Wine Enthusiast reviews for September 2020

Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for September 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.

103 wines reviewed in the September issue of Wine Enthusiast.

Located in Ravenna, Eight Bells Winery makes an assortment of high quality wines, but one that always stands out as both distinctive and historical is the winery’s David’s Block Red Wine. Named after former Columbia Winery winemaker and Master of Wine David Lake, this wine takes fruit from a block at esteemed Red Willow Vineyard, where Lake worked with the Sauer family to plant a number of different Bordeaux varietal clones. These are all taken together, often as a field blend, and put into this wine. There is not another like it in the state (Eight Bells 2016 David’s Block Red Willow Vineyard Bordeaux-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $38, 93 points, Editor’s Choice).

Kevin White has made a name for himself with his buy-them-before-they’re-gone, exceedingly well priced wines. The wines listed here were similarly snapped up quickly but serve as notice to look for the current and upcoming releases (Kevin White 2018 La Paysanne Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $38, 95 points, Editor’s Choice; Kevin White 2018 La Fraternite Yakima Valley $32, 94 points, Editor’s Choice; Kevin White 2018 Pionnier Boushey Vineyard Rhône-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $40, 93 points, Editor’s Choice).

Located in Georgetown, Cloudlift Cellars is quietly making some truly lovely and exceeding well-priced wines. If you haven’t had the opportunity, give them a look (Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Stratus Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $36, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Halcyon Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30, 91 points; Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Panorama Merlot Columbia Valley $28, 90 points, Editor’s Choice).

Part of the joy of the Two Vintners wines is the wide assortment that winemaker Morgan Lee makes. A number of excellent wines are listed below. I will highlight two here (Two Vintners 2017 Some Days Are Stones Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $50, 92 points; Two Vintners 2017 Zinfandel Wahluke Slope $29, 92 points, Editor’s Choice). The Zinfandel in particular has very much become a signature wine for the winery.

At WT Vintners, Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen has distinguished himself by making lower oak, lower alcohol, food friendly, vineyard designated wines (see a profile of the winery here). Few do it better. Note these releases also include the winery’s first Chardonnay. Some of the highlights are here. See the full list below (W.T. Vintners 2017 Damavian Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $49, 93 points, Editor’s Choice; W.T. Vintners 2017 Boushey Vineyard Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $40, 93 points, Editor’s Choice; W.T. Vintners 2017 Rhône Blend Boushey Vineyard Rhône-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $40, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; W.T. Vintners 2019 Underwood Mountain Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Columbia Gorge $22, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; W.T. Vintners 2018 Rainmaker Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $32, 92 points, Editor’s Choice).

On the value side, the 2018 Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc is an outrageous value (Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $10, 90 points, Best Buy). The winery’s Chardonnay is also a superb value (Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $11, 88 points, Best Buy).

Without further ado. 

* * * 

Balboa 2016 Reserve Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $60 92 points
One sniff and there is no question where this wine hails from. Brooding aromas of wet stone, moist earth, crushed plum, olive, raspberry, dried herbs and flowers are followed by pillowy, soft fruit and savory flavors. It’s a compelling offering from this vineyard, with an extended finish capping it off.

Balboa 2018 Mith Rhône Blend Rhône-style White Blend Walla Walla Valley $22 91 points
Aromas of whole cantaloupe, honeycomb, lees and peach are followed by full-bodied, nectarous stone fruit flavors. The mouthfeel brings a whole lot of appeal. It lingers on the finish. Editor’s Choice

Balboa 2015 Carmenère Walla Walla Valley $45 91 points
This variety is often noted for its green characteristics but, coming from the warmest vintage that the state has seen, this wine is very much not that. All coming from Summit View Vineyard, it has appealing aromas of black pepper, jam, whiffs of jalapeño and black fruit, followed by rich, full-bodied dark-fruit flavors with plentiful peppery accents. It’s a hedonistic delight, a full-throttle interpretation of this variety. Editor’s Choice

Balboa 2017 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $20 91 points
Plum, black cherry and fresh herb aromas are out front. The palate packs a wallop of rich dark-fruit flavors, supported by firm, tightly wound tannins. It’s delicious. Give it some time in the cellar or decant. Editor’s Choice

Balboa 2019 Grüner Veltliner Columbia Valley $20 89 points
Pear, cut red apple and herb aromas lead to lively pear flavors that bring texture. The acidity keeps the interest high.

Balboa 2019 Rosé Columbia Valley $20 87 points
Pale peach in color and showing a bit of bricking, with aromas of lime zest and watermelon followed by broad-feeling flavors. Lees notes linger on the finish.

Block Wines 2018 Ankleroller Block Stone Speak Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $50 93 points
This is a new vineyard for this wine, but still coming from the Rocks District. The aromas offer exuberant notes of potpourri and tangerine peel along with stem, pepper, plum and blueberry. A perfumed, outrageously floral, elegant palate follows, with plentiful smoked meat and blueberry notes in tandem. It shows a lovely sense of deftness. The finish has outrageous hang time. Editor’s Choice

Block Wines 2018 Boushey Vineyard Golden Block Grenache Yakima Valley $40 91 points
The aromas are perfumed, with notes of potpourri, cola, raspberry candy, blueberry and moist earth after a rain. The palate is elegant and light but still plenty flavorful. It shows delicacy and beauty.

Block Wines 2017 Discovery Vineyard Block 1 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $60 90 points
The aromas bring a lot of freshness, with notes of whole orange and orange zest, along with bright green herbs, cherry and plum. The palate brings all that and more, with the acidity and tannin structure that this vineyard has hung its hat on. It shows the variety’s greener, fresher, more savory side. Not for all tastes.

Cedar + Salmon 2017 Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $25 87 points
Raspberry, cranberry and tin aromas rise up from the glass. Jammy red fruit flavors follow, finishing warm. It goes down easy but needs a little more substance to pull it together.

Charles & Charles 2018 Art Den Hoed Vineyard Riesling Yakima Valley $14 88 points
Vibrant aromas of diesel, lime leaf, peach and apple lead to off-dry flavors that bring a strong sense of acidity. There’s no mistaking the variety.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $10 90 points
Lighter aromas of herb, melon and citrus zest are followed by rounded-feeling, plentiful tropical fruit flavors. A lovely sense of acidity stitches it together. Best Buy

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 89 points
The aromas bring immediate appeal, with notes of cherry, raspberry, black licorice and barrel spice. The palate brings jammy fruit flavors. It’s a ripe, red fruited style but also brings some freshness that keeps it balanced. It a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $11 88 points
Aromas of corn silk, candy corn, vanilla and clarified butter are followed by creamy-feeling fruit flavors with plentiful baking spice accents. It’s a spot on example of the variety at a great price. Best Buy

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 87 points
The oak is far out front, with notes of vanilla extract, coconut, pine and freshly hewn wood in front of dark fruit. Medium-bodied fruit and barrel flavors follow. The oak almost completely steals the show.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Indian Wells Merlot Columbia Valley $16 86 points
Aromas of cherry cough syrup, smoke, vanilla and asphalt are followed by a lighter styled, charry palate. It doesn’t all work, with the oak getting in the way.

City Limits 2019 Virginia Street Roussanne Yakima Valley $18 89 points
It is exceedingly rare to see a bottle of this variety from the state at this price. Intriguing aromas of pear, apricot, citrus and seashell are followed by full-bodied, textured flavors.

City Limits 2018 Street Art Syrah Columbia Valley $15 89 points
Aromas of strawberry Jolly Rancher are followed by full-feeling cherry candy flavors. It delivers a lot of enjoyment but comes off as a bit one-note at present. Perhaps some additional time in the bottle will add some others.

City Limits 2017 Where the Sidewalk Ends Red Blend Columbia Valley $18 88 points
Zinfandel makes up over half of this blend (54%), with the rest Primitivo (35%) and Petite Sirah. Aromas of tar, blackberry, jammy raspberry and spice are followed by upfront, rich, full-bodied, primary fruit flavors. It brings undeniable appeal.

City Limits 2017 Detour Red Blend Columbia Valley $18 87 points
The aromas bring a fair amount of reduction out of the gate, along with notes of coffee, cranberry and wet copper penny. The palate brings an odd mixture of green herb and cherry flavors that tussle. Orange rind notes linger on the finish.

Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Stratus Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $36 92 points
Cloudlift has always excelled with this variety, and the 2017 vintage continues that trend. The Petit Verdot is blended with 10% Merlot, and the aromas are forward, with notes of plum, cherry, coffee, dried herbs and cocoa. The palate is packed to the brim with ripe blue and purple fruit flavors. A lovely sense of acidity and tannin structure stitches it all together. Coffee notes linger on the finish. Editor’s Choice

Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Halcyon Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 91 points
Gamache and Elephant Mountain vineyard fruit make up this wine. Cherry, cola and dried-herb aromas are upfront. Snappy, streamlined cherry flavors follow. It brings a lovely sense of freshness with enough tannin to stand it up straight.

Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Panorama Merlot Columbia Valley $28 90 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Arianses on the Wahluke Slope and Elephant Mountain in Yakima Valley. Aromas of cocoa, café au lait, dried herbs and dark raspberry are followed by exquisitely balanced red fruit and barrel flavors. It delivers broad appeal—a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Editor’s Choice

Cloudlift Cellars 2016 Ascent Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $28 88 points
Aromas of green pepper, garden herbs and stem are at the fore. The palate brings soft, creamy, chocolate and green pepper flavors that persist. Coffee notes linger on the finish. There are good things going on, but they don’t all seem to be in sync at present. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

Cloudlift Cellars 2017 Zephyr G-S-M Columbia Valley $34 88 points
Syrah makes up 60% of this wine, with the rest equal parts Mourvèdre and Grenache. The aromas bring notes of dried herbs, dark raspberry and peppery spice. Smoky flavors follow. It’s a shame as there are good things going on underneath them.

Covington 2016 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $40 91 points
This wine is 100% varietal, aged in clay tinaja for 20 months. The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of freshly chopped cherry meat, savory herbs, mineral and green pepper, showing an appealing sense of purity. Full-bodied flavors coat the palate, with a firm tannic structure backing it up. Editor’s Choice

Covington 2016 Lawson May’s Discovery Vineyard Bordeaux-style Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $55 91 points
Merlot makes up half of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Franc (37%), Cabernet Sauvignon (17%) and Petit Verdot. The aromas rise up, with notes of baked raspberry, cherry, herb, flower and baking spice. The palate is layered and rich with a creamy feel, bringing a lot of intensity but also keeping it all in balance with more than enough structure to stand it all up. Editor’s Choice

Covington 2016 Franc Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $35 90 points
With this 100% varietal, light aromas of jammy red and black fruit, cedar and herbs are followed by ripe, full flavors that initially paint around the edges before coalescing in the middle. It has a big-time yum factor.

Covington 2018 Boushey Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $30 89 points
The aromas are dominated by notes of lees, cream, biscuit and apple, almost giving the impression of a sparkling wine. Full in feel, the palate brings yellow apple, pear, peach and pineapple flavors while a creamy texture heightens the appeal.

Covington 2016 Sangio Sangiovese Columbia Valley $27 87 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of anise and cherry cordial followed by soft, velvety fruit flavors. Coffee notes linger on the finish. There’s enjoyment to be had, but the variety seems hard to find.

Coyote Canyon 2019 Concrete fermented Albariño Horse Heaven Hills $28 90 points
The aromas pop, with notes of honeydew and apricot. The palate is richly flavorful and brings a vibrant sense of acidity that piques the interest.

Coyote Canyon 2019 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Albariño Horse Heaven Hills $20 88 points
Effusive aromas of mineral, red apple skin, tropical fruit and melon are followed by dry flavors that bring some weight with them. It’s a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

Coyote Canyon 2019 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $20 87 points
Aromas of red apple, herb and tin lead to just off-dry flavors. It brings enjoyment, but the variety seems hard to find.

Eight Bells 2016 David’s Block Red Willow Vineyard Bordeaux-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $38 93 points
This wine is a field blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, with the Merlot picked earlier. The aromas of cherry, herbs, spice and plum draw you into the glass. Soft, pure, palate-coating flavors follow, bringing an exquisite sense of freshness to the plump fruit flavors. Editor’s Choice

Eight Bells 2017 Red Willow Vineyard Sangiovese Yakima Valley $25 92 points
From vines planted in the early 1990s, this wine kicks off with aromas of sour cherry, thyme and dried orange peel. Bright, pure, laser-focused flavors follow on the palate. It has a lovely sense of vitality, and would do well with some time in the cellar or a short decant. Editor’s Choice

Eight Bells 2015 Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $42 91 points
This Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Reductive aromas are out front initially. But once they settle, they are followed by notes of coffee, dark cherry and herbs. There’s a silky softness to the palate’s coffee, chocolate and cherry flavors that ups the appeal. Coffee notes linger on the finish.

Eight Bells 2019 Boushey Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $28 91 points
The fruit for this wine comes from a single block of the vineyard and is a mixture in equal parts of four different clones: Wente, 95, 96 and 548. With 84% fermented and aged in stainless, it carries vibrant aromas of freshly cut pear, green apple, flower and wet stone. Lively, lemony acidity brightens the textured palate. It’s delicious on its own but will shine at the dinner table. Pair it with seared scallops with a lemon beurre blanc. Editor’s Choice

Eight Bells 2019 Red Willow Vineyard Mourvèdre Rosé Yakima Valley $25 90 points
The second vintage of this wine comes from a single block of this vineyard, planted in 1999. Pale peach in color, with subdued aromas and notes of cherry, strawberry and herbs. It’s broad in feel, while the acidity brings an appealing sense of freshness.

Eight Bells 2016 Old Salt Red Willow Vineyard Red Blend Yakima Valley $28 88 points
Sangiovese makes up 71% of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Cabernet Franc. Tire rubber aromas are out front, causing some distraction. There’s a lovely purity to the fruit flavors, with the tannins combed to a fine sheen. If reduction clears up, it could move up.

Frog Kisser 2016 Rhône-style White Blend Walla Walla Valley $15 92 points
This is a blend of Marsanne, Clairette, Roussanen, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. Light aromas of mineral, clarified butter and corn silk lead to a creamy-feeling palate. It has a swoon-worthy mouthfeel and shows a lot of layering and richness. An extended finish caps it off. It flat-out impresses and is a screaming value of the sort seldom seen from this appellation. Best Buy

Frog Kisser 2019 Rosé Walla Walla Valley $20 91 points
Pale salmon in color, with aromas of watermelon, mineral and herbs leading to juicy, mouthwatering flavors with a tart finish. It’s thoroughly delightful—everything you want from a rosé. Editor’s Choice

Frog Kisser 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20 88 points
Aromas of tar, blackberry jam, anise and cherry cordial are out front on this aromatically forward wine. The palate shows considerably more restraint than the aromas would suggest, bringing a sense of deftness, despite the listed alcohol. Like many Washington wines from this vintage, it wants more in the middle.

Full Pull & Friends 2007 CVBDX Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $30 91 points
This well-aged wine announces itself with aromas of leather, cherry cordial, dried fruit, mushroom and medicine, showing its age in a pleasing way. The palate brings a seamless feel to the cranberry and cherry flavors, supported by the impressive acidity of the vintage. It’s in a sweet spot and an outrageous value for a wine of this age. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2018 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $38 93 points
This wine announces itself as coming from Celilo Vineyard from the first sniff, with notes of mineral, talc and lemon. All aged in neutral oak, the palate offers full feeling but not overweighted, achingly pure flavors framed by vibrant, electric acidity. It’s a completely transparent look at this vineyard and variety. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2017 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $32 91 points
This comes from one of the state’s top Syrah sites. Reserved aromas of raspberry, smoked meat and dried herbs lead to bright, fresh fruit flavors that bring a sense of elegance. The tannins give a gentle squeeze. Allow it some time to settle in and for the aromas to catch up with the flavors. Pair with grilled lamb with a cherry glaze. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2017 Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $57 91 points
This wine comes from the first vineyard to plant Syrah in Washington. Reserved aromas of fresh herbs, stem and plum are followed by pure, lip-smacking fruit flavors. There’s an undeniably appealing sense of freshness and purity. Best after 2023. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2017 Tempranillo Columbia Valley $32 91 points
All of the Tempranillo for this wine comes from StoneTree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, with a dash (13%) of Cabernet Sauvignon from Dionysus on the White Bluffs. Aged in 30% new French oak, bringing out aromas offering notes of vanilla, sweet spice, fresh tobacco and cherry. Smooth sinewy flavors follow, sprinkled with ample barrel spicing. It’s a compelling offering of this variety. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2019 Lonesome Springs Ranch Rosé Yakima Valley $20 91 points
Single-vineyard rosés remain a relative rarity in the state. This wine is half Grenache and half Mourvèdre. Pale bronze in color, with light aromas and notes of mineral and strawberry. Fresh, juicy, medium-bodied flavors follow, bringing a lovely sense of texture and purity. A long finish caps it off. The acidity balance is lovely. More, please. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2018 Lonesome Springs Ranch Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $48 91 points
Mourvèdre is blended with 7% Grenache. The aromas are restrained, with notes of raspberry, coffee, dried herbs, smoked meat and plum. There’s a sensuous, sumptuous feel to the palate along with a lovely acidity structure. Purity is put at a premium. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2018 Black Rock Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $16 91 points
This is a new offering from the winery. The Syrah is blended with 6% Viognier. The aromas announce themselves with notes of blue fruit, herb and spice. Vibrant, full-feeling huckleberry and herb flavors follow. Tightly wound tannins provide support. It needs a bit of time in the cellar to show its stuff, but it’s rare to see this kind of quality at this price for the variety. Editor’s Choice

Kerloo 2019 Blue Mountain Vineyard Grenache Blanc Walla Walla Valley $20 88 points
Aromas of almond skin, wet stone, cheese, whole lemon and herbs lead to a full-feeling palate that shows a lot of texture and nuance. It glides on the finish. The lees impact is a little upfront at present. Perhaps it integrates with time?

Kevin White 2018 La Paysanne Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $38 95 points
Sourced from a mixture of Boushey, Sugarloaf and Olsen vineyards, the aromas draw you into the glass with notes of peppery spice, bramble, dried herbs and black cherry, showing an appealing sense of purity. The palate brings extraordinary depth, balance, intensity and length to the peppery flavors. It’s nothing short of an accomplishment, with the balance and near endless finish being what separates it. Editor’s Choice

Kevin White 2018 La Fraternite Rhône-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $32 94 points
Coming from Upland, Boushey and Olsen Vineyards, this wine is half Grenache, 41% Mourvèdre and 9% Syrah. The aromas of peppery spice, earthy, dried herbs, fresh plum, raspberry, smoked meat, black pepper and orange rind rise up from the glass, showing complexity and a classic Yakima Valley profile. The flavors explode with intensity, density, richness and layering along with impressive length. An extended, peppery finish caps it off. This is a big, broad-shouldered wine that still maintains a beautiful sense of balance. Editor’s Choice

Kevin White 2018 Pionnier Boushey Vineyard Rhône-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $40 93 points
Grenache makes up 90% of this wine, but the Mourvèdre that comprises the rest of it almost steals the show. Aromas of pot roast, black pepper, raspberry and dark fruit are followed by palate-coating, outrageous peppery flavors that show great depth. It brings as whole lot of texture, intensity and length. Editor’s Choice

Kevin White 2018 En Hommage Syrah Yakima Valley $32 90 points
The aromas offer appealing notes of spice, smoked meat, ham hock, flower and blue fruit. The palate delivers flavors that show elegance and is considerably more restrained than the aromas might suggest.

Kevin White 2017 Heritage DuBrul Vineyard Bordeaux-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $40 90 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 57% of this wine, with the rest Merlot. The aromas are brooding, with notes of cherry, herb, blueberry, raspberry, green pepper, smoke and scorched earth. The palate brings elegant, plentiful, fresh blue fruit flavors that display a sense of purity and freshness. It’s a pretty, understated wine, showing some smoke influence that increases over time.

Kevin White 2018 Reserve Olsen Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $45 89 points
The aromas pop, with pure, appealing notes of blueberry pie, thistle and smoked meat. The palate brings an assortment of cherry and berry flavors, considerably more restrained in style than the aromas might suggest.

Liberty Lake 2017 Aquila Red Blend Columbia Valley $26 83 points
Aged 18 months in new American oak, Sangiovese and Syrah make up most of this wine, with the rest Carmenère. The aromas bring volatile notes, along with raspberry, cooked vegetables and barrel tones. The palate seems thin and reedy.

Nine Hats 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20 89 points
Aromas of raspberry jam, black cherry and gummy bear are out front. Full-bodied, pleasantly pure black cherry and black currant flavors follow. There’s a lot to like.

Nine Hats 2017 Sangiovese Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Aromas of char, cherry, black currant, coffee and tire rubber are followed by plentiful red fruit flavors that dip in the middle. It brings plenty of puckering acidity, not entirely knitting together.

Nine Hats 2016 Syrah Columbia Valley $25 87 points
Aromas of blueberry, brown spices and barrel notes lead to ripe, creamy café au lait flavors. It’s interesting, but the concentration doesn’t seem all there through the middle.

Pursued by Bear 2016 Bear Cub Red Blend Columbia Valley $35 91 points
Barrel notes are upfront, with aromas of vanilla, cocoa and spice followed by plum and cherry. A flavorful palate follows, intertwining fruit and barrel that stay together seamlessly through the finish.

Pursued by Bear 2019 Blushing Bear Rosé Columbia Valley $28 91 points
This wine is half Grenache and half Mourvèdre. Pale in color, with fresh aromas of kiwi, strawberry and melon leading to medium-bodied flavors that bring some weight and seriousness but have more than enough acidity to stand them up. Sour cherry flavors linger on the finish.

Sightglass 2019 Artz Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Red Mountain $20 92 points
Bright aromas of citrus, herb and melon bring direct appeal. The palate is creamy in feel, packed with tart citrus, kiwi and herb flavors backed by mouthwatering acidity. A sense of purity only heightens the interest. It’s a standout with a big-time yum factor. Editor’s Choice

Sightglass 2018 Syrah Columbia Valley $39 92 points
This wine is a mixture of StoneTree Vineyard and Dineen fruit. The aromas pop, with notes of blueberry pie, plum, coffee and spice. Intensely rich, layered blue fruit and coffee flavors follow. It’s a hedonistic interpretation of this variety, with fruit and barrel both playing big roles.

Sightglass 2019 Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $22 89 points
This has seen no oak. The aromas bring a sense of purity, with notes of melon, lees and apple that continues on the palate. A warm finish follows. It’s an engaging, stainless steel example of this variety, not seeming to have fully settled in.

Sin Banderas 2019 Riesling Yakima Valley $24 89 points
The aromas are quite subdued for the variety, with notes of lime and herb. The dry palate brings plenty of citrus and Nestea iced tea flavors. It needs some time to be fully appreciated.

Sin Banderas 2019 Rosé Yakima Valley $19 87 points
Pale peach in color, it brings notes of lees and strawberry. The palate gets a bit bogged down, but there’s still enjoyment to be had.

Skagit Crest 2017 Estate Bottled Chuckanut White Blend Puget Sound $18 90 points
This blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris offers aromas of musk, smoke, lime, apricot and green apple. The palate brings delightful, medium-bodied flavors, with green-like apple acidity piquing the interest. The acidity is the main driver.

Skagit Crest 2017 Estate Bottled Pinot Blanc Puget Sound $18 89 points
Examples of this variety are an extreme rarity in the state. Aromas of apple, pear, dehydrated banana chips, spice and musk are followed by sleek fruit flavors livened by vibrant, lemony acidity. The acidity keeps the interest up. The finish has a kiss of smoke.

Skagit Crest 2017 Estate Bottled Chardonnay Puget Sound $16 86 points
Corn on the cob and spice aromas lead to lighter styled flavors that want more concentration or texture.

Skagit Crest 2017 Estate Bottled Sauvignon Blanc Puget Sound $18 86 points
The aromas are unusual, with notes of funk, smoke, peat, dried tobacco, mineral and herb. The concentration is light on the palate, but it has a nice mouthfeel, with plentiful citrus flavors with a light smoke accent. It’s equal parts successful and just interesting.

Skagit Crest 2016 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir Puget Sound $27 84 points
The aromas bring notes of coriander, potpourri, dried orange rind and cranberry with the light palate showing more of the same. It’s more interesting than successful.

SoDo 2019 Love Birds Rosé Columbia Valley $15 90 points
Sangiovese makes up over two-thirds of this wine, with the rest Syrah. A very appealing pale salmon color, with bright aromas of fresh melon, watermelon and strawberry followed by dry juicy, medium-bodied tangerine and melon flavors supported by lively acidity. It brings a whole lot of appeal. Best Buy

SoDo 2018 Wingman G-S-M Columbia Valley $15 88 points
The aromas offer notes of raspberry Jolly Rancher, berry and generous amounts of orange peel and green herb. This wine is medium bodied, with orange peel and berry flavors following. A medicinal note lingers on the finish.

Starside 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20 91 points
More than half of this wine comes from Discovery Vineyard, which is quickly establishing itself as one of the state’s top Cabernet Sauvignon sites. High-register aromas of purple fruits, flowers, dates and herbs are followed by voluptuous, palate-staining flavors with sweet black currant notes on the finish. Editor’s Choice

Swiftwater 2017 Syrah Columbia Valley $35 89 points
Aromatically brooding, this wine offers notes of spice and berry. The blueberry pie and boysenberry flavors are considerably more expressive. A light nutshell flavor adds an accent.

Three Rivers 2017 River’s Red Blend Columbia Valley $15 89 points
Vibrant aromas of plum, blackberry and spice are followed by plush, plump, ripe fruit flavors. It brings a whole lot of immediate appeal.

Two Vintners 2017 Some Days Are Stones Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $50 92 points
You smell this wine and it could only come from one region of the world. Earth, ember, potpourri, fresh parsley, olive and celery aromas are followed by deft but textured fruit and olive flavors. It brings a lot of freshness for this region.

Two Vintners 2017 Zinfandel Wahluke Slope $29 92 points
Appealing, hyperpure aromas of cranberry, raspberry and spice are followed by rich, full-bodied, layered, palate-coating red fruit flavors that lead to a long warm, finish. It’s everything there is to love about this variety. Zinophiles, this one is for you. Editor’s Choice

Two Vintners 2017 Some Days are Diamonds Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $50 91 points
Effusive aromas of plum, flower, purple fruit and sagebrush lead to a rich palate, packed to the brim with fruit and savory flavors. It shows impressive intensity and length.

Two Vintners 2017 Syrah Columbia Valley $25 91 points
This wine is consistently one of the state’s best Syrah values, and the current vintage does not disappoint. The aromas pop, with notes of huckleberry, raspberry compote, orange rind, potpourri and red cherry. Pure, palate-coating red fruit flavors follow, backed by lightly grainy tannins than need a bit of time to soften. Give it a short decant. Editor’s Choice

Two Vintners 2017 Make Haste Olsen Vineyard Cinsault Yakima Valley $25 91 points
This rare offering of Cinsault from the state is a consistent standout and a great value to boot. Here, the aromas intrigue, with notes of raspberry, white pepper, iron, smoked meat and cherry candy. The soft, textured red fruit and herb flavors are light, juicy and bright. It’s all about delicacy, purity and detail, with a warm finish. Editor’s Choice

Two Vintners 2017 Claire Boushey Vineyard Grenache Yakima Valley $40 91 points
This wine is pale in color for the variety. The aromas are similarly reserved, with notes of strawberry, earth, herb, smoked meat and red fruit. The palate is transparent in style, light and elegant with its display of red fruit flavors. Tasty stuff.

Two Vintners 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $32 90 points
Aromas of cherry, jam, licorice and baking spice are followed by rich, sumptuous cherry and spice flavors. It brings a whole lot of direct appeal, with fruit and barrel playing equal parts in the show.

Two Vintners 2017 Sal May’s Discovery Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $55 90 points
Aromas of cherry, bay leaf, cranberry, dried red currant, cedar and baking spice are followed by tart, focused flavors that linger on the finish. The sense of acidity is lovely.

Two Vintners 2019 Have a Nice Day Olsen Vineyard Rosé Yakima Valley $25 90 points
This is a blend of Cinsault (56%) and Grenache. Pale salmon in color, with aromas of yellow strawberry, green melon rind and citrus, followed by a medium-bodied, flavorful, almost viscous palate that’s chock-full of strawberry flavors. It’s equal parts serious and whimsical.

Two Vintners 2017 Grenache Columbia Valley $25 90 points
Aromas of strawberry candy and herbs are followed by cranberry and cherry flavors that show a pillowy soft feel. It shows a pleasing sense of intensity.

Two Vintners 2017 Legit Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 90 points
Blended with 10% Petit Sirah, this Cabernet boasts fresh cherry aromas out front, followed by notes of baking spice, sweet tobacco, sandalwood, flower and dried red currant. Ripe, juicy, center-focused flavors follow.

Two Vintners 2019 From Mars Boushey Vineyard Rhône-style White Blend Yakima Valley $30 89 points
This is the inaugural release of this wine, a blend of Picpoul (53%), Marsanne (44%) and Grenache Blanc. The aromas intrigue, with notes of lemon pith, wet stone, freshly peeled tangerine and honeycomb. The palate is light, bringing a mixture of tart citrus and sweeter orange rind flavors. It’s equal parts hedonistic and intellectual enjoyment.

Two Vintners 2017 Lola Yellow Jacket Vineyard Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $35 88 points
Coming from a vineyard in the Rocks District, this blend of Syrah (64%) and Cabernet Sauvignon offers aromas of cherry, musk, whole orange and herbs. Lighter styled fruit and savory flavors follow. The intensity doesn’t all seem there through the middle.

W.T. Vintners 2017 Damavian Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $49 93 points
Coming from Blocks 30 and 31 of this esteemed vineyard, this wine has appealing aromas of violet, parsley, purple fruit and fresh herbs that rise up from the glass. The palate is focused and fresh, starting out seeming lighter styled and then filling out over time. It brings a compelling sense of intensity and freshness. This wine could only come from this one vineyard and also from this one producer. What more could one ask for from a wine? Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best. Editor’s Choice

W.T. Vintners 2017 Boushey Vineyard Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $40 93 points
The aromas bring generous notes of freshly ground white pepper, smoked meat, sauvage, orange peel and raspberry, showing complexity and detail. Lithe black pepper and abundant fruit flavors follow, showing a sense of elegance. The balance is impeccable, the finish lengthy. It shows great staying power, too, auguring well for a good life in the cellar. Pair it with roasted pork loin with a huckleberry compote. Editor’s Choice

W.T. Vintners 2017 Rhône Blend Boushey Vineyard Rhône-style Red Blend Yakima Valley $40 92 points
In a change from recent vintages, this wine is 49% Mourvèdre, followed by Grenache (36%) and Syrah. Heaping amounts of white pepper aromas are followed by notes of herb, orange peel and red fruit. The palate brings elegant but plentiful smoke, white pepper and bacon fat flavors that show a textured feel. It’s a stunner and shows impressive staying power. Editor’s Choice

W.T. Vintners 2019 Underwood Mountain Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Columbia Gorge $22 92 points
Left on skins for 30 hours, the wine is then aged 60% in stainless steel with the rest in neutral barrel. Whole lemon, wet stone, pear, nut and talc aromas lead to a flavorful, textured palate backed by a vibrant sense of acidity. It’s flat-out delicious. Editor’s Choice

W.T. Vintners 2018 Rainmaker Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $32 92 points
This is the winery’s inaugural Chardonnay and what a debut. Coming from an organically farmed vineyard at approximately 1,150 feet of elevation with volcanic soils, aromas of mineral, green apple, lanolin and alpine flower lead to textured, lightly creamy flavors. Lemony acidity puts it all in frame. A long finish caps it off. The winemaking is impeccable, but it’s the acidity and site that truly show off. Editor’s Choice

W.T. Vintners 2017 Gorgeous Destiny Ridge Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $35 91 points
This comes from Block 1 at this vineyard. Orange rind, cherry, wet sagebrush, medicine and smoke aromas lead to fresh, tangy cranberry flavors backed by grainy, tightly wound tannins. It’s in its shell now and needs time to blossom. Best after 2023.

W.T. Vintners 2017 Boushey Vineyard Grenache Yakima Valley $40 91 points
There’s no mistaking the variety, with its vibrant notes of raspberry candy, stem, white pepper and dried herbs. The palate is soft, plush and snappy, showing a knee-buckling sense of purity. A lingering finish caps it off. The sense of texture heightens the appeal.

W.T. Vintners 2017 Grand Côte Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $49 91 points
This is a new addition to the lineup, coming from a part of this vineyard made famous by McCrea Cellars, the producer that started Washington’s Syrah craze. The aromas are subdued, with notes of herbs, raspberry, citrus and medicine. Smoky, textured flavors follow, bringing a sense of freshness. It’s part intrigue, part delivery.

W.T. Vintners 2019 Rainmaker Vineyard Rosé Columbia Gorge $22 90 points
With 90% of this Pinot Noir rosé aged in stainless steel and the rest in neutral barrel, it has aromas of yellow strawberry, kiwi, guava and wet stone followed by medium-bodied, tart, mouthwatering kiwi flavors that show layering and depth. Zippy acidity keeps the interest high. It’s a fruit-forward, expressive offering.

Walla Walla Vintners 2019 Rosé Walla Walla Valley $20 91 points
This is the inaugural rosé from this venerable winery, and it’s a home run. Pale peach in color, with aromas offering notes of bubblegum, strawberry and tangerine. Snappy, mouthwatering flavors follow and linger on the finish. Editor’s Choice

Walla Walla Vintners 2017 Red Blend Columbia Valley $24 90 points
Aromas of dried herb, bittersweet chocolate and scorched earth lead to a palate that shows a lot of elegance and sophistication. It needs some time to stretch its legs. Best after 2023.

Walla Walla Vintners 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $35 89 points
The aromas offer notes of dried herbs, cherry and tar. Somewhat lighter styled but ripe raspberry and cherry flavors follow. The tannins give a light grip, needing a bit of time to stretch their legs. Best after 2022.

Image by Richard Duval. 

Sean P. Sullivan

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be published after it has been moderated.

Instagram