocolate, cherry and barrel flavors.

Market Vineyards 2011 Arbitrage Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $32 89 points
Vanilla, baking spice, cranberry and cherry aromas lead to soft, medium-bodied fruit flavors with an elegant styling. It’s a very pretty representation of the vintage with good balance.

Market Vineyards 2011 Merval Malbec Columbia Valley $39 88 points
Aromas of licorice and barrel spice are light and elusive. The plum and dark-fruit flavors are tart and tangy with a velvety feel.

Market Vineyards 2013 Liquidity White Blend Columbia Valley $20 88 points
Equal parts Viognier and Roussanne, this offers aromas of ripe peach and flowers that lead to dry, full-bodied flavors that taper toward the finish.

Market Vineyards 2011 Benchmark Merlot Columbia Valley $29 86 points
Coming from a cool vintage, this wine doesn’t seem to have fully ripened, with aromas of green herbs, dill and baking spices. It’s quite light in style, not entirely holding together.

Mercer 2012 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Malbec Horse Heaven Hills $28 90 points
Cocoa, coffee, spice and dark fruit aromas are followed by smooth fruit flavors. The barrel influence is primary but this still brings plenty of enjoyment, with good balance and depth of flavor.

Mercer 2013 Reserve Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $42 88 points
The barrel influence plays prominently on the aromas, with notes of cocoa, vanilla and spice that show some warmth. On the palate, a mix of fruit and barrel flavors conveys creamy dark fruit, caramel and vanilla.

Mercer 2012 Reserve Cavalie Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $42 87 points
Merlot makes up half of this blend, with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Vanilla, pencil shaving and woodspice predominate on the nose and palate.

Michelle NV Brut Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 88 points
The aromas of pear, spice and tropical fruit lead to well-balanced flavors with a kiss of sweetness. This sparkler delivers a lot of quality and value. Best Buy

Michelle NV Brut Rosé Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 87 points
The strawberry and spice aromas are reserved and elegant, while the palate offers lightly sweet flavors that linger.

Michelle NV Extra Dry Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 86 points
The aromas offer apple, pear and light yeasty notes. It drinks quite sweet with pear and tropical-fruit flavors, looking for a bit more acid to stand it up.

Milbrandt 2012 Vineyard Series Reserve Malbec Wahluke Slope $50 90 points
Cocoa, baking spice and blackberry aromas lead to opulent herb and dark fruit flavors. This is high-octane but generally holds it well.

Milbrandt 2014 Traditions Chardonnay Columbia Valley $13 88 points
Aromas of pear and toast are followed by apple pie and spice flavors that show a pleasing mixture of fruit and barrel. It delivers a lot of wine for the money. Best Buy

Milbrandt 2012 The Estates Merlot Wahluke Slope $26 87 points
Aromas of cocoa and coffee are mixed with black licorice and dark berries, with this wine showing some reduction out of the gate that detracts. The flavors are rich and full bodied, carrying some warmth on the finish. The aromas and flavors seem disconnected.

Northstar 2012 Merlot Columbia Valley $40 91 points
The cocoa, cherry, raspberry and toast aromas bring plenty of appeal. The flavors deliver richness but without excessive weight.

Northstar 2012 Stella Maris Red Blend Columbia Valley $29 91 points
This wine is predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with pinches of Syrah and Cabernet Franc blended in. Baking spice, cocoa and berry aromas lead to a layered cherry flavors that show intensity and persistence.

Northstar 2012 Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $50 91 points
Aromas of raspberry, black licorice, woodspice, toast and cherry are followed by abundant red- and black-fruit flavors. There’s plenty of richness and a finish that won’t quit.

Sagelands 2014 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $10 84 points
Aromas of pear and tropical fruit precede lighter-styled flavors that taper toward the finish.

Skyfall 2012 Merlot Columbia Valley $14 87 points
Light aromas of spice, dried herbs and plum lead to plump blue-fruit flavors with a touch of sugar stitching them together. This doesn’t bring a lot of complexity but still has appeal.

Snoqualmie 2013 Merlot Columbia Valley $10 87 points
The aromas of herbs and jammy fruit are light while the palate offers plush-feeling cocoa and berry flavors. This offers a lot of enjoyment for the price. Best Buy

Snoqualmie 2013 Whistle Stop Red Blend Columbia Valley $10 87 points
A blend of Cabernet (70%) and Merlot, it offers aromas of dried herbs and rasinated dark fruit along with a kiss of vanilla. The fruit flavors are plump in feel with a sweet finish. Best Buy

Snoqualmie 2014 Winemaker’s Select Riesling Columbia Valley $8 84 points
Out of the gate, reductive aromas provide some distraction from the lime-leaf and stone-fruit aromas. It drinks quite sweet with abundant apricot flavors. Best Buy

Washington Hills 2014 Riesling Washington $9 87 points
Lime, lime leaf and stone-fruit aromas are followed by medium-sweet flavors that linger. It wants a bit more acidity but is pretty delightful in its own right. Pair it with a spicy Thai dish. Best Buy

Washington Hills 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Washington $9 83 points
The aromas of tropical fruit and herbs seem light and muddled, with some reduction providing distraction. It’s easy drinking but seems thin.

Waterbrook 2013 Syrah Columbia Valley $16 88 points
Aromas of cocoa, spice, vanilla and dark fruit lead, with the oak (20% new French and American) playing a significant role. The blue-fruit flavors are plump in feel, narrowing toward the finish.

William Grassie 2012 Courageux Red Blend Columbia Valley $49 91 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up just over two-thirds of this wine with the balance Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Dried herb, black cherry, licorice and spice aromas lead to full-feeling dark fruit flavors that show intensity and persistence.

William Grassie 2012 Impératrice Red Blend Columbia Valley $49 90 points
Though labeled as a red blend, at 94% this could be a varietally labeled Merlot and it drinks like it. Aromas of cocoa, raspberry and spice box are followed by plump, soft chocolate and raspberry flavors accented by tart acids that hold the balance through the finish.

William Grassie 2012 Petit Colline Malbec Columbia Valley $49 90 points
Light aromas of plum and spice are followed by cherry flavors that show pleasing purity. This is a delightful example of the variety.

William Grassie 2012 Cadeau Imprévu Red Blend Columbia Valley $29 87 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The aromas of spice, cherry and plum are quite reserved while the palate brings plump fruit and barrel flavors backed by grainy tannins.

William Grassie 2013 Libération Syrah Columbia Valley $39 87 points
Aromas of tobacco and spice are light and reserved. The palate offers tangy cherry flavors that persist on the finish.

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1 Responses to Wine Enthusiast reviews for December 2015

  1. Brian Says:
  2. Sorry for your December!

     

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