A look at Washington's 2017 vintage

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for August 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.

2017 was a fascinating year in Washington wine. It was, all things told, a relatively warm growing season. However, it had a very cool start and also a very cool finish (read a full harvest report here). 

In this way, many of the wines from this vintage offer a bit of the best of both worlds. There is the richness of fruit associated with Washington’s warm summers but also heightened levels of acidity compared to many recent years.

We certainly saw that in the white wines, which were some of the best I’ve seen in my time covering Washington wine (read an article about what made the 2017 white wines so special here). However, we also see it with the reds, many of which have noticeably more acidity than in recent vintages.

This not only makes these wines excellent for food pairing. It also means that many of them will likely be near immortal in the cellar.

I saw these characteristics with the 2017 L’Ecole No. 41 reds, some of which are reviewed below. There's a pleasing balance of richness and freshness. They also showed impressive staying power. I kept coming back to the wines day after day to see when they would give up the ghost. There was simply no quit in them.

For those who enjoy cellaring and aging wines, these wines, along with many others from the 2017 vintage, are excellent candidates (L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $40, 92 points, Cellar Selection; L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Grown Perigee Estate Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $55, 91 points, Cellar Selection; L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Grown Merlot Walla Walla Valley $37, 91 points, Editor’s Choice; L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30, 91 points).

Looking at other 2017s, it's always interesting to see Boushey Vineyard from different perspectives. At Damsel Cellars, winemaker Mari Womack offers a number of revealing looks at this site, none more so than The Fates, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (Damsel 2017 The Fates Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $38, 91 points, Editor’s Choice).

Finally, looking at some 2018s, Prospice has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting new producers in the state. The wines are all thrilling, white, rosé, and red (Prospice 2018 Resurgent Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; Prospice 2019 Gamache Vineyard Viognier Columbia Valley $28, 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Prospice 2018 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45, 91 points; Prospice 2018 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $60, 91 points). 

Without further ado. 79 wines reviewed in the August issue of Wine Enthusiast. 

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1956 2017 Columbia Valley $24 90 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Roxboro Vineyard in Prosser. Green garden herb aromas are out front, followed by notes of crushed berry and spice. Lively, lip-smacking fruit flavors follow. The strong sense of acidity ups the interest. It’s a thoroughly enchanting, lower alcohol wine.

Avennia 2017 Sestina Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $75 91 points
As usual, old vine fruit from Bacchus, Dionysus and Red Willow make up this wine. The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of black cherry, cassis, graphite, dried leaf, coffee, herb and licorice. The flavors are light on their feet out of the gate, fleshing out with time open. A long, coffee-filled finish caps it off. It needs some time to come into its own. Best after 2026 with a very long life beyond that. Cellar Selection

Avennia 2017 Valery Columbia Valley $50 89 points
Merlot makes up 86% of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Franc. The aromas offer notes of butter, spice, raspberry and dried herb. The flavors show a pleasing mix of intensity and sleek elegance, dipping a bit in the middle. It trails toward the finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

Bob Cabral Wines 2016 Zallah Ranch Riesling America $65 87 points
A full four years old, this wine is starting to show its age. Aromas of diesel, lime leaf and white peach are followed by dry drinking, faded seeming dry Nestea iced tea flavors. Drink now.

Canoe Ridge 2018 The Expedition Malbec Horse Heaven Hills $15 90 points
Aromas of coffee, spice, whole Satsuma orange and plum are followed by well-balanced, palate-coating plum and Satsuma orange flavors. It’s a big-time winner at this price. Best by 2023. Best Buy

Canoe Ridge 2018 The Expedition Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $15 89 points
Cherry, plum, braised green pepper and baking spice aromas are followed by a plump, flavorful, plum-filled palate. Soft tannins provide support. The balance kicks it up a notch.

Canoe Ridge 2018 The Expedition Merlot Horse Heaven Hills $15 88 points
Appealing aromas of cocoa, spice, plum and green pepper lead to somewhat lighter-styled, pleasantly balanced currant flavors, with a tightly wound coil of tannins giving support. It delivers a lot of broad appeal, with plentiful cocoa flavors on the finish.

Canoe Ridge 2019 The Expedition Pinot Gris Horse Heaven Hills $15 88 points
Pear aromas are out front, followed by notes of apple and pineapple. Dry tropical and stone fruit flavors follow. It delivers broad appeal.

Canoe Ridge 2017 Limited Edition Carmenère Columbia Valley $46 88 points
The aromas pop, with notes of braised green pepper, jalapeño and plum. The palate is light but flavorful, with light smoky notes underneath it. It shows the variety’s green side.

Canoe Ridge 2018 The Expedition Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $15 87 points
Aromas of vanilla, pear, butter and spice lead to full-bodied vanilla and apple flavors. The barrel notes play a significant role, but there’s still a lot to like.

Canoe Ridge 2017 Limited Edition Malbec Horse Heaven Hills $44 87 points
This is 100% varietal, with all the fruit coming from Block 19. The aromas bring pure, appealing notes of plum, Satsuma orange and spice. Soft, plush fruit flavors follow. Drink now.

Canoe Ridge 2015 Limited Edition Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $42 86 points
Brooding aromas of overripe red apple, dark fruit and spice are followed by medium-bodied dark fruit flavors with a light medicinal streak. It doesn’t all seem in sync and shows some warmth on the finish.

Damsel 2017 Boushey Vineyard Grenache Washington $38 91 points
With fruit coming from one of the state’s most highly regarded vineyards, the aromas offer effusive notes of raspberry, plum, white pepper and dried herb. The flavors show softness, elegance, intensity and length. Bravo! Editor’s Choice

Damsel 2017 The Fates Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $38 91 points
Grenache and Syrah each make up 40% of this wine, with the rest Mourvèdre. The aromas are light out of the gate, with notes of white pepper, savory herbs, chopped parsley, bacon fat, medicine, raspberry, orange peel and blue fruit. The palate shows sleek, elegant, well-delineated fruit flavors, backed by pasty-feeling tannins. Give it three to five years in the cellar or a decant. Editor’s Choice

Damsel 2016 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah Washington $28 90 points
The aromas bring notes of nori, smoked meat, white pepper, blueberry and firepit. The flavors are light and lithe, with tart acidity and a medicinal streak running throughout. The balance is lovely.

Damsel 2017 Boushey Vineyard Syrah Washington $45 89 points
The aromas intrigue, with notes of smoke, medicine, freshly chopped parsley, bacon fat, orange peel and menthol. The palate is in a lighter style, with plentiful Halls eucalyptus flavors that show length.

Damsel 2019 Boushey Vineyard Marsanne Washington $24 88 points
This young release wine is the first white to come from the winery, and it’s a variety few are working with in Washington, with this vineyard the home to most plantings. The aromas bring notes of mascarpone, lemon curd and lees. The flavors are broad but fresh in feel. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery—a promising start.

Gilbert Cellars 2019 Rosé Wahluke Slope $18 90 points
Aromas of watermelon Jolly Rancher, strawberry and guava lead to the dry, lively, acid-driven palate. Pink grapefruit and watermelon notes linger on the finish. It’s light on its feet but richly flavorful, showing an appealing sense of deftness—everything you want in a fruit-forward style of rosé. Editor’s Choice

Gilbert Cellars 2019 Unoaked Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $20 88 points
Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this has vibrant aromas of cantaloupe, watermelon and yellow apple followed by full-bodied flavors. It’s an enjoyable example of the variety and style.

Hood Crest 2018 Echo West Muscat Canelli Columbia Valley (OR) $28 86 points
The aromas pop, with notes of lime leaf, honeysuckle, marmalade and botrytis. The palate is sweet, thick and viscous, and getting bogged down. It doesn’t have the acidity to stand the flavors up.

Kiona 2018 Estate Grown Lemberger Red Mountain $15 90 points
Fruit for this wine comes from 40-year-old vines. The aromas are fruit-forward, with notes of boysenberry, blueberry and plum. The palate is soft, bringing a compelling sense of purity to the blue fruit flavors. Reminiscent of a blue fruited Syrah, it’s thoroughly delightful and a big-time value to boot. Best Buy

Kiona 2019 Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley $15 90 points
Aromas of whole honeydew melon and pear lead to tangy, lightly spritzy, off-dry flavors that show a lot of intensity. The acidity is lovely, upping the interest. It needs some time to full settle in, but it has all of the stuffing. Best Buy

Kiona NV Estate Bottled Fortuna Red Blend Red Mountain $40 90 points
This is a one-of-a-kind wine for Washington, both in terms of the blend and multi-vintage approach: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from Kiona Estate (33.4%), 2017 Carmenère from Heart of the Hill (33.3%), and 2018 Malbec. Aromas of baking spice, braised green pepper, plum and dried cherry lead to reserved but still plush fruit flavors that show length. The oak is pleasantly dialed back on this thoroughly fascinating wine. Editor’s Choice

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $40 92 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of blackberry, graphite, dried herb and dark chocolate, with the oak making an impression. The flavors are rich, the acidity high, and the tannins bring a firm grip. It needs time in the cellar to all settle in and come together, but it has all of the stuffing to deliver. Best after 2024 with a long life beyond that. Cellar Selection

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Grown Perigee Estate Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $55 91 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up half of this wine, with the rest Merlot (21%), Cabernet Franc (11%), Petit Verdot (9%) and Malbec (9%). Brooding aromas of cherry, plum, mocha, graphite, cherry and herb lead to medium-bodied fruit flavors, backed by tart acidity and firm, grainy tannins. The structure is lovely. It needs some time to stretch its legs, with the tannins giving a bigger impression than they often do from this vineyard. Best after 2024. Cellar Selection

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Grown Merlot Walla Walla Valley $37 91 points
Ferguson fruit makes up half of this wine, with the other coming from Seven Hills. The aromas offer notes of black tea, dark raspberry, wet basalt, cedar and barrel spice. The palate brings plentiful fruit flavors, generous barrel accents and ample tannin and lively acidity structure. There’s a whole lot to like. It will have a long life ahead of it. Editor’s Choice

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 91 points
The aromas offer notes of black cherry, plum, spice, coffee and herbs. Well-balanced coffee, chocolate and cherry flavors follow. The structure and balance are impressive, with the acidity upping the interest. It delivers a whole lot of quality and value. Editor’s Choice

L'Ecole No. 41 2019 Old Vines Chenin Blanc Yakima Valley $15 91 points
This wine is consistently one of the best values from the state or the country for that matter. The aromas leap up, with notes of passion fruit, guava and kiwi. The palate is broad and flavorful, with vibrant, mouthwatering acidity. It’s a stylistic shift from recent vintages, with the coolness of the season and October frost making it considerably more nervy and edgy. Best Buy

L'Ecole No. 41 2018 Frenchtown Red Blend Columbia Valley $22 90 points
Blue fruit, milk chocolate and mint aromas are followed by sumptuous, rich, layered blue and red fruit flavors. Coffee notes linger on the finish. It’s thoroughly delicious—a big-time value at this price. Editor’s Choice

L'Ecole No. 41 2017 Estate Grown Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $55 88 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 65% of this wine, with the balance Merlot (18%) Malbec (14%) and Cabernet Franc. The volatiles seem a bit high out of the gate, unusual for the winery. The aromas bring notes of maraschino cherry, barrel spice and herb. The palate is lighter than the impression the aromas give, painting around the edges initially, filling out over time. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

L'Ecole No. 41 2019 Grenache Alder Ridge Vineyard Rosé Horse Heaven Hills $22 88 points
Pale peach in color, with aromas of watermelon, strawberry and herb, followed by broad feeling, just a hair off-dry drinking flavors that lead to a warm finish. The flavors are lovely but get a bit bogged down by the ripeness, without the acidity to entirely balance it out.

Laissez Faire 2018 Sauvignon Blanc America $18 88 points
Aromas of herb and citrus lead to medium bodied, somewhat thick feeling flavors. It gets bogged down but still provides appeal.

Maryhill 2019 Proprietor’s Reserve Bloxom Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Columbia Valley $24 89 points
Aromas of pear, citrus and pea pod are followed by dry, medium-bodied flavors, framed by a lovely sense of acidity. There’s a lot to like.

Maryhill 2019 Proprietor’s Reserve Roza Hills Vineyard Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley $24 88 points
Chenin Blanc is increasingly rare in the state, with this example coming from old vines planted in the late 1970s. Candied banana, apple, wet stone, honeycomb and white peach aromas are followed by medium-plus bodied flavors and a slightly warn finish. An intriguing sense of acidity stands it up.

Maryhill 2018 Tudor Hills Vineyard Semillon Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Aromas of fig, citrus and herbs lead to quite light, center-focused flavors. Lemony acidity backs it up. It’s an interesting interpretation of the variety that needs some food alongside it to be fully appreciated. Pair it with shrimp in a lemon caper sauce.

Maryhill 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $31 87 points
The aromas of blue fruit, raisin, tire rubber, medicine and smoke don’t entirely mesh. Medicinal flavors follow, with the tannins showing some astringency.

Maryhill 2018 Proprietor’s Reserve McKinley Springs Vineyard Roussanne Columbia Valley $24 87 points
Aromas of bruised red apple lead to medium-bodied fruit flavors. A pleasing sense of acidity props it up.

Maryhill 2017 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $28 86 points
Freshly cut green pepper aromas pop, leading to flavors of cherry and Serrano pepper. The finish is quite smoky. It’s green even by the variety’s standards, drinking more like an underripe Carmenère.

Milbrandt 2017 The Sentinel Northridge Vineyard Wahluke Slope $50 91 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 65% of this wine, with the rest Merlot (26%), Malbec (5%) and Petit Verdot (4%). Aromas of char, roasted coffee bean, bittersweet chocolate, oak, flower and blackberry are followed by full-bodied dark fruit flavors with enough acidity and tannin structure to do well in the cellar. A warm finish follows. Fruit and barrel play equal parts in the show, both playing them well.

Milbrandt 2017 The Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope $27 90 points
Vanilla, baking spice and dark raspberry aromas are out front. Ripe dark fruit flavors follow, speckled with plentiful barrel accents. A lovely sense of acidity ties it all together. Fruit and barrel play equal parts in the show.

Milbrandt 2019 Family Grown Evergreen Vineyard Riesling Ancient Lakes $15 89 points
Coming from the state’s premier Riesling vineyard, the wine offers aromas of green apple, grass and pear followed by off-dry-drinking Nestea lemon iced tea flavors that stretch out on the finish. The acidity and balance keep the interest high.

Milbrandt 2019 Pinot Grigio Columbia Valley $15 89 points
Light aromas of green and yellow apple and Oregon pear lead to a dry, flavorful palate etched with lively acidity that draws out the finish. There’s a whole lot to like.

Milbrandt 2018 The Estates Evergreen Vineyard Chardonnay Ancient Lakes $26 89 points
Light aromas of baking spice, squash and lees lead to full-bodied flavors that show a pleasing sense of balance. Vanilla notes provide accents. Lively acidity ups the interest. It’s a lovely interpretation of the variety, though not for all tastes.

Milbrandt 2019 Rosé Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Aromas of strawberry, watermelon, pink grapefruit and lees are followed by weighty, somewhat thick-feeling flavors that get a bit bogged down. Still, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had.

Milbrandt 2017 Clifton Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope $42 88 points
The aromas offer notes of vanilla extract, Mounds candy bar, baking spices and dark fruit, with the oak out front, and the palate showing more of the same. The tannins are bunched up. Char and vanilla notes linger on the finish. The oak is the star of this show, but there are good things underneath it.

Milbrandt 2017 The Estates Merlot Wahluke Slope $27 87 points
Aromas of vanilla, shaved coconut and baking spice are at the fore, with the oak taking over. Dark fruit and barrel intermingle on the palate. The oak completely steals the show.

Milbrandt 2018 The Estates Clifton Hill Vineyard Viognier Wahluke Slope $26 86 points
Vanilla aromas are out front, followed by peach, creamsicle and flower, with the palate showing more of the same. The oak plays far too prominent of a role, getting in the way of the fruit.

Milbrandt 2018 Family Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 86 points
The aromas are effusive, with notes of gun smoke, green pepper and plum, not seeming to have entirely settled in yet. Lighter-styled flavors follow. The oak is pleasantly pulled back.

Old Tavern Farm 2017 Big Barn Cabernet Sauvignon America $24 85 points
The aromas offer notes cherry, chocolate, wood spice and Red Hots. The palate seems a bit evolved. Firm, slightly astringent tannins provide support. Coffee notes linger on the finish.

Original House Wine 2018 Mountain Merlot America $12 87 points
Black currant, sugared plum and whole green pepper aromas lead to off-dry drinking dark plum flavors. The sugar is heavy-handed, but the fruit flavors still manage to bring appeal. Best Buy

Original House Wine 2018 Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon America $12 87 points
The aromas bring notes of spice, green pepper, red apple and sugared plum. Sweet, sugary plum flavors follow. It has broad appeal. Best Buy

Prophecy 2016 The Lovers Red Blend America $14 86 points
A mix of Washington and California grapes, cinnamon, cherry, raspberry and spice aromas lead to somewhat innocuous seeming red and black fruit flavors. It’s straight down the fairway, offering broad appeal.

Prospice 2019 Rosé Walla Walla Valley $22 92 points
The winery’s inaugural rosé last year was one of the top pinks of the vintage, and this is quite an encore. It’s pale copper in color, and the aromas offer appealing notes of watermelon, flower, citrus zest and strawberry. Bone-dry strawberry and citrus flavors follow, backed by electric acidity that makes the flavors pop. Like any great rosé—and make no mistake, this is a great rosé—it’s equal parts frivolity and seriousness. Editor’s Choice

Prospice 2018 Resurgent Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45 92 points
This Rocks District vineyard is quickly distinguishing itself as a premier Syrah site. The aromas pop, with notes of smoked meat, potpourri, wet stone, fresh chopped parsley and purple fruit. The palate brings swoon-worthy, sleek savory flavors. Editor’s Choice

Prospice 2019 Gamache Vineyard Viognier Columbia Valley $28 91 points
Coming from perhaps the state’s premier Viognier site, aromas of melon rind, citrus, flower, peach and pear lead to sleek, lighter styled stone fruit flavors that still bring a sense of intensity. The acid balance is impressive for the variety. It carries on the finish. Editor’s Choice

Prospice 2018 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45 91 points
This comes from one of the state’s premier Syrah sites. The aromas are brooding, with notes of berry, whole parsley, violet and purple fruit. Sleek, sumptuous purple fruit flavors follow, bringing a lively sense of acidity along with granular tannins that smooth out with time open.

Prospice 2018 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $60 91 points
The aromas intrigue, with notes of graphite, fresh raspberry and spice. Red and black fruit and herb flavors coat the palate from end to end, going full-throttle without going over the top. It’s a lovely, riper-style Washington Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ryan Patrick 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $15 89 points
The aromas are reserved, with notes of melon, herb, grapefruit and tropical fruit. The palate is light and lively, with a zing of acidity that ups the interest of the lemony flavors.

Ryan Patrick 2019 Rosé Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Pale salmon in color, this wine is still settling in, showing a fair amount of reduction out of the gate, making the aromas hard to access. The palate drinks dry and is medium bodied, showing notes of strawberry and rhubarb with ample acidity in support. It’s a work in progress at present, but there are good things there.

Ryan Patrick 2016 Rock Island Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Plum aromas are out front, with whiffs of coffee, green pepper and jalapeño following. The palate is broad and flavorful. It wants a bit more concentration and ripeness, but otherwise what’s there is lovely, if a bit green.

Ryan Patrick 2018 Rock Island Chardonnay Columbia Valley $20 88 points
The aromas are reticent, with notes of pear and baking spice. The palate brings rounded vanilla, baked apple and spice flavors. It will win plenty of fans.

Ryan Patrick 2017 Reserve Elephant Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $40 87 points
The aromas offer notes of vanilla, wood spice, smoke and cherry, with the barrel notes out front. The tannins give a firm, astringent squeeze. The oak takes over the show.

Seven Hills Winery 2017 SHW Founding Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 92 points
The grapes for this wine come from the original plantings in the valley. The aromas intrigue in notes of black tea, herb, coffee, graphite and dark cherry. Plump, sumptuous cherry, raspberry and coffee flavors explode on the palate. It’s a thoroughly mesmerizing wine, with a swoon-worthy mouthfeel and great intensity. Editor’s Choice

Seven Hills Winery 2017 30th Anniversary Vintage Merlot Walla Walla Valley $65 92 points
Marking the winery’s 30th anniversary with some of the fruit coming from the original vines planted in the valley, this wine offers generous aromas of fresh red raspberry, spice and baking chocolate leading to plush, textured red fruit flavors that show depth, with coffee notes on the finish. A firm tannic structure backs it all up. It’s a Washington Merlot prototype, thoroughly delicious. Editor’s Choice

Seven Hills Winery 2017 SHW Founding Vineyard Merlot Walla Walla Valley $50 92 points
Fruit for this wine comes from the original 1981 plantings, the first in the valley. Cherry, spice, baker’s chocolate, barrel spice and crushed red berry aromas are out front. Full-bodied, layered, lush fruit and barrel flavors follow, but with more than enough acidity and tannin structure to stand them up and do well with time in the cellar. It shows more oak impression than the winery’s other Merlots from this vintage but doesn’t suffer for it. It’s old vine fruit at its best. Editor’s Choice

Seven Hills Winery 2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $55 91 points
In this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, aromas are reserved, with notes of dark fruit, herb, graphite and cocoa. Full-bodied flavors follow, backed by firm, granular tannins that need time to settle in. Best after 2025. Cellar Selection

Seven Hills Winery 2019 Dry Rosé Columbia Valley $18 90 points
Pale peach in color, aromas of cherry, herb and whiffs of green pepper are followed by sleek, mouthwatering fruit flavors. It has an ethereal quality that keeps you coming back for more. Editor’s Choice

Seven Hills Winery 2019 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $20 90 points
There’s no mistaking the variety, with its aromas of kiwi, grass and white grapefruit. Textured, medium-bodied flavors follow. A fine sense of acidity stitches it all up tightly. Editor’s Choice

Seven Hills Winery 2017 McClellan Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 88 points
The aromas pop, with notes of plum, Satsuma orange and spice. The concentration is light, especially given the listed alcohol. Green notes are threaded throughout the palate. It’s a reserved expression of the variety, though the fruit doesn’t at times seem to have fully ripened.

Seven Hills Winery 2017 Summit View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 88 points
This vineyard in the SeVein project in the southern section of the valley is quickly making a name for itself. With all the grapes coming from Clone 191, the aromas are unusual, with notes of tire rubber out of the gate that give way to herb, plum and spice. The flavors coat the edges of the palate, with the acidity and structure bringing a sense of freshness that seems at odds with the listed alcohol.

The Huntsman 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 88 points
Aromas of sweet black currant and sugared plum are followed by lighter-styled, well-balanced currant flavors. The oak is pulled way back, giving an unadorned look at the variety that will win fans.

Tunnel Hill 2016 Estate Bottled Malbec Lake Chelan $33 90 points
The aromas are effusive, with appealing, fruit-forward notes of plum, black tea, dried herbs and vanilla. The palate delivers a mouthful of lush plum and vanilla flavors. Fruit and barrel both play leading roles.

Tunnel Hill 2017 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir Lake Chelan $30 88 points
The aromas are light, with notes of celery salt, strawberry and barrel spice. The palate is light on its feet, with mouthwatering acidity. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery.

Tunnel Hill 2017 Estate Malbec Lake Chelan $33 87 points
Baking spice and vanilla aromas are at the fore, with notes of plum struggling to get to the surface. The palate paints around the edges, with vanilla flavors down the middle. The oak gets in the way, which is a shame as the fruit is good and the acidity lovely.

Tunnel Hill 2018 Estate Bottled Viognier Lake Chelan $20 87 points
Vibrant aromas of ripe peach, Jolly Rancher and pear are followed by plentiful stone fruit flavors backed by tart acidity. The fruit seems a bit overripe but the acidity holds it together.

Tunnel Hill 2016 Estate Bottled Riesling Lake Chelan $20 86 points
Aromas of wintergreen, lime, green apple, diesel and flower lead to just off-dry drinking white peach flavors and a warm finish. It drinks past peak, but there are still interesting things going on.

Tunnel Hill 2017 Estate Bottled Syrah Lake Chelan $40 85 points
Strong, almost overpowering aromas of vanilla and coconut are out front, reminiscent of a Mars candy bar, with the palate showing more of the same. The oak overrides any sense of the variety and makes it hard to get at the fruit.

Underground Wine Project 2017 Devil’s Playground Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $33 87 points
Red apple-skin aromas are out front, followed by baked raspberry and spice. Full, rich fruit flavors follow.

Underground Wine Project 2016 Idle Hands Red Blend Red Mountain $33 87 points
Aromas of smoke, blue fruit, medicine and cherry are followed by medium-bodied, strongly medicinal flavors. The fruit is delicious, but the medicinal qualities are overpowering.

Sean P. Sullivan

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