Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for May 2017. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery. Read additional information on how I review wines here. All of these reviews are freely available on-line at the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. There is also a freely available Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide app. See previous Wine Enthusiast reviews re-published in this space here. Search Wine Enthusiast‘s on-line database here.
60 wines reviewed in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast. They include a strong set of wines from Cairdeas, including the Cairdeas 2014 Caislén an Papa Red Wine Blend Meek Vineyard Washington ($45, 91 points); Cairdeas 2014 Trí Red Blend Yakima Valley ($39, 91 points); and Cairdeas 2014 Consonance Red Blend Yakima Valley ($42, 91 points).
Eternal Wines inaugural whites are also quite impressive (Eternal 2015 Sunshine Viognier Walla Walla Valley $35, 91 points; Eternal 2014 Patience Roussanne Walla Walla Valley $40, 90 points).
Raconteur Wine Company, a new project by Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen (W.T. Vintners) also has its inaugural releases and they impress not just on quality but also on price (Raconteur 2015 White Blend Washington $19, 90 points; Raconteur 2014 Red Blend Washington $19, 90 points).
In terms of value wines, the Charles & Charles 2015 Art Den Hoed Vineyard Riesling Washington ($14, 90 points) is a standout. Also well worth a look is the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley ($9, 88 points); and Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Chardonnay Columbia Valley ($11, 88 points).
Cairdeas 2014 Caislén an Papa Red Wine Blend Meek Vineyard Washington $45 91 points
This wine is a blend of Grenache (44%), Mourvèdre (22%), Syrah (14%), Cinsault (13%) and Counoise. It delivers aromas of red fruit, celery stalk, white pepper and herb that lead to ripe full-bodied dark-fruit flavors that offer a lot of enjoyment.
Cairdeas 2014 Trí Red Blend Yakima Valley $39 91 points
Syrah (64%) takes the lead on this wine, which is topped off with Mourvèdre (24%) and Grenache. It offers brooding aromas of thistle, herb, black pepper and dark fruit. The palate is fresh and flavorful, with a pleasing fruit-forward appeal.
Cairdeas 2014 Consonance Red Blend Yakima Valley $42 91 points
This wine is just under half Petite Sirah (48%), with the balance Syrah (24%), Counoise (21%) and Mourvèdre. It opens with brooding aromas of red and purple fruit, cigar box and barrel spice. The purple-fruit flavors are rich and palate coating, showing a lovely sense of balance.
Cairdeas 2014 Counoise Yakima Valley $36 89 points
Varietal Counoise remains a rarity in the state, although more and more producers are experimenting with it. This one brings aromas of crushed violets and purple fruit that lead to simultaneously full yet sleek fruit flavors that paint a bit around the edges but still deliver plenty of enjoyment.
Cairdeas 2014 Cinsault Yakima Valley $34 89 points
This variety is an extreme rarity in the state. It opens with aromas of plum, herb and spice that are followed by soft elegant fruit flavors that linger on the finish.
Camaraderie 2013 Crawford Vineyard Dolcetto Yakima Valley $29 89 points
This variety is a relative rarity in Washington. This one offers quiet aromas of spice and cherry along with barrel accents. The tart cherry flavors are medium bodied and fruit filled.
Camaraderie 2014 Chandler Reach Vineyard Sangiovese Yakima Valley $29 89 points
Aromas of cigar box, herb and cherry are followed by bright tart acid-driven cranberry flavors. The tannins bring a light astringency but it delivers a lot of enjoyment.
Camaraderie 2014 Red Wine Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $29 88 points
The aromas bring notes of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, wood spice, vanilla and black fruit. The fruit flavors bring a sense of elegance, with abundant vanilla flavors along with grainy tannins backing them up.
Camaraderie 2013 Crawford Vineyard Tempranillo Yakima Valley $29 86 points
Wood spice, vanilla and dark-fruit aromas are followed by tart game and red-fruit flavors. The wood seems very primary.
Camaraderie 2013 Crawford Vineyard Malbec Yakima Valley $28 87 points
Aromas of citrus peel, plum, herb, wood shavings and medicine cabinet are followed by plump cherry flavors. The tannins bring a slight sense of astringency.
Camaraderie 2014 Reserve Dionysus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $40 89 points
This 100% varietal wine comes from one of the state’s top vineyards. Brooding aromas of pitted cherry, coffee, cocoa, vanilla and spice lead to tart cranberry and cherry flavors. The tannins bring a coarse feel. Perhaps they will soften with some additional time in bottle.
Castle Rock 2014 Cuvée Red Blend Columbia Valley $14 86 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Aromas of green wood mixed with tire rubber, red currant, strawberry and spice. It delivers red and black-fruit flavors that linger on the finish.
Castle Rock 2014 Merlot Columbia Valley $12 86 points
Aromas of green wood, herb and cherry lead to ripe but chalky feeling fruit flavors. There’s some interesting things going on but a sense of astringency and bitterness proves distracting.
Charles & Charles 2015 Art Den Hoed Vineyard Riesling Washington $14 90 points
This wine charms with aromas of freshly sliced green apple, white peach, wet stone and flowers. It drinks off dry, with zippy acidity providing plenty of tension to keep the interest high. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Indian Wells Merlot Columbia Valley $18 90 points
The aromas bring notes of milk chocolate, spice and red fruit, along with high-toned vanilla accents. The fruit and barrel flavors are plush and full, while still showing a lovely sense of balance.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley $9 88 points
Aromas of honeysuckle and ripe peach lead to lightly spritzy medium-sweet stone-fruit flavors. It provides easy-drinking appeal. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Gewürztraminer Columbia Valley $9 87 points
Bright aromas of rose petals and lychee are followed by lightly spritzy, off-dry fruit flavors. It delivers easy-drinking appeal. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Indian Wells Red Blend Columbia Valley $18 88 points
Aromas of vanilla, coffee and wood spice are followed by barrel-centric flavors, with the fruit working to get its way to the surface.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Mimi Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $20 89 points
Named after famed Horse Heaven Hills grower Mimi Nye, this wine brings aromas of toast, custard and pineapple. Fruit and barrel flavors weave together on the palate, carrying through the finish.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $11 88 points
The warmth of the vintage shows through on the fruit of this wine, which is chock-full of pineapple and other tropical aromas and flavors, sweetened by light barrel accents. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser and a spot-on example of the variety. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Merlot Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Appealing aromas of cocoa, vanilla, spice and red fruit are followed by plump ripe fruit and barrel flavors. Chocolate flavors linger on the finish. The oak plays prominently.
Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2015 Eroica Riesling Columbia Valley $20 89 points
This wine starts out a bit reduced, along with subdued aromas of lime leaf, wet slate, white peach and citrus peel. It drinks a hair off dry, with zippy citric acidity that stretches out the finish.
Clearwater Canyon 2014 Phinny Hill Vineyard Carmenère Washington $28 86 points
Strong aromas and flavors of vanilla and dill overwhelm the variety’s cherry and green herb. There are some good things going on but the wood gets in the way.
Co Dinn 2014 Lonesome Spring Ranch Vineyard GSM Yakima Valley $45 89 points
This wine is a near equal split between three varieties: Gerenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Mesmerizing aromas of red cherry, plum, wood spice and herb are followed by quite tart elegant fruit flavors. It shows a lot of finesse but still needs some time to stretch its legs.
Col Solare 2013 Component Collection Malbec Red Mountain $85 89 points
Varietal Malbecs are a rarity from this tiny appellation. This one offers aromas of dark plum, herb and wood spice. The flavors are full bodied and hedonistic, showing the ripe, forward style of the vintage, finishing a bit sharp.
Col Solare 2013 Component Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $85 90 points
Wound up aromas of blackberry, spice box and wood spice are followed by pitch-black black-cherry flavors. The tannins are tightly coiled and need some time to unwind.
Columbia Winery 2014 Limited Release Malbec Columbia Valley $35 89 points
Aromas of plum, clove, coffee and wood spice lead to plush plump fruit flavors. The tannins give a light squeeze.
Ded.Reckoning 2014 Cutlass Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20 88 points
Appealing aromas of cocoa, herb, cherry and barrel spice lead to full fruit flavors. Burly slightly drying tannins give it a firm squeeze.
Ded.Reckoning 2014 Sabre Malbec Columbia Valley $20 84 points
The volatiles are amped up here, providing distraction from the cherry and spice aromas. It’s a shame as the palate delivers plenty of plump lightly sweet cherry flavors.
Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Luxe Brut Méthode Champenoise Chardonnay Columbia Valley $20 88 points
Toasty aromas mix with notes of freshly shucked corn and biscuit. The flavors are spritzy and lively, with berry flavors on the finish.
Dunham 2012 Lewis Vineyard Artist Series Merlot Columbia Valley $75 90 points
Fruit and barrel aromas intermingle, with notes of vanilla, coconut, wood spice, clove and red berries. The red fruit flavors are fresh and focused, with lightly grainy tannins providing the frame.
Dunham 2013 Syrah Columbia Valley $35 89 points
This wine’s aromas display a mixture of fruit and barrel, with notes of vanilla, coconut shavings and plum. The flavors are the same, silky and elegant, with barrel flavors lingering on the finish. It’s a very stylistic wine.
Dunham 2012 Lewis Vineyard Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $75 92 points
Appealing aromas of cedar, vanilla, smoke and cherry are followed by a full creamy-feeling palate loaded with fresh cherry flavors along with abundant barrel accents. It hits a lot of high notes, with a lengthy finish capping it off.
Dunham 2013 XIX Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 90 points
Café au lait, herb, cherry and wood-spice aromas lead to elegantly styled fruit and barrel flavors. It shows a lovely sense of styling.
Dunham 2013 Trutina Red Blend Columbia Valley $29 90 points
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot make up the majority of this blend (42% each), with Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah rounding it out. Aromas of toast, vanilla, cocoa, cherry and herb lead to sweet, elegant chocolate and cherry flavors, threaded with vanilla notes.
Eternal 2015 Sunshine Viognier Walla Walla Valley $35 91 points
Vibrant aromas of white flowers, ripe peach, fresh herb, cocoa butter and hard candy lead to nuanced, well-balanced fruit flavors that show just a touch of lees influence. It offers an exquisite sense of balance and depth along with an extended finish.
Eternal 2014 Patience Roussanne Walla Walla Valley $40 90 points
Walla Walla Valley-designated white wines are a rarity. This one brings aromas of apple skin and pear, showing a very clean profile that leads to dry creamy-feeling fruit flavors. It’s capped off by a warm finish, speckled with barrel accents. Overall, it provides a lot of intrigue.
Eternal 2014 Rocketman Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $25 89 points
This wine is a blend of Merlot (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Petit Verdot (10%) and Cabernet Franc. Aromas of savory herb, carob, wood spice and cherry lead to plump fruit-forward flavors that also show intriguing earthy accents. The finish lingers. There are lots of good things going on but the wood seems a bit prominent.
Kirkland Signature 2014 Signature Series Red Blend Columbia Valley $17 89 points
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese brings bright aromas of cranberries, red currants and cherries. The palate packs a punch of dark-fruit flavors, showing some heat on the finish.
Latah Creek 2015 DenHoed Vineyards Pinot Gris Yakima Valley $11 86 points
Starting off slightly reduced, this wine has aromas of dried red apple that lead to just off-dry, full apple flavors, finishing bitter. Best Buy
Latah Creek NV Mike’s Reserve Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 88 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (58%), Malbec (22%) and Merlot. Aromas of blue and red fruit and spice lead to tart, broad fruit flavors that winnow somewhat toward the finish. Still, it brings a lot of enjoyment.
Martinez & Martinez 2013 Petit Verdot Horse Heaven Hills $30 82 points
The aromas come off as quite volatile, making it difficult to get at the tart cherry aromas and flavors.
Martinez & Martinez 2015 Tudor Hills Vineyard Viognier Yakima Valley $16 87 points
The aromas are bright and generous, with notes of honeysuckle and canned peach. The fruit is so sweet on the palate, it drinks almost off dry, with abundant stone-fruit and floral flavors that linger.
Martinez & Martinez 2015 Tudor Hills Vineyard Pinot Grigio Yakima Valley $17 86 points
Aromas of ripe (leaning almost overripe) apple, melon and orange peel are followed by medium-sweet fruit flavors. It needs more acid to stand it up.
Martinez & Martinez 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $34 84 points
The volatiles are quite amped on this wine. It makes it a struggle to get at the tart black cherry flavors.
Martinez & Martinez 2013 Cesar Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $26 85 points
The aromas of vanilla, herb and cherry show some volatility. The cherry flavors are light, finishing tart.
Martinez & Martinez 2015 Tudor Hills Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $18 85 points
This wine starts out a bit reduced, along with aromas of melon and red apple. It drinks a hair off dry, with a blend of stone-fruit and tropical flavors.
Matteo 2012 Red Wine Merlot Columbia Valley $140 88 points
Though not labeled as such, this wine is all Merlot coming from Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope. Aromas of red currant, dill, vanilla and wood spice are followed by lighter styled red-fruit flavors. There are some intriguing things going on but they don’t seem to all come together.
Obelisco Estate 2015 Estate Grown Cabernet Rosé Red Mountain $35 86 points
This wine is a pale cherry-red in color, showing some bricking. It brings off-dry elegantly styled cherry flavors that winnow toward the finish.
Obelisco Estate 2013 Electrum Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $70 88 points
This wine is locked up tightly at present, with notes of herb, mineral and dark fruit, along with a light gamy note. The cranberry flavors seem a bit dried out considering the age of the wine, with medicine cabinet notes on the finish.
Obelisco Estate 2013 Nefer III Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $125 88 points
Aromas of mineral, exotic spice, leather and dried cherry lead to elegantly styled fruit, earth and game flavors. There’s intrigue here but it doesn’t all come together.
Obelisco Estate 2013 BDX Estate Grown Merlot Red Mountain $NA 87 points
Herb and red-fruit aromas are accented by light volatile notes. The cherry flavors are lush and full but can’t make up the difference. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
Obelisco Estate 2013 Estate Grown Malbec Red Mountain $50 87 points
Aromas of exotic spice, game, cherry and medicine cabinet lead to plush fruit and savory flavors. The overt gaminess seems distracting, with the flavors tapering off toward the finish.
Raconteur 2015 White Blend Washington $19 90 points
This wine is a unique blend of Chenin Blanc (75%) and Gruner Veltliner. It brings light aromas of apple skin, flowers, spice and a hint of tropical fruit. The palate offers electric, lemony acidity that stretches out the fruit flavors on the lingering finish. Try it on the dinner table to see it at its best. Editor’s Choice
Raconteur 2014 Red Blend Washington $19 90 points
Syrah (64%) takes the lead on this blend, which is fleshed out by Grenache (27%) and Mourvèdre. It comes from vineyard sources rarely seen in a bottle at this price, including Boushey, Olsen, Les Collines, Stoney Vine and Destiny Ridge. Aromas of sage and herbs lead to a panoply of sleekly styled fruit and savory flavors, showing a pleasing sense of balance.
Schooler Nolan 2014 Weldon’s Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $27 85 points
Aromas of vanilla and wood spice lead to elegant, somewhat dried out and dilute fruit flavors, followed by a short finish.
Schooler Nolan 2013 Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $24 88 points
Petit Verdot makes up 71% of this wine, with the balance Merlot (25%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. It opens with aromas of soil, herb, flowers and purple fruit followed by tart acids and firm tannins. Try it at the dinner table to see it at its best.
Seven Falls 2014 Rapids Red Blend Wahluke Slope $18 89 points
Vanilla, mocha and dark-fruit aromas lead to tart fruit and barrel flavors that interweave through the vanilla-filled finish.
Seven Falls 2015 GPS Rosebud Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Wahluke Slope $30 87 points
This wine is brightly aromatic, with notes of fresh herb, kiwi and pineapple. The palate is full flavored, showing a sense of poise along with a tart finish. The concentration doesn’t seem all there.
Seven Falls 2015 GPS Jones Vineyard Viognier Wahluke Slope $30 87 points
Aromas of flowers, green herb, pear and peach lead to silky sleek stone-fruit flavors. There’s some interesting things going on but the fruit doesn’t quite seem to have fully ripened.
The stinginess of your scores is surprising and refreshing. Not every wine deserves a 90+/- one or two points. Here's to a timely score recalibration (though honestly a lot of heavy hitters weren't reviewed here). And it's nice to see a $100+ bottle of wine from Red Mountain get a score in the 80s, that appellation is getting a little full of itself (e.g. Force Majeure charging $50+ for a second label wine).