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2019 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

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.

The February reviews feature several standout white wines from the 2017. I have written a number of times previously about the strength of this vintage for white wines (read a recent Wine Enthusiast article dedicated to Washington whites from this vintage here). These wines continue to impress.

The L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Semillon Columbia Valley ($1590 points, Best Buy) is both a standout wine and an exceptional value. This is a variety that absolutely excels in Washington. It’s a shame more producers don’t work with it as a varietal wine, and a tip of the hat to L’Ecole for continuing to carry the banner for this variety in Washington. The winery’s top-end white, the L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Luminesce Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley ($2290 pointsEditor’s Choice) is drinking young now but has the stuffing to have a long life in front of it.

Woodward Canyon Winery skipped a vintage on their Chardonnay, and so the 2017 was released earlier than it might otherwise be. I always refer to this wine as Old Faithful. If you want a bottle of high quality Washington Chardonnay that always (always) delivers, this is it (Woodward Canyon 2017 Chardonnay Washington $4491 pointsEditor’s Choice).

Sticking with 2017 whites, the 2017 Avennia Oliane Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley ($2891 pointsEditor’s Choice) also delivers and, having tried it again very recently, has only fleshed out further with some additional time in bottle.

Speaking of Avennia, they deliver two quality Rhone-style wines, with the Avennia 2016 Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley ($6091 points) and Avennia 2016 Le Corbeau Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills ($5090 points). If you’re looking for a fascinating comparison/contrast, try the latter alongside the Discovery Syrah from Two Vintners and WT Vintners. I had some doubts about the prospects of the Horse Heaven Hills for Syrah years ago. As the last several vintages of these wines have indicated, I was mistaken, certainly when it comes to this vineyard.

I’ve written before that 2015 was a challenging vintage for Washington reds, and while a vintage this warm doesn’t play to the winery’s style, winemaker Ben Smith at Cadence, as always, delivers high quality wines reflective of their vintage and sense of place (Cadence 2015 Tapteil Vineyard Red Mountain $4590 pointsCadence 2015 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $45 90 pointsCadence 2015 Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $6090 points). I’m a big believer in giving the Cadence wines some additional bottle age, and these wines would definitely benefit from it.

Finally, Structure Cellars delivers two tasty Syrahs, both very well priced. The first comes from esteemed Red Willow Vineyard, which is well captured in the Structure 2016 Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley ($3590 points). The second is a combination of Destiny Ridge, Wallula, Red Willow, and Stillwater Creek fruit – a delightful pan-Washington Syrah (Structure 2016 Bauhaus Syrah Columbia Valley $2590 points).

Enjoy!

* * *

Apex 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $36 85 points
The aromas offer notes of baking spice, tire rubber and cherry. The flavors paint around the edges, with notes of cherry and burnt rubber, with a lick of tart acids finishing it off. It’s a strange mix.

Avennia 2016 Arnaut Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $60 91 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of flower, fresh and dried herb, wet iron and blue and purple fruit. There’s a pretty sense of purity and richness to the tightly wound blue fruit flavors, though they bring a bit of alcoholic heft along with them. Smoked meat notes linger on the finish.

Avennia 2016 Le Corbeau Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $50 90 points
The aromas start out light, with notes of blackberry, herb, sagebrush, olive, dried flower and cherry reduction. The palate is balled up in the middle, with the tannins seeming a bit clenched out of the gate, spreading out with a few days open. A warm finish caps it off. Give it a few years in the bottle or an extended decant.

Avennia 2017 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $28 91 points
Boushey Vineyard makes up the 70% majority of this wine, with the rest coming from Red Willow. Barrel fermented with native yeast, the aromas are light on first pour, with notes of lemon verbena, lemon oil and herb. The flavors are tart, racy and acid driven, with a long, drawn out finish. It’s elegant and subtle, with pleasing complexities to be had. Give it some additional time in bottle to see it at its best. Editor's Choice

Barnard Griffin 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 83 points
Aromas of baking spice, dried cherry, Band-Aid and medicine cabinet are out front. The palate shows dried-out cherry flavors, with a plump, sweet-seeming finish.

Barnard Griffin 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $18 88 points
Flower, soil, herb, spice and black cherry aromas lead to ripe dark fruit flavors that taper ever so slightly toward the cocoa-filled finish. There is a lot to like.

Barnard Griffin 2017 Riesling Columbia Valley $11 87 points
Aromas of chamomile, cut lime and white flower lead to lightly spritzy, off-dry fruit flavors. It’s straight down the fairway. Best Buy

Barnard Griffin 2017 Pinot Gris Columbia Valley $13 87 points
The aromas pop, with notes of orange peel, apple, tropical fruit and peach. Plentiful stone fruit and kiwi flavors follow. It delivers a lot of appeal.

Brook & Bull 2016 Come Hell or High Water Red Blend Columbia Valley $38 88 points
This wine is half Grenache, with the rest equal parts Mourvèdre and Cabernet Sauvignon, all aged in neutral oak. The aromas are generous, with notes of plum, freshly peeled orange, tar, black pepper and spice. Juicy, ripe, fresh fruit flavors follow, tapering ever so slightly toward the finish. There’s a lot to like.

Brook & Bull 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $38 84 points
Vanilla, wood shavings and a light oxidative aroma and followed by sweet wood and vanilla flavors with an astringent feel. The oak overrides any sense of variety without the fruit to stand up to it.

Brook & Bull 2016 Petit Verdot Columbia Valley $36 86 points
The aromas are brooding, with notes of toast, flower, soil, citrus, hay and coffee. The palate is fresh and acid driven, with lighter-styled fruit flavors backed by firm tannins. It doesn’t stand up on its own but still provides interest.

Brook & Bull 2016 Malbec Columbia Valley $36 86 points
Starting out slightly reduced, aromas of plum, cedar, spice box, tobacco and orange peel are followed by medium-bodied plum flavors. There are some interesting things going on, but they don’t all come together.

Brook & Bull 2016 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $34 88 points
Green pepper, green herb, jalapeño and black cherry aromas are followed by sleek, fresh, well-balanced fruit flavors. One wants a bit more concentration but what’s there is pleasing, accented by tart, lively acidity.

Brook & Bull 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $30 87 points
The aromas are quiet on first pour, with notes of apple and pear. A light, somewhat linear palate follows, capped off by a tart finish. It doesn’t seem to have fully settled in but has some interesting things going on.

Cadence 2015 Tapteil Vineyard Red Mountain $45 90 points
This wine is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc and 19% Merlot. The aromas are locked up at present, with notes of herb, flower, mineral and black fruit. The palate is incredibly tightly wound, full of dark fruit flavors and firm tannins. It needs time in the cellar to come together. Best after 2022.

Cadence 2015 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $45 90 points
Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon each make up a third of this blend, with the balance equal parts Merlot and Petit Verdot. The aromas offer notes of high-toned cherry, graphite, flower and spice. The tannins bring a bit of grip and dryness, needing some time to soften.

Cadence 2015 Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $60 90 points
Made of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Merlot. Cherry, graphite, raspberry and herb aromas lead to even-keeled dark fruit flavors that
up a bit in the middle before pulling back together. The tannins come off as a bit gruff out of the gate but soften with significant time open. Give it some time or a very long decant. Best after 2022, and it has the stuffing to go well beyond that.

Cadence 2015 Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $60 89 points
This is a blend of 56% Merlot and 44% Cabernet Franc. The aromas are a bit reticent out of the gate, with notes of herb, flower and dark fruit. The palate features big, burly tannins that come off as a bit dry and wound up at present.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Indian Wells Merlot Columbia Valley $18 87 points
The aromas come out of the gate lightly reduced, followed by notes of graphite, blackberry jam, plum and spice. The palate brings a pretty sense of styling, with the concentration light in the middle, but otherwise delivering a sense of appeal.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Canoe Ridge Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $20 87 points
Vanilla aromas are out front on first pour, along with notes of baking spice and cream, with the wood seeming prominent. Somewhat-lighter-styled stone fruit flavors follow, with the flavors focused around the middle.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Mimi Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $20 90 points
Cream, spice and roasted squash aromas draw you into the glass. The palate is graceful and elegant, with impeccable balance to the stone fruit and pumpkin flavors throughout, along with a pretty sense of texture. A lingering finish caps it off. It walks the tightrope perfectly.

Co Dinn 2015 Elephant Mountain Rattlesnake Hills $65 87 points
This wine is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance 16% Petit Verdot, 15% Merlot and 11% Malbec. Aromas of Fig Newton, mint and dried blackberry are followed by well-balanced dark fruit flavors. The fruit seems a bit dried out but still brings appeal.

Eternal 2016 Optimism G-S-M Walla Walla Valley $44 86 points
With all of the fruit coming from Cockburn Ranch Vineyard, the aromas offer raspberry jam, crushed nut and spice along with what appears to be a light oxidative note. Jammy but still elegant fruit flavors follow.

Gård 2015 The Don Lawrence Estate Wines Lawrence Vineyards Red Blend Columbia Valley $24 87 points
Garden herb aromas are at the fore, along with mint, cherry, vanilla, green and dried fruit. The blue fruit flavors are lighter styled, painting around the edges, with grainy tannins and light smoky flavors on the lip-smacking finish. It’s interesting, but all comes off as a bit green.

Gorman 2016 The Devil You Don’t Know Red Blend Columbia Valley $28 85 points
This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah, 15% Grenache and 5% Mourvèdre. Aromas of Band-Aid, licorice, flower, herb and cherry are followed by lighter-styled tangerine and dried cherry flavors. It finishes quite warm.

Gorman 2016 Zachary’s Ladder Red Blend Columbia Valley $30 87 points
This wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), with the balance Syrah (15%) and Petit Verdot. Aromas of dried herb, flower and slightly dried out cherry are followed by lighter-styled fruit flavors that have a slightly candied, dried-out note. The concentration doesn’t all seem to be there.

Gorman 2016 The Devil You Know Columbia Valley $28 87 points
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot make up near equal parts of this wine, with a pinch of Petit Verdot. Aromas of blackberry, bittersweet chocolate, flower and spice lead to a medium-bodied palate that houses a dark fruit flavor. The concentration at times seems a bit light, especially for the listed alcohol, which occasionally pokes through.

Gorman 2016 Old Scratch Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $NA 88 points
Aromas of graphite, cherry, medicine cabinet and cedar are followed by black fruit flavors that seem surprisingly light, especially in the middle, for the appellation and listed alcohol. Cranberry notes linger on the finish.

Gorman 2017 Big Sissy Chardonnay Columbia Valley $NA 88 points
Aromas of pineapple upside-down cake, spice and caramel are followed by ripe but in check full-bodied tropical fruit flavors that persist on the toasty finish. The alcohol shows a bit prominently, but the fruit is nice.

Hedges 2014 Red Mountain $30 87 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up the majority of this wine, with the balance Merlot, Syrah and pinches of other varieties. Baking spice, dried cherry, cinnamon, Band-Aid and licorice aromas are out front, with the fruit seeming slightly dried out. There’s a nice sense of elegance to the palate, which is full of medicinal flavors.

Hedges 2014 Descendants Liégeois Dupont Estate Grown and Bottled Syrah Red Mountain $30 88 points
Sourced from the Les Gosses Vineyard, this wine offers aromas of blackberry, fruit leather, vanilla, Band-Aid and spice. The palate is light in feel, with a reserved approach.

Hedges 2016 Le Merlot Moderne Merlot Columbia Valley $20 85 points
The aromas bring notes of braised green pepper and cherry. The palate comes off as quite light, with the concentration lacking.

Hedges 2016 The Bourgeoisie Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 85 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up just over three-quarters of this wine, with the rest Merlot and Syrah. Whole green and jalapeño pepper aromas are out front, followed by a light smoky note and blackberry. The palate shows the same, with the flavors coming off as extremely light.

Hedges 2016 inVogue Estate Grown and Bottled Red Blend Red Mountain $NA 86 points
Band-Aid, medicine cabinet, vanilla, blackberry and dried cherry aromas are followed by light but plump cherry flavors with grainy tannins backing it all up. It all comes off as quite light.

Henry Earl 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Red Mountain $28 88 points
Sourced from from Quintessence Vineyard, this wine offers aromas of toast, fig, lemon balm and herb. These tones echo on the full-bodied palate but dip a little in concentration.

Henry Earl 2015 Quintessence Vineyard Malbec Red Mountain $45 86 points
Barrel aromas are out front, with notes of baking spice and vanilla extract followed by cumin, dried parsley and medicine cabinet. Dried black cherry flavors follow with grainy tannins for support.

Henry Earl 2015 Merlot Red Mountain $38 84 points
The aromas seem overripe and slightly volatile, along with notes of baking spice, cherry and licorice. Rich, extracted fruit flavors follow but without the structure to hold them up.

Henry Earl 2015 Homesteader Red Mountain $42 87 points
Vanilla, biscuit, graphite, cherry and spice aromas lead to ripe, extracted cherry flavors. The tannins bring a lightly gritty feel.

Henry Earl 2015 Shaw Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 87 points
The aromas show notes of herb, spice, black licorice and cherry. The medium-bodied fruit flavors paint around the edges, with the tannins bringing a lightly chalky feel. It seems a bit overripe, but the concentration is not quite right at the same time.

Henry Earl 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $48 86 points
Aromas of green herb, graphite, underripe cherry and baking spice are followed by ripe, dried-out, seemingly high octane fruit flavors backed by gritty tannins. It’s a strange mixture of overripe and underripe.

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $22 88 points
Aromas of lees, squash, custard, nut, candy corn and spice lead to full-bodied fruit flavors. There’s a lovely sense of texture that piques the interest.

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Semillon Columbia Valley $15 90 points
Aromas of fig and spice carry the nose of this lush white. The palate brings a lovely sense of texture, with notes of honeycomb, fig and tropical fruit. A warm finish caps it off. Like most examples of this variety, it needs time in the bottle to be fully appreciated, but it has all the stuffing. Best after 2019. Best Buy

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Luminesce Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $22 90 points
The balance here is tilted slightly toward Sémillon (54%). The nose offers notes of fig, lemon balm, spun cotton and citrus. Well-balanced, richly textured flavors follow, with tropical and citrus tones on the lingering finish. It needs some time to flesh out, but the stuffing is all there. Editor's Choice

Liberty Lake 2016 Red Path Vineyard Merlot Red Mountain $30 87 points
Baking spice, black fruit and medicinal aromas are followed by somewhat lighter-styled fruit flavors. Grainy tannins provide support. The concentration seems a bit light.

Liberty Lake 2016 Scooteney Flats Vineyard Cabernet Franc Red Mountain $44 88 points
Light aromas of cedar and spice are followed by supple black fruit flavors and grainy tannins. It comes off as quite ripe.

Liberty Lake 2016 Red Path Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $44 85 points
Black fruit and spice aromas are at the fore of this 100% varietal wine, with the palate showing more of the same. It is straightforward and to the point, with slightly dry tannins backing it all up.

Liberty Lake 2016 Heritage Reserve Red Wine Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $44 88 points
Equal parts Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 20 months in new American oak. The aromas are lighter styled, with notes of dark fruit and abundant barrel spice. Ripe, rich black fruit flavors that pack a big punch follow. It seems a bit one note, but what’s there is quite nice.

Liberty Lake 2016 Petit Verdot Red Mountain $40 85 points
The aromas are light, with notes of dried flower, ground anise, green herb and cherry. The palate offers tart acidity, firm tannins and plentiful floral flavors. It comes off as quite green, and the concentration seems light.

Liberty Lake 2016 Scooteney Flats Vineyard Malbec Red Mountain $40 85 points
High-toned aromas of dark cherry and black licorice lead to black fruit flavors that are centered around the middle, seeming to be missing on the edges. The variety seems hard to find, and the volatiles a bit amped up.

Liberty Lake 2017 Ranch at the End of the Road Gewürztraminer Red Mountain $22 86 points
Made as an orange wine, this offers aromas of floral soap, lychee and spice. The palate is bone dry, with a bitter note on the finish.

Liberty Lake 2016 Reserve Syrah Red Mountain $40 90 points
Coming from Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyard, aromas of blackberry and blue fruit are followed by ripe, full-bodied fruit flavors with slightly gritty tannins. It delivers a lot of hedonistic appeal.

Liberty Lake 2016 Bud Burst Reserve  Red Mountain $44 86 points
This wine is a blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot from Scooteney Flats and Redpath vineyards. Elusive aromas of cherry, licorice, vanilla and celery stalk are followed by ripe fruit flavors that are focused in the middle but seem missing on the edges. The tannins come off as quite gruff.

Maragas 2015 Chardonnay Rattlesnake Hills $39 81 points
This wine saw 24 months in French oak. Lees aromas are at the fore, bringing notes of nut and cheese with the lightly styled palate showing more of the same. The lees influence overrides the wine almost completely.

Maragas 2015 Legal Zin Zinfandel Horse Heaven Hills $39 85 points
Rose hip, cranberry, vanilla and dried cherry aromas lead to straight down the fairway dried cranberry flavors. It seems a bit nondescript, and the variety is hard to find.

Marion-Field 2017 The Marion Pinot Gris Oregon $15 86 points
The aromas are quite light, with notes of herb and apple. Lightly styled guava flavors follow. It comes off as a bit faint, but the palate provides some interest.

Maryhill 2015 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Carmenère Rattlesnake Hills $44 86 points
Aromas of baking spice, braised bell pepper, jalapeño, graphite, green herb and cherry lead to somewhat lighter-styled fruit flavors that paint around the edges, tapering toward the finish.

Maryhill 2015 McKinley Springs Vineyard Cinsault Horse Heaven Hills $40 86 points
Dried blackberry, cherry candy, wood spice and licorice aromas are followed by high octane fruit flavors with coffee notes on the finish. It comes off as quite hot.

Maryhill 2015 Indira Elephant Mountain Rattlesnake Hills $44 85 points
This wine is a blend of 54% Cinsault and 46% Counoise. It’s very light in color, looking like a Pinot Noir. Cherry gummy, pencil eraser and spice aromas lead to faint fruit flavors that trail on the coffee-filled finish. It doesn’t seem all there.

Maryhill 2014 Vintage Port Proprietor’s Reserve Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 85 points
All coming from Gunkel Vineyards, this wine is a blend of Tinta Cao, Tempranillo, Saousa and Touriga Nacional. Extremely quiet aromas are followed by ripe, slightly hot-seeming fruit flavors. One wants more aromatically, but the palate provides appeal.

Maryhill 2017 Viognier Columbia Valley $18 88 points
The aromas are generous, with notes of melon, white flower, pear and peach. The apricot and peach flavors are full bodied, sweet, ripe and nectarous with a warm finish. It delivers a lot of appeal, though the apparent residual sugar runs a bit high.

Maryhill 2016 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $26 86 points
Graphite, exotic spice, herb, vanilla and plum aromas lead to light but well-balanced fruit and herb flavors that persist through the coffee-filled finish.

Mercer 2016 Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $17 85 points
Aromas of the underside of a pineapple and corn on the cob are followed by sweet fruit flavors. It’s a straightforward quaffer.

Mercer 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $20 87 points
The aromas offer notes of baking spice, plum and blue fruit. Plump feeling but quite light. Grainy-feeling black currant and plum flavors follow. The concentration seems very light.

Palencia 2016 Casa Amarilla G-S-M Yakima Valley $36 89 points
Grenache makes up 60% of this wine, followed by Mourvèdre and Syrah. Perfumed tangerine peel, flower, white pepper, ash, green herb and raspberry aromas are followed by soft, supple, elegant red fruit flavors, laced with peppery accents. What’s there is pretty, but the concentration seems light, especially in the middle.

Palencia 2016 Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $36 85 points
The color is extremely light for the variety, with a slightly orange tinge. Aromas of white pepper, citrus and spice are followed by extremely faint fruit flavors. The concentration is very light, and the fruit seems to have not entirely ripened.

Palencia 2016 El Viñador Syrah Wahluke Slope $50 88 points
Light in color for the variety and appellation. Faint aromas of dried cherry, café au lait and spice lead to elegant but juicy fruit flavors. The concentration seems light but it still brings a pretty sense of appeal.

Palencia 2016 Grenache Yakima Valley $36 89 points
Aromas of red and black raspberry, cigar box, mandarin orange, dried herb, flower, white pepper and gummy bear are followed by light, soft, red fruit flavors. It has a pretty, elegant styling, with a lingering finish.

Palencia 2016 Syrah Yakima Valley $36 87 points
Raspberry and plum jam, black pepper, cigar ash and cherry gummy aromas lead to ripe, but lightly concentrated fruit flavors. The intensity isn’t all there, but there is still a lot to like.

Pendulum 2016 Red Blend Columbia Valley $19 86 points
This wine is mostly Merlot, with the rest Syrah and Malbec. Plum, tar, herb, tire rubber, smoked meat and spice aromas are followed by lightly sweet coffee and cocoa flavors that persist through the finish.

Rocky Pond 2016 La Domestique Double D Vineyard Columbia Valley $39 87 points
This wine is 70% Merlot, with the balance equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, coming from a new growing region referred to as Rocky Reach. Aromas of baking spice, cherry, green pepper, graphite, green herb and whiffs of tire rubber are followed by tart, elegant fruit flavors that pique the interest.

Rocky Pond 2016 Stratastone Double D Vineyard Columbia Valley $35 87 points
This wine is a blend of 45% Grenache, 36% Syrah and 19% Mourvèdre. Aromas of freshly squeezed Mandarin orange, raspberry, black pepper and plum lead to light, juicy, fresh fruit flavors on the palate, with the tannins bringing a slightly scraping feel. Mouthwatering acidity and a light smoky note linger in the background. It brings a pleasing sense of delicacy.

Rocky Pond 2016 Double D Vineyard Grenache Columbia Valley $33 86 points
Fruit for this wine hails from a new growing region near Lake Chelan referred to as Rocky Reach. The aromas offer notes of raspberry, pencil eraser, fresh tobacco, herb, strawberry and cherry gummy bear. The palate is elegant, with the concentration seeming a bit light. Tart acidity provides the frame. It’s interesting but doesn’t all come off.

Rocky Pond 2017 Clos CheValle Vineyard Gewürztraminer Lake Chelan $89 88 points
The aromas leap out of the glass, displaying notes of slightly wilted white flower, ginger, mandarin orange zest and spice. This is a hair off-dry, with plenty to like.

Sagelands 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 84 points
The aromas offer notes of vanilla, green herb, black currant and tin. On the palate, the concentration is light and the flavors sweet, with dry, slightly gritty tannins rounding it out.

Sagelands 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $12 83 points
The aromas are light and hard to tease out, with notes of herb, coffee and bittersweet chocolate emerging over time. On the palate, the concentration is quite faint and the tannins gritty.

Saintpaulia 2017 Dry Riesling Naches Heights $16 84 points
Lemon, grass, floral soap, apricot and herb aromas are followed by lightly smoky fruit flavors that need some more acid to balance it all out.

Savage Grace 2016 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir Columbia Gorge $35 91 points
Aromas of strawberry, cherry and underbrush lead to an exquisitely balanced, drawn-out palate, full of juicy, flavorful fruit that brings a sense of delicacy. The tannins give a light squeeze. It’s as good an example as I’ve had of the variety from this appellation. Editor's Choice

Sightglass 2016 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $40 88 points
This wine is 100% varietal, with all of the fruit coming from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. Aromas of char, roasted coffee bean, fresh herb and cherry lead creamy-feeling fruit and barrel flavors, with toast and coffee notes lingering on the finish. The barrel influence seems overweighted for the fruit that’s in the bottle, but there are good things going on if it settles in.

Skyfall 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $16 85 points
Aromas of plum and plum seed along with whiffs of green pepper are followed by lighter-styled fruit flavors, focused around the edges. The concentration comes off as quite light, but what’s there is pleasant.

Structure 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $35 88 points
There’s no mistaking the variety, with its aromas of fresh herb, black cherry, dark fruit and baking spice. Ripe fruit flavors follow, threaded with green herb notes throughout. Firm tannins provide support. The concentration isn’t always there but what is is quite nice.

Structure 2016 Spire Merlot Yakima Valley $25 87 points
A blend of fruit from Olsen (60%) and Boushey vineyards. Spice, dark plum and cherry aromas are followed by ripe, saturated fruit flavors, with the oak (all second fill) pulled back. A cranberry-filled finish follows. It shows a pleasing sense of purity, though the concentration is light.

Structure 2016 Craftsman Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 86 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Stillwater Creek and Wallula Vineyards. The nose offers aromas of orange peel, green pepper and cherry. On the palate, the concentration comes off as quite light, although what’s there is pretty.

Structure 2016 Wallula Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $35 85 points
Green pepper, jalapeño and herb aromas are out front, with cherry notes lurking in the background. Dark fruit flavors follow, with a strong herbal thread running throughout. It comes off as quite green and light.

Structure 2017 Olsen Vineyard Roussanne Yakima Valley $25 87 points
Apricot, herb and a lightly earthy aroma lead to a full-bodied palate with a stone fruit flavor. It doesn’t all come off, but it’s interesting.

Structure 2016 Bauhaus Syrah Columbia Valley $25 90 points
Fruit for this wine is 43% Destiny Ridge, 30% Wallula, 14% Red Willow and 13% Stillwater Creek vineyards. Aromas of blueberry, herb and flower are followed by ripe but still in check blue and black fruit flavors that coat the palate but show a sense of elegance. Herbal notes persist on the finish. It brings a lot of appeal.

Structure 2016 Foundation Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $38 87 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Destiny Ridge, Upland, Stillwater Creek and Red Willow vineyards. Seeing no new oak, the aromas bring notes of green herb, orange rind, dark fruit, flower and spice. The palate is ripe and juicy feeling, with the concentration light. The tannins seem somewhat bunched up.

Structure 2016 Foundation Syrah Columbia Valley $38 89 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Wallula (66%), Red Willow (22%) and Destiny Ridge vineyards. Light aromas of blue and black fruit with crushed gravel, spice and green herb accents are followed by soft, silky blue fruit flavors. It shows a pretty sense of styling and balance.

Structure 2016 Foundation Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $38 87 points
This wine is 100% varietal and was aged in 43% new French oak. Baking spice, graphite, green pepper and black fruit aromas are at the fore. Ripe but light fruit flavors follow on the well-balanced palate.

Structure 2016 Foundation Malbec Yakima Valley $38 86 points
Aged in neutral oak, this is mostly Olsen (82%) fruit with the balance Upland. The aromas pop, with notes of freshly peeled tangerine, citrus, black pepper and plum. Light fruit flavors follow. It’s interesting, but the concentration isn’t all there. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best.

Structure 2016 Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $35 90 points
The aromas are light, with notes of red fruit, berry, fresh herb and whiffs of smoked meat. The palate shows an appealing sense of restraint, texture and balance that carries through the smoked meat finish. One wants a bit more aromatically, but the elegance of the palate delivers.

Structure 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley $35 88 points
The aromas lack a sense of clarity, with notes of boysenberry and blue fruit lurking in the background. The palate is lighter styled but well proportioned, tapering toward the finish. The flavors are very pretty, but the aromas don’t seem to sync up at present.

Vino La Monarcha 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $22 87 points
The aromas are light and hard to tease out, with whiffs of herb and spice. The flavors are light but juicy and ripe, painting around the edges with firm tannins in the middle. Give it time to open.

Vino La Monarcha 2016 Malbec Wahluke Slope $22 86 points
The aromas are perfumed, with notes of dried orange peel, violet, plum and raspberry. The raspberry and orange flavors are light, with a chalky feel. It piques the interest, though not fully delivering.

Vital 2016 The Given Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $28 87 points
This wine is a blend of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one-third Syrah. The aromas bring notes of cherry, raspberry, herb, café au lait and pencil eraser. The medium-bodied fruit flavors are fresh and focused, with gritty tannins backing them up.

Vital 2016 Gratitude Red Blend Columbia Valley $28 85 points
This wine is equal parts Malbec and Syrah. The aromas are light, with notes of black currant, smoke, citrus twist and cherry, showing a bit of reduction and not seeming entirely harmonious out of the gate. Plummy, tangy, citrusy flavors follow, with a grainy feel to the tannins. It’s an unusual offering.

Vital 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $40 86 points
The aromas are reticent, with notes of graphite, vanilla, raspberry jam and cherry, with the oak out front. Dark fruit flavors follow, with the oak taking over the show.

Vital 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $23 85 points
Apple, burnt toast and custard aromas lead to medium-bodied fruit and barrel flavors that persist on the finish. The oak seems way out front.

Vital 2017 French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $28 84 points
Aromas of burnt toast and char are at the fore, with notes of candle wax and spice in the background. Medium-bodied fruit and toasty barrel flavors. The barrel influence totally dominates on this young wine at present, making it seem a bit untoward.

Warr-King 2014 Merlot Red Mountain $36 86 points
Blackberry, black cherry, herb and volatile aromas are at the fore. The flavors come off as light for the listed alcohol level, trailing toward the warm finish.

WildHaven 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $11 85 points
Bright aromas of melon, corn on the cob and apple are followed by light fruit flavors that
up on the finish. The varietal character seems to get lost.

Wilridge 2016 Estate Wilridge Vineyard Sagrantino Naches Heights $40 85 points
This is one of the few examples of this variety in the state. Whole green and jalapeño pepper aromas are followed by notes of flower and cherry. The palate is lighter styled with a chalky feel. The concentration comes off as quite light.

Wilridge 2016 Late Harvest Estate Dessert Wine Wilridge Vineyard Pinot Gris Naches Heights $30 87 points
Aromas of slightly overripe apple, pineapple and pear are followed by sweet, rich, drawn-out fruit flavors. The palate is enjoyable, but the aromas don’t entirely sync up.

Wilridge 2016 Old Vines Tefft Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $23 83 points
Somewhat lighter in color with an orange tinge at the rim, this wine brings aromas of smoke, pencil eraser and herb followed by a ripe cranberry flavor and backed by tacky tannins. A mesquite note lingers on the finish.

Wilridge 2016 Ribbon Ridge Barbera Columbia Valley $23 86 points
The aromas start out fruit forward, with notes of raspberry, rose hips, peppermint and cherry along with barrel spices that become more prominent over time. Light but juicy flavors follow, displaying cranberry-like tartness and a pleasing sense of acidity. It doesn’t quite stand up on its own but should show well at the dinner table.

Wilridge 2017 Acadia Vineyard Pinot Grigio Columbia Gorge $18 81 points
Tire rubber aromas are at the fore, follow by notes of stone fruit and pineapple. A smoky palate follows, with mesquite notes on the finish.

Wilridge 2017 Broetje Vineyard Viognier Columbia Valley $18 85 points
Lighter-styled aromas of herb and flower are followed by medium-sweet fruit flavors, with wilted flower notes on the finish. There’s not enough acid to balance the sugar.

Wilridge 2016 Estate Wilridge Vineyard Zweigelt Naches Heights $35 85 points
Perfumed aromas of flower, orange peel and herb provide intrigue. Light, slightly smoky fruit flavors follow.

Wilridge 2014 Estate Wilridge Vineyard Nebbiolo Naches Heights $30 86 points
The leather, sour cherry, spice, gummy bear, cedar and pencil eraser aromas don’t seem entirely settled. Tart cherry flavors follow, with firm tannins backing them up.

Woodward Canyon 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc Walla Walla Valley $29 88 points
The aromas of this wine are light, with notes of herb, grass, citrus and lemon balm. The palate is more giving, with sleek but textured lemony flavors.

Woodward Canyon 2017 Chardonnay Washington $44 91 points
This wine is equal parts fruit from Celilo and the winery’s Estate vineyard. Seeing a kiss of 20% new oak from Burgundy barrels, the aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of spice, lemon curd, pear, mineral and apple. Sleek, seamless flavors backed by bright, lemony acidity follow. The finish sails into the distance. The balance is exquisite. This one is all about delicacy and restraint but it brings both in abundance. Best from 2020–2025. Cellar Selection

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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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