Wine Enthusiast Reviews for May 2020

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for May 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.


50 wines reviewed in the May 2020 issue of Wine Enthusiast. 

Andrew Rich 2016 Glacial G-S-M Columbia Valley $45 90 points
Syrah (60%) takes the lead in this wine, followed by Mourvèdre and then Grenache. Tones of raspberry, blueberry and spice carry the nose and palate, with a sultry, compact feel. Give them some time to stretch out.

Dead Canyon Ranch 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $20 86 points
The aromas offer notes of smoke, black currant, green pepper and plum. Sweet matchstick and plum flavors follow, backed by tightly coiled, slightly dry tannins. Give it a short decant if drinking in the near term.

Devona 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $38 91 points
This wine shows very pretty aromas of dried herb, cherry and cocoa. There’s a pleasing balance and nuance on the palate, with enough tannic structure to go the distance. Coffee notes linger on the finish. Best after 2023.

Elentone 2014 Brut Sparkling Blend Columbia Valley $42 91 points
This wine is a blend of Chardonnay (78%) and Pinot Noir from Kailexsie Vineyard near Lake Chelan. Aged 42 months en tirage, the aromas offer notes of pear, brioche and lemon. The palate brings a lot of flavor complexity and texture, with its bottle age working to its benefit. It’s delightful. Editor's Choice

Foundation 2016 Great Heights Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $32 92 points
This is an inaugural release from the winery. The aromas announce themselves, with notes of fresh raspberry, smoked meat, mountain blueberry, orange peel and flower shop that bring a whole lot of appeal. It’s full flavored and pulls no punches, bringing a sense of richness, intensity and polish, with a big-time yum factor. Editor’s Choice

Foundation 2014 MMXIV Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $42 91 points
This is the inaugural release from this winery. It’s a blend of fruit from Shaw and Quintessence vineyards, aged 24 months in half new French oak. Brooding aromas of spice, cherry and dried herb surround a penetrating anise note. The palate is reserved in style, well-balanced, with firm tannins and a pleasing sense of acidity given the warmth of the vintage and region. It will do well with a bit of time in the cellar. Best after 2023. Cellar Selection

Foundation 2017 Lost in Translation Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley $32 90 points
Coming from a vineyard on the Royal Slope, the aromas display notes of toasty char and roasted coffee bean, along with huckleberry and crushed rock. The palate is initially more sleek in style than the aromas might suggest but still delivers plenty of flavor.

Foundation 2017 Gloss Viognier-Roussanne Columbia Valley $25 88 points
There are some reductive notes out of the gate. Aromas of almond butter and peach follow. The pear and peach flavors are full bodied, showing some warmth.

Foundation 2015 MMXV Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $42 88 points
The aromas show with notes of wood spice, a whiff of tire rubber, dark chocolate and cherry. A full-flavored palate follows, backed by burly tannins that need some time to be tamed. It’s not entirely clear where it’s going.

Foundation 2016 Ransom Note Columbia Valley $32 87 points
Celery salt, herb and cherry are followed by medium-bodied flavors that trail toward the finish. It brings some astringency and greenness. The concentration doesn’t seem all there; it’s in an awkward spot at present.

Hood Crest 2017 Mourvèdre Columbia Valley $38 86 points
Aromas of black pepper, stem, whole orange and smoke are followed by notes of coriander and cherry. The palate is light in style, trailing toward the finish. The concentration seems light, especially for the listed alcohol.

Hood Crest 2017 Nebbiolo Columbia Valley $40 85 points
Quite light in color with an orange tinge, this wine has aromas showing notes of smoke, black pepper and raspberry. The palate is light and juicy, with firm tannins. It’s interesting, though not entirely successful. Have it with dinner to see it at its best.

Idilico 2016 Garnacha Yakima Valley $20 91 points
Aromas of strawberry, cherry gummy, citrus and plum rise up from the glass. The red fruit flavors are ripe, full and show a pleasing sense of purity, with a lightly smoky finish. It’s a superb value. More please! Editor’s Choice

Idilico 2016 Monastrell Yakima Valley $20 91 points
Somewhat pale in color for the variety, with aromas offering notes of wild strawberry, dried flower and spice. The palate is full in feel but dances lightly, showing a sense of nuance to the red fruit flavors. There’s a lot of quality and value to be had. Editor’s Choice

Idilico 2018 Albariño Yakima Valley $20 89 points
The aromas jump up, with notes of cantaloupe, pear and whole pineapple. The lightly spritzy seeming palate starts out full and rich, tapering toward the finish. It has a lovely sense of acidity that keeps the interest high.

J. Scott Cellars 2018 Albariño Columbia Valley $20 90 points
Vibrant aromas of pear, melon, whole pineapple and flower are followed by off-dry drinking, rich, full-bodied, nectarous stone and tropical fruit flavors, with enough acidity to balance it all out.

Kate Arnold 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $21 88 points
The aromas provide notes of fresh bell pepper along with herbs, cherry and dark chocolate. Smooth-feeling pit fruit and herb flavors follow. Chocolate notes linger on the finish.

Maryhill 2016 Elephant Mountain Vineyard Mourvèdre Rattlesnake Hills $42 89 points
Coffee, dried herb and cherry Luden’s cough drop aromas form the core. The red fruit and peppery flavors show a sense of elegance, though the concentration at times doesn’t all seem there, trailing toward the finish. Still, there’s much to like.

Maryhill 2016 McKinley Springs Vineyard Petit Verdot Horse Heaven Hills $38 89 points
Dried herb and cocoa aromas are out front, followed by notes of red apple and coffee. Dark-fruit flavors follow, starting out full and then dipping in the middle. Coffee notes linger on the finish. Lively acidity and firm tannic structure supports it all. Have it with food to see it at its best.

Maryhill 2016 Elephant Mountain Vineyard Sangiovese Rattlesnake Hills $38 89 points
The aromas are reserved, with notes of cherry pie, dried herb and spice. Plump red and black fruit flavors follow, with enough acidity and tannin structure to stand it up straight. It shows some warmth on the finish.

Maryhill 2016 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Marvell G-S-M Rattlesnake Hills $46 88 points
Syrah (40%) takes the lead on this wine, followed by Grenache (32%) and Mourvèdre. The aromas offer notes of baking spice, cocoa and dark fruit. The flavors are ripe and sweet in style, with plentiful barrel spice accents throughout. It stretches out on the black pepper-filled finish. Fruit and barrel play equal parts.

Maryhill 2016 Kiona Vineyards Heart of the Hill Merlot Red Mountain $44 88 points
This wine is 100% varietal, aged 21 months in three-quarters new French oak. Aromas of gravel, black licorice, vanilla, wood spice and raspberry are out front. Medium-bodied red and black fruit flavors follow, with lightly grainy tannins in support.

Maryhill 2016 Art Den Hoed Vineyard Painted Hills Primitivo Columbia Valley $30 88 points
The aromas offer reserved notes of wet clay, cherry candy, spice, dark coffee and dried herb. The palate is considerably more giving, with full-bodied flavors of vanilla, cherry and baking spice, with the oak—65% new European and American—getting a bit out front of the fruit at times.

Maryhill 2016 Kiona Vineyards Heart of the Hill Petite Sirah Red Mountain $42 87 points
The aromas are all high pitched, with the notes of flower, hay and black fruit not entirely in sync. Ripe, full-bodied flavors follow, with a big lick of firm, slightly dry tannins tying it together.

Maryhill 2016 Elephant Mountain Merlot Rattlesnake Hills $38 86 points
Baking spice, cut green pepper and dark cherry aromas are followed by green herb and pit fruit flavors that paint around the edges. It’s a quite green expression of the variety.

Maryhill 2016 Les Collines Vineyard Merlot Walla Walla Valley $38 86 points
This is 100% varietal, grown at an elevation of 1,380 feet—high for the valley. The aromas bring notes of raspberry, dried herb, alcohol and spice, seeming subdued. The flavors paint around the edges, bringing a reserved styling, with the tannins showing some astringency and bitterness. Coffee notes linger on the finish. The variety seems hard to place. Give it a long decant if drinking in the near term.

Mercer 2017 Bros. Edge of Heaven Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $20 89 points
The aromas are bursting with notes of blueberry, plum, black pepper, orange peel and dried herb. Ripe, plump blue fruit flavors follow, tapering toward the blue fruit and chocolate-filled finish.

Mercer 2016 Cavalie Reserve Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $42 89 points
Merlot makes up just over half of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah. Brooding aromas of raspberry, cherry candy, cocoa and herb lead to light, elegant, center-focused fruit flavors, which broaden with time open. It shows a pretty sense of deftness and sophistication, with a pleasing tannic structure. Fresh herb notes linger on the finish.

Mercer 2016 Small Lot Spice Cabinet Vineyard Petit Verdot Horse Heaven Hills $32 87 points
The aromas bring notes of garden herb, lemon peel and flower. The flavors are straight down the fairway, with light tannins for the variety. Barrel notes peak out on the finish. It doesn’t stand up on its own but has a place at the dinner table.

Mercer 2017 Bros. Merlot Horse Heaven Hills $20 84 points
Aromas of vanilla, plum and smoke seem to clash in the glass, with green herb, green flower, and black currant serving as spectators. The palate is light and seems citrusy.

North by Northwest 2016 Red Blend Columbia Valley $15 84 points
Strong aromas of tire rubber, mesquite and raspberry are followed by flavors of raspberry that seem to fall flat.

Old Tavern Farm 2017 Farm Table Red Blend Columbia Valley $22 84 points
This is a blend of half Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. There’s aromas of matchstick, tire rubber, cherry and barrel spice that are not entirely harmonious. The pit fruit flavors are lighter styled and somewhat tangy, finishing short.

Phelps Creek 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $34 86 points
The aromas offer notes of motor oil, citrus and wet stone. Lemony, slightly musky flavors follow, backed by vibrant acidity. The fruit shows a lot of promise, but can’t quite seem to get to the surface.

Phelps Creek 2017 Pinot Gris Columbia Gorge $24 85 points
The aromas offer notes of lemon zest and barbecue smoke. Quite smoky flavors follow, with lemony acidity providing the frame. There’s good fruit here, and the acid is impressive, but the smoke influence is fairly prominent.

Phelps Creek 2017 Gorge Crest Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $28 84 points
Wilted flower and geranium aromas are followed by lightly smoky flavors that are backed by tart, lemony acidity. The acidity is the driver here, leaving it lifted and fresh.

Pomum 2016 Shya Red Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $42 90 points
The aromas are locked up on first pour, with the notes of garden herb, cherry and spice not ready to reveal themselves. The palate is similarly shy, with sleek fruit flavors, taught tannins and a lively sense of acidity. It has all of the stuffing but needs some time in the cellar to show itself. Best after 2023. Have it on the dinner table to see it at its best.

Pomum 2016 Red Blend Columbia Valley $24 89 points
This wine is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 7% Merlot, with the rest Petit Verdot. Aromas of garden herb, coffee bean and cocoa are followed by sleek fruit flavors supported by somewhat bunched up tannins. A fine sense of acidity adds to the appeal. Best at the dinner table. Give it a short decant if drinking in the near term.

Savage Grace 2018 Two Blondes Vineyard Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $38 92 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of flower, raspberry, dried and fresh green herb, mushroom, dried orange rind, cherry, spice and moist earth, showing a mesmerizing sense of purity and detail. The flower-filled palate is sleek and lithe, with a mouthwatering sensibility and a long finish. It’s a dazzler. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best. Editor’s Choice

Savage Grace 2017 Boushey Vineyard Côt Yakima Valley $35 92 points
The aromas are arresting, with achingly pure notes of dark plum, boysenberry, dried herb and black pepper. The palate is elegant and shows a dazzling sense of purity, deftness, nuance and balance, with enough acidity and tannin structure to do well with a bit of time in the cellar. Offerings like this from this producer are redefining what Washington wine is all about. Make sure to pair it with food, perhaps a grilled pork chop with a cherry reduction. Editor’s Choice

Savage Grace 2018 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir Columbia Gorge $42 91 points
Piercingly pure Rainier cherry, red plum and dried herb aromas capture the attention. There’s a lovely sense of balance and tension to the fruit flavors that carries through the cinnamon-filled finish. Lightly sandy feeling tannins and citrusy acidity provide support. Give it a few years in bottle to see it at its best, but it’s best is impressive. Cellar Selection

Savage Grace 2018 Pollard Vineyard Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $0 91 points
This is a new offering from the winery, coming within a stone’s throw of Two Blondes Vineyard, where it also makes a varietal offering. Aromas of cinnamon, strawberry, mushroom, cherry and red plum rise up from the glass. Light, pure, exquisitely balanced flavors follow. Nuance, intensity and an alcohol level unheard of in modern days in the state for a red or even most whites (11%). It’s an accomplishment of a wine. Might be too light and airy for some tastes, but others will swoon. As always with this producer, put it on the dinner table to see it at its best. Editor’s Choice

Savage Grace 2018 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Riesling Columbia Gorge $22 91 points
With 15% of the wine aged in neutral barrel, the aromas are reserved for the variety, with notes of white peach, almond skin, green apple and lemon balm. The citrus flavors drink dry and are framed by electric, puckering, lemony acidity that commands attention. One wishes for more aromatically, but the palate more than makes up for it. Acid hounds, this one is for you. Editor’s Choice

Savage Grace 2017 Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $40 90 points
Coming from the vineyard where the original Syrah vines went into the ground in Washington, the aromas pop, with notes of moist earth after a rain, stem, flower, green herb and blackberry bramble, along with a medicinal note. A full-flavored but still elegant palate follows, with cherry Robitussin notes on the finish.

Savage Grace 2018 Orange Oak Ridge Vineyard Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $30 88 points
There’s no mistaking this orange wine’s unfined, unfiltered nature with its cloudy appearance. There’s also no mistaking the variety. The aromas pop, with notes of white flower, ginger and lychee. The palate drinks dry, with a sleek feel and plentiful floral flavors. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery.

Subsoil 2018 Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $17 88 points
Aromas of clarified butter, vanilla, peach and cream are followed by full feeling, rounded flavors. Vanilla and stone fruit flavor notes linger on the finish. The oak plays a very prominent part in the show but plays it well.

Subsoil 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $20 86 points
Green garden herb aromas are out front, followed by notes of plum, raspberry, black currant and whiffs of smoke. The black currant flavors are light and middle-focused. It comes off as a bit underripe.

T2 2016 Reserve Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $32 87 points
Aromas of bittersweet chocolate and maraschino cherry are followed by lighter-styled fruit flavors. The concentration doesn’t all seem to be there.

T2 2018 Rosé of Counoise Yakima Valley $18 85 points
Grenache (24%) rounds out this wine. Aromas of bubblegum, strawberry and lees lead to off-dry flavors that don’t have the acidity to match. It gets bogged down in the sugar.

T2 2017 G-S-M Columbia Valley $24 84 points
The Grenache for this wine comes from Inland Desert, the Syrah from Arianses and Jamison, and the Mourvèdre from Red Heaven. The aromas bring notes of raspberry, cranberry, spice and nail polish. The palate is smooth and textured. It appears to have seen significant oxygen in barrel.

T2 2016 Reserve Gamache Vineyard Malbec Columbia Valley $26 84 points
Aromas of maraschino cherry, red apple, dark fruit, nail polish and spice are followed by evolved flavors. It seems to have seen some oxygen in barrel.

Sean P. Sullivan

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