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'18 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Wine Enthusiast Reviews for March 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for March 2018. 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. Read instructions on how to find Washington wine reviews at Wine Enthusiast here.

103 reviews in the March issue. Wines include two knockout Syrahs from Avennia (Avennia 2015 Le Corbeau Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $5093 pointsAvennia 2015 Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $50 93 points). This is Avennia’s first vineyard-designated Syrah from Discovery. As an aside, doing a tasting across Discovery Vineyard Syrahs from Avennia, Two Vintners, and W.T. Vintners would make for a fun party theme. Also from Avennia, their Les Trouvés 2015 Red Blend Columbia Valley ($2592 points) is one of the best quality-to-price ratio wines so far this year.

Many winemakers I speak with talk about how special Washington Petit Verdot can be. However, most of these sample people don’t make it as a varietal wine given that it is not well known, can be a challenge to fully ripen, and can have extremely high acidity and tannin. However, winemaker Brennon Leighton gives a great example of why so many winemakers are excited with this variety here with his B. Leighton 2014 Olsen Brothers Petit Verdot Yakima Valley ($5593 points).

Sticking with Leighton-made wines, the Casa Smith label under the Charles Smith Wines of Substance umbrella way over-deliver for their price (Casa Smith 2015 Porcospino Northridge Vineyard Primitivo Wahluke Slope $2091 points; Casa Smith 2015 Cervo Northridge Vineyard Barbera Wahluke Slope $2091 points). Give them a look.

Smith’s other 2014 releases include some stunners (Charles Smith 2014 King Coal Stoneridge Vineyard Red Blend Columbia Valley $10094 pointsK Vintners 2014 Royal City Stoneridge Vineyard Syrah Washington $14095 pointsK Vintners 2014 Powerline Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45, 94 pointsK Vintners 2014 Ovide Jack’s Vineyard Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $55, 94 points). Meanwhile, the Sixto Chardonnays continue to be some of the best examples of this variety in the state.

On the value side, a number of quality wines from Pacific Rim listed below. Also check out the 2015 ViNo Pinot Grigio.

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Airfield Estates 2015 Spitfire Red Blend Yakima Valley $30 88 points
Sangiovese (61%) takes the lead on this blend, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (29%) and Merlot. The aromas are light, with notes of smoke, herb, plum and cigar box. The palate shows more generosity, with plentiful red fruit and herb flavors backed by firm tannins. The finish comes up a bit short.

Airfield Estates 2015 Bombshell Red Vineyard Salute Red Blend Yakima Valley $18 86 points
Merlot and Syrah both make up 39% of this blend, with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon (13%), Cabernet Franc (7%) and Petit Verdot. Aromas of vanilla, coconut, herb, cedar and cherry lead to lighter-styled fruit flavors, with blueberry notes on the finish. The tannins bright a slight grittiness, and the oak seems a little intense.

Airfield Estates 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $18 88 points
Aromas of cocoa, coffee, herb and cherry are followed by somewhat lightly styled plum and dark-fruit flavors. It pulls up a bit short on the finish and the tannins are a touch dry.

Airfield Estates 2015 Malbec Yakima Valley $35 87 points
Aromas of sweet herb, cherry and barrel spice are followed by pitch-black-fruit flavors that work around the edges, with a tart citrus filled finish that falls a bit short. The tannins bring a bit of grit.

Avennia 2015 Le Corbeau Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $50 93 points
Aged in neutral French oak, this wine puts a premium on purity of expression. The aromas are distinctive in intriguing notes of crushed flower, blackberry and sage, along with whiffs of mountain berry and meat. The flavors show depth and intensity, with a swoon-worthy feel and a finish that sails. Editor's Choice

Avennia 2015 Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $50 93 points
Coming from one of the state’s premier Syrah vineyards, brooding aromas of dried herb, iron, earth and boysenberry lead to a densely saturated palate. There’s no doubt it comes from a warm vintage but it still shows pleasing complexities that reveal themselves over time.

B. Leighton 2014 Olsen Brothers Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $55 93 points
This variety is making waves in Washington and this wine demonstrates why. The aromas are effusive, with notes of dark cherry, dried herb and barrel spice. The palate is filled to the brim with rich fruit flavors that show focus and depth, while the tannins are combed to a fine sheen. It’s high on the hedonist scale—a standout offering. Editor's Choice

Barons 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 88 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of fresh and dried herb, cedar box, cranberry, Red Vines, smoke and dark fruit. The palate reveals tightly wound, slightly dried-out seeming red and black-fruit flavors that carry through the finish.

Barons 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 88 points
The aromas are intriguing but not yet ready to reveal their charms, with notes of cherry, red apple, ground herb and spice. The cranberry and cherry flavors seem a bit bunched up but still bring a sense of elegance. It doesn’t all seem to come together at present.

Barons 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $65 91 points
All coming from Hedges Estate Vineyard and aged in 100% new French oak, this wine has had a full five years to develop and it’s made the best of it. Aromas of spice box, dark fruit, vanilla and high-toned herb are followed by luscious black-fruit flavors that stretch out on the finish. It’s unabashed in its appeal with a lot of life in front of it.

Barons 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $65 91 points
The fruit for this wine all comes from Hedges Estate Vineyard. Brooding aromas of soil, dark fruit, cigar, herb and spice box lead to palate-coating dark-fruit flavors—well balanced fruit flavors. Firm, lightly chalky tannins provide support. Give it some time in the cellar to develop. Best after 2020.

Boudreaux Cellars 2011 Merlot Washington $60 88 points
Coming from one of the state’s coolest vintages, this comes in at an alcohol level rarely seen in modern day reds in the state. The aromas are a bit unusual for this variety, with notes of herb, blue fruit and wood, along with a light floral note. The palate brings sleekly styled fruit flavors backed by tart acidity, tapering toward the finish. Light medicinal notes linger.

Boudreaux Cellars 2015 Gamache Vineyard Riesling Washington $25 88 points
The aromas bring generous notes of white peach, lime and quinine. It drinks dry, with plentiful stone fruit and citrus flavors, finishing with floral notes and a touch of bitterness.

Boudreaux Cellars 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $125 91 points
Hailing from one of the coolest vintages the state has ever seen, the aromas bring brooding notes of cherry cola, raspberry, dried leaf, wood and cigar box. The flavors are light, tart and focused, maintaining a sense of freshness. It’s a lovely offering from this challenging year.

Boudreaux Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $75 90 points
This wine comes from a number of top sites, including Bacchus, Champoux, Loess and Seven Hills. Pleasing aromas of graphite, spice, fresh herb, whole green pepper and earth lead to light fresh-feeling fruit and savory flavors. It shows a lovely sense of balance. This was a cool, particularly challenging vintage for the state but this wine succeeds on many levels.

Boudreaux Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $60 91 points
The aromas bring notes of cigar box, mortared herbs and cherry. The palate is tart, fresh and acid driven, with well-balanced fruit flavors that stretch out on the finish. It should still have a good life in front of it.

Boudreaux Cellars 2010 Reserve Champoux and Loess Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $115 91 points
This wine hails from two top vineyards. A full eight-years-old and coming from a cool vintage, the aromas are light, with notes of cedar, cherry and herb, dotted with wood spice. The palate brings quite tart fruit flavors, accented by racy acidity and supported by firm, tightly wound tannins. With acid like this, it absolutely requires some food alongside it to be properly enjoyed. Steak should do.

Casa Smith 2015 Porcospino Northridge Vineyard Primitivo Wahluke Slope $20 91 points
Coming from a vineyard that is increasingly establishing its prominence, fruit-forward aromas of plum, boysenberry, dried herb, spice and moist earth are followed by saturated sumptuous blue and red-fruit flavors. It’s undeniable in its appeal at a price that can’t be beat. Editor's Choice

Casa Smith 2015 Cervo Northridge Vineyard Barbera Wahluke Slope $20 91 points
The aromas leap up out of the glass, with exquisite notes of plum, spice and cherry cream. On the palate, it’s rich with soft fruit flavors, showing ripeness but still maintaining its balance, with the neutral oak aging bringing an aching sense of purity. Candied-cherry notes linger on the finish. It’s a whole lot of wine for the money, with a big yum factor. Editor's Choice

Catman 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $32 85 points
Aromas of plum and high-toned dried herb lead to cherry and berry flavors. The tannins bring a lightly gritty feel. The tartness of the acidity adds to the enjoyment, but you’d never peg it for Cabernet.

Catman 2015 Barbera Columbia Valley $32 83 points
The cranberry and raspberry aromas show volatility that distracts. The flavors are lightly sweet with a tart finish.

Charles Smith 2014 Lawrence Vineyard Viognier Yakima Valley $40 91 points
The aromas are subdued for the variety but intriguing, with notes of pear, ginger, wet rock and peach, along with cinnamon and light barrel spices. The palate is considerably more forward, with abundant stone-fruit flavors that show concentration and richness along with a sense of restraint.

Charles Smith 2014 Broncho Stoneridge Vineyard Malbec Washington $70 91 points
The aromas erupt from the glass, with notes of potpourri, orange peel, moist earth, stem and garden herb. The palate shows a pleasing mix of earth and savory flavors that deliver a lot of elegance and intertwine effortlessly through the finish. The variety seems a bit hard to find but the expression is quite intriguing.

Charles Smith 2014 King Coal Stoneridge Vineyard Red Blend Columbia Valley $100 94 points
A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah, the aromas draw you into the glass, with light notes of savory herb, cassis, pipe tobacco, spice and crushed rock. It brings a flat-out gorgeous sense of texture, covering the palate from end to end with cherry flavors that glide on the finish. The feel is knee-buckling. Best after 2021. Cellar Selection

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Indian Wells Red Blend Columbia Valley $18 86 points
Syrah and Merlot make up the majority of this blend, which is topped off with pinches of other Bordeaux and Rhône varieties. The aromas are inviting, with notes of blueberry pie, herb and smoke. The fruit flavors don’t entirely deliver on this promise, with quite-light plum notes that paint around the edges. Vanilla notes linger on the finish.

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 88 points
The aromas are bright and focused, with notes of lemon pith, candle wax and spice. The palate brings a mixture of peach and orange flavors. It provides a lot of appeal, especially at this price. Best Buy

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut Rosé Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 88 points
Aromas of strawberry, apple and citrus provide appeal. The palate is lively and elegant, with a sweet citrus-filled finish. Best Buy

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Extra Dry Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 87 points
The aromas bring notes of lemon, baked bread and freshly peeled orange. The palate is noticeably sweet but with enough acidity to keep it all moving along.

Eleven 2015 Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $44 86 points
The aromas bring unusual notes of grape cough syrup, smoke, herb and cherry Jolly Rancher. The palate falls flat, painting around the edges.

Estrin 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Fruit for this wine comes from a mixture of Riverbend, Conner Lee and Red Mountain vineyards. Aromas of vanilla, wood spice, herb, cranberry, apple and red and black cherry are followed by plentiful dark-fruit flavors. Vanilla and cranberry notes intertwine on the finish, with the fruit seeming slightly grapey.

Estrin 2014 Merlot Wahluke Slope $25 90 points
Fruit for this wine all comes from Riverbend Vineyard and saw just 10% new French oak. Blended with 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, a medley of fresh herbs pop on the aromas, which also show notes of cigar box and whiffs of pencil lead. The palate brings cranberry-tart fruit flavors that offer pleasing depth and stretch out on the finish. It provides a lot of quality and value. Editor's Choice

Estrin 2013 Merlot Columbia Valley $25 89 points
Blended with 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from Riverbend, this wine principally comes from Red Mountain Vineyard. The aromas are all high toned at present, with notes of vanilla, herb and exotic spice, not quite ready to reveal their charms. The red-fruit flavors are plump in feel, lingering on the finish.

Estrin 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 88 points
This wine, which includes 17% Merlot and 8% Syrah, all comes from Riverbend Vineyard. The aromas show pleasing complexities, with notes of graphite, herb, raspberry, barrel spice, dark cherry and vanilla. The flavors show depth, with a backbone of firm tannins providing support.

Gamache 2013 Estate Grown Malbec Columbia Valley $30 87 points
Aromas of blackberry, dark plum, barrel spice and plum lead to super-soft-feeling fruit and barrel flavors that show a pretty styling. It comes up a bit short on the finish.

Gamache 2013 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 87 points
The aromas bring a touch of oxidation that distracts from the notes of cherry, cocoa, vanilla and spice. There are a lot of good things happening on the palate but they can’t quite make up the difference.

Gamache 2013 Merlot Columbia Valley $25 87 points
The aromas seem unsettled, with notes of vanilla, baking spice and dark fruit that don’t seem entirely in harmony. The palate is chock-full of raspberry and barrel-spice flavors, with loads of coconut on the finish. The aromas and flavors seem out of sync.

Gård 2014 Lawrence Vineyards Merlot Columbia Valley $35 91 points
The aromas show nuance, with notes of toast, assorted dried herb, cherry and plum. The fruit flavors are seamless in feel, showing concentration and depth. It’s thoroughly enchanting.

Gård 2014 Lawrence Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $35 91 points
Blended with 14% Merlot, aromas of char, smoke, ground green herb, spice box, graphite and dark cherry lead to plentiful, saturated dark fruit and barrel flavors with a pleasing mouthfeel. It hits a lot of high notes.

K Vintners 2014 Royal City Stoneridge Vineyard Syrah Washington $140 95 points
Coming from the Royal Slope, which no doubt will deservedly have its own appellation before long, enchanting aromas of ground rock, green olive, green stem, crushed flower and dark fruit lead to a panoply of fruit and savory flavors that shake the senses to the core, with smoked meat notes persisting on the long finish. It’s an intense experience but maintains a sense of balance that is heart stopping. Drink from 2020-2027. Cellar Selection

K Vintners 2014 Cattle King Upland Vineyard Syrah Snipes Mountain $70 94 points
Consistently one of the winery’s top bottlings, aromas of blackberry, black plum, dried herb, anise and spice are followed by supremely rich, tightly wound black fruit and crème de cassis flavors that show a firm grainy handshake of tannins and a warm crazy-long finish. It’s all about intensity of expression but what intensity it brings.

K Vintners 2014 Powerline Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45 94 points
This new exciting vineyard is located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains and is filled with cobblestone soils. The aromas explode with notes of raspberry, green and black olive brine, green stem, smoked meat, mineral and earth. The palate is rich and focused, with intense earth, fruit and savory flavors that lead to an extended finish. Abundant floral notes are speckled throughout. It’s a stunner.

K Vintners 2014 Charlotte Walla Walla Valley $55 92 points
A blend of 43% Grenache, 24% Mourvédre, 20% Syrah, and 13% Roussanne, the aromas show a lot of subtlety, with notes of raspberry, garrigue, stem, pepper and moist earth. The palate brings a compelling sense of texture that is absolutely swoon-worthy, running just a touch warm.

K Vintners 2014 Phil Lane Syrah Walla Walla Valley $70 92 points
On first pour, this wine is not ready to reveal its charms, with locked-up notes of plum, herb, coffee, licorice, smoke, flower and spice. The fruit flavors are rich yet sophisticated, gliding across the palate to a lingering finish.

K Vintners 2014 The Creator Powerline Estate Vineyard Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $55 93 points
Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) takes the lead on this wine, which includes 20% Syrah. The aromas announce themselves, with appealing notes of green olive, herb, moist earth, stem, smoked meat and mineral. The mix of fruit and savory flavors delights the senses, showing intensity but also deftness. Editor's Choice

K Vintners 2014 El Jefe Stoneridge Vineyard Tempranillo Washington $70 93 points
The aromas are sweet and sappy, with notes of raspberry, herb, pipe tobacco and musk. The palate shows more restraint than the aromas might suggest, bringing a suave sense that carries through a finish that just won’t quit. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery, bringing a lot of richness.

K Vintners 2014 Rock Garden Syrah Walla Walla Valley $55 93 points
Coming from The Rocks District, the aromas pop, with notes of flower, raspberry, moist earth, wet gravel, green stem, smoked meat, peat and musk. The palate shimmers with intensity but still shows a lot of restraint, displaying an assortment of fruit and savory flavors that persist on the finish.

K Vintners 2014 Klein Syrah Walla Walla Valley $70 93 points
This wine was grown at a mere 1.2 tons per acre and spent 20 months in the barrel aging on lees in 60% new puncheons. The aromas are brooding on first pour, with notes of blackberry, mineral, fresh herb, potpourri and barrel spice. The palate is incredibly dense and rich, with a lick of tannins on the warm finish. It’s a big wine, made in a muscular powerful style.

K Vintners 2014 Roma River Rock Vineyard Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $55 93 points
Coming from the Rocks District, this wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah. The aromas are brooding on first pour, opening up over time, with notes of blackberry, kirsch, high-toned barrel spice, herb and scorched earth. The flavors are concentrated and rich but still bring a sense of deftness, lingering on the finish. It has a long life in front of it. Editor's Choice

K Vintners 2014 Ovide Jack’s Vineyard Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $55 94 points
Coming from a vineyard in the Rocks District, aromas of kirsch, black currant, tobacco, spice and mineral are followed by saturated, rich black fruit and smoked meat flavors. It packs a powerful delicious punch.

K Vintners 2015 Powerline Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $45 91 points
The aromas explode with notes of honeysuckle, ripe peach, apricot and creamsicle. The flavors are supremely rich but also show a beautiful sense of delicacy along with a pronounced finish. It’s full bore but delicious.

Kiona 2016 Riesling Columbia Valley $12 87 points
Aromas of flower, peach and jasmine lead to spritzy, off-dry stone fruit flavors. Floral notes are threaded throughout the palate, with light ale notes on the finish that cause some distraction. Best Buy 

Les Trouvés 2015 Red Blend Columbia Valley $25 92 points
Mourvèdre and Syrah each make up 40% of this blend, with the balance Grenache. The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of garrigue, black pepper and blackberry. The palate is dense and ripe, pulling no punches but delivering a whole lot of hedonistic appeal. The value can’t be beat. Editor's Choice

Liberty Lake 2013 Tahija Heart of the Hill Vineyard Petite Sirah Red Mountain $24 86 points
Aromas of plum, baking spice and Band-Aid lead to a medium-bodied palate with a lightly tacky feel. The tannins bring a sense of astringency and it finishes bitter.

Maryhill 2014 Syrah Columbia Valley $26 85 points
The aromas display an uncomfortable mix of vanilla, dill and smoke, with the barrel influence taking over the show. The wood rides high on the palate as well, making it near impossible to get at the fruit.

Maryhill 2014 Serendipity Proprietor’s Reserve Columbia Gorge $36 87 points
This wine is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot. The aromas display notes of baking spice, dark fruit and herb. The palate brings a chalky, lightly astringent feel, along with a tart finish.

Maryhill 2014 Marvell G-S-M Rattlesnake Hills $44 88 points
This wine is 42% Syrah, 32% Grenache and 26% Mourvèdre. Aromas of sagebrush, toasty barrel spice and jammy cherry are at the fore, with a medicinal note that causes some distraction. Despite the high alcohol, the flavors show an elegant styling, tapering toward the finish.

Maryhill 2014 Vineyard Series McKinley Springs Vineyard Mourvèdre Horse Heaven Hills $34 87 points
This wine is 100% varietal and was aged for 20 months in a mixture of American and European oak (40% new). The aromas are bright, with notes of assorted barrel spice, pickling spice, raspberry and dried herb. The palate is medium bodied with a bit of a hole in the middle. Bitters linger on the finish.

Maryhill 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Gunkel Vineyards Barbera Columbia Valley $32 88 points
Bright aromas of raspberry, macerated cranberry, nougat, vanilla and pencil shavings lead to tart puckering fruit flavors that show intensity and length. There is much to enjoy.

Maryhill 2014 Klipsun Vineyard Merlot Red Mountain $42 86 points
Coming from one of the state’s top vineyards and 100% varietal, this has aromas of cherry, cranberry, vanilla and freshly chopped wood which lead to tart cherry flavors that display a bitter note that distracts. Barrel aged for 20 months in 60% new French oak, the wood influence seems heavy, getting in the way of the finish.

Mercer 2015 Merlot Horse Heaven Hills $20 87 points
The aromas are high toned, with notes of wood spice, dried herb and tire rubber, not seeming very varietal. The palate is ripe with plum and barrel flavors that paint around the edges. Mocha notes linger on the finish.

Mercer 2015 Malbec Horse Heaven Hills $20 87 points
Aromas of vanilla, baking spice and plum are followed by ripe but quite light cherry flavors. The tannins bring a slight sense of astringency that seems at odds with the variety.

Mustard Seed 2013 Moving Mountains Winesap VIneyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $45 88 points
This 100% varietal Cab has reserved aromas of blackberry Fruit Roll-Ups and barrel spice that lead to medium-bodied fruit flavors. It shows a fair amount of acidity considering the warmth of this vintage.

Mustard Seed 2014 Moving Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $40 87 points
The aromas are a bit unusual, with notes of red apple, overripe plum, spice and herb. The palate is lightly styled, with bunched-up cherry flavors that finish short.

Mustard Seed 2014 Cockburn Vineyard Malbec Walla Walla Valley $38 88 points
Single-vineyard Malbec is a rarity from this appellation. This one, which is 100% varietal, offers aromas of fresh and dried green herb along with clove, as the fruit lurks in the background. The palate brings ripe but in-balance purple-fruit flavors that show a sense of elegance. It’s a pretty interpretation of this variety.

Nodland 2014 Malbec Walla Walla Valley $35 89 points
Aromas of baking spice, vanilla, coconut and cherry are followed by well-proportioned fruit and barrel flavors. Cocoa notes linger on the finish. It hits a lot of high marks, though the variety seems a bit hard to find.

North by Northwest 2015 Red Blend Columbia Valley $15 88 points
This wine is a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromas pop, with notes of raspberry, plum, herb and spice. The palate brings a mixture of fruit and savory flavors, with the tannins bringing a lightly tacky feel. There’s much to enjoy.

Pacific Rim 2016 Dry Riesling Columbia Valley $10 87 points
Whole lime and white peach aromas are at the fore. As promised, it drinks dry with tart Granny Smith apple flavors that provide plenty of intrigue. Enjoy it with food to see it at its best. Best Buy

Pacific Rim 2016 Old Vines Hahn Hill Vineyard Chenin Blanc Yakima Valley $15 87 points
Coming from the oldest Chenin plantings in the state, the aromas are light, with notes of sliced apple, flower and white peach. It drinks off dry, with sleek well-balanced honeyed-fruit flavors throughout. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery.

Pacific Rim 2016 Vin de Glacieire Riesling Columbia Valley $14 89 points
The aromas pop, with appealing notes of marmalade, sugared pineapple and honey. It’s sweet and luscious, with abundant apricot and tropical flavors that, despite their sugar, still maintain a sense of elegance and balance.

Pacific Rim 2016 Spring Creek Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Yakima Valley $15 88 points
Aromas of sliced ripe red apple and pear are followed by a quite sleek linear bone-dry palate that shows a pleasing sense of balance. It’s an intriguing wine, best suited for the dinner table.

Pacific Rim 2016 Ramos Vineyard Gewürztraminer Snipes Mountain $15 88 points
There’s no mistaking the variety, with its perfumed aromas of rose petal, lychee and spice. It drinks a hair off dry and is broad in feel, gliding on the finish.

Pacific Rim 2016 J Riesling Columbia Valley $10 88 points
The aromas are a bit light for the variety, with notes of lime leaf and white peach. The palate is broad in feel, full of off-dry mandarin orange and peach flavors that bring a lot of appeal. It keeps you coming back for more. Best Buy

Passing Time 2014 Red Blend Columbia Valley $50 92 points
Though not labeled as such, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Merlot (18%) and Cabernet Franc (8%). Coming from top sites Discovery, Quintessence, Seven Hills, The Benches, Figgins, Klipsun and Champoux, there’s a lot of sophistication in the aromas, with notes of dried herb, leaf, graphite, anise, spice and cherry providing appeal. The flavors are intense and full, showing an exquisite sense of balance and intensity. It keeps you coming back for more. Editor's Choice

Plumb Cellars 2013 Estate JK Vineyard Sangiovese Walla Walla Valley $24 87 points
The aromas are a bit unusual, with notes of wood spice and raspberry fruit leather, not seeming entirely harmonious. The palate is quite light in style, painting around the edges. It’s interesting but it doesn’t all come together—not standing on its own.

Plumb Cellars 2013 Plumb Crazy Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $18 86 points
This wine is a blend of near equal parts Syrah and Sangiovese. Barrel notes are at the fore, with aromas of baking spice and vanilla far out front of the fruit. The palate brings easygoing plum flavors that are concentrated in the middle and light around the edges.

Plumb Cellars 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $42 89 points
Aromas of herb, vanilla, pencil lead, barrel spice and coffee are followed by sleek but well-proportioned fruit flavors. It shows a lovely sense of balance, though the barrel influence plays a large part in the show.

Ram 2015 Alder Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $25 86 points
Aromas of green herb, baking spice, nori, licorice and black cherry are followed by tart dark-fruit flavors that seem bunched up. It falls off on the finish, displaying a light medicinal note.

Rio Vista 2016 Estate Grown and Bottled Riesling Columbia Valley $27 85 points
The aromas bring bright notes of mandarin orange peel, honeysuckle and lime zest. It drinks off dry, with a lightly spritzy palate packed full of ripe peach flavors.

Rio Vista 2014 River View Grand Reserve Columbia Valley $38 84 points
Lightly volatile aromas of baking spice, black licorice, cherry and vanilla lead to sweet, pruney fruit and barrel flavors, with the barrel notes riding high on the finish. It seems quite evolved for its age.

Rio Vista 2015 Pinot Noir Columbia Valley $42 85 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Antoine Creek and Gingko Forest vineyards. Quite light in color, the aromas show a light volatility, along with notes of raspberry, strawberry and maraschino cherry. The fruit flavors are light, simple and sweet, finishing with peppermint notes.

Rio Vista 2015 Malbec Columbia Valley $36 86 points
Hailing from Antoine Creek Vineyard, the aromas of herb, cherry and spice seem to show some oxidation. Meanwhile, the medium-bodied cherry and raspberry flavors are straight down the fairway, providing enjoyment if not a lot of complexity.

Rio Vista 2015 Estate Grown and Bottled Merlot Columbia Valley $32 88 points
The aromas are fruit forward, with notes of cherry, plum, herb, raspberry and wood spice. The flavors are rich, sappy and full, backed by soft tannins. Barrel notes linger on the finish.

Rio Vista 2015 Tempranillo Wahluke Slope $34 86 points
Coming from Rosebud Vineyard, the aromas show a bit of oxidation along with a touch of volatility. It’s a shame as the palate is full of luscious rich fruit flavors that provide a lot of enjoyment. Vanilla notes linger on the finish.

Sixto 2014 Moxee Chardonnay Washington $55 93 points
Coming from a vineyard planted in 1973 at an elevation of 1,450 feet, the aromas draw you into the glass, with intoxicating notes of cream, ginger, pumpkin spice and chamomile. The palate possesses a creamy texture but also a sense of weightlessness that provides a lot of appeal. The balance is exquisite. Editor's Choice

Sixto 2014 Roza Hills Chardonnay Washington $55 92 points
This wine comes from old vines planted at high elevation. A light-gold color, aromas of toast, peach, pumpkin spice and wet rock are followed by plentiful stone and tropical-fruit flavors speckled with barrel spices, showing superb length on the flavorful finish. It has an absolutely swoon-worthy feel. More please! Best from 2019–2024. Cellar Selection

Sixto 2014 Frenchman Hills Chardonnay Washington $55 93 points
Of the vineyard designated wines, this one comes from the youngest vines, planted in 1998. The aromas of peach, pear, mineral, pineapple upside down cake and spice are subtle and refined. The palate is sleek yet silky and extremely flavorful, full of stone-fruit flavors that lead to a finish that won’t quit. It’s all about delicacy and restraint, hitting a lot of high notes. Editor's Choice

Sixto 2014 Uncovered Chardonnay Washington $35 93 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Frenchman Hills (33%), Moxee (28%), Roza Hills (27%) and Evergreen vineyards. The aromas show a lot of subtlety, with notes of candied ginger, lemon curd, spice, peach, cream, toast, wet stone and pineapple, revealing more on each swirl. The palate is rich but refined, showing precision and detail along with a real sense of freshness. The finish impresses. Beautiful stuff.

Substance 2014 Bx Vineyard Collection Klein Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $70 88 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Cabernet Franc (30%) and Merlot. Baking spice, licorice, vanilla and dried fruit aromas are followed by full-bodied fruit and spice flavors. It brings appeal, but the fruit seems a bit desiccated. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

Substance 2014 Me Vineyard Collection Northridge Vineyard Merlot Wahluke Slope $45 88 points
The aromas of licorice, black fruit and dried herb bring a slightly baked quality. The flavors are full and up front, showing pleasing concentration while retaining elegance. There are a lot of good things going on here but I can’t see them evolving much. Drink it in the near term.

Substance 2014 Cs Vineyard Collection Stoneridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 90 points
Listed at a low alcohol level for a hot vintage and vineyard, this is still and 100% varietal. Its black licorice, sugared plum and exotic spice aromas show a penetrating purity. The palate is all about delicacy and elegance, which it brings in abundance. It’s a very pretty expression of this variety, maybe too much so for some tastes, without the variety’s typical tannic heft. But for those looking for a sophisticated style of Cabernet, look no further.

Substance 2014 Me Vineyard Collection Stoneridge Vineyard Merlot Columbia Valley $45 89 points
The aromas are light on first pour, opening up over time with notes of herb, cherry, wood spice and black licorice. The ripe currant flavors are a bit linear in style, but show polish and appeal, seeming ever so slightly dried out.

Substance 2014 Cs Vineyard Collection Jack’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $45 90 points
Coming from a site in the Rocks District, this wine is lighter in color and brings initially subdued aromas of cassis, herb, medicine cabinet, plum, cherry and spice. The palate is soft in feel, putting a premium on elegance of expression, with the tannins quite supple. It’s a very pretty expression of the variety.

Substance 2014 Cs Vineyard Collection Powerline Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $45 90 points
This is 100% varietal, coming from the winery’s young estate vineyard. The aromas are bright, with notes of dried herb, cherry liqueur, anise, black tea and whole bell pepper, seeming ever so slightly dried out. The flavors are plump but still light on their feet, supported by surprisingly soft tannins for the variety.

Tamarack Cellars 2013 Sagemoor Vineyard Columbia Valley $50 91 points
Coming from one of the state’s top vineyards, this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Cabernet Franc (10%), 7% Petit Verdot and Merlot. The aromas are tightly wound on first pour, with pleasing notes of red and black fruit, along with plum, mocha, herb, flower and spice. The flavors are pitch black, soft and silky in feel with highly structured, ever so slightly dry tannins that smooth out with some time open. This one needs additional time. Best after 2021.

Tamarack Cellars 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve Red Mountain $50 89 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up half of this blend, with the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The aromas bring wound-up notes of red apple, cherry, herb, graphite, flower and barrel spice. The flavors are smooth and silky in feel, showing a pleasing depth.

Tamarack Cellars 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $28 88 points
The aromas are high toned, with notes of char, plum, butterscotch, vanilla and spice, needing some coaxing to get at them initially. The palate mixes cherry and cranberry flavors that show intensity and length. There are good things going on but they don’t all seem to come together at present.

The Leader 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 86 points
High-toned aromas of pencil lead, game, dark plum, fruit leather and green herb lead to plentiful dark-fruit flavors. The fruit seems a bit dried out.

Vino 2015 Pinot Grigio Washington $12 90 points
This wine is two-thirds Evergreen and one-third RAF vineyards, both in the Ancient Lakes appellation and all fermented and aged in stainless steel. It’s spot on for the variety, with notes of whole Granny Smith apple and green melon. The palate redolent with sleek fresh apple and pear flavors that power through the finish. It’s a standout at this price. Best Buy

Vino 2016 Rosé Sangiovese Washington $12 88 points
A very pretty pale peach color, the aromas display intriguing notes of tangerine peel, herb, flint, strawberry, flower and mineral. It drinks dry and is elegant in style, with plentiful tangerine flavors on the finish. It’s shows some sneaky complexity. Best Buy

Wind Rose 2014 Bravo Rosso Red Blend Yakima Valley $25 88 points
Barbera (61%) takes the lead on this blend, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (18%), Primitivo (16%), Dolcetto (4%) and Sangiovese. The aromas offer notes of herb, freshly hewn wood, cherry and vanilla. The cranberry tart and juicy fruit flavors bring appeal. Pair it with pizza or pasta.

Wind Rose 2014 Omaggio Barbera Red Mountain $33 87 points
The aromas are light, with notes of mocha, herb, plum and pie cherry along with whiffs of tire rubber. Despite the high alcohol level, the palate shows a fairly elegant sense of styling, tapering toward the finish.

Wind Rose 2015 Lonesome Springs Ranch Malbec Yakima Valley $25 88 points
Blended with 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, the aromas bring pleasing notes of plum, green herb and baking spice. The flavors show a sense of elegance, painting around the edges, with the middle a bit lacking. It finishes with a tart kick.

Wind Rose 2014 Dolcetto Yakima Valley $20 89 points
This wine was aged in stainless steel—a rarity for a red in Washington. Aromas of herb, pepper, plum and dark fruit are followed by plump fruit flavors that paint a bit around the edges. There’s much to enjoy here, though the middle seems somewhat missing. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best.


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See my Washington Wine Report Tasting Note Database. Read an explanation of the fields here. FINAL UPDATE 6/13/2015. See current Wine Enthusiast reviews here.

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