I was hoping to get Part III of this year’s Walla Walla Valley report up in advance of this weekend’s Holiday Barrel Tasting. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men. For those of you traveling out to Walla Walla, below is a list of recommendations for the weekend based on reviews up later this month.

From Woodward Canyon, check out the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Chardonnay, and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Next door at L’Ecole, the consistently high quality lineup includes their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of the year and a personal favorite. Also, if it’s being poured, don’t miss the 2008 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.

South of downtown, Amavi Cellars continues to excel at producing high quality wines that punch above their weight class. The 2009 Walla Walla Valley Syrah may be as good as the winery has made and is a steal at $29. Similarly, at nearby Saviah Cellars, Richard Funk also always makes high quality wines at compelling price points. Recent favorites include the 2009 Une Vallee and Petit Verdot. The 2009 Waters Winery Forgotten Hills Syrah is a standout in an excellent lineup of wines. This is one of the most unique Syrah sites in all of the state, and this wine a compelling expression of it.

East of town, Charles Smith at K Vintners continues to make some of the best wines in Washington. In a stellar lineup, make sure to check out the 2009 The Deal. Strike that. Check them all out. Nearby, Tranche Cellars boasts an incredibly scenic spot and a top-notch lineup. The 2007 Cabernet Franc is a current favorite and the 2006 Columbia Valley Syrah is an outrageously high quality wine for the price.

Downtown, make sure not to miss Kerloo Cellars. The new releases are stunners, and I would expect many of these wines to be gone before the end of the year due to limited production. Across the street, for all of your Washington wine needs, stop by the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman store. Same side of the street in the Marcus Whitman hotel, try the wines from Tero Estates. The whole lineup is impressive. I believe what may be my favorite, the Cabernet Franc, is sold out unfortunately. No matter, the others will make you quickly forget this. The 2009 releases from Rotie Cellars are the best wines that Sean Boyd has made. The 2009 Northern Blend is among my favorite wines of the year.

Again, there are all just wines/wineries I have sampled with reviews queued up. There’s a whole world of wine beyond this. See notes from this year on other excellent wines from àMaurice Cellars (haven’t had next door Walla Walla Vintner’s latest releases but they are always very high quality and well priced), Rasa Vineyards, Sleight of Hand, Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Gramercy Cellars, Northstar, Dumas Station, Long Shadows, Rulo, and Corliss Estates. If there are other wineries you are thinking about visiting, check the list of reviewed wineries on the left hand side of the blog for information.

Enjoy the weekend – and leave a comment and let me know what you find!

Photo Courtesy of Jan Roskelley, Tero Estates.