Wine Enthusiast Reviews for December 1, 2020

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for December 1, 2020. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read information on how I review wines here. Read about the Wine Enthusiast rating system here. Read about how to interpret my scores hereAll 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.



121 wines reviewed in the December 1, 2020 issue of Wine Enthusiast

The latest releases from Gramercy Cellars are, as always, top notch. But I want to specifically draw your attention to the Lower East wines. 

These are made from declassified barrels that didn’t necessarily fit the winery’s style but are still high quality. Typically most of these wines get snapped up by restaurants, but COVID-19 has given them wider consumer availability. They are very high quality wines for the price (Gramercy 2017 Lower East Mourvèdre Columbia Valley $27, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; Gramercy 2017 Lower East Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $32, 92 points; Gramercy 2017 Lower East Syrah Columbia Valley $25, 91 points, Editor’s Choice). 

Soos Creek Wine Cellars continually makes outrageously delicious wines at affordable prices. The latest releases meet that mark and then some (Soos Creek 2017 Artist Series No. 17 Columbia Valley $30, 93 points, Cellar Selection; Soos Creek 2017 Terrible Beauty Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30, 93 points, Editor’s Choice; Soos Creek 2017 Sundance Columbia Valley $25, 91 points, Editor’s Choice). 

Sean Boyd has brought the same focused, flavorful style to Sightglass Cellars that he did to Woodinville Wine Cellars. All of Sightglass’s offerings are top notch, but I want to point out in particular the winery’s Red Blend. Boyd built WWC’s Little Bear Creek into a powerhouse brand. The Sightglass Red Blend brings that same level of quality and value (Sightglass 2018 Red Blend Columbia Valley $25, 92 points, Editor’s Choice). 

Sparkman Cellars has always excelled with its two staple Bordeaux-style blends, the Stella Mae and Ruby Leigh, named after Chris and Kelly Sparkman’s children. The winery’s 2016 offering of these wines are standouts from this vintage (Sparkman 2016 Ruby Leigh Columbia Valley $65, 93 points, Editor’s Choice; Sparkman 2016 Stella Mae Columbia Valley $65, 93 points, Editor’s Choice). 

However, make make sure to check out the full list of Sparkman wines reviewed below. It includes 90+ point rated Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Graciano, Grenache, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Merlot. Does any other Washington winery work with such a diverse group of varieties at so high a quality level? 

Finally, make sure to keep an eye on the projects from Aryn Morell (AllerombMorell-PeñaThe Royal Bull). Morell focuses on fruit from the newly approved Royal Slope appellation. The proof of how special and distinctive this appellation is is in every bottle (Alleromb 2017 Corfu Crossing Vineyard Grenache Columbia Valley $62, 92 points; Alleromb 2018 La Gran Flor Blanc La Reyna Blanc Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $42, 91 points; Alleromb 2017 Cuvée B Columbia Valley $40, 91 points; Morell-Peña 2017 Gemma Camyrn Chardonnay Columbia Valley $60, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; Morell-Peña 2017 Blanc de Blancs Zero Dosage Méthode Champenoise Extended Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $75, 91 points). 

Without further ado. 

* * *

Alleromb 2017 Corfu Crossing Vineyard Grenache Columbia Valley $62 92 points 
Rhône varieties are distinguishing themselves on the Royal Slope. Gravel, raspberry and potpourri aromas lead to smoked meat and red fruit flavors that show balance, elegance and length. Herb notes linger on the finish. It’s a very pretty expression of the variety. 

Alleromb 2018 La Gran Flor Blanc La Reyna Blanc Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $42 91 points 
Winemaker Aryn Morell always gets the most out of this variety. Fruit for this wine comes from a higher elevation site on the Royal Slope, an up-and-coming region. Aromas of toast, herb and spice lead to creamy-feeling flavors. It shows a compelling sense of texture. 

Alleromb 2017 Cuvée B Columbia Valley $40 91 points 
This is a blend of Merlot (64%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%) and Malbec. The aromas are reticent, with notes of sautéed fresh herbs, cherry, barrel spice and licorice. The palate is smooth in feel, with plentiful fruit and barrel flavors backed by tightly wound tannins. Vanilla notes linger on the finish. It will have a long life in front of it. 

Alleromb 2017 Scarline Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley $62 89 points 
Aromas of cough medicine, smoke, green herb, smoked meat and eucalyptus are followed by fruit flavors that seem surprisingly light, especially considering the labeled alcohol. It’s hard to tell where it’s all is going. 

Battle Creek 2018 Battle Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $62 90 points 
The aromas offer notes of strawberry, cranberry, cinnamon stick, whole orange and plum. Plump, juicy cranberry flavors follow, with orange rind notes on the finish. It brings a pleasing sense of freshness. Give it a few years in bottle to settle in. 

Battle Creek 2017 Roe Vineyard Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge $64 90 points 
Light aromas of herb, spice, Satsuma orange, sarsaparilla and cherry are followed by bright, full-bodied fruit flavors. There’s more than enough tannic structure to pull it off. Best after 2024. 

Battle Creek 2018 Unconditional Pinot Noir Oregon $18 89 points 
Sarsaparilla, peppermint and cinnamon stick aromas are in the lead. There’s a lovely sense of elegance to the fruit flavors. Lightly grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity back it up. Tangerine notes linger on the finish. Give it some additional time in the bottle or decant to see it at its best. 

Battle Creek 2017 Battle Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $62 89 points 
Aromas of raspberry, root beer, red plum and cranberry are followed by tart, palate-coating red fruit flavors. The acidity ups the interest. It doesn’t all come together yet but shows promise. 

Borne of Fire 2018 The Burn Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 88 points 
Aromas of plum, struck match and spice lead to plump, lightly sweet plum flavors. The oak is pleasantly dialed back. 

Brian Carter 2016 Trentenaire Bordeaux Style Columbia Valley $50 92 points 
Petit Verdot (56%) takes the lead on this wine, with the balance Merlot (18%), Cabernet Sauvignon (12%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Malbec. Aromas of garden herb, dark chocolate, cedar and flowers are followed by fresh, lively flavors with a strong sense of acidity. Pair it with roasted lamb with a cherry glaze. Editor’s Choice 

Brian Carter 2016 Solesce Columbia Valley $50 91 points 
This wine is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest Merlot (19%), Petit Verdot (10%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Malbec. The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of flowers, bright herbs, blue fruit and cocoa. The palate brings plentiful cherry flavors. Tightly wound tannins provide support. 

Brian Carter 2017 Corrida Spanish-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $34 90 points 
Tempranillo makes up two-thirds of this wine, with the rest Graciano (21%), Garnacha (7%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromas bring notes of cedar, mushroom, coffee and herb. The flavors have a sense of elegance and restraint. Some additional time in the bottle will serve it well. 

Brian Carter 2015 Le Coursier Bordeaux Style Columbia Valley $40 89 points 
Merlot makes up just over half of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Cocoa, earth, baking spice and vanilla aromas lead to lighter-styled flavors. The concentration doesn’t seem all there at times. 

Brian Carter 2019 Oriana White Blend Yakima Valley $25 89 points 
This unique blend is 49% Viognier, 41% Roussanne and 10% Riesling. Ripe peach and honeysuckle aromas are out front. Lightly sweet-seeming stone fruit and pear flavors follow, with enough acidity to tie it all together. 

Brian Carter 2015 Byzance Columbia Valley $38 88 points 
This is 53% Grenache, 24% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre, 7% Counoise and 4% Cinsault. Aromas of tire rubber, coffee, brown spice, cherry and wood spice are followed by lighter-styled flavors. There are good things happening, but they don’t all come together. 

Brian Carter 2017 Big Daddy Red Blend Yakima Valley $40 88 points 
Touriga Nacional makes up 56% of this wine, with the rest Souzão (20%), Tinto Cão (16%) and Tinta Roriz. Aromas of coffee, flowers, orange rind and fresh tobacco lead to lighter-styled cranberry flavors. The fruit doesn’t quite seem to have fully ripened, but there’s still enjoyment to be had. 

Brian Carter 2016 Tuttoroso Super Tuscan Style Red Blend Yakima Valley $34 87 points 
Sangiovese makes up 68% of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon (17%) and Syrah. The aromas are unusual, with notes of shoe leather, cherry cordial and barnyard. Plum and cherry flavors follow. It finishes short. 

Brian Carter 2015 1 Boushey Vineyard Sangiovese Yakima Valley $65 87 points 
The aromas are unsettled out of the gate, with notes of char and tire rubber. Plump char and cherry flavors follow. The oak plays prominently, even once it opens up. 

Carden 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $48 91 points 
Vanilla, graphite, baking spice, black currant, cherry and tar aromas lead to a palate full of chewy tannins. Best after 2024. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $48 90 points 
Scorched earth, cherry, dried herb, vanilla and tar aromas are followed by a palate that brings some elegance. Like many wines from this vintage, it doesn’t have the midpalate density often associated with Washington, but there are still plenty of good things happening. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 88 points 
The aromas offer notes of vanilla, cocoa, asphalt, smoke and coffee. The flavors paint around the edges. The oak influence is primary. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2019 Rosé Columbia Valley $11 88 points 
The aromas are bright, with notes of watermelon, strawberry candy and whiffs of kiwi. Full, almost thick-feeling tropical fruit flavors follow. It will have plenty of admirers. Cellar Selection 

Colter's Creek 2019 Negroamaro Rosé Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $23 90 points 
With a very appealing pale copper color, this wine boasts reserved aromas of strawberry and citrus followed by fuller feeling flavors but with more than ample acidity to keep the interest high. Editor’s Choice 

Colter's Creek 2017 Arrow Rim G-S-M Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $25 88 points 
Grenache makes up half of this wine, followed by Mourvèdre (33%), with Syrah finishing it off. Aromas of tire rubber, white pepper, nori, smoke, black raspberry and herb lead to light, elegant red fruit and savory flavors that dip in the middle with a smoky finish. There will be interesting things happening if the reduction blows off. 

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 89 points 
Apple, pear and apple skin aromas are followed by bright, crisp flavors. It delivers a lot of quality and value. Best Buy 

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut Rosé Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 89 points 
Very appealing aromas of baked bread, poached pear and citrus are followed by crisp apple flavors. It’s thoroughly enchanting and a bargain to boot. Best Buy 

Domaine Ste. Michelle 2015 Luxe Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $25 88 points 
The aromas bring notes of pear and baked bread. Leesy flavors follow with a zip of acidity on the apple-filled finish. The lees influence gets a bit out in front. 

Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Extra Dry Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $13 88 points 
Pear aromas are out front, followed by notes of spice and citrus. Plentiful, lightly sweet strawberry flavors follow. It’s an enjoyable, well-priced, sweeter-style sparkler. Best Buy 

Foundry 2019 White on White Columbia Valley $24 87 points 
Marsanne makes up 45% of this wine, with the rest near equal parts Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. Slightly cloudy in appearance, the aromas offer notes of crayon, peach and lees. Lightly spritzy, tingly peach flavors follow. It doesn’t seem to have fully settled in. 

Gordon Estate 2016 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $24 87 points 
Green pepper, fresh herb and black currant aromas are followed by plump black currant flavors. It’s an appealing quaffer. 

Gordon Estate 2016 Estate Grown Syrah Columbia Valley $24 86 points 
The aromas offer notes of funk, ash, herb and barrel spice. The flavors are lighter in style, with the concentration seeming a bit dilute. Barrel flavors play a significant role. 

Gordon Estate 2019 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $14 86 points 
The aromas suggest notes of toast, caraway seed and spice. Roasted pumpkin and stone fruit flavors follow, with light ale notes on the finish. 

Gordon Estate 2016 Estate Grown Merlot Columbia Valley $24 84 points 
Aromas of jalapeño, green herb, barrel spice and plum lead to lighter styled currant and green pepper flavors. It would be quite green for Cabernet but is unrecognizable as Merlot. 

Gramercy 2017 L’Idiot du Village Mourvèdre Columbia Valley $42 93 points 
The aromas offer notes of black pepper, sauvage, freshly chopped herb and raspberry. The favors are restrained and lighter styled initially, broadening with time. The balance is exquisite. Acidity is the driver. It only ramps up with time open. Editor’s Choice 

Gramercy 2017 Lower East Mourvèdre Columbia Valley $27 92 points 
The aromas are arresting, with notes of smoked meat, white pepper, raspberry, moist earth and dried herb. The palate is elegant yet flavorful, with a nice yum factor. Peppery notes linger on the finish. Pair it with grilled lamb. Editor’s Choice 

Gramercy 2017 Lower East Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $32 92 points 
Bright, fresh savory herb, graphite and flower aromas capture the attention. The plum and cherry flavors show impeccable balance, elegance and length. It has a compelling sense of freshness. Put it on the dinner table with grilled steak with chimichurri to get the most out of it. 

Gramercy 2017 Lagniappe Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley $65 92 points 
Coming from this esteemed site in Yakima Valley, aromas of stem, moist earth, smoked meat and black pepper are followed by tart, lip-smacking flavors that ramp up in intensity with time open. Grainy tannins back it up. It needs time to show its best. Drink after 2025. Pair it with grilled meat. Cellar Selection 

Gramercy 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $50 92 points 
Fresh herb and flower aromas are out front, followed by notes of spice and plum. The palate is layered and restrained, with plenty of acidity and tannic structure supporting it all. It’s far from a big bruiser, but this is serious Cabernet, with impeccable balance. Editor’s Choice 

Gramercy 2017 Lower East Syrah Columbia Valley $25 91 points 
There’s plenty of aromas of smoked meat, fresh herb, white pepper, violet and raspberry. The flavors are light but layered. It’s mouthwatering and juicy, a terrific value that will shine at the dinner table. Editor’s Choice 

Jaine 2019 Sustainable Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $24 92 points 
This is a new, white wine dedicated winery and a sensational debut. The aromas are compelling, with notes of lemon pith, herb and the underside of a pineapple, unmistakably Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors are generous, intense, with a lot of texture. Mouthwatering acidity finishes it off. It’s a big-time winner—everything you could want from this variety. Bravo! Editor’s Choice 

Jaine 2019 Sustainable Vineyards Rosé Columbia Valley $24 90 points 
This is all Grenache. The aromas are bright and appealing, with notes of watermelon and strawberry. A juicy, richly flavorful, medium-bodied palate follows. It’s a bit weighty at times but still has the acidity to pull it off. 

Jaine 2019 Sustainable Vineyards Chardonnay Columbia Valley $24 90 points 
This is stainless steel fermented and aged. The aromas are bright, with notes of cantaloupe, pear and banana. Fresh fruit flavors follow, with an appealing sense of texture and the acidity that this vintage brings. 

Kind Stranger 2019 Rosé Columbia Valley $17 88 points 
A very pretty pale salmon color, this wine offers aromas of watermelon, herbs, crushed dried rose petal and yellow strawberry. A strong sense of acidity enlivens the palate. The dried rose aromas get in the way at times. 

Latta 2017 Weinbau Vineyard Malbec Wahluke Slope $45 93 points 
The aromas jump out of the glass, with notes of Damson plum, tar and spice. The palate is intensely flavorful but still brings a sense of tartness and freshness. It’s a standout, textbook offering of this variety. Editor’s Choice 

Latta 2017 Latta Latta G-S-M Columbia Valley $35 93 points 
This is a blend of principally Grenache (45%) and Mourvèdre (36%), with the rest Syrah. The aromas intoxicate, with notes of fresh herb, raspberry, plum and dried orange rind. The palate brings piercingly pure, layered raspberry flavors that sail on the hyperextended finish. It’s an absurd value and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Editor’s Choice 

Latta 2017 Lawrence Vineyards Syrah Columbia Valley $45 93 points 
This is a new addition to the lineup, from an area—the Royal Slope—that is coming to be known for its Syrah. The aromas are bright, with notes of tangerine zest, flower, cigar leaf, medicine and red and blue plum. It’s loaded with blue fruit flavors. A light eucalyptus note lingers on the long finish. It’s fascinating and impressive stuff. 

Latta 2017 Upland Vineyard Grenache Snipes Mountain $45 92 points 
The aromas are generous, with notes of ripe raspberry, cherry, white pepper and herb. Soft, sultry flavors follow. There’s a wonderful textural feel that heightens the appeal, with the candied raspberry flavors all about purity. 

Latta 2017 Lawrence Vineyard Roussanne Columbia Valley $30 92 points 
Aromas of whole apricot, beeswax and almond lead to full-feeling, palate-coating flavors, not as richly textural as recent offerings but more than delivering. In keeping with the year, there is more acidity here than in previous vintages, keeping the flavors in vivid focus. 

Latta 2017 Dana Dibble Freewater Rocks Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45 92 points 
The aromas are subdued for the Rocks District but still draw you into the glass, with notes of olive, freshly mortared herb, plum, orange twist, firepit and moist earth. The flavors are layered, showing depth and intensity. 

Latta 2017 Gants de Suede Lawrence Vineyard Columbia Valley $45 91 points 
A new offering from the winery, this is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Malbec. Aromas of black currant, licorice, black pepper and Damson plum are followed by soft, plush-feeling orange peel and cherry flavors. It’s a subtle blend of these two varieties, with the Malbec displaying prominently. 

Latta 2017 Upland Mourvèdre Snipes Mountain $45 89 points 
The aromas are brooding, with notes of cherry, raspberry, tangerine peel and sauvage. The palate is lighter in style. There’s an intriguing sense of acidic brightness. It doesn’t stand on its own but will do well at the dinner table. Pair it with grilled lamb with mint sauce. 

Latta 2018 C.B. Lawrence Vineyards Roussanne Columbia Valley $25 89 points 
The aromas are quiet, with notes of seashell, almond, wheat and stone fruit. The palate is sleek in feel with plenty of acidity. It’s interesting but doesn’t entirely come off. 

Massalto 2019 Extravaganza Cinsault Columbia Valley $40 91 points 
This is a unicorn wine—100% Cinsault from Thunderstone Vineyard on the Royal Slope, barrel fermented with carbonic maceration. The aromas pop, with notes of plum, pomegranate, raspberry and lilac with a whiff of chocolate. It’s light on its feet with a very slight spritz, dancing with juicy fruit flavors. It’s an end-to-end, full-on charmer. Editor’s Choice 

Massalto 2019 Sauvalanche White Blend Columbia Valley $35 90 points 
This is 58% Chenin Blanc and 42% Sauvignon Blanc, cofermented and with extended maceration. With fruit coming from La Reyna Blanca Vineyard on the Royal Slope, the aromas are bright, with notes of cantaloupe, melon, kiwi skin, banana and apple. Rounded, fresh flavors follow, bringing some weight but with enough acidity to pull it off. It needs time to fully settle in, but there are lots of interesting things happening. 

Morell-Peña 2017 Gemma Camyrn Chardonnay Columbia Valley $60 92 points 
All Clone 76, aromas of cream, toast, corn silk and peach lead to expansive but still restrained mineral, white peach and spice flavors. Toasty notes linger on the finish. It brings a sense of vibrancy that ups the appeal. Beautiful stuff. Editor’s Choice 

Morell-Peña 2017 Camylla Loren Chardonnay Columbia Valley $60 91 points 
The aromas offer notes of vanilla, cream, clarified butter, spice and wet stone. There’s a pleasing sense of subtlety on the palate, with its chamomile and anise notes. Toasty notes linger on the finish. It displays the vintage’s sense of vibrancy. 

Morell-Peña 2017 Blanc de Blancs Zero Dosage Méthode Champenoise Extended Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $75 91 points 
The aromas are enchanting, with notes of pear, toasted hazelnuts and Jolly Rancher. The fruit flavors are fresh and lively. There’s a creaminess that ups the interest. It brings a sense of seriousness, with vibrant acidity. 

Morell-Peña 2017 Ysabella Bjork Chardonnay Columbia Valley $60 91 points 
This is all clone 96 Chardonnay. Clarified butter, cream, lemon balm and crayon aromas are followed by creamy candlewax flavors that sail. Toasty notes linger on the finish. Variety and winemaker influence walk hand in hand. 

Morell-Peña 2017 Blanc de Noirs Extended Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $75 90 points 
This wine spent three months in concrete egg prior to secondary fermentation. With all of the fruit from Solaksen Vineyard, pleasing aromas of baked bread and strawberry are followed by creamy-feeling flavors. It’s a modern-style sparkler that brings a sense of seriousness. 

Morell-Peña 2018 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $35 90 points 
Toast aromas are in the lead. There’s a lovely, lemony vibrancy to the palate, with the vintage carrying it. The oak dominates the aromas right now. Give it time to integrate. 

Mullan Road 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 91 points 
Roasted coffee bean, tar, melted butter and dark chocolate aromas are up front. An assortment of fruit and barrel flavors follow. Lightly chewy tannins back it up. The freshness is compelling. Best after 2024. Cellar Selection 

Pét Project 2019 Field Blend Organic Pétillant Naturel Acadia Vineyard Sparkling Blend Columbia Gorge $32 90 points 
This is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pear and strawberry aromas lead to a palate full of apple flavors and crisp acidity that ups the interest. 

Pét Project 2019 Organic Pétillant Naturel Sparkling Wine Acadia Vineyard Pinot Gris Columbia Gorge $29 88 points 
The aromas bring notes of grape skin, citrus, ale and flower. Light, bright pear and kiwi flavors follow, with plentiful acidity backing it up. The mousse seems a bit light on an otherwise enjoyable wine. 

Pét Project 2019 Pétillant Naturel Sparkling Wine Soluna Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Columbia Gorge $26 86 points 
Aromas of ale, herbs, lentil and musk lead to herby tasting flavors. It’s more intellectually interesting than hedonistically pleasing, seeming green. 

Rôtie Cellars 2018 Northern Blend Rocks Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley (OR) $48 92 points 
Boom! The aromas explode from the glass, with notes of fresh flowers, whole and squeezed Satsuma orange, blueberry pie, black pepper, plum, smoked meat and earth, showing a captivating sense of purity and clarity. It’s pillowy soft, full of fruit, olive and smoked meat flavors that undulate across the palate. The smoked meat and orange twist finish is a full 30-plus seconds. Dee-licious. Editor’s Choice 

Sightglass 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 93 points 
Malbec makes up 25% of this wine, with the fruit coming from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. The aromas are immediately appealing, with plentiful notes of roasted coffee, savory herb, chocolate, licorice, plum and cherry cordial. The palate is flavorful, layered and rich but also has a sense of liveliness, with the Malbec giving it a lift. The finish carries. It’s pure, unadulterated hedonism, a stellar example of the variety. Editor’s Choice 

Sightglass 2018 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $40 92 points 
This is all Cabernet Franc from Stillwater Creek. The aromas are generous, with notes of roasted coffee bean, cherry, plum, flowers and fresh herbs. The flavors pop, with density and a sense of structural tension. Fruit and barrel play equal parts. Editor’s Choice 

Sightglass 2018 Red Blend Columbia Valley $25 92 points 
Winemaker Sean Boyd made his name at Woodinville Wine Cellars in part by his Little Bear Creek wine that was one of the best values in the state. This is his new winery’s iteration. Made of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 20% Malbec and 5% Syrah, the wine has plentiful aromas of coffee grounds, dried herb, dark chocolate and cherry, which are followed by well-balanced flavors that show density, length and plenty of structure that’s pleasingly chewy. It’s thoroughly enchanting. Editor’s Choice 

Silver Totem 2018 Wallula Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $17 88 points 
The aromas are light, with notes of asphalt, herb and whole orange. Whole orange flavors follow. The fruit doesn’t seem to have fully ripened. 

Six Atmospheres 2016 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Blend Washington $32 89 points 
This is a side project from winemaker Linn Scott (Sparkman Cellars). With two years en tirage, the aromas are compelling, with notes of baked bread, pear and apple. Vanilla and lemony flavors follow. Some oak seems to step in the way of an otherwise lovely wine. 

Soos Creek 2017 Artist Series No. 17 Columbia Valley $30 93 points 
Cabernet Franc makes up 65% of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. With fruit coming from Ciel du Cheval, Dineen, Klipsun, Slide Mountain and Weinbau vineyards, garden herb, plum, fresh black cherry dark chocolate and light barrel notes are followed by focused fruit and barrel flavors. A tight coil of chewy tannins ties it all together. One for the cellar. Best after 2024. Cellar Selection 

Soos Creek 2017 Terrible Beauty Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 93 points 
Fruit for this 100% Cabernet comes from Elephant Mountain, Klipsun and Weinbau vineyards. The aromas show purity, with notes of violet, dried and fresh herbs, cherry and scorched earth. The plum and cherry flavors are lip-smacking, bringing a lot of acidity and tannin structure. It’s beautiful, with a long life ahead of it. Editor’s Choice 

Soos Creek 2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 91 points 
With grapes coming from one of the state’s most esteemed vineyards, the aromas bring notes of vanilla, cocoa powder, herb and cherry, with the oak in the lead at present. Fruit and barrel flavors intertwine on the palate. Beautiful stuff with a long life in front of it. Editor’s Choice 

Soos Creek 2017 Sundance Columbia Valley $25 91 points 
Merlot (46%) and Cabernet Franc (43%) take the lead on this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s aromatically locked up out of the gate, eventually opening to reveal notes of cocoa, flower and raspberry. The palate brings plentiful red fruit flavors, a whole lot of acidity and chewy tannic structure. Best after 2024. Editor’s Choice 

Sparkman 2016 Ruby Leigh Columbia Valley $65 93 points 
Merlot (56%), Cabernet Franc (22%), Malbec (11%) and Cabernet Sauvignon comprise this wine, with two-thirds of the fruit coming from Olsen Vineyard. Café au lait, raspberry compote, cherry, herb and chocolate aromas are followed by plush, dense, layered fruit flavors. It brings a sense of intensity, seriousness and balance. Editor’s Choice 

Sparkman 2016 Stella Mae Columbia Valley $65 93 points 
This wine is two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest equal parts Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot, the fruit a mix of Dionysus, Klipsun, Olsen and Weinbau vineyards. The aromas bring notes of violets, dried and fresh herbs, licorice and moist earth. The palate is soft and sultry, with a compelling sense of texture. Lightly grainy tannins back it up. It’s a beauty. Editor’s Choice 

Sparkman 2017 Rainmaker Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $65 92 points 
Almost all the fruit for this wine comes from Olsen Vineyard. Aromas of green herb are out front, followed by notes of violet, plum, dark chocolate, coffee and black currant. Chocolate, cherry and herb flavors follow. A snap of acidity, the hallmark of this vintage, ups the interest. Best after 2024. Editor’s Choice 

Sparkman 2017 Yonder Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $42 92 points 
The Cabernet Franc for this wine comes from Kiona and Olsen vineyard, along with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon from Dionysus. Aromas of roasted coffee bean, cherry, herb and barrel spice lead to dense, rich coffee and cherry flavors. It shows a lot of hang time on the finish. It’s a hedonistic offering of this variety, with the oak (55% new French) playing a prominent part in the show. 

Sparkman 2016 Evermore Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $100 92 points 
This is 100% varietal, with two-thirds of the fruit coming from Dionysus and the rest from Klipsun. Brooding aromas of soil, cherry, coffee, cinnamon and clove are followed by fruit flavors that show richness but also restraint. The bright acidity of the vintage ties it all together. It’s a classy offering of this variety that will only further express itself with time in the cellar. Best after 2026. Cellar Selection 

Sparkman 2019 As You Wish Old Vines Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $50 91 points 
This is 100% varietal, with all of the fruit coming from Block 23 at Gamache Vineyard in the White Bluffs. With the wine having been aged on lees in stainless steel, second fill and neutral oak, the aromas are quiet, with notes of almond, tropical fruit and lemon. Full-bodied, rich pineapple and kiwi flavors follow. It’s rich but manages to maintain its balance. A warm finish caps it off. 

Sparkman 2018 Lumière Chardonnay Columbia Valley $35 91 points 
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Stillwater Creek. The aromas bring notes of toast, corn silk, almond and spice, showing a sense of subtlety. It’s full-bodied and textured in feel, with the acidity brightening the flavors. Toasty notes linger on the finish. 

Sparkman 2017 Underworld Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $48 91 points 
Brooding aromas of dark roasted coffee, fresh herbs and flowers lead to rich, intense, center-focused fruit and barrel flavors and a warm finish. Despite the intensity, it still retains its sense of liveliness. Pair it with grilled lamb. 

Sparkman 2017 Darkness Syrah Yakima Valley $65 91 points 
Sixty-one percent of the fruit for this wine comes from Boushey Vineyard—and it shows—with the rest from Olsen. Aromas of funk, earth, iron, coffee and barrel spice are followed by dense, rich, hedonistic blue flavors. It brings a compelling savory element. 

Sparkman 2016 Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $65 91 points 
All of the Cabernet for this wine comes from Klipsun Vineyard, with just a dash of Olsen Petit Verdot (7%) topping it off. Aromas of char, coffee, herb and cherry are followed by plentiful coffee and chocolate flavors. The finish lingers. It lives up to its name. 

Sparkman 2018 Holler Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $32 91 points 
This is a pan-Washington Cabernet, with fruit from White Bluffs, Horse Heaven, Red Mountain and Yakima Valley. The aromas offer notes of vanilla, sautéed dried herb, ground aniseed, coffee and cherry. Plump chocolate and cherry flavors follow, with a smooth feel upping the appeal. Editor’s Choice 

Sparkman 2018 Gaga Touriga Nacional Snipes Mountain $55 91 points 
This is a rare bottle of 95% Touriga Nacional, with the rest Graciano, coming from a growing region that rarely sees appellated bottles. The aromas bring fascinating notes of coffee, freshly peeled tangerine, red fruit, musk and butterscotch. The palate is full-bodied, textured and flavorful. It has a big yum factor. 

Sparkman 2018 Reunión Graciano Snipes Mountain $55 91 points 
The seldom seen Graciano makes up 92% of this wine. The rest is Touriga Nacional, with all of the fruit coming from Upland Vineyard. Char, coffee, whole orange, vanilla and raspberry, with the palate delivering more of the same. There’s a lovely lick of acidity that ups the interest. 

Sparkman 2018 Wonderland Grenache Columbia Valley $35 91 points 
The aromas fascinate, with notes of gravel, green herb and cigar box. The palate mixes fruit and savory flavors. It hasn’t fully settled in yet but has all of the stuffing. Best after 2021. 

Sparkman 2017 Hallelujah Red Blend Yakima Valley $60 90 points 
This is equal parts Touriga Nacional and Souzão, with the fruit from Upland Vineyard. Aromas of brown sugar, caramel and plum are followed by rich fruit and barrel flavors. It has a nice yum factor. 

Sparkman 2018 Baba Sangiovese Yakima Valley $55 90 points 
This wine is Sangiovese (86%) and Malbec, with the fruit coming from Boushey and Gamache, respectively. The aromas offer notes of coffee, sautéed herb and chocolate. It’s loaded with coffee and cherry flavors. Lightly grainy tannins back it up. It’s delicious, but the oak (34% new French) seems to get in the way of the fruit at times. 

Sparkman 2019 Pearl Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $24 90 points 
Almost two-thirds of the fruit for this wine comes from Oasis Vineyard. The aromas bring notes of grass, Meyer lemon, kiwi, pineapple and herb. The palate is full-bodied and rich, chock-full of tropical fruit flavors that lead to a warm finish. It’s a compelling, warm-site offering of this variety, with plenty of acidity backing it up. 

Sparkman 2017 Enlightenment Old Vines Chardonnay Yakima Valley $50 90 points 
With all of the fruit coming from Olsen Vineyard, toast, peach, wheat, pumpkin and spice aromas are out front. Creamy-feeling flavors follow, showing a sense of restraint. Toasty notes linger on the finish. The oak (44% new French) plays a central role in the show. 

Sparkman 2017 Preposterous Malbec Red Mountain $42 90 points 
Fruit for this wine comes from Klipsun Vineyard, along with dashes of Syrah from Boushey and Ciel du Cheval. Brooding aromas of cola, coffee, herb and chocolate lead to plush fruit and barrel flavors. It’s a charmer. 

Sparkman 2017 Outlaw Merlot Columbia Valley $55 90 points 
Weinbau Vineyard fruit comprises half of this wine, with the rest from Olsen, Kiona and Klipsun. Roasted coffee bean, cherry and chocolate aromas are followed by bountiful raspberry and chocolate flavors. It’s a one-wine charm offensive, with the oak playing prominently. 

Sparkman 2016 Ruckus Syrah Red Mountain $55 90 points 
This wine is rounded with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Viognier, with fruit from Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun and a splash from Boushey. Aromas of blue fruit, dried herbs, raspberry compote and milk are followed by ripe fruit flavors. The variety’s hedonism is on display. 

Sparkman 2018 Apparition Roussanne Yakima Valley $24 89 points 
The aromas are nutty, with notes of almond skin and lees along with seashell. The palate brings texture. It’s part intrigue, part delivery. 

Sparkman 2018 Kindred Red Blend Columbia Valley $25 89 points 
Aromas of brown spices, herbs, vanilla and cherry lead to silky-feeling flavors with plentiful barrel accents. Raspberry notes pop on the finish. There’s enough tannic heft to tie it together. 

Sparkman 2019 This Old Porch Rosé Columbia Valley $22 87 points 
This is a kitchen sink saignée-style rosé that includes a blend of red and white grapes. Showing a bit of bricking, the aromas are generous, with notes of watermelon, herb and strawberry. The palate is fuller feeling, thick at times, getting bogged down. 

Succession 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $44 91 points 
This is 100% varietal, with fruit coming from Lawrence, Weinbau, Famiglia and Quintessence vineyards. The aromas offer notes of char, dried herb, roasted coffee, graphite and dark chocolate. Chocolate and coffee flavors follow, showing a pleasing tartness. The oak plays a prominent part in the show but plays it well. 

Succession 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $72 91 points 
All the fruit for this wine comes from Quintessence Vineyard, which is quickly establishing itself as one of the best in the state. Generous aromas of raspberry, chocolate and dried herb lead to a palate full of fruit of tightly wound tannins. The acidity brings a sense of vibrancy. Give it a bit of additional time in the bottle or decant. 

Succession 2019 Riverview Vineyard Chenin Blanc Wahluke Slope $28 90 points 
Chenin Blanc is increasingly rare in the state, with this example coming from a warmer appellation. You’d never know it on the wine. The aromas are light and appealing, with notes of corn husk, mineral and whole lemon. The palate is medium-bodied, with tart acidity. It’s a lovely example of the variety. 

Succession 2019 Rosé Columbia Valley $26 89 points 
All the fruit for this rosé of Syrah comes from Gamache Vineyard. It’s a pretty pale peach color, with aromas of herb and citrus zest providing appeal. The palate is tart and focused, with a zip of acidity. 

Succession 2019 Our Evolution White Blend Columbia Valley $26 89 points 
Sémillon makes up 61% of this wine, with the rest Sauvignon Blanc (21%) and Viognier. Aromas of ripe peach, fig and flower are followed by medium-bodied flavors. It displays the tartness of the vintage. Stone fruit flavors linger on the finish 

Succession 2018 Bridge Builder’s Blend Columbia Valley $39 89 points 
This wine is 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot and 6% Malbec. Aromas of flowers, freshly chopped herbs and orange rind lead to flavors that bring a pleasing sense of freshness. 

Succession 2018 Syrah Yakima Valley $42 89 points 
Fruit for this wine comes from Candy Mountain Vineyard, which recently became its own subappellation of the valley. Aromas of earth, raspberry and spice aromas lead to flavors that show a pleasing sense of elegance. It’s a pretty offering of this variety. 

Succession 2018 The 5th Year Yakima Valley $72 89 points 
Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon each make up a third of this wine. The aromas are quiet out of the gate, with notes of plum and currant. The palate is full of plump raspberry flavors. There’s an appealing sense of purity. 

Succession 2018 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $46 88 points 
Fruit for this wine comes from Weinbau, Famiglia and Quintessence vineyards. Aromas of raspberry jam, tar and spice are followed by ripe red fruit flavors that display a sense of elegance. It’s alternately a bit overripe and seemingly a little under extracted—a strange mix. 

Succession 2019 Antoine Creek Vineyard Viognier Columbia Valley $28 87 points 
Fruit for this wine comes from Antoine Creek Vineyards in the Lake Chelan appellation. Aromas of canned peach lead to fruit flavors that paint around the edges. It has a pleasing tartness. 

Succession 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $30 87 points 
With fruit coming from Double D Vineyards just outside of the Lake Chelan appellation, the aromas are light and hard to tease out, with whiffs of herb. The palate is more giving, with medium-bodied, almost thick-feeling lemony flavors. It’s hard to see exactly where it’s all going, but there is promise. 

Succession 2018 Merlot Columbia Valley $42 87 points 
Famiglia and Couette vineyards comprise the fruit for this 100% varietal wine. Musk, shoe polish and flower aromas are followed by lightly styled flavors. It’s an odd mix. 

Succession 2018 Reserve Candy Mountain Merlot Yakima Valley $72 87 points 
Light aromas of cherry pit and herb lead to sleek, tart flavors. The palate seems light and disjointed. 

Succession 2018 Reserve Syrah Red Mountain $72 87 points 
Fruit for this wine comes from Quintessence Vineyard. The aromas pop, with notes of raspberry and Craisins. It’s lighter than the aromas might suggest, front loaded and pulling up on the finish. It seems quite overripe, with the fruit dried out. 

Succession 2018 Malbec Columbia Valley $42 86 points 
With fruit coming from Antoine Creek Vineyard, light aromas of varnish and cherry lead to tart, sleek, center-focused flavors. The variety seems hard to find. 

Tamarack 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $35 90 points 
The aromas bring notes of toast, coffee, black cherry, mocha and red berries. The palate has the bright acidity that is the hallmark of the vintage, along with juicy fruit flavors and firm tannins. It’s wound up tightly right now. Best after 2025. 

The Royal Bull 2018 Crown Jewels Columbia Valley $60 89 points 
Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre each make up about a third of this wine. The aromas intrigue, with notes of iron, funk, dried herb and brown spices. It’s ripe in style, with plush feeling fruit and savory flavors that are quite jammy. 

The Royal Bull 2018 Royal Mistress Viognier Columbia Valley $60 88 points 
Half the fruit for this wine comes from Lawrence Vineyard and the rest from Stoneridge. The aromas bring notes of ripe peach, flower and apricot. Full, viscous-feeling flavors follow, with some toasty notes on the finish. A quite warm finish caps it off. There are good things going on, but the ripeness and heat hold it back. 

Valo 2018 Lawrence Vineyards Chardonnay Columbia Valley $30 90 points 
Toast aromas are prominent initially. Behind them are notes of peach and spice. Layered stone fruit flavors follow. There is intensity but no shortage of vibrancy. Give it some time in the bottle for the oak to fully integrate. 

Wild Type 2017 Dionysus Vineyard Riesling Columbia Valley $15 88 points 
The aromas are exuberant, with notes of flower, lime and dried Nestea iced tea. It’s bone-dry and medium-bodied, with a zing of acidity. It will fit in best at the dinner table. 

Wild Type 2016 Dionysus Vineyard Riesling Columbia Valley $15 87 points 
Starting to show its age, this wine offers strong aromas of gasoline and diesel along with rubbed lime leaf and citrus. Bone-dry, medium-bodied flavors. It’s interesting but seems a bit past peak. 

William Weaver 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 87 points 
This wine doesn’t seem to have fully settled in as of yet, with aromas of tire rubber, struck match and currant. The concentration comes off as quite light, though there is appealing purity. 

William Weaver 2017 Tattoo Girl Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 87 points 
This wine doesn’t seem to have fully settled in as of yet, with aromas of tire rubber, struck match and currant. The concentration comes off as quite light, though there is appealing purity. 

Image by Richard Duval.

Sean P. Sullivan

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