Search

Overview


Washington Wine Report is an independent publication focused on bringing Washington wine to you and bringing you to Washington wine. Our goal is:
  • To help you select Pacific Northwest wines at a variety of price levels
  • To keep you up-to-date about the Northwest’s wineries, vineyards, and individuals
  • To help you plan trips to wine country
  • To connect you to the larger wine community

Sean P. Sullivan

2019 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for November 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

115 wines reviewed in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for October 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

192 wines reviewed in the October issue of Wine Enthusiast. Too many high quality wines to individually callout, so I’ll just
spotlight just a few of them here.

| edit post

Last spring I had the pleasure of visiting the team at Cayuse Vineyards to taste through the 2016 vintage releases. While the Cayuse wines are always of exceptionally high quality, the 2016 lineup reaches even higher heights.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for September 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

182 wines reviewed in the September issue of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

When you purchase a bottle of wine, there’s no doubt that you’ve noticed certain things on the label, like the producer, appellation and a Surgeon General’s warning.

One thing required to be on a label (sort of) is the percent of alcohol by volume, or abv. You might be surprised, however, to learn the alcohol percentage listed is often not entirely true.

Read the rest of the article here. Image courtesy of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Many people know wine is often aged in oak barrels. But there are a number of different ways to ferment and age a wine, from clay amphorae to concrete eggs. These variations can have profoundly different effects on the finished product.

“Every single wine necessitates you choosing a direction based on prior experience with a particular vineyard,” says Aryn Morell, owner/winemaker at Alleromb and Morell-Peña, and consulting winemaker for numerous wineries.

Read the rest of the article here. Image courtesy of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Each year for the last 10 years, I have had the pleasure of writing Seattle Metropolitan magazine's annual wine issue. For the first eight years, this was a Top 100 list of Washington's best wines.

Last year, we revamped the list to "Washington's 30 most exciting wines." This year's list, which is in the October issue of the magazine due out shortly but available on-line, is in the same vein, though it is titled "30 Washington wines to drink right now" (albeit with a category on cellar-worthy wines).

| edit post

Last month’s discovery in Walla Walla Valley of grape phylloxera, a microscopic, aphid-like louse that destroyed much of the world’s wine grape vines in the late 19th century, reverberated quickly across the Washington State wine industry.

First up. What does the presence of phylloxera in Washington State mean for the wine-consuming public? Not much.

“This truly does not have an impact to the consumer, as it does not affect wine quality,” says Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine.

Read the rest of the article here. Photo by Andrea Johnson Photography, courtesy of Washington State Wine.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for August 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

134 wines reviewed in the August issue of Wine Enthusiast. Here are some of the standouts.

| edit post

Harvest begins in Washington

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 0 comments

The first grapes of 2019 are in the door in eastern Washington!

Sparkling wine producer Treveri Cellars picked three varieties from its estate vineyard in Yakima Valley: Chardonnay (18.1 Brix), Pinot Meunier (17.5), and Pinot Blanc (17.9). Winemaker Christian Grieb says picking will continue tomorrow, with 30 tons of Chardonnay at Hilltop Vineyard. Next Monday, August 26th, they will pick Pinot Noir at Marchant Vineyard.

Grieb reports that the Hilltop pick will be four to five days behind 2018, Marchant about six days. This is the first year that the winery has picked fruit from its estate vineyard.

Let Harvest 2019 begin!

Picture courtesy of Treveri Cellars.

| edit post

Veraison, the changing of color of the grapes, has begun in the Columbia Valley.

Ryan Driver, vineyard manager at Tertulia Cellars, reported seeing veraison in Tempranillo at Riviere Galets Vineyard in the Rocks District on July 18th. Driver noted veraison occurred in this variety last year on July 25th.

Saviah Cellars noted the same at Watermill Estate Vineyard on that same date. Meanwhile in the Lake Chelan appellation, Don Phelps at Hard Row to Hoe saw veraison in Pinot Noir on July19th.

It can only mean one thing: harvest is not far off!

Picture courtesy of Tertulia Cellars.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for July 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

86 wines reviewed in the July issue of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Pardon the interruption from our regularly scheduled program but...

The Emerald City’s restaurant scene has exploded in the last decade. There are scores of new places making top quality food, with well thought out menus, carefully curated wine lists, excellent service (okay, I exaggerate), and beautiful décor. But while Seattle’s culinary establishments have raced into the 21st century, the music selection at many of these restaurants is stuck in the past.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for June 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

69 wines reviewed in the June issue of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for May 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

85 wines reviewed in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Bloom in eastern Washington

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 0 comments

Bloom has begun in eastern Washington. Brittany Komm-Sanders, senior viticulturalist and vineyard manager at Precept Wine, noted bloom starting in Chardonnay and Malbec at Skyfall Vineyard in Yakima Valley on May 24th. Komm-Sanders noted that bloom began at this site on May 22nd last year.

At Sagemoor Vineyard in the White Bluffs region of the Columbia Valley, vineyard manager Lacey Lybeck also noted bloom beginning in Chardonnay on May 24th. Lybeck said other recent vintages looked as follows:

| edit post

The following article was published in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast.

Baseball fans commonly refer to the period of time when numerous high-profile players took performance-enhancing drugs as the “Steroid Era.” In wine, it can be mused that we are now living in the “Additive Era,” in which it is not unusual for wines to be highly manipulated.

Wine color too light? Add some Mega Purple. Looking for more oak influence or additional tannin? Some oak extract could do the trick. Technology exists that can alter just about any aspect of a wine. The natural end point is making synthetic wine without grapes, which people are doing.

Read the rest of the article here.

| edit post

Pic of the Vine - April 2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 0 comments

Bud break is in full evidence throughout  Washington wine country, as contributing photographer Richard Duval can attest. He captured the morning sun bathing an estate vineyard of Watermill Winery in The Rocks District on this last day of April.

“The ever-greening of Washington’s vines will soon be in full swing,” Duval noted. “Visit any vineyard for a full on view of this almost daily change of scenery.”

Click on the picture to see a larger image.

| edit post

The 2019 Washington State Wine Tour Guide is out! The tour guide can be viewed on-line here. Order individual physical copies here. For bulk orders for businesses, go here.

I wrote two articles for the guide this year. The first is titled, "Variety Show" and starts on page 16. The second is on Walla Walla Valley, starting on page 85.

Enjoy!

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for April 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

Eighty-four wines reviewed in the April issue of Wine Enthusiast.

Two Vintners continues to impress with a strong series of wines from the 2015 and 2016 vintage – far too many to list here so make sure to scroll down. Winemaker Morgan Lee’s mastery of Rhone varieties is on full display with wines like the Two Vintners 2016 Make Haste Cinsault Yakima Valley $25 (90 points, Editor’s Choice). This wine is a superb value with a compelling sense of purity. Meanwhile the winery’s Columbia Valley Syrah is again one of the best values on the market (Two Vintners 2016 Syrah Columbia Valley $2191 points, Editor’s Choice).

| edit post

Bud break has begun in eastern Washington. Hedges Family Estate reported seeing wooly buds on their Red Mountain Cabernet Franc on Monday April 8th. Sagemoor Vineyard in the Columbia Valley, meanwhile, saw bud break in their Chardonnay, pictured here, on April 11th. The latter is about the same as 2017, when bud break was noted in Chardonnay in the Columbia Valley on April 12.

| edit post

Screwcap, DIAM, and Nomacorc (pictured here) are the three most popular alternative closures in Washington

Below is a tabulation of closure choice and cork taint data from my tastings for Wine Enthusiast in 2018. I have also included data from 2017 and 2016, previously published. Here are eight takeaways.

1. Natural cork continues to be the most frequently used wine closure

Natural cork closures continue to make up about three quarters of the market in Washington (74.15%). While this number was down slightly from previous years, additional data would be needed to say whether this represents a trend or is just normal variance. Note that in the natural cork category, I include all 1+1 corks and related variants, as well as any agglomerative corks that are not guaranteed to be free of potential taint.

2. Cork taint remains a significant problem with natural cork closures

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for March 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

108 wines reviewed in the March issue of Wine Enthusiast.

| edit post

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for February 2019. 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 GuideSee 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.

Playing catchup on recent wine reviews. 110 wines reviewed in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine.

| edit post

Wine and technology

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 0 comments

The focus of the May issue of Wine Enthusiast is wine and technology. I wrote a series of articles on this topic for the issue. They include:

An interview with Marc Noël of Nomacorc
Science and the future of winemaking
How technology is improving wine at home
How wine in the restaurant industry is evolving

Enjoy!

| edit post

I've had a variety of articles published in Wine Enthusiast in recent months. The first marks Seattle as one of the magazine's top 10 wine travel destinations of 2019. In a separate article that was part of our Pacific Northwest dedicated issue, I talk about why Seattle should be your next travel destination.

In that same Pacific Northwest dedicated issue was also an overview of Washington wine, an article on where to eat and drink in Woodinville and Walla Wallawinemakers changing Washington wine, and also a look at women in the Idaho wine industry.

Enjoy!

| edit post

Pic of the Vine - March 2019

Sunday, March 31, 2019 0 comments

Coming to a Washington vineyard very soon – spring color and bud break! Contributing photographer Richard Duval captured this bit of fauna beauty in Walla Walla a few years back. He intends to re-visit for some badly needed spring sun this year.

| edit post

Pic of the Vine - February 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019 0 comments

February brought an abundance of snow to Washington wine country. Undeterred by the cold and the drifts, contributing photographer Richard Duval spent a day in Yakima Valley en route to the Washington Winegrowers Association conference in Kennewick.

| edit post

The following article appears in the March issue of Wine Enthusiast.

In Washington’s earliest days as a grape-growing region, the state was thought too cool to successfully ripen many warm-climate red grape varieties. Subsequently, cool-climate white grapes, especially Riesling, dominated production and brought early acclaim.

| edit post

Pic of the Vine - January 2019

Thursday, January 31, 2019 0 comments

The sun never sets on vineyard work in Washington wine country. With spring inching closer, vineyards need pruning and shaping.

From opposite ends of the state, contributing photographer Richard Duval captured two such examples last week. Under grey skies, Greg Osenbach pruned estate vines at his Whidbey Island Winery. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles due east, a cold but clear morning illuminated the freshly pruned vineyard of Two Mountain Winery in Yakima Valley.

| edit post

Recent trends in Washington wine

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 0 comments

The following article is from the Winter issue of Washington Tasting Room Magazine.

Six new AVAs on the horizon, a stellar vintage for white wines, greener packaging and new winery management are among key trends shaping the state’s wine industry

Washington saw its sixth straight warm vintage in 2018. Near perfect weather conditions in September and October capped off the growing season, with winemakers expecting high quality wines to result. Here’s a look at some of the trends we saw this year in the state’s wine industry.

| edit post

A newly proposed program by the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) would allow state penitentiary inmates to work at a Walla Walla vineyard and hopyard. The program would be run in partnership with a local management company, Walla Walla Vineyard Management (WWVM). The goal is to provide inmates with skills that could be used upon release.

| edit post

Well, 2019 is here, and everyone needs a New Year’s resolution or two, especially ones that are achievable. This year, my resolution is to drink more Riesling. Specifically, it is to drink at least one bottle of Riesling per month, each month in 2019.

| edit post

Follow

WWR TN Database


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.

Blog Archive