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

Wine Enthusiast reviews for September 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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.

I’ve written frequently about the strength of the 2017 vintage for white wines in Washington. The September reviews brings two beautiful examples from Buty Winery (see what I did there?): Buty 2017 66% Sémillon 18% Sauvignon 16% Muscadelle Columbia Valley ($2591 pointsCellar Selection); Buty 2017 Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley ($4290 points).

They also bring a new offering from Avennia, which should always make wine lovers snap to attention (Avennia 2017 La Perle White Blend Columbia Valley $40 92 pointsEditor’s Choice).

The 2018 vintage is also a strong one for white wines in the state (Tempus Cellars 2018 Evergreen Vineyard Riesling Ancient Lakes $20, 90 pointsEditor’s ChoiceJanuik 2018 Sagemoor Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $2090 points).

Can we talk about how talented a white winemaker Mike Januik is? The Januik and Novelty Hill Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are consistently at the top of the class. Give Januik an exceptional vintage like 2017 and watch the wines shine even brighter (Novelty Hill 2017 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley, $2391 points, Editor’s ChoiceJanuik 2017 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $3092 points, Editor’s Choice).

One interesting trend in the past few years has been the increasing number of white wines coming out of Walla Walla Valley. Reynvaan Family Vineyards was way out front on this, making an assortment of white wines early on. While the winery’s red wines get most of the attention (and don’t get me wrong, they are outrageously good as the reviews below indicate), the white wines are spectacular in their own right (Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2017 Estate White In the Rocks Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $6092 pointsEditor’s ChoiceReynvaan Family Vineyards 2017 Estate White In the Rocks Vineyard Grenache Blanc Walla Walla Valley ($6092 pointsEditor’s Choice); Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 Queen’s Road White Estate White In the Rocks Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $65 92 pointsEditor’s Choice). For another top quality Walla Walla white, check out the Kerloo 2018 Blue Mountain Vineyard Grenache Blanc Walla Walla Valley ($2091 pointsEditor’s Choice).

Luke Bradford at Cor Cellars has always been a talented white winemaker, as evidenced by his consistently delicious Alba white wine (Cor Cellars 2017 ALBA Pinot Gris-Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $2090 pointsEditor’s Choice). Bradford’s new Ago project, focusing on fruit from the Columbia Gorge, has produced two outrageously good whites (Ago 2018 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $3293 pointsEditor’s ChoiceAgo 2018 Sparkling Blend Columbia Gorge $2892 pointsEditor’s Choice). The Chardonnay is one of the most exciting examples of this variety I have had from Washington in the last several years.

Finally, winemaker and winery founder Richard Funk of Saviah Cellars has long been making some of Washington top Syrahs. His 2016 offerings take things to a new level and are the best wines I’ve had from the winery (Saviah 2016 The Funk Estate Funk Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $60 95 points, Editor’s ChoiceSaviah 2016 The Stones Speak Estate Funk Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $55 94 points). For those looking for a Walla Valley Syrah that offers an exceptional quality to price ratio, check out the Saviah 2016 Syrah Walla Walla Valley ($3293 points, Editor’s Choice).

Without further ado!

* * *

Abeja 2015 Heather Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $68 91 points
The aromas intrigue, with notes of sandalwood, anise, vanilla, barrel spice, cocoa, herbs and black cherry. Deft, balanced dark fruit, herb and coffee flavors follow, with fruit and barrel intertwining and playing well off each other. It shows a pleasing sense of density yet lightness, with enough tannic heft to go the distance. The barrel influence plays a prominent role but plays it well.

Abeja 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $45 90 points
High-register aromas of baking spices, dried herbs, dried leaf and toast lead to deft, plump dark fruit flavors with ample barrel notes to go along with them. It shows a sense of refinement and elegance that heightens the appeal. There’s plenty of richness as well, with fruit and barrel playing equal parts.

Abeja 2017 Chardonnay Washington $40 88 points
Aromas of slightly burnt toast, clarified butter, corn silk and spice lead to medium-bodied fruit and barrel flavors. Lemony notes linger on the finish. The style seems to override the fruit at times.

Abeja 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $60 88 points
The aromas are reticent, with notes of plum, almond skin, coffee, dried cherry, vanilla and dark chocolate. Plum and flavors, focused in the middle follow, tapering toward the edges follow. The concentration seems quite light initially, fleshing out a bit over time. Lightly grainy tannins wrap it all together. Best after 2023.

Ago 2018 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $32 93 points
Vineyard-focused aromas of flower, talc, mineral, whole lemon and pear lead to sleek, well-balanced, acid-driven flavors. Lemony acidity brightens the palate and lengthens the finish. There’s a compelling sense of purity that completely captivates. It’s an exceptional example of this variety, vineyard and vintage. Editor's Choice

Ago 2018 Sparkling Blend Columbia Gorge $28 92 points
A mixture of Gewürztraminer (86%) and Pinot Gris (14%), this carbonated sparkler comes from Oak Ridge and Celilo vineyards. Aromas of lemon peel, grape skin and spice lead to vibrant fruit flavors with electric, lemony acidity that commands attention and buckles the knees. Drinking it is a little like falling in love. Editor's Choice

Ago 2017 Pinot Noir Columbia Gorge $40 88 points
The aromas offer notes of herbs, smoke, mesquite, strawberry, cigar box, and flower. Light, plump, elegant fruit and smoke flavors follow. It’s a lovely expression of the variety.

Airfield Estates 2018 Donald D. Miller Chardonnay Yakima Valley $40 90 points
Appealing aromas of straw, corn silk, candy corn, vanilla and lemon curd lead to full-feeling peach and apricot flavors speckled with spice accents. A pleasing sense of acidity carries the flavors through the finish.

Airfield Estates 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $15 88 points
This is a tropical fruit bomb, with aromas of banana, melon, herbs and kiwi. The lightly styled palate brings more of the same, drawing out on the finish. It has a distinctive style.

Airfield Estates 2016 Aviator Yakima Valley $30 87 points
Aromas of smoke, wet metal and dark, ripe raspberry lead to somewhat smoky seeming fruit flavors. Grainy tannins back it up. The warmth of the vintage shows.

Airfield Estates 2016 Grenache Yakima Valley $25 87 points
Ripe, hedonistic aromas of blackberry and raspberry jam are followed by quite ripe fruit flavors. A warm, candied finish follows. The ripeness carries it away.

Airfield Estates 2016 Runway Red Blend Yakima Valley $30 87 points
This wine is 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. Reserved aromas of fresh herbs, flower, smoke, raspberry and cassis lead to ripe, fruit and mesquite flavors. Lightly gritty seeming tannins back it up.

Airfield Estates 2018 Sangiovese Rosé Yakima Valley $16 86 points
The aromas leap up, with notes of freshly scooped cantaloupe, watermelon and apricot. Somewhat weighty-feeling, off-dry flavors follow. It gets bogged down, not having enough acidity to hide the sugar.

Airfield Estates 2016 Mustang Yakima Valley $30 85 points
Syrah (75%) and Grenache (23%) make up most of this wine, with the balance Mourvèdre. Aromas of blackberry jam, smoke, herbs, black fruit and tin lead to ripe, easy-going black fruit flavors and a warm finish. The fruit seems a bit overripe.

Airfield Estates 2016 Founders Series H. Lloyd Miller Yakima Valley $50 84 points
Aromas of mushroom, sawdust, char, medicine, barnyard and Band-Aid lead to dark fruit flavors that show more of the same. It doesn’t all work, with the style overriding the fruit.

Airfield Estates 2016 Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $35 83 points
Aromas of sawdust, barnyard, dried mushroom, Band-Aid and cherry lead to a palate that shows more of the same. Firm tannins back it up. It doesn’t work.

Amavi 2016 Syrah Walla Walla Valley $33 90 points
Fruit for this wine spans across the winery’s estate holdings at Seven Hills (30%), Les Collines (25%), Stone Valley (18%), Pepper Bridge (15%) and Summit View (12%) vineyards. Intriguing aromas of smoked meat, huckleberry, violet and orange rind are followed by ripe, full-feeling blue and black fruit flavors. The tannins bring a grainy feel. Give it some time to settle in. Best after 2022.

Amavi 2016 Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $33 90 points
Appealing aromas of dark roasted coffee, café au lait, plum and barrel spice lead to elegant fruit flavors that display a charming sense of freshness. It’s a pretty expression of the variety, with a lovely sense of balance.

Andrew Januik 2016 Stone Cairn Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 90 points
Initially locked up aromas of dried thyme and other assorted herbs open to reveal notes of pitch black cherry, coffee and barrel spice. The palate is quite ripe but manages to maintain balance through the sweet pit fruit flavors.

Andrew Januik 2016 Lady Hawk Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $50 89 points
Beguiling aromas of dried herbs, graphite, scorched earth, plum and spice are followed by plump, well-balanced, ripe fruit flavors. It brings a lot of appeal.

Apex 2017 The Catalyst Red Blend Columbia Valley $17 87 points
The aromas are hard to tease out, with notes of herbs, mesquite and cherry in the background. The palate paints around the edges, seeming light in the middle. Grainy tannins provide the scaffolding.

Avennia 2017 La Perle Columbia Valley $40 92 points
This is a new offering from the winery. A blend of Roussanne (55%) from Sagemoor and Marsanne from Boushey (45%), with fascinating aromas of wet seashell, pear, marzipan and whiffs of apricot leading to a full-flavored but still sleek, well-balanced palate, bursting with pear, stone fruit notes accented by lees notes and lemony, mouthwatering acidity. It captivates, showing impressive balance and detail along with a sense of seriousness and purpose. Editor's Choice

Avennia 2016 Sestina Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $75 91 points
This is the first vintage of this wine to be designated as a Cabernet Sauvignon, it is blended with the 18% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Dried leaf, cherry cordial, herb, raspberry jam and spice aromas are at the fore. The palate brings a sense of elegance, restraint and structure. Coffee notes linger on the finish. Those looking for a big and bold Cabernet should look elsewhere. This one is all about subtlety. Some time in the cellar will serve it well. Best after 2024, with a long life beyond that. Cellar Selection

Avennia 2016 Valery Columbia Valley $50 91 points
Merlot from old blocks at Boushey Vineyards make up 70% of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Franc from esteemed Champoux Vineyard. Fascinating aromas of ripe red raspberry, earth, green herbs, cigar box and flower are followed by ripe, hedonistic fruit flavors that show the warmth of the vintage. Coffee notes linger on the finish. It’s brings unignorable appeal and will have a very long life in front of it. Best after 2023. Cellar Selection

Basalt 2016 Syrah Washington $36 86 points
Not entirely harmonious smoke, artichoke and butterscotch aromas are followed by somewhat lighter styled flavors. Slightly grippy tannins back it up. It’s an unusual offering of the variety.

Basalt 2016 Petit Verdot Washington $36 86 points
High-toned aromas of barrel spice, flower, soil and dark chocolate lead to smoky fruit flavors. The tannins give a firm squeeze. The smokiness gets in the way.

Basalt 2016 Estate Cuvée Lewis-Clark Valley $42 85 points
This wine consists of 20% each of the five major Bordeaux varieties. Herb garden aromas mix with notes of raspberry, clove, smoke, tire rubber and menthol. The palate paints around the edges, with plentiful herb notes.

Bledsoe 2017 Lefore Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $NA 90 points
This wine comes from the winery’s estate vineyard in the Rocks District. Aromas of mesquite smoke, barbecue, smoked meat, black pepper, boysenberry and olive lead to medium-bodied mesquite and smoked meat flavors. A firepit-filled finish follows. Give it time to settle in. Best after 2021.

Bledsoe 2017 Stolen Horse Syrah Walla Walla Valley $NA 88 points
The aromas show a lot of reduction out of the gate, with notes of tire rubber that distract. Mesquite, raspberry and herb aromas work to get to the surface. Plentiful smoke and raspberry flavors follow, tapering toward the finish. There are good things going on, but it seems to be in an uncomfortable spot at present. Perhaps some time will bring it around. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

Buty 2017 66% Sémillon 18% Sauvignon 16% Muscadelle Columbia Valley $25 91 points
This blend offers notes of lees, fig, pineapple, flower, Mandarin orange and spice. Broad, textured-feeling flavors follow. Fig notes linger on the finish. Don’t open until after 2022, and it has a future well beyond that. Cellar Selection

Buty 2017 Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $42 90 points
The aromas are light, with notes of lees, wet stone, pear, candlewax, candy corn, citrus peel and clove. The palate shows a compelling sense of balance to the deft, light, creamy flavors, with lively acidity brightening the flavors and lengthening the finish. It’s an intriguing, lees-driven wine.

Buty 2016 BEAST Wildebeest Red Blend Columbia Valley $24 85 points
Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon make up the heart of this wine, with the rest smidgens of Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Merlot. The aromas of orange peel, fresh herbs, flower and plum lead to flavors that are light on their feet. It seems to show a light oxidative note.

Cadaretta 2018 SBS Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Columbia Valley $23 88 points
Vibrant aromas of lime zest, melon and freshly cut kiwi lead to plentiful, broad-feeling tropical fruit flavors. Pineapple notes linger on the finish. It gets a bit weighed down at times but still delivers plenty of enjoyment.

Cana's Feast 2016 Two Rivers Columbia Valley $18 88 points
Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (29%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (26%) make up the heart of this wine, which is finished off with Malbec. Fresh raspberry and cranberry aromas are sprinkled with soil, mushroom and herb accents. Full-bodied, palate-coating fruit flavors follow. Surprisingly tart acidity—which seems a bit out of place—caps it off. Perhaps some time will reel it in.

Cana's Feast 2015 Two Rivers Columbia Valley $18 87 points
Light aromas of baking spices, dusty earth, char, cranberry and a piercing herb note lead to pitch black fruit flavors. The tannins and acidity seem to tussle. Perhaps some additional time in bottle will settle the battle.

Cana's Feast 2016 Bricco Red Red Blend Columbia Gorge $18 87 points
Sangiovese (64%) makes up the heart of this wine, with the rest Syrah (12%), Primitivo (8%), Malbec (7%), Nebbiolo (6%) and Barbera. The aromas bring notes of cedar, herbs, cranberry and cherry. Luxurious-feeling cherry flavors follow. Tart acidity rounds it out. It doesn’t all quite stitch together.

Cana's Feast 2015 Joie de Vivre Red Wine Destiny Ridge Vineyard Columbia Valley $32 87 points
Syrah (37%) and Counoise (29%) make up the majority of this wine, with the rest near equal parts Mourvèdre and Grenache. The aromas of raspberry and cherry candy seem light. Soft, medium-bodied fruit and barrel flavors follow. It all seems a bit subdued.

Castle Rock 2017 Merlot Columbia Valley $12 85 points
Aromas of raspberry, blue fruit, green pepper, orange peel and a whiff of smoke lead to confectionary fruit flavors. Grippy tannins back it up. It doesn’t all seem to have fully ripened.

Castle Rock 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 83 points
Aromas of smoke, mesquite, herbs and blue fruit lead to moderately smoky flavors. Chocolate and coffee notes linger on the finish.

Castle Rock 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $10 83 points
Roasted corn on the cob aromas are at the fore. The palate brings ale and some off notes. Toast, char and coffee flavors linger on the finish.

Cedar + Salmon 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $25 89 points
Aromas of plum, dried herbs, moist earth and cocoa are followed by smooth, soft, palate-coating blue and black fruit flavors. Fine grained tannins back it up. There’s a lot to like.

College Cellars 2016 Clarke Vineyard Petit Verdot Walla Walla Valley $25 90 points
Very varietal, brooding green herb, lemon zest and violet aromas are followed by cherry, herb and cocoa flavors, bright acid and firm tannins. Barrel notes linger on the finish. It should excel at the dinner table.

College Cellars 2016 Estate Clarke Vineyard Merlot Walla Walla Valley $25 88 points
The aromas intrigue, with notes of orange peel, dried tobacco, vanilla, toast and dark fruit. Broad, creamy-feeling fruit and barrel flavors follow. Coffee and plum notes linger on the finish. It’s an unusual interpretation of the variety.

College Cellars 2017 Anderson Vineyard Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $25 88 points
The aromas intrigue, with notes of cocoa nib, plum and boysenberry. Plump fruit and barrel flavors, light in the middle, follow, fleshing out a bit with time open. The tannins bring a lightly grainy feel. Cocoa notes linger on the finish.

College Cellars 2016 Estate Clarke Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $25 87 points
Unusual aromas of raspberry jam, green pepper, leafy green herbs and creamsicle lead to soft, light fruit flavors that trail toward the finish. Coffee notes linger on the finish. It doesn’t quite seem to have fully ripened and could use more structure to stand it up.

College Cellars 2017 Clarke Vineyard Carmenère Walla Walla Valley $25 87 points
Aromas of fresh and dried green herbs along with braised green pepper and jalapeño lead to somewhat lighter styled fruit and herb flavors that paint around the edges. It intrigues, with the variety expressing itself.

College Cellars 2016 Clarke Vineyard Malbec Walla Walla Valley $25 86 points
The aromas announce themselves with notes of soot, braised green pepper, fresh ground tobacco and jalapeño. Lighter-styled, juicy fruit flavors on the palate don’t fully follow through on the aroma’s promise. The fruit doesn’t seem to have fully ripened at times, but it provides interest all the same.

College Cellars 2016 Clarke Vineyard Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley $30 85 points
Dried orange peel and tobacco notes lead to supple, light plum and orange peel flavors. The extraction seems dialed back and the variety hard to find.

Cor Cellars 2017 ALBA Pinot Gris-Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $20 90 points
Pinot Gris makes up 65% of this wine, with the rest Gewürztraminer. The aromas announce themselves, with notes of ginger, mineral, white flowers, lychee and a whiff of smoke. Textured-feeling fruit flavors and light mesquite accents follow, with a warm finish. It captures the vintage exquisitely. Editor's Choice

Cor Cellars 2017 Sugarloaf Vineyard Tempranillo Yakima Valley $28 88 points
Coming in at an alcohol level nearly unheard of for modern day red wines in the state, subdued aromas of dried tobacco, ash and cherry are followed by well-balanced fruit flavors that display a sense of elegance. Citrus streaks run throughout. The tannins bring a lightly tacky feel, needing some food to bring them into check. It should shine at the dinner table, bringing a lovely sense of purity and structure.

Cor Cellars 2017 Alder Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Horse Heaven Hills $28 87 points
Aromas of campfire, mesquite, herbs, mushroom and red cherry lead to medium-bodied, fresh-seeming fruit flavors. Smoky accents follow. It brings a lovely sense of styling.

Delmas 2017 SJR Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $NA 94 points
SJR Vineyard is proving itself to be a singular site. This is just another example. Blue fruit, herb and coffee notes are at the fore, followed by notes of herb, flower and spice. Broad, palate-coating blue fruit and coffee flavors follow. An insanely long, seemingly endless savory, coffee-filled, warm finish caps it off, kicking it up a notch. Give it time to open up.

Devison 2018 Boushey Vineyard Rosé Yakima Valley $24 91 points
This is the inaugural release from long-time Washington winemaker Peter Devison. Mostly Mourvèdre at 77% with the rest Grenache, it’s so pale in color it could be a white wine. There’s a strong mineral sense that enchants. Aromas of pink grapefruit, whole watermelon, strawberry and lemon rind lead to sleek, well-balanced, acid-driven flavors. It brings a sense of balance and seriousness. Editor's Choice

Doubleback 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $98 91 points
Dried herbs, cherry jam, graphite and spice lead to ripe, full, fleshy fruit flavors that linger. It comes off as quite ripe but has a pleasing yum factor and a fine sense of acidity. Best after 2026. Cellar Selection

Doubleback 2016 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $145 91 points
Aromas of crushed plum, cedar, cigar box, spice and fresh herbs lead to ripe, jammy, tightly wound fruit and herb flavors supported by tannins that need significant time to settle in. It’s an intriguing offering of the variety, equal parts promise and delivery. Give it until at least 2025. Cellar Selection

Forgeron 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $28 90 points
Fruit for this wine comes from the Yakima Valley (50%), Wahluke Slope (26%), Columbia Gorge (21%) and Walla Walla Valley (3%). Aromas of toast, clarified butter, lemon curd, candy corn, summer squash and spice are followed by creamy, well-balanced fruit flavors. A warm finish caps it off. It’s a lot of wine for the money. Editor's Choice

Forgeron 2018 Francisca’s Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $25 90 points
This wine was aged six months in 60% stainless steel and 40% neutral oak. The aromas provide notes of melon, flower petal, pear, cinnamon and whole nectarine. Medium-bodied stone fruit flavors follow. It piques the interest, with a lovely sense of acidity for the variety.

Forgeron 2017 Anvil Old Wente Block French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $48 90 points
Fruit for this wine, aged 16 months in Burgundy barrels, comes from 1981 plantings. The candlewax, vanilla, mineral, pear and spice aromas intrigue. Full-bodied, creamy-feeling stone fruit and barrel flavors follow. A warm finish caps it off.

Forgeron 2018 Blacksmith Blanc Yakima Valley $25 88 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Crawford Vineyard and was aged in stainless steel. It’s a blend of 58% Viognier and 42% Roussanne; initially subdued aromas of ripe peach, melon, herbs and citrus lead to broad-feeling stone fruit flavors. It brings appeal.

Forgeron 2018 Otherworldly Unoaked Chardonnay Columbia Valley $25 88 points
The aromas are subdued at present, with light notes of apple, pear and cinnamon. Full-bodied stone fruit flavors follow, showing an appealing sense of texture. A warm finish caps it off. It’s a lovely example of the style.

Forgeron 2017 Blacksmith Rouge Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Coming from fruit from Yakima Valley and Red Mountain, Grenache and Syrah (37%) play equal parts, with the rest Mourvèdre (26%). The aromas intrigue, with notes of flower, orange peel, freshly ground black pepper, blackberry jam and green herbs. The palate shows a lovely sense of deftness, balance and detail to the fruit and herb flavors that keep the interest up.

Forgeron 2016 Anvil Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $65 88 points
Aromas of dark chocolate, black licorice, blackberry jam, bacon fat and plum lead to full-bodied, sweet, very jammy fruit flavors that finish warm. The ripeness carries it away, with this oft-expressive vineyard seeming hard to find.

Forgeron 2014 Anvil Dionysus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $65 88 points
Coming from Block 11 of this vineyard that was originally planted in 1988, aromas of vanilla extract, chocolate, dark cherry, cassis and medicine lead to silky fruit and barrel flavors with chalky tannins. The oak seems out front at present.

Forgeron 2015 Anvil Dionysus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $65 87 points
Raspberry and blackberry jam and plum seed aromas lead to full-bodied black fruit flavors. Firm tannins back it up. The fruit seems overripe, with the warmth of the vintage showing.

Forgeron 2018 Pink Rabbits Rosé Columbia Valley $25 84 points
With a cherry color that is darker than the norm for rosés from the state, this wine has aromas that offer notes of reduction, apple and lees. Off-dry-seeming fruit flavors follow.

Frog Kisser 2018 Rosé Walla Walla Valley $15 89 points
A blend of 44% Syrah, 43% Grenache and 13% Cinsault, this rosé is quite pale in color. Aromas of strawberry, melon, lees and orange rind lead to sleekly styled apple flavors backed by mouthwatering acidity. It’s laced with lees accents. There’s a lot to like, and the price is right.

Full Pull & Friends 2008 CVBDX Columbia Valley $30 91 points
Already 10-plus years old, the aromas are in full bloom, with notes of cherry meats, herbs, graphite, wood spice and anise. A tightly wound, full-flavored palate follows, with firm, slightly grippy tannins backing it up. It still has time in front of it. Give it a short decant if drinking in the near term. Editor's Choice

Gård 2015 Vaucluse Red Wine Lawrence Estate Wines Columbia Columbia Valley $35 91 points
Syrah comprises 72% of this wine, with the rest 27% Grenache and just 1% Viognier. Subdued aromas of green olive, smoked meat, blue fruit, ripe raspberry and flower lead to a flavorful palate that delights. The finish draws out. Editor's Choice

Gård 2016 Grand Klasse Reserve Lawrence Vineyards Pinot Gris Columbia Valley $28 89 points
Barrel aged and having spent time on lees, this is a unique offering of this variety in the state. The aromas are light, with notes of pear, corn husk, almond and spice. A dry, broad, full-feeling palate follows. It finishes warm.

Gård 2016 Grand Klasse Reserve Lawrence Vineyards Riesling Columbia Valley $28 89 points
Enchanting aromas of lime zest, spice and Mandarin orange lead to full-bodied orange and apricot flavors that show a sense of subtlety. It’s an intriguing example of the variety.

Gård 2017 Lawrence Estate Wines Lawrence Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $17 89 points
Aromas of cantaloupe, kiwi and peach lead to a broad mouthful of tropical fruit flavors that include pineapple, kiwi and papaya. A slightly warm but still mouthwatering finish caps it off.

Gård 2016 Lawrence Estate Wines Lawrence Vineyards Grenache Columbia Valley $40 89 points
Aromas of dark raspberry, dried tobacco, dried flower and spice lead to full-feeling tobacco, raspberry and blueberry flavors. Tobacco notes linger on the finish. It’s a unique offering of the variety for the state—an area worthy of further exploration for this variety.

Gård 2014 Grand Klasse Reserve Lawrence Vineyards Syrah Columbia Valley $50 88 points
Aromas of dried cherry, dried herbs and medicine lead to full-bodied, ripe dark fruit flavors. The fruit seems a bit desiccated. It finishes quite warm.

Gård 2016 Lawrence Estate Wines Lawrence Vineyards Merlot Columbia Valley $40 88 points
Aromas of barrel spice, vanilla, black cherry, dried tobacco and savory herbs are followed by light, elegant, well-balanced fruit flavors. The concentration seems light, but what’s there is spot-on, though the variety is a bit hard to find.

Gård 2015 Lawrence Estate Wines Lawrence Vineyards Malbec Columbia Valley $35 87 points
Aromas of graphite, cassis, coffee and herbs lead to quite ripe, slightly candied seeming fruit flavors, with plentiful barrel accents. Coffee notes linger on the finish. The warmth of the vintage shows.

Gård 2014 Grand Klasse Reserve Lawrence Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $55 87 points
The aromas bring notes of dried black currant, baking spices, mushroom and dried herbs. Ripe, full, slightly dried out seeming fruit flavors follow, finishing warm. The tannins seem a bit aggressive at present and the fruit somewhat desiccated.

Gramercy 2018 Olsen Vineyard Rosé Columbia Valley $25 90 points
Cinsault takes the lead at 47% on this wine, with the rest 27% Grenache and 26% Syrah, with all of the varieties co-fermented. It’s pale salmon in color, and the aromas provide notes of citrus zest, strawberry and flower. Lighter-styled but still broad-feeling fruit flavors follow, bringing a lovely sense of freshness.

Januik 2017 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $30 92 points
Year after year, this wine brings consistently high quality, and this vintage does not disappoint. Aromas of pumpkin spice, straw, mineral and a whiff of toast enchant, showing a pleasing sense of subtlety. Full, textured pear, peach, lees and spice flavors follow, intertwining on the lemony finish, with a toasty note that caps it off. It’s completely delightful. Editor's Choice

Januik 2016 Reserve Columbia Valley $65 90 points
Spice, cherry jam and herb aromas are followed by ripe, jammy fruit flavors that bring a sense of deliciousness. Coffee notes linger on the finish. The warmth of the vintage shows, but it still brings a lot of appeal.

Januik 2016 Weinbau Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope $40 90 points
The aromas offer notes of dried and fresh herbs, vanilla, tobacco, coffee and cherry. Plump, rich, ripe black fruit flavors follow, with enough structure to stand them up. Warm vintage yumminess.

Januik 2018 Sagemoor Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $20 90 points
The aromas are subdued, with notes of lemon zest, sweet herbs, fig and tropical fruit. Juicy, sweet, full-feeling tropical fruit flavors follow. It’s a somewhat riper style of the variety that delivers.

Januik 2016 Champoux Vineyard Malbec Horse Heaven Hills $40 90 points
The aromas provide notes of bittersweet chocolate, fresh herbs, orange peel and graphite. Ripe, soft plum and dark fruit flavors follow. It brings a sense of hedonism.

Januik 2016 Klipsun Vineyard Merlot Red Mountain $35 90 points
The ripe raspberry, plum, spice and herb aromas show nuance. Plump, well-balanced, slightly candied fruit flavors follow. It’s a pleasing warm vintage, warm appellation example of the variety.

Januik 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 90 points
Barrel spice, baking spice, vanilla, herb, coffee and cherry aromas lead to ripe, rich, full-bodied fruit flavors. This one is all about hedonism and the warmth of the vintage, delivering both.

Januik 2016 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $55 89 points
The aromas offer a medley of raspberry, vanilla, black cherry cordial, green herb and barrel spice notes. Quite ripe fruit flavors follow, dipping in the middle. It doesn’t seem to have the structure to support all of the ripe fruit.

Januik 2016 Weinbau Vineyard Cabernet Franc Wahluke Slope $35 88 points
The aromas offer notes of vanilla, cherry, herbs and baking spices, mixing equal parts fruit and barrel. Ripe, plump but light fruit flavors follow. It doesn’t entirely hold together throughout.

Januik 2016 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $45 88 points
Pleasing aromas of dried herbs, barrel spice and cherry lead to ripe but somewhat subdued fruit flavors where the concentration seems pulled back. The tannins give a firm squeeze. It’s a pretty expression of the variety. Best after 2022.

Joleté 2017 Summit View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $30 91 points
This young release Cabernet from an up-and-coming region of the valley offers appealing aromas of blue plum, baking spices and dried herbs. It’s loaded with full-feeling blueberry and cherry flavors that hit the gong hard. A firm sense of tannin and acid structure backs it up. It delivers a lot of quality and value. Editor's Choice

Kerloo 2018 Blue Mountain Vineyard Grenache Blanc Walla Walla Valley $20 91 points
Brooding aromas of lemon peel, wet stone, mango and herbs lead to broad, flavorful citrus, tropical fruit and mineral notes. The acidity carries the finish off into the distance. It’s lovely. Editor's Choice

Kerloo 2018 Lonesome Springs Ranch Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $26 88 points
Lightly styled aromas of herbs, kiwi, lemon zest, papaya and mineral lead to broad-feeling but focused citrus and herb flavors. Vibrant, edgy acidity heightens the appeal. Pair it with blackened rockfish with a pineapple-kiwi salsa.

Kerloo 2018 Lonesome Springs Ranch Rosé Yakima Valley $24 88 points
This wine is equal parts Mourvèdre and Grenache. A pretty light salmon color, it offers aromas of stone fruit, wet stone, strawberry and grapefruit. Sleek, bone-dry fruit flavors follow, with a lightly creamy feel. It should shine with food alongside it.

Lord Lion 2015 Royal Pride Chardonnay Columbia Valley $18 86 points
Aromas of toast, reduction, banana and peach lead to light, sweet fruit flavors. It finishes warm.

Lord Lion 2014 Red Baron Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $36 86 points
In this 100% varietal, aromas of raspberry and blackberry jam are at the fore, followed by notes of baking spices and anise. Plum, quite ripe, sweet black fruit flavors follow. Chocolate notes linger on the finish. It pushes the extreme edges of ripeness. Drink now.

Lord Lion 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $34 86 points
Barrel aromas are out front, with notes of vanilla extract and anise along with cherry and plum. Somewhat dried out seeming dark fruit and cranberry flavors follow, with abundant barrel accents throughout.

Lord Lion 2014 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $38 85 points
Not entirely harmonious dark chocolate, butterscotch and sour aromas lead to somewhat lighter styled fruit flavors. A quite warm finish follows. It pushes the boundaries of overripeness.

Lord Lion 2014 Merlot Columbia Valley $28 84 points
Aromas of anise, cherry liquor, red apple and pencil eraser lead to light fruit flavors. Slightly gritty tannins back it up.

Lord Lion 2013 Noble Gent Columbia Valley $32 82 points
Oxidative notes of dried cherry and varnish lead to ripe, slightly sweet fruit flavors.

Magnificent Wine Company 2017 MWC Cab Sauv Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $11 86 points
Faint black currant, green herb and vanilla aromas lead to lighter-styled black fruit flavors. A sweet finish follows. Best Buy

Magnificent Wine Company 2017 MWC Sauv Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $11 86 points
The aromas seem completely shut down at present. Tart, sleekly styled flavors bring a pleasing zip of acidity. If the aromas open, it could move up. Best Buy

Maryhill 2018 Proprietor’s Reserve Albariño Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Whole cantaloupe, kiwi and pineapple aromas lead to medium-bodied, sweet canned pineapple flavors. It has a pleasing yum factor that should deliver broad appeal.

Maryhill 2018 Gunkel Vineyards Muscat Canelli Columbia Valley $17 88 points
The aromas pop, with notes of Mandarin orange, flower, jasmine and lime zest. Medium-plus sweet fruit flavors follow. It has broad appeal with a big yum factor.

Maryhill 2016 Malbec Columbia Valley $27 87 points
Red raspberry compote, plum and wood spice aromas lead to plump red fruit flavors. It offers plenty of appeal.

Maryhill 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $21 86 points
Wood spice, tire rubber, green wood and cherry aromas stand out on the nose. Rich fruit and plentiful barrel flavors intertwine on the palate, with the latter taking over. Coffee notes linger on the finish. The style gets in front of the fruit.

Maryhill 2018 Proprietor’s Reserve Rosé Columbia Valley $25 85 points
A blend of 58% Grenache, 21% Mourvèdre and 21% Cinsault, it’s a dark electric pink color with some bricking. Aromas of bubblegum, cherry, raspberry and watermelon lead to full-bodied fruit flavors. It gets bogged down, seeming to lack intention. A sweet finish caps it off.

Maryhill 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 85 points
Aromas of wood spice, tire rubber and cherry lead to ripe fruit flavors that paint around the edges. The tannins give a firm squeeze. A coffee-filled finish follows.

MTR Productions 2013 Memory Found Syrah Walla Walla Valley $90 91 points
This wine spent three years in barrel (new and neutral puncheon and barrique) and an additional three years in bottle. Aromas of dried tobacco, firepit, olive and herbs lead to lighter-styled, juicy fruit flavors. It brings a lovely sense of elegance. Smoked meat flavors linger on the finish. It shows a bit more age than might be expected.

Novelty Hill 2017 Late Harvest Stillwater Creek Vineyard Semillon Columbia Valley $25 93 points
The aromas are like smelling orange marmalade right after it’s been spread on a piece of toast. Additional aromas include apricot, beeswax and orange rind. Sweet, rich, intense but still graceful orange flavors follow with a sense of balance that carries through the long finish. Editor's Choice

Novelty Hill 2017 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $23 91 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of corn silk, spice, almond and stone fruit that lead to beautifully balanced flavors, packed with fruit. A long, lingering finish caps it off. Lively acidity provides the structure. Delicious stuff. Editor's Choice

Novelty Hill 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Merlot Columbia Valley $28 90 points
The aromas bring appeal, with notes of roasted coffee bean, dark chocolate, toast, herbs, cassis, vanilla and flower, showing pleasing nuance. The palate brings a sense of elegance to the fruit and barrel flavors, along with a zing of acidity. Considerably more restrained and elegant than recent warm vintages, it shows lovely balance to the fruit and barrel flavors. Editor's Choice

Novelty Hill 2016 Cascadia Columbia Valley $50 90 points
This Cabernet Sauvignon-driven wine is closed up aromatically out of the gate, with brooding notes of barrel spice, black currant, bittersweet chocolate, black raspberry and herbs. Ripe, layered, somewhat elegant red and black fruit flavors follow.

Novelty Hill 2018 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $20 89 points
Appealing aromas of lemon oil, freshly rubbed herb and fig lead to medium-plus bodied fruit flavors that persist on the finish. The palate brings a sense of heft. A warm finish caps it off.

Novelty Hill 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 88 points
Aromas of leafy herbs, kirsch, black cherry jam and spice lead to quite ripe fruit flavors. It’s a strange mixture of overripe and underripe elements, wanting a bit more structure to support the ripe fruit.

Novelty Hill 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $23 88 points
Fresh and savory herbs, roasted coffee bean, bittersweet chocolate, cherry licorice and dark fruit aromas are out front. The plush palate is packed in the middle, lighter along the edges.

Novelty Hill 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley $28 88 points
Vanilla, barrel spice, raspberry and anise aromas lead to a mixture of blue and black fruit flavors with abundant barrel accents, with vanilla and nougat out front. Fruit and barrel seem to tussle, with the latter winning out.

Novelty Hill 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Grenache Columbia Valley $28 88 points
Aromas of coffee, cherry, char, licorice and barrel spice are followed by rich, dark coffee-laden flavors. A warm, vanilla-filled finish follows. The variety gets lost, but it still brings appeal.

Noviello 2016 Famiglia DuBrul Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $62 91 points
This comes from one of the state’s top vineyards. Plum, vanilla and coffee aromas are out front, and soft, sumptuous, palate-coating fruit flavors follow. A lingering finish caps it off. Beautiful stuff. Editor's Choice

Noviello 2016 Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $56 91 points
This young vineyard is quickly making a name for itself. Wines like this show why. Coffee ground, black raspberry, cedar, herb and spice aromas lead to full-bodied, rich, layered black fruit flavors that persist on the finish. It’s a warm vintage wine that pulls no punches but still keeps its power in check. Editor's Choice

Noviello 2016 Brava Red Blend Red Mountain $52 90 points
Cabernet Sauvignon comprises half of this wine, with the rest near equal parts Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Brooding aromas of coffee, spices and herbs lead to focused, well-balanced fruit and barrel flavors. Best by 2024.

Noviello 2016 Syrah Red Mountain $52 90 points
The aromas offer barrel notes of dark roasted coffee bean and spice, along with cherry. Dense, full-bodied fruit flavors follow, with plentiful barrel accents. There’s no question of the warm appellation and vintage this wine comes from, but it holds it well.

Noviello 2016 Sangiovese Rattlesnake Hills $45 88 points
The aromas are elusive, not ready to reveal their charms. Smoky notes emerge over time. The palate is lovely, though the variety seems impossible to distinguish.

Pondera 2015 Reserve Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $65 88 points
Heightened aromas of bittersweet chocolate, dried and fresh herbs, black currant, dried cranberry, flower and Twizzler are out front. The palate mixes fruit and barrel flavors in equal parts, with the fruit seeming a bit dried out. A lick of firm tannins ties it all together.

Pondera 2015 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley $38 88 points
Aromas of café au lait, dark chocolate, cigar box and barrel spice lead to broad, textured fruit and barrel flavors. Fruit and barrel play equal parts in the show.

Pondera 2017 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $30 87 points
Toast and clarified butter aromas lead to flavors that show more of the same. The style rides over the variety.

Pursued by Bear 2018 Blushing Bear Rosé Columbia Valley $28 90 points
Mourvèdre makes up half of this wine, with the rest 30% Grenache and 20% Cinsault. The aromas intrigue, with notes of citrus rind, herbs, star fruit, strawberry and spice. Broad-feeling, well-balanced, mouthwatering fruit flavors follow. The acidity keeps the interest high. Yum.

Pursued by Bear 2015 Baby Bear Syrah Columbia Valley $60 88 points
Barrel aromas of vanilla bean, shaved coconut, dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate are out front, with black cherry following. Full-bodied fruit and barrel flavors make up the palate, trailing toward the finish. The oak plays a leading role, at times getting in the way.

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 In the Hills Estate Foothills in the Sun Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $80 94 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of orange peel, funk, potpourri, white flower, herbs, black pepper and butcher shop, showing delineation and detail. Light on their feet, exquisitely balanced fruit and savory flavors follow, bringing a sense of deftness. A 60-plus-second, intensely flavorful, flower- and smoked meat-filled finish cap it off. This is all about expression and elegance. Editor's Choice

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 Foothills Reserve Estate Foothills in the Sun Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $85 94 points
The funk is at the fore on this wine out of the gate, followed by vineyard signature notes of freshly ground black pepper along with sea salt, seaweed and tilled earth. A deft, flavorful palate follows leading into a long showstopping finish filled with rich notes of citrus and smoke.

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 In the Rocks Estate In the Rocks Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $90 93 points
The aromas offer lively notes of freshly peeled orange, potpourri, black pepper, fresh flower, wet stone and smoked meat. It coats the palate from end to end, bringing a sense of freshness and subtlety, with a persistent, plum- and smoked meat-filled finish. It shows a lot of grace and depth, with a finish that will not quit. Editor's Choice

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2017 Estate White In the Rocks Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $60 92 points
Arresting aromas of wet stone, talc, honey-drizzled peach and apricot are followed by full-bodied, mineral-laden flavors, showing exceptional balance, length and depth. There is a savory aspect of the wine that heightens the interest. A long finish follows. It’s a standout. Editor's Choice

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2017 Estate White In the Rocks Vineyard Grenache Blanc Walla Walla Valley $60 92 points
Astonishing aromas of wet stone are out front, along with notes of lees, almond skin and lemon. Textured, leesy, mineral-driven flavors follow. Drinking this wine is like licking a rock. It is singular and unique. Editor's Choice

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 Queen’s Road White Estate White In the Rocks Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $65 92 points
A blend of 55% Roussanne and 45% Viognier. The aromas show notes of apricot, herbs, lees, almond, cinnamon and wet rock along with an intriguing savory note. The palate is light on its feet, while showing texture, intensity and depth. A long, umami-filled finish follows. It’s fascinating, both intellectually and hedonistically. Editor's Choice

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 The Contender Estate In the Rocks Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $90 92 points
Ecstatic aromas of firepit, flower, ember, dried tobacco, roasted coffee bean, smoked meat and earth lead to lighter-styled, focused fruit and savory flavors. It brings a mouthwatering palate that delights. The flavors carry on the long finish.

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 The Classic In the Rocks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $75 92 points
One of the things so fascinating about the Rocks District is how soil trumps variety. This wine could come from no other place. The aromas intrigue, with notes of ember, black olive brine, dried tobacco and herbs. The palate brings fresh, abundant, pillowy savory flavors, with plenty of green pepper accents. A mouthwatering finish caps it off. Editor's Choice

Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2016 Stonessence Estate In the Rocks Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $110 91 points
Aromas of funk, earth, black pepper and ember lead to sultry, seamless fruit and savory flavors. A lingering finish caps it off.

Ryan Patrick 2016 Rock Island Red Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 90 points
Aromas of baking spices, coconut, vanilla, anise and blackberry lead to full-bodied fruit and barrel flavors. Coconut and vanilla notes linger on the finish. The oak plays a very prominent part in the show.

Sagelands 2017 Riverbed Red Blend Columbia Valley $12 87 points
Aromas of freshly peeled tangerine, smoked meat, plum, blueberry, herbs, cocoa and a kiss of vanilla lead to plump-feeling blue fruit flavors. It hits the mark, with a pleasing sense of balance and length. Best Buy

Sagelands 2017 Dark Shadow Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 86 points
Light aromas of matchstick, plum and burnt caramel lead to soft, elegant, lightly sweet plump fruit flavors. The concentration is light, but it shows pleasing balance for a wine at this price.

Sagelands 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 86 points
Subdued aromas of green pepper, herbs, cherry and a touch of mesquite lead to sweet, elegant fruit flavors. The concentration is light but what is there goes straight down the fairway.

Sagelands 2017 Merlot Columbia Valley $12 85 points
Mesquite smoke, tire rubber, plum and currant aromas lead to off-dry fruit flavors that go down easy.

Sagelands 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $12 83 points
Aromas of burnt toast and peach lead to toasty, sweet flavors. The wood influence completely takes over.

Saviah 2016 The Funk Estate Funk Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $60 95 points
Coming from winemaker Richard Funk, the aromas are arresting, with notes of potpourri, firepit, Stargazer lily, prosciutto, funk (no kidding), green and black olive and blue fruit. Soft, pillowy fruit and savory flavors follow, bringing an enchanting sense of lightness and intensity that lead to a hyperextended finish that carries off into the distance. It’s an accomplishment. Editor's Choice

Saviah 2016 The Stones Speak Estate Funk Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $55 94 points
The aromas jump out of the glass, with notes of potpourri, orange rind, cracked pepper, charcuterie plate, plum and ember. Lithe, sultry, intensely flavorful, sophisticated fruit and savory notes follow. The finish seems endless. It’s a complete stunner. Editor's Choice

Saviah 2016 Syrah Walla Walla Valley $32 93 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Watermill, Funk, Lewis and Anna Marie vineyards. The aromas intrigue, with notes of ember, ash, black olive, herbs, black raspberry and barrel spice. A smooth, sophisticated, flavorful palate follows along with a hyperextended finish seldom seen in a wine at this price. If you want to see what Walla Walla Valley Syrah is all about, it’s hard to imagine a better introduction. Editor's Choice

Saviah 2016 Une Vallée Walla Walla Valley $38 91 points
Cabernet Sauvignon (62%) takes the lead in this wine, followed by Merlot (24%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and Petit Verdot. Earth, fresh tobacco, dark chocolate, herbs and barrel spice aromas are followed by a full-flavored palate, mixing fruit and savory flavors. It has a nice yum factor. Editor's Choice

Saviah 2017 Saviah Estate Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $30 90 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with reserved notes of peach nectar, flower and pear. Light on their feet fruit flavors follow. It brings a compelling sense of minerality and balance. Editor's Choice

Saviah 2015 Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $38 89 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Funk, Dugger Creek and Watermill vineyards. Aromas of braised bell pepper, pie cherry, green herbs, baking spices and earth are followed by soft, sumptuous cherry and dark chocolate flavors. It brings a lot of intrigue.

Saviah 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $30 88 points
Fruit from McClellan, Seven Hills, Dugger Creek and Anna Marie vineyards comprise this wine. Earth, anise, cedar, baking spice, fresh tobacco and cherry aromas lead to pulled-back, even-keeled fruit and barrel flavors. Vanilla notes linger on the finish. It shows a sense of subtlety.

Saviah 2015 Big Sky Cuvée Columbia Valley $40 88 points
Merlot makes up half of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and equal parts Malbec and Petit Verdot. Subdued aromas of black fruit and barrel spice lead to full-bodied fruit flavors. A warm finish follows. The warmth of the vintage shows.

Saviah 2015 Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley $30 88 points
A blend of Summit View, Dugger Creek and Water vineyard fruit, alluring aromas of green, savory herbs, dusty cherry, dark chocolate and earth lead to light, elegant fruit and savory flavors. The concentration doesn’t seem to be all there, but what is delights, showing a lovely sense of elegance and balance.

Saviah 2017 The Jack Syrah Columbia Valley $18 87 points
The aromas bring notes of plum, herbs, orange peel, smoked meat and mesquite smoke. Smoke and firepit flavors follow, with mesquite notes on the finish.

Seven Hills 2018 Dry Rosé Columbia Valley $18 89 points
A very appealing pale salmon color, this wine has aromas that pop, with notes of cherry Jolly Rancher, dried herbs, rhubarb and citrus twist. Full-flavored pink grapefruit and strawberry flavors follow. It’s more weighty feeling than recent vintages but still delights.

Starside 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20 91 points
Enchanting aromas of huckleberry, parsley, dried herbs, black currant and dried flower lead to full-feeling plum, orange peel and herb flavors. Lightly grainy tannins provide support, and coffee flavors finish it off. It shows a lovely sense of balance, with its best days in front of it—a big time winner for the price. Editor's Choice

Stateland 2017 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $22 88 points
The aromas are reticent out of the gate, with notes of spice, blue fruit, dried herbs and a whiff of smoke. Elegant fruit flavors follow, focused in the middle. It’s well-constructed.

Swiftwater 2016 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $42 90 points
Toast, dried cherry, cassis, licorice and herb aromas are out front, bringing appeal. Well-balanced, fresh-seeming fruit and barrel flavors follow, carrying through the warm finish. The tannins give a firm squeeze, needing time to soften. The balance kicks it up a notch.

Swiftwater 2016 Octave Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $65 88 points
Aromas of freshly brewed black coffee and caramel are out front. Plum, anise, green herb and cherry jam notes are behind them. A full-throttled palate follows, with burly tannins backing it all up. It needs significant time in the cellar for the tannins to (hopefully?) unwind.

Swiftwater 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $50 88 points
High-register aromas of vanilla, baking spices, herbs, cedar and coffee lead to full-bodied, extracted dark fruit flavors. Grainy tannins back it up. It finishes warm.

Swiftwater 2016 Malbec Columbia Valley $42 87 points
Aromas of dark roasted coffee, char, plum, fresh and dried green herbs, vanilla and cassis are followed by somewhat lighter styled fruit and barrel flavors, with the fruit focused around the edges. Lightly grainy tannins provide support. The oak seems overweighted for the fruit that is in the glass.

Swiftwater 2016 Zephyr Ridge Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $42 86 points
Subdued aromas of cassis, vanilla, herbs and dark chocolate lead to fruit and barrel flavors that paint around the edges, seeming to be missing in the middle. Grainy tannins back it up. The concentration appears light, and the barrel influence overweighted.

Tempus Cellars 2018 Evergreen Vineyard Riesling Ancient Lakes $20 90 points
The aromas pop, with notes of lime leaf, pine, freshly squeezed lime, chalk, flower, apricot and Mandarin orange. The off-dry lemon Nestea iced tea and orange flavors deliver. Ginger notes linger on the finish. It screams out for food alongside it. Pair it with shrimp ceviche with a healthy dose of lime juice. Editor's Choice

Tempus Cellars 2016 Columbia Valley $28 88 points
Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) makes up the bulk of this wine, with the rest equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Aromas of wet penny, herbs, cherry and pencil eraser are followed by full-bodied fruit flavors. There are good things there, but it doesn’t appear to have entirely settled in, improving with time open.

Tempus Cellars 2015 Sagemoor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $38 87 points
Tire rubber, coffee and sliced red apple aromas lead to quite ripe, sweet fruit flavors, with plentiful barrel accents. Vanilla notes linger on the finish. It doesn’t all come together at present, with the extraction dialed up. Boozy flavors follow. The tannins bring some grit.

Tero Estates 2014 Windrow Vineyards Charbono Walla Walla Valley $NA 90 points
This is the only example of this variety I am aware of in the valley. Captivating aromas of potpourri and red and blue fruit lead to medium-bodied flavors that show a compelling sense of freshness and acidity. Citrus notes linger on the finish. It screams out for food alongside it.

The Originals 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 87 points
Quiet green pepper, sugared plum, red apple and cherry notes lead to soft, sweet, dark fruit flavors that display a light styling. It’s a pleasant, easy-drinking example of the variety. Best Buy

Upsidedown 2018 Rescue Rosé Horse Heaven Hills $20 90 points
This wine is 100% Nebbiolo from Coyote Canyon Vineyard. The aromas pop, with appealing notes of kiwi, sweet herbs, bubblegum, sour cherry and watermelon. Rich, just off-dry, mouthwatering kiwi flavors follow, with a big blast of acidity tying it all together.

Washington Hills 2017 Dry Riesling Washington $10 86 points
The aromas are light, with notes of fresh thyme, apricot and stone fruit. A hair off-dry, with full-feeling peach flavors following, and enough acidity to keep the interest up. Best Buy

Washington Hills 2017 Riesling Washington $10 86 points
Pungent aromas of fresh thyme are in front of botrytis and Nestea iced tea. Medium-sweet stone fruit flavors follow, with enough acidity to keep it in check. It’s a straightforward quaffer that’s well-priced. Best Buy

Washington Hills 2017 Chardonnay Washington $11 85 points
Aromas of cinnamon and spice lead to slightly sweet, medium-bodied fruit flavors. It’s straight down the fairway.

Washington Hills 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $10 84 pointsLight aromas of assorted fresh herbs, sugared plum and leaf lead to slightly sweet, lightly smoky flavors, with a mesquite-filled finish.

Washington Hills 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Washington $10 84 points
Aromas of toasted Grape-Nuts, herbs, citrus and wet metal lead to lighter-styled fruit flavors. The palate is pleasant, but the aromas don’t match up.

Waterbrook 2017 Melange Founder’s Red Blend Columbia Valley $13 89 points
Cabernet Sauvignon (42%), Merlot (25%), Syrah (20%) and Cabernet Franc (13%) make up most of this wine. Pungent aromas of blueberry, plum, fresh herbs, flower, smoke and sweet spice lead to ripe, soft blue fruit and herb flavors, with black currant notes on the finish. It hits the mark, with a pleasing sense of balance and enough structure to stand it up. Best Buy

Waterbrook 2017 Syrah Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Brooding cedar, cigar box, chocolate, smoke and blueberry aromas are followed by fruit and barrel flavors that paint around the edges. The variety is hard to find, but there is still plenty to enjoy.

Waterbrook 2017 Reserve Chardonnay Columbia Valley $15 88 points
The aromas are subdued, with notes of spice, toast, clarified butter and peach. Broad feeling but still elegant fruit flavors follow, dipping in the middle. Toasty notes linger on the finish. The oak is front and center, but for those looking for this style, it delivers.

Waterbrook 2015 Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley $23 88 points
The aromas are high register, with notes of dried herbs, coffee and black cherry. Luscious fruit and barrel flavors follow, with the tannins giving a squeeze that only Washington Merlot could. The barrel influence gets a bit in the way, but there are still good things going on.

Waterbrook 2016 Reserve Malbec Columbia Valley $23 88 points
Coffee, herb, vanilla extract, wood spice and cherry aromas and flavors are prominent. Slightly desiccated seeming fruit flavors follow. The oak steals the show.

Waterbrook 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $23 88 points
Baking spice, dark chocolate, red apple and dried cherry and cranberry aromas are out front. The palate brings full-bodied fruit flavors, with the tannins bringing a lightly astringent feel.

Waterbrook 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 86 points
The aromas offer notes of green herbs, smoke, dark chocolate, cherry and orange rind. Medium-bodied flavors follow, with the concentration light initially before broadening. There’s plenty to hang the hat on.

Waterbrook 2017 Icon Estate Chardonnay Walla Walla Valley $28 85 points
Vanilla bean, caramel, melted butter and toast aromas are out front. Lighter-styled barrel and fruit flavors follow. The oak and malolactic influences take over.

Waterbrook 2018 AVA Series Rosé Red Mountain $NA 85 points
A medium orange-pink color that shows some bricking, with aromas of cherry candy and bubblegum that lead to broad, thick feeling fruit flavors. It gets quite bogged down.

Waterbrook 2016 Malbec Columbia Valley $15 84 points
Disjointed aromas of dried orange rind, wet penny and plum are followed by quite lightly styled fruit flavors that dip in the middle. It doesn’t all tie together.

Waterbrook 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $15 84 points
The aromas are hard to tease out, with light notes of peach, spice and cinnamon. A broad but not entirely cohesive-feeling palate follows.

Waterbrook 2017 Merlot Columbia Valley $15 84 points
Vibrant aromas of green herbs, orange oil, plum, smoke and Vicks VapoRub lead to lightly styled fruit flavors. It’s an unusual offering of the variety.

Whispering Tree 2018 Riesling Columbia Valley $13 88 points
Aromas of peach, jasmine, flower and nectarine lead to almost bone-dry stone fruit flavors. Nervy acidity provides much of the appeal. Best Buy

| edit post

0 comments

Post a Comment

Your comment will be published after it has been moderated.

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