This past month I tasted strong sets of new releases from Ardor Cellars, Baer Winery, EFESTE, and Kerloo Cellars to name just a few. Below are some highlights from these wineries and others.
Ardor 2014 Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $50
Following up on the winery’s impressive 2012 wine (they skipped the 2013 vintage), this wine is unmistakably from The Rocks District, with aromas and flavors of grilled asparagus, black olive flowers and savory notes.
Ardor 2014 Boushey Vineyard Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $40
Boushey is best known for its Syrah but as these next two wines show, it can yield intriguing Mourvedre as well. This wine offers aromas of lemon twist and black pepper along with an elegant, polished mouthfeel.
Baer 2013 Malbec Columbia Valley $25
Baer is best known for its Bordeaux-style blends but this single varietal wine impresses on both quality and price. The dark plum and herb flavors are soft and plush, showing an enchanting sense of purity.
Bunchgrass 2012 Founder’s Blend Walla Walla Valley $30
Under the radar Bunchgrass consistently produces standout wines. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and brings silky polished aromas and flavors of milk chocolate, dried herb and cherry. It’s all about elegance.
Efeste 2013 Jolie Bouche Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $44
Continuing with the Boushey theme, this wine shows the vineyard’s hallmark funk along with aromas and flavors of orange peel and herb. It packs a hefty punch. Overall, EFESTE’s 2013 Rhone releases are a strong set of wines.
Efeste 2015 Feral Evergreen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Ancient Lakes $20
This acid driven wine shows both the coolness of this area as well as the warmth of the vintage, with notes of wet stone, herbs and passion fruit that are both generous and sleek.
Intrinsic 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $22
This wine is a new project from Ste Michelle Wine Estates, with the wine made by Juan Munoz-Oca (Columbia Crest). Unusual for Cabernet, it saw no new oak. Rather, a large percentage of the wine was aged for nine months on skins. It’s a winner – and extremely well priced – with brooding herb and cherry notes followed by sweet fruit flavors and firm tannins.
Kerloo 2014 Boushey Vineyard Mourvèdre Yakima Valley $48
This delicious wine saw now new oak and has arrestingly pure aromas and flavors of black pepper, citrus and ground meat. The finish is lengthy but it’s the texture that really grabs the attention.
Kerloo 2015 Rosé Painted Hills Vineyard Grenache Columbia Valley $22
Single vineyard rosés are a rarity and this one delivers the goods. Aromas of strawberry and cherry lead to a dry palate with electric acidity.
Savage Grace 2015 Copeland Vineayard Cabernet Franc Rattlesnake Hills $28
As I recently wrote on the WWR Facebook page, no winery in Washington is making wines quite like Savage Grace. This young wine provides aromas of raspberries and rhubarb that are followed by directly appealing fruit flavors that display purity.
Finally, a look at some value wines.
Milbrandt 2014 Traditions Riesling Columbia Valley $13
This is a terrific example of a value Riesling, with aromas and flavors of peach and lime, drinking off dry.
Wondrous 2012 I.Q. Red Red Wine Columbia Valley $14
This is the first release form this project and it’s clear that some quality juice went into making this wine. Principally Cabernet and Merlot, it offers aromas and flavors of herb and black and blue fruit with firm tannins providing support.
Three Rivers 2014 River’s Red Wine Red Blend Columbia Valley $14
A blend of five different varieties, this wine shows fruit-forward aromas and flavors of berry, cranberry, currant and herb.