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Recent Wine Enthusiast reviews

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I put up a series of posts today catching up on Wine Enthusiast reviews from the last several months. Here are some highlights, starting from the most recent reviews and working backwards.

From February, the Kiona Vineyards 2013 Estate Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain ($75, 90 points) comes from the oldest vines on Red Mountain and allows you to taste a piece of the state’s history. The Owen Roe 2014 Red Blend Yakima Valley ($2890 points) provides a lot of quality and value. In terms of value wines, look no further than the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Riesling Columbia Valley ($9, 89 points).

From December 31, 2017, new winery Callan Cellars has two strong white wines, both of which are now unfortunately sold out (Callan 2016 Boushey Vineyard Grenache Blanc Yakima Valley $25, 91 pointsCallan 2016 Picpoul Yakima Valley $2589 points). Keep an eye out for future releases.

Idaho’s Cinder Wines impresses with its 2015 Syrah Snake River Valley ($2991 points).

From Full Pull Wines, the Full Pull & Friends 2007 Chardonnay Columbia Valley ($2392 points) is a complete showstopper. Yes, that vintage is correct. This wine is a full ten years old and it’s absolutely singing right now with a long life still ahead of it. I can’t recommend this wine more highly if you’re interested in seeing the ageability of Washington whites in the right hands and in the right vintages. It’s one of the best white wines I had all of last year and one of the best Washington whites I've had period.

The History project from the folks at Stoller Family Estate is an incredibly intriguing one. Here winemaker Melissa Burr uses fruit from some of Washington’s oldest vines, including 1935 Muscat, 1957 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1968 Pinot Noir plantings. The most successful of these wines are the History 2014 Otis Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley ($7590 points) and History 2014 Elise Vineyard Pinot Noir Columbia Gorge ($6591 points).

L’Ecole No. 41 makes a series of strong white wines from the 2016 vintage, including the L'Ecole No. 41 2016 Estate Grown Luminesce Seven Hills Vineyard Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc Walla Walla Valley ($2290 points) and L'Ecole No. 41 2016 Old Vines Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley ($1590 points).

From December 1, 2017, the Ashan 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay Columbia Valley ($2591 points) brings outstanding quality and value. Winemaker Chris Gorman also hits a home run with the Gorman 2015 The Devil You Know Red Blend Columbia Valley ($2891 points).

Meanwhile the Pamplin Family Winery 2014 Red I.Q. Columbia Valley ($1490 points) brings a lot of quality and value.

From November 2017, winemaker Brennon Leighton continues to impress with his B. Leighton 2014 Gratitude Olsen Brothers Vineyard Yakima Valley ($4592 points).

Baer Winery also has a strong set of releases (Baer 2014 Malbec Columbia Valley $2991 pointsBaer 2014 Callisto Red Blend Columbia Valley $39 91 pointsBaer 2014 Arctos Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $4390 points).

All of the Cadence Winery 2014 (and one 2015) wines are impressive, including the Cadence 2014 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $4593 pointsCadence 2015 Coda Red Mountain $2892 pointsCadence 2014 Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $6092 points. If you’re not already familiar with Ben Smith’s wines, seek them out.

Delmas Wines continues to quietly make some stunning wines (Delmas 2015 SJR Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $NA93 points).

Chris Dowsett at Dowsett Wines shows continued mastery of Gewürztraminer (Dowsett Family 2015 Celilo Vineyard Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $22 91 points). This is perhaps the best example of this variety made in the U.S. Give it a look.

Januik Winery and Novelty Hill make too many high quality wines from the 2014 vintage for me to reasonably list here. Check out the reviews!

Lobo Hills has two very impressive whites, including Lobo Hills 2015 Roth Rock Farm Chenin Blanc Yakima Valley ($2290 points) and Lobo Hills 2016 Inland Desert Auxerrois Yakima Valley ($2290 points). The latter is the only example of this variety in the state that I am aware of (leave a comment below if you are aware of others).

Maison Bleue produces a series of top quality reds (Maison Bleue 2014 Voyageur Yellow Jacket Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $5094 pointsMaison Bleue 2014 Bourgeois Grenache Walla Walla Valley $4593 pointsMaison Bleue 2014 Coureur des Bois Red Blend Columbia Valley $4093 pointsMaison Bleue 2014 Frontiére Waliser Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $6593 points).

Syncline Winery also has a strong set of releases as does Walla Walla Vintners.

Finally, the October 2017 reviews are largely devoted to the wines of Christophe Baron (Cayuse VineyardsHorsepower VineyardsNo Girls). There are numerous extremely high quality wines here, as always. Of note, these wines include the first release from Baron’s new Hors Categorie Vineyard near the North Fork of the Walla Walla River. This wine (Hors Categorie 2014 Syrah Walla Walla Valley $24096 points) was the wine of the vintage and one of the best wines I’ve tasted in my time at Wine Enthusiast.

That’s it! I will try to be more timely getting these scores posted. However, scores are always freely available in the manners in which I’ve described at the top of each of these posts. Additionally, don't wait for me! See here for instructions about how to search the Wine Enthusiast database for monthly scores (as well as specific varieties etc). Direct links to all of the reviews I posted today are below.

February 2018 Wine Enthusiast Reviews
December 31, 2017 Wine Enthusiast Reviews
December 1, 2017 Wine Enthusiast Reviews
November 2017 Wine Enthusiast Reviews
October 2017 Wine Enthusiast Reviews

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