The following are some of the standout wines from my tastings last month.
B. Leighton Gratitude Red Wine Yakima Valley 2013 $45
Mourvèdre (70%) takes the lead on this GSM blend which puts a premium on purity. It’s loaded with mesmerizing aromas and flavors of cranberry, black pepper, orange peel and dried herbs, showing – a flat out stunner.
Block Wines Golden Block Grenache Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley Washington 2014 $35
It’s impossible to drink Grenache from Boushey Vineyard and not think about how he once swore never to plant the variety due to its notorious cold tenderness. Grenache clearly excels there, as shown by this lush, pure offering, which comes from Full Pull Wines.
Casa Smith Barbera Jack’s Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2012 $35
Casa Smith is a new Italian variety focused project from Charles Smith. The four initial offerings are all standouts as well as terrific values. This one is a rare example of a Barbera coming from the Rocks District, which shows aromas and flavors of crushed rock, smoke, and currant, with a mouthfeel that captures the attention.
Casa Smith Porcospino Primitivo Northridge Vineyard Wahluke Slope 2014 $20
Northridge Vineyard is quickly making a name for itself and this compelling (and exceptionally well priced) bottle is yet another example of why. It’s packed to the brim with aromas and flavors of cigar box, herb and red fruit.
Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer Celilo Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2014 $22
No one in Washington makes Gewurztraminer quite like Chris Dowsett does. This is an exuberant bottle filled with aromas and flavors of lychee, pink grapefruit and spice, drinking dry.
Fielding Hills Estate Merlot Riverbend Vineyard Wahluke Slope 2013 $36
Merlot just doesn’t get any better than this and to find a bottle at this level of quality at this price is a rare find indeed. It’s a hedonistic delight, with lush, full aromas and flavors.
Figgins Estate Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2013 $85
Chris Figgins has been impressing with this young vineyard since the first wine was released in 2008. This is once again a compelling, age-worthy wine that boasts aromas and flavors of cassis, scorched earth, flowers, and graphite.
L’Ecole No 41 Old Vines Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2015 $15
L’Ecole has been making Chenin Blanc for decades and no one in the state does it better – or does it at a better price. This wine is an outstanding value, with just off dry notes of pear, melon, and flowers.
L’Ecole Estate Grown Ferguson Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2013 $65
When the 2011 L’Ecole Ferguson was named Decanter’s Best Bordeaux Blend in the World over £25, you knew that this vineyard was going to be special, and the 2013 vintage does not disappointed. It’s loaded with full, focused dark fruit, clove, and barrel spice flavors backed by bright acidity and firm tannins.
Maison Bleue Metis Columbia Valley 2013 $20
This blend of Grenache (45%), Syrah (37%), and Mourvedre comes in at a silly season price. It leaps up from the glass with exuberant notes of black pepper, funk and red and blue berries, showing a pure, focused feel.
Saviah Cellars Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley 2013 $38
This standout wine comes from Funk Estate, Dugger Creek, and Watermill Estate vineyards, all located down in the Rocks District. Aromas of funk, tobacco, and olive lead to soft, plump savory flavors.
Saviah Cellars The Stones Speak Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2013 $55
This wine hails from Saviah’s estate vineyard in The Rocks, and winemaker Richard Funk is increasingly showing a unique expression of this area. This wine captivates, with notes of ash, flowers, smoked meat and olive that show exceptional balance.
Sixto Moxee Chardonnay Washington State 2013 $50
This is the second vintage of the Sixto wines – Charles Smith’s Chardonnay project – and the entire lineup is impressive. The standout of the group comes from Moxee Vineyard, bringing aromas and flavors of chamomile, almond butter and citrus that bring depth and texture.
Sparkman Birdie Riesling Columbia Valley 2015 $18
Dry Rieslings are a relative rarity in Washington and high quality examples even more so. This wine offers aromas and flavors of wet rock, green apple, and white flowers, with tart flavors that stick around.
W.T. Vintners Parasol Rosé of Pinot Noir Celilo Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2015 $20
This compelling rosé shows just a hint of bronze color. The aromas bring notes of wet rock and strawberry while the palate is lively and focused.
W.T. Vintners Mourvèdre Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2014 $45
This is a terrific example of cool(er) climate Mourvèdre, loaded with aromas and flavors of raw meat, white pepper, and orange peel. The oak is dialed back, putting a premium on purity.
And now for a look at a few value standouts.
Waterbrook Melange Founder’s White Blend Columbia Valley 2015 $12
This wine (which no doubt has a good whack of Riesling) charms with its off dry, leaning sweeter, honeysuckle, jasmine, orange peel and stone fruit flavors. Can you say porch pounder?
Waterbrook Reserve Riesling Columbia Valley 2015 $12
Yes, the medium sweet flavors at times gets a bit ahead of the acid, but there’s still no denying the easy drinking appeal of the apricot and floral flavors.
Dunham Three Legged Red Red Wine Washington 2014 $19
The latest Three Legged Red from Dunham Cellars bodes well for the 2014 vintage. The blueberry and baking spice flavors are lush and full, lingering on the finish.