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'18 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for September 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.

119 wines reviewed in the September issue of Wine Enthusiast.

DeLille Cellars produces a series of high quality wines (DeLille 2014 Harrison Hill Snipes Mountain $9093 pointsDeLille 2014 Chaleur Estate Red Mountain $8093 points). Of note, the DeLille 2016 Chaleur Blanc Columbia Valley ($3992 points) just might be the best Chaleur Blanc this decade.

Devium is a new project from Keith Johnson, production winemaker at Sleight of Hand Cellars. The winery’s second vintage is a rare field blend of co-fermented Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache Blanc (Devium 2016 French Creek Vineyard Yakima Valley $3492 points). This is a wine geek's wine if ever there were one.

Elephant Seven, which just opened up a tasting room in downtown Walla Walla, offers a compelling, well-priced Grenache from the Upper Mill Creek area (Elephant Seven 2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Grenache Walla Walla Valley $30 92 points). For those familiar with Walla Walla Vintners, Yellow Bird is the vineyard directly behind Vintners with the house on the property.

Winemaker Mike Januik (Januik Winery, Novelty Hill) produces two superb, well priced Chardonnays…again (Januik 2016 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $3091 pointsNovelty Hill 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $23, 90 points).

I can’t say enough good things about the latest releases from Latta Wines. Their 2014 Mourvèdre is the best example of this variety I’ve had from the state and one of the best wines from this vintage (Latta 2014 Upland Vineyard Mourvèdre Snipes Mountain $4095 points). The Latta Latta is (again) an outrageous value for $30 ( Latta 2014 Latta Latta GSM Columbia Valley $3094 points). The 2014 Upland Vineyard Grenache Snipes Mountain ($4094 points) is a top quality offering of this variety. Finally, the 2014 Lawrence Vineyards Roussanne Columbia Valley ($3093 points) is easily one of the best white wines being made in the state.

Leonetti Cellar produces a series of high quality 2015 and 2016 releases. Of note, the winery has added a new wine to its lineup, the 2013 Serra Pedace Vineyard Aglianico Walla Walla Valley ($7592 points). Serra Pedace is a terraced vineyard located in the SeVein project in the southern section of the valley.

Passing Time hits home runs (or perhaps scores touchdowns?) with their new releases. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills ($8094 points) is the winery’s best to date. The following are also not to be missed (Passing Time 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $8093 pointsPassing Time 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $8092 pointsPassing Time 2015 Red Blend Columbia Valley $5091 points).

Quilceda Creek’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the wines of the vintage (Quilceda Creek 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20096 points) and is also one for the ages. It should have at least two decades of enjoyment in front of it. Also of note, the winery is now offering limited private tastings and tours by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays.

Two Vintners has its first Syrah from Boushey Vineyard (Two Vintners 2015 The Waiting List Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $4095 points). The wine gets its name from winemaker Morgan Lee long being on the waiting list to get access to this fruit. The inaugural release is Lee’s best wine to date, a complete show stopper. Also of note, the winery has a new, Columbia Valley-designed Grenache at a great price point (Two Vintners 2016 Grenache Columbia Valley $2591 points).

In terms of value wines, check out the Involuntary Commitment 2016 Columbia Valley ($1991 points). This is a side project from Andrew Will and fans of the latter’s style will not be disappointed. This particular wine would appear to have a lot of Two Blondes fruit, with the vineyard’s signature savory herb and tangerine peel notes found in abundance.

Chateau Ste Michelle jumps into the rosé frenzy. Of note, I believe that this is the winery’s first wide-release offering made under screwcap (Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Rosé Columbia Valley $1188 points). Finally, Disruption Wines, a side project from Andrew Latta, has a dynamite, well-priced Riesling (Disruption 2016 Riesling Columbia Valley $1390 points).

Enjoy!

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14 Hands 2015 Chardonnay Washington $12 87 points
White flower, custard and spice aromas lead to light but plentiful peach and flower flavors in this wine. Some Viognier in the blend makes its presence felt. Best Buy

14 Hands 2017 Rosé Washington $12 86 points
Mostly Syrah, this wine is a somewhat darker, electric pink color compared to most rosés from the state. It offers bubblegum, melon and cherry aromas, drinking just off dry, with a broad feel

14 Hands 2016 The Reserve Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $22 86 points
Upfront aromas of vanilla bean, peaches and woodspice lead to plentiful peach and vanilla flavors in this wine. The proportion of fruit and barrel flavors (from aging in 100% new American oak) is uneasy, with the latter winning out

Abeja 2016 Chardonnay Washington $40 91 points
This wine’s toast, pumpkin spice and peach aromas are followed by lithe, textured stone fruit flavors. It hits a lot of high marks and shows beautiful balance

Abeja 2016 Chardonnay Walla Walla Valley $45 90 points
This estate-grown Chardonnay leads with elusive aromas of toast, vanilla, cream, corn silk and spice that emerge over time. The flavors are light but have lovely texture, with barrel notes speckled throughout

Abeja 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $52 90 points
Milk chocolate, roasted coffee bean, black cherry and generous barrel spice aromas lead to supple, well-balanced fruit and barrel flavors in this wine. It shows pleasing nuances

Abeja 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $45 88 points
This wine’s plum, black raspberry and spice aromas are followed by light fruit flavors speckled with vanilla accents. The tannins bring a light grip, with lingering barrel notes

Abeja 2014 Estate Heather Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $68 88 points
This wine’s milk chocolate, fresh savory herb, vanilla, black cherry, coffee, pencil lead and barrel spice aromas are followed by lighter fruit flavors. It has smoky notes on the finish and a sizeable hole in the middle

Amavi 2015 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $47 89 points
This wine’s aromas are quite light, with high-toned herb and flower notes and plum and black licorice accents. The flavors are also light, trailing on the finish. An atypical showing for a vineyard that’s normally quite expressive

Angel Vine 2016 Cluster Fus Red Blend Columbia Valley $28 89 points
This wine is 80% Mourvèdre, with the rest equal parts Zinfandel and Primitivo. Its plum, orange peel, fresh blueberry, black pepper and flower aromas are pure, as are its similar flavors. The concentration dips a bit on the midpalate, but there are plenty of good things going on. Black pepper and orange peel notes linger on the finish

Angel Vine 2016 Stonetree Vineyard Grenache Columbia Valley $28 88 points
Quite pale in color, with an orange tinge, this leads with cigar box, Red Vine, raspberry and cherry Jolly Rancher aromas and elegant but sumptuous fruit flavors. There’s a lot to like

Angel Vine 2014 Les Collines Vineyard Zinfandel Walla Walla Valley $24 88 points
From a vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Mountains best known for Syrah, this has cherry liqueur, black licorice, currant and spice aromas and an expressive palate with a light medicinal note and a peppery finish. It intrigues

Betz Family 2015 Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $110 91 points
This 100% varietal wine was partially fermented in concrete before being aged in all new French oak. It offers cassis, plum, anise, thyme, woodspice and black currant aromas, along with a light medicinal note. Its dark fruit flavors are rich and plush, showing surprisingly soft tannins considering the variety and region

Canvasback 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 90 points
This offers generous black cherry, black raspberry, fruit leather, mineral, spice and herb aromas. The fruit flavors are obviously there, but like most offerings from this appellation, it’s very much about structure, framed by firm, juicy tannins and crisp acidity

Cavatappi 2017 Pinot Grigio Yakima Valley $11 86 points
This wine’s aromas start off quite reduced, making it hard to perceive the fruit. Its tropical fruit flavors are tart and tangy, with a lemony finish. Once the reduction blows off, it moves up a notch or two. Best Buy 

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Ethos Reserve Chardonnay Columbia Valley $36 91 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Lawrence, Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Vineyards. Its aromas are not yet ready to reveal their charms, with custard, lemon zest and flower blossom notes. The palate shows focus, which carries through the lingering finish

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Rosé Columbia Valley $11 88 points
This is the first release of this wine, which is almost all Syrah. A pretty pale-salmon color, aromas of watermelon, strawberry candy, kiwi and bubble gum lead to a lightly spritzy, dry palate, full of strawberry and tropical fruit flavors. It hits a lot of high notes. Best Buy 

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley $9 87 points
This wine’s apricot and jasmine aromas are followed by medium-sweet Nestea and stone fruit flavors. It goes down easy. Best Buy 

Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2016 Eroica Riesling Columbia Valley $20 90 points
High-toned lime zest, lime leaf, white peach, honeysuckle and mineral aromas lead to sleek, well-balanced stone fruit and green apple flavors in this wine. It’s delightful on its own, but would also shine at the dinner table

Columbia Winery 2015 Malbec Columbia Valley $38 89 points
Fruit-forward aromas of plums, blueberries, clove and dried herbs lead to soft, plump fruit flavors in this wine. Coffee and raspberry notes linger on the finish, providing a lot of appeal

Columbia Winery 2015 Tempranillo Horse Heaven Hills $35 89 points
This wine’s cherry, plum, flower, graphite and spice aormas lead to compact fruit flavors surrounded by firm tannins. Equal parts intrigue and delivery, it needs some time to unwind

Columbia Winery 2015 Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $38 87 points
Aged in 54% new French, American and Hungarian barrels, this seems dominated by oak, with aromas and flavors of chocolate, vanilla and ash overshadowing its blueberry and flower notes. Its firm tannins seem out of place

Dance 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $37 90 points
This wine’s light aromas suggest lemon curd, apples, pears and white flowers. The palate is full bodied, bringing both weight and grace, with stone fruit flavors that linger on the finish

David James 2017 Rosé Columbia Valley $15 89 pointsThis pale salmon-colored wine offers melon, watermelon, strawberry and cherry aromas and light, dry kiwi and other tropical fruit flavors. With its tart finish, it brings a lot of appeal

DeLille 2014 Chaleur Estate Red Mountain $80 93 points
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot offers dried black cherry, fruit leather, barrel spice, espresso, graphite, cassis, anise and scorched earth aromas. They lead to broad, textured but supple fruit flavors and a fruit-filled finish. Firm, integrated tannins provide support. Best 2023–2028

DeLille 2014 Harrison Hill Snipes Mountain $90 93 points
This blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc 1% Petit Verdot comes from some of the state’s oldest plantings. Its vibrant, complex blackberry, cranberry, black currant, green pepper and dried herb aromas lead to a light, tightly wound but elegant palate with exquisite balance and texture. The finish goes on as long as you care to count. Far from a big, bold bruiser, this is a very sophisticated wine. Best 2026–2034. Editor's Choice 

DeLille 2016 Chaleur Blanc Columbia Valley $39 92 points
This blend of 68% Sauvignon Blanc and 32% Sémillon pops on the nose, with white grapefruit, guava, toast, fig, pineapple and herb notes. The flavors are rich and fruit-filled yet exquisitely balanced, with a knee-buckling texture and a warm finish. It’s a standout. Editor's Choice

DeLille 2014 Grand Ciel Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $160 92 points
This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon brings brooding notes of macerated black cherries, graphite, cedar, cassis, herb and barrel spice. Far from a big bruiser, the palate is all about nuance and sophistication, with impeccable balance, well-integrated tannins and a long finish. Best 2022–2027. Cellar Selection

DeLille 2015 Métier Columbia Valley $38 91 points
This wine is 38% Mourvèdre, 38% Grenache, 21% Syrah and 3% Cinsaut. Its reserved blackberry, cherry cordial, herb and spice aromas lead to full-bodied red and black fruit flavors. Give it some time to open up

DeLille 2015 Signature Syrah Yakima Valley $46 91 points
This wine’s raspberry, cherry, herb, orange peel, coffee, smoke and spice aromas are understated. The flavors showing a very pretty sense of styling

DeLille 2015 Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $69 91 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Grand Ciel (30%), Upchurch (30%), Ciel du Cheval (26%) and Klipsun vineyards. Its vibrant aromas of bittersweet chocolate, graphite, coffee, black cherries, black raspberries and barrel spices lead to a palate packed to the brim with dark fruit flavors. Its supported by a firm handshake of tannin

DeLille 2014 Grand Ciel Syrah Red Mountain $69 91 points
This wine’s black raspberry, crushed rock, blackberry, smoke and plum aromas are brooding. Its rich but focused cranberry and cherry flavors linger on the finish

Devium 2016 French Creek Vineyard Yakima Valley $34 92 points
Mourvèdre makes up just over three-quarters of this wine, with the balance Syrah and Grenache Blanc—all picked on the same day. Aged 16 months in neutral oak, it has aromas draw you into the glass, suggesting black pepper, orange zest and savory herbs. The palate is delicate and nuanced—full of herb, black pepper and smoked meat flavors backed by firm tannins that need a few hours open to unwind. It’s a unique, intriguing wine that should shine at the dinner table. Editor's Choice 

Disruption 2016 Riesling Columbia Valley $13 90 points
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Block 10 of Evergreen Vineyard in the Ancient Lakes. The aromas are exuberant, with lime, pear, mineral, tangerine and white peach notes. It drinks a hair off dry, with stone fruit and citrus flavors brightened by vivid acidity. Precise and detailed, it has a long finish. Best Buy

Disruption 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $15 88 points
This 100% varietal wine comes mainly from the Wahluke Slope. Its bittersweet chocolate, blue fruit, peanut shell, cherry, herb and anise aromas are followed by plush fruit and barrel flavors. It’s a lot of wine for the price

Disruption 2015 Red Blend Columbia Valley $15 88 pointsThis blend of 59% Cabernet, 24% Malbec and 17% Petit Verdot shows some reduction out of the gate, with tire rubber notes followed by cherry, herb, plum and flower scents. The palate brings firm tannins and fleshy fruit flavors, with smoky notes on the finish. It punches above its weight class, especially once the reduction blows off

Disruption 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 88 points
The fruit for this wine comes from Purple Sage and Wahluke Slope vineyards. A bit reduced out of the gate, it reveals black cherry, blackberry and herb notes as it opens. The palate shows pleasing balance, with fruit and barrel notes that intertwine on the smoky finish. A squeeze of tannin holds it all together

Doubleback 2015 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $145 91 points
The winery’s first reserve-level wine, this shows some reduction out of the gate, making it a challenge to perceive its blackberry, smoke, incense and herb aromas. The palate brings a sense of elegance and restraint despite the warmth of the vintage. Perhaps some time in bottle will serve it well

Drum Roll 2016 Chardonnay Monet Chardonnay Columbia Valley $20 87 points
This wine’s melon, canned corn and peach aromas are followed by lightly creamy fruit flavors that display a pleasing sense of balance

Dusted Valley 2016 Olsen Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $36 89 points
This wine’s cream, baking spice, pineapple and lees aromas lead to a palate marked by equal parts fruit and barrel. Tropical flavors linger on the finish. The oak is not shy, but it largely pulls it off

Elephant Seven 2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Grenache Walla Walla Valley $30 92 points
Blended with 20% Syrah and coming from the Upper Mill Creek area, this offers perfumed notes of raspberries, fresh flowers, wild blueberries, white pepper, smoked meat, orange zest and herbs. The flavors are ripe and juicy, with pure fruit notes that carry long into the finish. Editor's Choice 

Foundry Vineyards 2017 White on White Walla Walla Valley $21 90 points
Walla Walla Valley white wines remain a rarity, but this blend of 40% Marsanne, 40% Viognier and 20% Roussanne makes a strong case for the category. Vibrant peach, apricot, papaya and mango aromas are followed by a pure, balanced palate with a lingering finish. It shows some pleasing subtleties

Foundry Vineyards 2015 Syrah Walla Walla Valley $34 88 points
This blend of fruit from Cougar Crest, Cougar Hills and Rock Bottom vineyards offers exuberant blueberry pie, herb, orange peel, flower and smoked meat aromas. They’re followed by soft, pillowy fruit flavors that are more restrained than the nose suggests.

Foundry Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley $34 88 points
This 100% varietal wine from Seven Hills Vineyard offers vanilla, pencil lead, cranberry, savory herb and cherry aromas and tobacco-laced flavors that show a mixture of fruit and barrel characteristics. Firm, lightly dry tannins provide support. The oak seems a bit heavy-handed

Foundry Vineyards 2015 Merlot Walla Walla Valley $34 88 points
This 100% varietal wine comes primarily from Stonemarker Vineyard. Its aromas intrigue, recalling black cherry candy, dark flowers, sage, mint, anise and barrel spices. The palate is smooth and polished but trails on the finish. It’s a unique offering of the variety

Foundry Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $42 88 points
This 100% varietal wine hails from Pheasant Run Vineyard. It brings cocoa, anise candy, black cherry, cedar and bittersweet chocolate notes. The palate is all about finesse, with plush, juicy fruit flavors

Foundry Vineyards 2015 Petit Verdot Walla Walla Valley $36 87 points
This wine from Summit View Vineyard has aromas that are brooding out of the gate, including high-toned notes of anise, black cherry candy, exotic spice and dried black fruit. It’s light to medium bodied and trails off on the finish

Foundry Vineyards 2017 Rosé Walla Walla Valley $23 86 points
Pale copper colored with a salmon tinge, this offers cherry and watermelon aromas. Its strawberry flavors are broad in feel and don’t quite come together

Foundry Vineyards 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $30 85 points
Unusual peach, herb and anise aromas lead to butterscotch flavors in this wine. It doesn’t come together

Intrinsic 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $22 88 points
Made using a unique process wherein 50% of the grapes stayed on the skins for nine months, this was aged in neutral French oak. It offers fresh black currant, dried tobacco, herb and green and black olive aromas. The palate is full of light olive and orange peel flavors. Though not immediately identifiable as Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s enjoyable all the same

Intrinsic 2016 Red Blend Columbia Valley $22 87 points
This inaugural release of this wine is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc and 44% Malbec, filled out with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It saw no new oak, and a portion spent nine months on the skins. Its plum, blackberry, ashphalt, herb and olive aromas are pure and appealing. The flavors are elegant yet light in concentration

Involuntary Commitment 2016 Columbia Valley $19 91 pointsThis neutral French oak-aged blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot is a side project from the folks at Andrew Will. Its aromas draw you into the glass, evoking savory herbs, cherries, tangerine peel, fresh tobacco, green pepper and black olives. The palate brings pure, textured, seamless fruit and savory flavors that sail into the distance. Editor's Choice

J. Bookwalter 2015 Conflict Conner-Lee Columbia Valley $60 92 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 47% of this wine, with the balance 45% Merlot and 8% Malbec. Its nuanced cherry, dark coffee, herb, vanilla and spice aromas are followed by palate-coating fruit and barrel flavors that feel seamless. Coffee notes linger on the finish

J. Bookwalter 2015 Chapter 8 Conner-Lee Vineyard Red Blend Columbia Valley $100 92 points
This blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah comes primarily from a block of the vineyard planted in 1988. Its aromas are focused, recalling char, toast, high-toned herbs, roasted coffee and cherries. The palate is rich, dense and structured, with a lovely texture. The oak is quite prominent at present. Give it some time to integrate

J. Bookwalter 2015 Volume 5 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $75 92 points
This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine hails from the esteemed Dionysus Vineyard. Reserved aromas of fresh herbs, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, cherries, raspberries and plums are followed by plentiful dark fruit and chocolate flavors. It’s all about subtlety and nuance, with enough structure to go the distance

J. Bookwalter 2016 Double Plot Conner-Lee Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $38 91 points
The heart of this wine comes from a block of this vineyard planted in 1989. The aromas recall peaches, lees, pumpkin spice, candy corn, chamomile tea and toast. There’s a sense of seriousness to the palate, with rich fruit flavors and a compelling texture

J. Bookwalter 2015 Protagonist Conner-Lee Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $60 91 points
This brings roasted coffee bean, char, leafy green herb, spice and cherry aromas, and the oak (75% new French) plays a prominent part in the show. The palate is rich, textured and supple, with plentiful black cherry and barrel flavors that linger on the finish. It hits the gong hard, feeling totally hedonistic

J. Bookwalter 2015 Readers Merlot Columbia Valley $28 90 points
Most of the fruit for this wine comes from a block of Conner-Lee Vineyard planted in 1992. Somewhat light in color, it offers appealing raspberry, chocolate, dried herb and spice aromas and soft, supple fruit flavors, with light savory herb accents from the addition of 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Juicy fruit flavors linger on the finish. It shows lovely balance and texture

J. Bookwalter 2016 Readers Chardonnay Columbia Valley $18 88 points
This wine contains 24% Viognier co-fermented in stainless steel with Chardonnay predominantly from Conner-Lee Vineyard. Its apricot, honeysuckle, pear and apple aromas are followed by lightly sweet fruit flavors that show lovely texture and length. The Viognier plays a big part in the show

J. Scott Cellars 2017 Albariño Washington $20 88 points
This wine’s generous cantaloupe, lime and herb aromas lead to abundant tropical fruit flavors backed by spritely acidity. It runs a bit warm but otherwise provides appeal

J. Scott Cellars 2017 Grenache Rosé Washington $14 86 points
This wine is a pretty shade of pale salmon. The aromas pop, dominated by scooped cantaloupe notes. The palate seems lightly spritzy, with broad-feeling fruit flavors. It doesn’t all come together

Januik 2016 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $30 91 points
Winemaker Mike Januik has shown a knack for crafting top quality Chardonnay over the years, and this is yet another example. Its appealing poached pear, peach and cream aromas lead to medium-bodied fruit flavors with a toasty, lemony finish. It shows wonderful tension

Januik 2016 Bacchus Vineyard Riesling Columbia Valley $20 88 points
The aromas start out reticent for the variety, with pear, white peach and green apple notes. The palate is sleek but flavorful, with pleasant balance. It lacks only a bit more expression; perhaps additional time in bottle will bring it out.

Keira 2015 Revere Red Mountain $44 86 points
This blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Malbec brings green pepper, plum, fresh herb, raspberry, dried tobacco and olive aromas. The flavors are soft in style, with lightly astringent tannins and a short finish

Keira 2016 Riesling Yakima Valley $17 85 points
This wine’s apricot, flower and pear aromas lack clarity. It drinks just off dry, finishing warm

Kind Stranger 2016 Rosé Columbia Valley $17 88 points
A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, this wine is a pretty pale-salmon color. Aromas of wild strawberry, cherry and spice lead to a dry, bright, fresh, fruit-filled palate, with apple notes on the finish

Latta 2014 Upland Vineyard Mourvèdre Snipes Mountain $40 95 points
This varietal wine saw just a kiss (10%) of new oak. The aromas show blackberry, cigar box, dried herb, fresh ground black pepper, roasted meat and exotic spice notes. The flavors are rich, intense and layered, with captivating volume and weight and exquisite balance. A long, fruit- and spice-filled finish caps it off. It’s a complete stunner—one of the wines of the vintage. Best 2020–2026. Cellar Selection

Latta 2014 Latta Latta GSM Columbia Valley $30 94 points
The 50% Grenache and 46% Mourvèdre in this blend were sourced from Snipes Mountain, while the Syrah hails from the Rocks District. It offers pomegranate, kirsch, white pepper, orange peel and exotic spice aromas. The palate is full bodied and dazzlingly pure, with knee-buckling texture and density and a long, fruit-filled finish. A knockout. Editor's Choice

Latta 2014 Upland Vineyard Grenache Snipes Mountain $40 94 points
Aged in neutral puncheons, this wine has aromas that pop, recalling white pepper, dried herbs, raspberry compote, strawberries and spice. The flavors are rich and intense but still maintain a sense of lightness and purity. The depth of the fruit is impressive, with wonderful texture and richness that come in waves. A long, sustained finish caps it off. Editor's Choice 

Latta 2014 Lawrence Vineyards Roussanne Columbia Valley $30 93 points
This 100% varietal wine draws you into the glass with its apricot, beeswax, and straw aromas. The palate is full bodied and richly textured, showing a lot of viscosity and weight as well as tension to the fruit flavors. It’s a standout with gravitas—a red wine lover’s white. Savor its hyper-extended finish. Drink now–2025. Cellar Selection

Latta 2014 Northridge Vineyard Malbec Wahluke Slope $50 93 points
Left on skins for 35 days and aged in 40% new French oak, this wine is perfumed, with plum, mulberry, green herb, clove, orange peel, scorched earth and exotic spice notes. The flavors are deep and layered, with spice notes speckled throughout. The balance is exquisite and the finish long. A stunning example of the variety

Leonetti Cellar 2015 Reserve Walla Walla Valley $150 93 points
This blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Malbec and 8% Merlot comes from Loess, Mill Creek Upland and Seven Hills vineyards. Its aromas are still locked up, offering incense, barrel spice, cherry, raspberry, anise and scorched earth notes as it opens. The palate is packed to the brim with black fruit flavors and tightly wound tannins, maintaining its sophistication long into the finish. It needs time to come into its own but has a very long life ahead of it. Best 2026–2033. Cellar Selection 

Leonetti Cellar 2016 Merlot Walla Walla Valley $80 92 points
Hailing from Seven Hills, Loess, Leonetti Old Block and Mill Creek Upland vineyards, this is a standout offering of this variety. Its anise, dark fruit, mocha, spice, flower, earth and green pepper aromas lead to focused fruit flavors, with a firm spine of tannin, bright acidity and finish that carries. The structure augurs well for its longevity. Best 2021–2026. Cellar Selection

Leonetti Cellar 2013 Serra Pedace Vineyard Aglianico Walla Walla Valley $75 92 pointsThis is the first offering of this variety from the valley, from a recently planted vineyard by the SeVein project. Aged 44 months in a combination of amphorae and new and neutral French oak, it offers tightly wound aromas of blackberries, tar, dark plums, minerals and spices. Though high in acid, it’s full of firmly structured dark fruit flavors. It needs some food alongside it as well as time in bottle to be properly appreciated, but the stuffing is there. Best after 2022

Leonetti Cellar 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $100 92 points
Blended with 12% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, this sophisticated wine shows its pedigree, with cocoa, anise, black tea, mint, black cherry, dried herb, bittersweet chocolate and flower aromas. The fruit seems ever so slightly dried out, with surprisingly restrained flavors, considering the warmth of the vintage, and a tight core of tannin that needs time to unwind. Red and black fruit flavors linger effortlessly on the finish. Best after 2025. Cellar Selection

Leonetti Cellar 2015 Sangiovese Walla Walla Valley $70 90 points
Blended with 13% Aglianico, this wine hails from Serra Pedace, Seven Hills, Loess and Mill Creek Upland vineyards. Its light sour cherry, anise, cigar box and spice aromas lead to tart fruit flavors with lightly grainy tannins and a long finish. All about subtlety, it needs food alongside it to fully deliver

Maryhill 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $15 87 points
A bit reduced on first pour, this opens to offer dried apple, underripe pineapple, herb and lemon curd aromas. The palate brings sleek fruit flavors backed by a big blast of acid

Maryhill 2016 Tudor Hills Vineyard Semillon Columbia Valley $14 86 points
Fig, biscuit and lemon aromas lead to light fruit flavors in this wine. It’s intriguing but lacks concentration

Maryhill 2015 Syrah Columbia Valley $36 85 points
This is straight-down-the-fairway Syrah, with berry, cocoa and spice aromas and flavors. It’s not very complex but enjoyable all the same

Novelty Hill 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $23 90 points
White peach, lemon and spice aromas are followed by light styled fruit flavors in this wine. Lemon notes carry the finish. It’s a very pretty interpretation of the variety

Passing Time 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $80 94 points
This wine contains mostly Cabernet Sauvignon from Discovery and Champoux vineyards, with pinches of Klipsun Merlot (8%) and Champoux Cabernet Franc (4%). Its black currant, cassis, blackberry, graphite, scorched earth and herb notes intoxicate. The palate is ripe, textured, layered and generous but still tightly wound, with polished tannins and an extremely long finish. It is a Cabernet Sauvignon prototype—a complete standout that is delicious now but will have a long life in the cellar. Best from 2023–2035. Cellar Selection

Passing Time 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $80 93 points
Almost entirely Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon , this includes 3% Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Franc. The aromas are effusive, with red and black raspberry, scorched earth, blackberry bramble, espresso, herb, green pepper and spice notes, revealing more on each swirl. The palate is suave and sophisticated, showing compelling texture and structure. The finish sails. Though delicious now, patience will be rewarded. Best 2025–2032, but it will have plenty of life beyond that. Cellar Selection

Passing Time 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $80 92 points
This 100% varietal wine blends fruit from Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge vineyards. The aromas draw you into the glass, recalling mocha, black cherries, fresh herbs and high toned spices. The palate is supple, refined and polished, with lightly grainy tannins lending support. It’s a very pretty expression of the variety that should have a long life ahead of it

Passing Time 2015 Red Blend Columbia Valley $50 91 points
Though labeled simply as a red wine, this is almost all Cabernet Sauvignon, with just a pinch of 8% Merlot to round it out. The aromas are effusive, suggesting black cherry, black licorice, incense, graphite and spice. The palate is polished and reserved, showing lovely balance and light, grippy tannins

Pepper Bridge 2015 Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $NA 90 points
This blend from Seven Hills (56%), Octave (24%), Pepper Bridge (14%) and Yellow Jacket Vineyards offers coffee bean, toast, fresh herb, flower, orange peel, blackberry and black cherry aromas followed by well-balanced fruit and barrel flavors that stretch out on the finish. The tannins bring some grip. Best after 2022

Pepper Bridge 2015 Estate Vineyards Merlot Walla Walla Valley $50 88 points
This blend from Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Octave vineyards brings distinctive raspberry, cedar, orange zest, black cherry, plum, flower and spice notes. This is supported by firm tannins that need time to soften

Pepper Bridge 2015 Seven Hills Vineyard Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $60 88 points
This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Its mocha, black cherry, flower, toast and spice aromas are followed by medium-bodied fruit flavors. The tannins bring a fair amount of grit, which is unusual for this site

Quilceda Creek 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $200 96 points
This hails from Champoux, Lake Wallula, Palengat and Wallula Gap Vineyards. The aromas draw you into the glass, evoking anise, blackberry, black raspberry, graphite and exotic spices. The flavors show intense depth, richness and hedonism, and the finish seems endless. Best from 2029–2036. Cellar Selection

Seven Falls 2016 Chardonnay Wahluke Slope $18 88 points
This wine’s peach and pear aromas are followed by lighter apricot flavors. Vanilla notes linger on the finish

Sin Banderas 2015 Red Blend Yakima Valley $32 89 points
This inaugural release from this winery is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre. Its raspberry, bacon fat, blueberry, black pepper and smoke aromas lead to well-balanced fruit and savory flavors. Give it time to open up

Snowbirds 2015 Gewürztraminer Columbia Valley $18 86 points
This wine’s aromas jump, suggesting candied ginger and oranges, lychees and flowers, making the variety unmistakeable. It drinks off dry, without the acid to stand it up

Sola 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 88 points
This late release from the vintage offers tire rubber, cinnamon, baking spice and black cherry aromas. Dark fruit and spice flavors fill the palate, ending short on the finish

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $85 91 points
Sourced from vineyards on Red Mountain, this has black currant, black cherry, espresso, pencil lead and barrel spice aromas that are locked up on first pour. Its dark fruit flavors are smooth and supple, with firm tannins providing support. Coffee notes linger on the finish

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Klipsun Vineyard Syrah Red Mountain $45 90 points
From a vineyard best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, this offers blackberry, mineral, smoked meat and toasty spice aromas and full-bodied red and black fruit flavors. It delivers a lot of appeal

Swiftwater Cellars 2016 Zephyr Ridge Estate Bottled Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $22 90 points
This wine’s corn, apple, pear and toasty spice aromas are followed by sweet, rich stone fruit flavors that sail into the finish. It provides as lot of enjoyment

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Octave Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $65 88 points
This wine’s aromas are quite subdued on first pour, suggesting cherries, plums, fresh herbs and baking spices. The palate brings focused fruit flavors and a firm spine of grippy, astringent tannins that need some time to soften

Swiftwater Cellars 2016 Proprietary White Blend Columbia Valley $32 88 points
This blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Sémillon leads with fig, herb and toast aromas, followed by broad-feeling fruit flavors that linger on the (quite) warm finish. It delivers a lot of appeal

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Proprietary Red Blend Columbia Valley $50 87 points
This wine’s blackberry jam, dried currant, cherry, licorice and spice aromas are followed by quite ripe fruit flavors. The tannins give a light squeeze. There are good things going on, but the fruit seems desiccated and the tannins a bit gruff

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Malbec Columbia Valley $42 87 points
This wine’s aromas are locked up on first pour, revealing high-toned plum, blackberry, herb, licorice and spice notes as it opens. Its blue and purple fruit flavors are light and framed by gritty tannins

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Zephyr Ridge Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $42 87 points
This wine’s black currant, blackberry jam and spice aromas are followed by black fruit flavors that trail toward the finish. There’s no mistaking the warm vintage and region it comes from

Swiftwater Cellars 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $42 86 points
This wine’s aromas are light, with herb, raspberry and spice notes. The palate offers grainy, astringent tannins. It doesn’t all come together

Three Rivers 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 87 points
This offers blackberry, potting soil, green herb and fresh flower aromas. Its bold cherry and herb flavors dip in the middle, with drying, astringent tannins

Three Rivers 2017 Rosé Columbia Valley $15 87 points
Pale in color, this offers faint strawberry, kiwi and citrus zest aromas. The palate is light but flavorful, delivering kiwi and guava notes that dip in the middle. It seems to lack concentration at times but is pretty tasty

Three Rivers 2017 Steel Chardonnay Columbia Valley $15 86 points
This wine’s melon, freshly sliced apple and pear aromas are followed by a lightly unctuous palate. The mouthfeel seems at odds with the aromas

Three Rivers 2014 Merlot Columbia Valley $25 85 points
This wine’s subdued aromas of sticks, spices, blackberries and coffee are followed by a smoky, gritty palate with blackberry flavors. The tannins seem quite dry and scratchy

Three Rivers 2016 River’s Red Blend Columbia Valley $15 85 points
This light colored red offers cranberry fruit leather, strawberry, rose hip and red cherry aromas. The flavors are elegant and enjoyable yet lack concentration. Herbal notes linger on the finish

Trinity Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $24 87 points
This wine sourced from Destiny Ridge Vineyard offers vibrant cantaloupe, yellow apple and pear aormas and dry, broad fruit flavors with a lemony finish. It provides enjoyment but little varietal character

Trinity Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Horse Heaven Hills $45 85 points
Sourced from Coyote Canyon Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, this is an unusual offering of the variety. It delivers cranberry, leather, potting soil and herb aromas and light but elegant flavors speckled with spice notes. It doesn’t drink nearly as warm as the alcohol might suggest

Two Vintners 2015 The Waiting List Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $40 95 points
The winery’s first Syrah offering from this esteemed vineyard after years on the waiting list (hence the name), this stunner brings huckleberry, green herb, mountain blueberry, dried flower, orange peel, iron and bacon fat aromas. Its rich, intense and focused smoked meat and flower flavors linger on the finish for a full 45 seconds. Another feather in the cap for this winery and vineyard. Editor's Choice

Two Vintners 2016 Grenache Columbia Valley $25 91 points
This new offering from the winery combines fruit from Olsen and Boushey vineyards. Light in color, it offers restrained but nuanced plum, fresh herb, orange peel, smoked meat, white pepper and raspberry aromas. There’s a pleasing sense of purity to the juicy fruit flavors, making it a very pretty interpretation of the variety. Give it plenty of time to open up. Editor's Choice

Two Vintners 2015 Legit Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $0 87 points
This wine’s dried cherry, spice, mint, dried blackberry and asphalt aromas lead to quite ripe black fruit and spice flavors. Slightly dry, green tannins provide support. It all seems a bit dried out

Washington Hills 2016 Riesling Columbia Valley $11 85 points
Dried apple and pear, orange rind and ripe peach aromas lead to medium-sweet fruit flavors in this wine. It seems a bit washed out and needs a bit more acid to stand up

Washington Hills 2016 Chardonnay Washington $10 85 points
Light pear, peach and spice aromas lead to lightly creamy fruit flavors in this straightforward, easy drinker. Best Buy 

Waterbrook 2017 Pinot Gris Columbia Valley $15 88 points
This perfumed wine offers pear, melon and flower aromas. The fruit flavors are lighter yet still fresh and juicy. It shows a lovely sense of balance

Waterbrook 2017 AVA Series Rosé Red Mountain $15 87 points
It’s quite rare to see a rosé from this blazing hot appellation. This pale orange-tinged example has light cherry, herb and melon aormas. It drinks dry, with broad-feeling fruit flavors

Waterbrook 2017 Mélange Founder’s White Blend Columbia Valley $15 87 points
Peach, jasmine, pear and honeysuckle aromas lead to off-dry stone fruit flavors in this wine. It goes down easy

Waterbrook 2017 Sangiovese Rosé Columbia Valley $15 86 points
A pretty pale salmon in color, this brings strawberry and melon aromas. It drinks off dry, with slightly fat fruit flavors

Watermill 2016 Windy Point Vineyard Petite Sirah Rattlesnake Hills $35 86 points
This wine’s tire rubber, flower, cherry, cranberry and herb aromas lead to surprisingly elegant cherry flavors speckled with black pepper notes. The concentration seems light

Woodward Canyon 2015 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $74 91 points
This wine is only made in select vintages and minute quantities. This warm vintage version benefits from the coolness of the site, yielding nuanced aromas of clarified butter, brioche, white peaches, citrus zest, lees and minerals. They lead to broad, textured flavors accented with lees notes. Some additional time in bottle should serve it well.


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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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