Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for April 2018. 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. Read instructions on how to find Washington wine reviews at Wine Enthusiast here.
79 wines reviewed in the April issue. Avennia continues to lead the way with Sauvignon Blanc in the state with a stellar 2016 offering (Avennia 2016 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $28, 92 points).
Winemaker Mari Womack of Damsel Cellars delivers a knock out with the Damsel 2015 The Fates Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley ($36, 93 points).
New Woodinville winery Descendant Cellars has a fascinating set of releases (Descendant 2014 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $33, 91 points; Descendant 2013 Belle G-S-M Columbia Valley $33, 91 points; Descendant 2013 Grenache Columbia Valley $30, 90 points). The wines saw no new oak and bring a lot of freshness.
EFESTE’s first designated wine from its Taylor Mag Vineyard on Red Mountain delivers a lot of value (Efeste 2014 Taylor Mag Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $28 91 points). There are many high quality wines to be had across the lineup of new and upcoming releases.
Issaquah-based Estrin Estates brings a whole lot of quality and value with a number of its wines, including Estrin 2012 Cabernet Franc Wahluke Slope ($20, 90 points); Estrin 2014 Tre Aris Red Blend Columbia Valley ($25, 90 points); and Estrin 2013 Cabernet Franc Wahluke Slope ($20, 90 points).
Gård Vintners’ Lawrence Vineyards (a collection of sites) is showing itself to be a special location for Syrah and Rhone-style blends (Gård 2015 Reverence Columbia Valley $50, 92 points). I’m honestly surprised more winemakers aren’t exploring Royal Slope Syrah. Between the Charles Smith Royal City and the Gård offerings among others, it’s very clear there is something special there.
Speaking of Rhône-blends, Kerloo Cellars brings it with their Kerloo 2015 Majestic Columbia Valley ($36, 92 points). The winery also has a dreamy Syrah from Upland Vineyard (Kerloo 2015 Limited Release Upland Vineyard Syrah Snipes Mountain $40, 93 points).
In the Rocks District, Proper Wines continues to make standouts priced below many of their peers (Proper 2015 Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley $48, 93 points).
Don’t miss the Two Vintners 2015 Make Haste Cinsault Yakima Valley ($21, 92 points). It’s rare to be able to taste a 100% varietal Cinsault from Washington let alone one this high quality at that price. The Two Vintners 2015 Claire Boushey Vineyard Grenache Yakima Valley ($40, 93 points) is also a stunner.
On the value side, check out the Charles & Charles Riesling and Chardonnay.
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51 Weeks 2016 Lonesome Springs Cuvée White Blend Columbia Valley $19 88 points
This wine is 60% Marsanne and 40% Viognier. Aromas are light, with notes of lime leaf, marzipan and white flower. It drinks dry, with stone fruit flavors throughout, and finishes a bit short.
Avennia 2016 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $28 92 points
This 100% varietal wine is a blend of top sites: Boushey (55%) and Red Willow, with just a kiss (5%) of new French oak. The aromas are intriguing, with notes of white grapefruit, nectarine, lemon pith, straw, mineral and herb. Flavors are sleek and puckering, with a steely spine of acidity that keeps the interest high. It only gets better with time open and should sing at the dinner table. Editor’s Choice
Barons 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $18 90 points
Though not labeled as such, all of this fruit comes from Rosebud Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. Blended with 16% Sémillon, which shows itself, the aromas are light, with notes of citrus, fig, pineapple, lees and herb. The flavors are broad and textured with an extended finish. It’s as much about feel as flavor.
Barons 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $35 90 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Block Two of Gamache Vineyard. Aged in a mixture of stainless steel and French oak (30% new), the aromas offer notes of hay, corn silk, lees and cut yellow apple along with peach. Flavors are broad and leesy, gliding on the finish.
Betz Family 2015 La Côte Rousse Syrah Red Mountain $60 91 points
Intriguing aromas of boysenberry syrup, plum, sweet herb and barrel spice lead to exquisitely balanced, somewhat elegantly styled fruit and savory flavors. It’s a very understated, very pretty expression of this warm vintage and growing region.
Betz Family 2015 La Serenne Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $60 92 points
Coming from one of the state’s top Syrah vineyards, this offers high-toned aromas of potpourri, red and blue fruit, sage, bacon fat, iron and spice. These lead to supple, restrained smoked meat and red-fruit flavors, stretching out on the finish. It brings a sense of elegance, taking some time to get going before strutting its stuff. Editor’s Choice
Bledsoe 2015 Flying B Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $48 89 points
Coming from a hot vintage, the aromas bring notes of blackberry jam, coffee, fruit rollup, flower and herb. The tannins are quite firm, showing a bit of astringency out of the gate but settling down with some time open. Despite the warmth of the vintage, it brings a pleasing sense of acidity.
Bledsoe 2016 Elizabeth Chardonnay Walla Walla Valley $34 88 points
This is the winery’s first release of Chardonnay, an extreme rarity in this appellation. It comes from the upper Mill Creek area. Delicate, intriguing aromas of cut pear, yellow apple, straw, melon, candle wax and flower lead to full-feeling, lightly creamy banana and pineapple flavors.
Boomtown 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $19 87 points
Aromas of creamed corn, spice and baked apple lead to light, pleasant fruit flavors in this straightforward wine.
Boomtown 2015 Syrah Columbia Valley $19 87 points
Aromas of dark fruit, smoked meat and herb lead to plentiful plum flavors that miss a bit in the middle. It comes up short on the finish but otherwise provides appeal.
Boomtown 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $19 86 points
Aromas of red currant are bright and fresh, with little apparent new-oak influence. Raspberry and currant flavors bring more of the same. It’s a straightforward, easy drinker.
Boomtown 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $19 87 points
Fruit-forward aromas of black currant and plum lead to plump, easy-drinking fruit flavors. It’s straightforward, though it seems to lack concentration, especially in the middle.
Boomtown 2016 Pinot Gris Columbia Valley $19 87 points
Pleasing aromas of almond butter, lemon zest and kiwi lead to papaya, pineapple and other tropical-fruit flavors. It delivers immediate appeal.
Buty 2014 Rediviva of the Stones Rockgarden Estate Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $60 91 points
This wine is a unique blend of 77% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Mourvèdre. Hailing from the Rocks District, it offers generous aromas of black olive, plum, wet gravel, crushed flower, green olive, smoked meat, parsley and dried herb. These lead to pure, ample fruit and savory flavors. A taste of smoked meat lingers on the finish.
Buty 2015 Conner Lee Vineyard Merlot-Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $45 90 points
This wine leans into the savory, with aromas of sliced green pepper along with assorted fresh herbs, flowers and macerated cherry. The palate is soft in style, filled with sleek, minerally cherry flavors. It brings a sense of freshness, purity and elegance.
Buty 2014 Columbia Rediviva Phinny Hill Vineyard Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $50 91 points
Coming from an up-and-coming vineyard, this wine is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Syrah. It’s aromatically expressive, with notes of ripe black cherry, plum, licorice and high-toned dried herbs. The palate is dense and layered, showing breadth and richness while staying in balance. Drink in the near term.
Canoe Ridge 2016 The Expedition Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $16 87 points
This wine is mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Aromas of blueberry pie and huckleberry pop, showing grace notes of barrel spice and herb. The flavors are lighter in style, losing concentration in the middle and seeming watery, and never come back together.
Charles & Charles 2016 Riesling Washington $15 89 points
Generous aromas of lime leaf, white peach, flower and slate lead to off-dry green-apple flavors backed by zippy acidity. The lovely sense of balance keeps you coming back for more.
Charles & Charles 2016 Chardonnay Washington $15 87 points
This wine’s aromas include notes of yellow apple, melon and lees. The palate brings a rounded feel, showing little apparent new-oak influence. It’s a straightforward, varietally correct wine.
Damsel 2015 The Fates Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $36 93 points
This wine is equal parts Grenache and Mourvèdre (co-fermented), finished off with Syrah and aged in neutral French-oak puncheons. The aromas are fascinating, with notes of fresh savory herbs, capers, sea salt, white pepper, bacon fat and mixed fruit. The flavors are plump and appealing, mixing fruity and savory tones that lead to a pepper and olive finish. It’s a standout interpretation of this vineyard. Editor’s Choice
Descendant 2014 Syrah Red Mountain $33 88 points
Aged in older French oak, with a third whole-cluster, this offers aromas of peeled apple skin, black raspberry and black licorice that lead to palate-coating black-fruit flavors that drop off on the finish. There’s no mistaking the warm vintage and warm region it comes from.
Descendant 2014 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $33 91 points
From one of the state’s top Syrah vineyards, this offers aromas of dried and fresh herb, violet and black cherry that lead to full-bodied, extremely pure dark-fruit flavors. Aged in three- to five-year old-oak, it has a purity and mouthfeel that add to the appeal. It should show well on the dinner table. Editor’s Choice
Descendant 2013 Belle G-S-M Columbia Valley $33 91 points
This wine is 58% Grenache, 26% Syrah and 16% Mourvèdre. Aromas are a little funky out of the gate but open to reveal notes of savory herb, brown stem, smoked meat, black licorice, raspberry and blackberry. The cherry-gummy flavors are pure and fresh, with a lovely mouthfeel. Black-raspberry flavors linger on the finish. All about purity, it impresses. Editor’s Choice
Descendant 2013 Mourvèdre Red Mountain $33 89 points
The aromas intrigue, with notes of dark raspberry, red and black licorice, herb and cherry gummy. Aged in neutral oak, it has a palate that emphasizes purity of expression. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best. Drink now.
Descendant 2013 Grenache Columbia Valley $30 90 points
An extremely pale, orange-tinged color belies an aromatically expressive wine, with appealing notes of white pepper, wild raspberry and herb. The palate is sumptuous yet light in feel, with achingly pure fruit flavors. This wine is all about elegance—perhaps too much for some tastes. But for those seeking the variety’s delicate side, look no further. Drink now.
Drink Washington State 2015 Welcome to Columbia Valley Chardonnay Columbia Valley $19 87 points
Bright, pleasant aromas of yellow apple, pear and papaya lead to a palate chock full of tropical-fruit flavors. It finishes a little tangy.
Dusted Valley 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $42 90 points
Aromas are pitch black, with notes of blackberry, black cherry, vanilla and anise, showing the warmth of the vintage. The palate is rich and ripe, packing a big punch of dark-fruit flavors.
Efeste 2014 Taylor Mag Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $28 91 points
This is the winery’s first release off its Taylor Mag Vineyard. Aromas don’t reveal their charms on first pour, with notes of café au lait, cherry, raspberry, woodspice and herb. The palate brings firm, brawny tannins along with plentiful cherry flavors. Cocoa notes linger on the finish. It’s everything you expect from a Cabernet, at a price below many wines from this appellation. Editor’s Choice
Efeste 2014 Oldfield Estate Syrah Yakima Valley $65 91 points
This is the winery’s first red release from this site, located next to famed Boushey Vineyard. Aromas of iron, bacon fat, brown spice and herb rise up from the glass. The palate bursts with red-fruit flavors that show a pleasing sense of intensity, depth and length. It’s a promising start for this site.
Efeste 2015 Jolie Bouche Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $44 92 points
Coming from one of the state’s premier Syrah vineyards, the aromas pop, with notes of boysenberry, bacon fat, orange peel, herb and spice. The palate is dense and rich, packed with ultraripe blue- and black-fruit flavors. It delivers a lot of hedonistic appeal. For those looking for a big, bold, warm vintage Syrah, this one’s for you. Editor’s Choice
Efeste 2014 Final-Final Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Columbia Valley $30 91 points
Aromas of baking spice, blackberry and cherry draw you into the glass. The palate is chock full of cherry and dark-chocolate flavors, with the tannins giving a light squeeze. Editor’s Choice
Efeste 2015 Eléni Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $59 91 points
Fruit for this wine comes from the state’s original Syrah vineyard. Expressive aromas of dried herb, dark raspberry, huckleberry, spice and licorice lead to ripe, full fruit flavors that glide on the finish. It’s not shy, bringing a lot of richness and appeal.
Efeste 2015 Lola Evergreen Vineyard Chardonnay Ancient Lakes $35 91 points
The aromas pop, with notes of clarified butter, pineapple, candlewax, corn silk, apricot and mango. The palate is full of stone and tropical fruit flavors that bring a big yum factor. Aromas and flavors are ripe, like the vintage this wine comes from. Editor’s Choice
Efeste 2014 Big Papa Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $NA 92 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Klipsun, Kiona, Bacchus, Red Willow and Sagemoor vineyards. Aged in half-new French oak, it offers aromas of dried leaf, cocoa, cigar box and barrel spice that lead to focused, slightly compact cherry flavors. Firm, tightly wound tannins provide support. It needs time in the cellar to stretch its legs, and will be best after 2021.
Efeste 2014 Nana Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley $44 92 points
This wine is a blend of Merlot (61%) and Cabernet Franc. High-toned aromas of black raspberry, plum, black licorice, herb and barrel spice lead to plush, plentiful red- and black-fruit flavors. It brings a very pretty sense of styling along with a lengthy finish. Give it some time to open up.
Efeste 2014 Upright Klipsun Vineyards Merlot Red Mountain $39 90 points
Aromas of dried herb, dark cherry, black raspberry and barrel spice are at the fore on this 100% varietal wine. They lead to sleek cherry and cranberry flavors that provide intrigue.
Efeste 2015 Emmy Stone Tree Vineyard Mourvèdre Wahluke Slope $54 92 points
Aged in neutral French oak, this has aromas that start out brooding but intriguing, with notes of raw meat, mineral, dried herb, crushed flower and huckleberry. The palate is earth-shaking in its richness and intensity, coating the palate with waves of fruit flavors. It hits the gong hard but maintains a lovely sense of balance.
Eleven 2016 Sugarloaf Vineyard Pinot Grigio Yakima Valley $15 85 points
Aromas of soda water, peach and melon lead to broad, dry, slightly viscous fruit flavors. It’s an unusual interpretation of this variety.
Estrin 2012 Cabernet Franc Wahluke Slope $20 90 points
This is mostly Riverbend Vineyard fruit topped off with Red Mountain Vineyard Merlot (7%). Herb, cranberry and cherry aromas are followed by rich, full-bodied black-fruit flavors. It brings richness and intensity but stays in balance.
Estrin 2014 Tre Aris Red Blend Columbia Valley $25 90 points
Syrah (53%) takes the lead on this blend, followed by Merlot (27%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of toast, anise, vanillin and cherry lead to rich, full-bodied cherry and cranberry flavors that coat the palate.
Estrin 2013 Cabernet Franc Wahluke Slope $20 90 points
Coming mostly from esteemed Riverbend Vineyard, this wine saw just 10% new French oak, putting the focus on the fruit. High-toned aromas of dried flower, herb, cherry, vanilla and dried cranberry lead to a full, flavorful palate packed to the brim with dark fruit. Cranberry flavors linger on the finish.
Estrin 2014 Big Tree Columbia Valley $15 89 points
Cabernet Sauvignon (59%) and Syrah (33%) make up the majority of this wine, which is finished off with Merlot. Aromas of woodspice, herb, licorice and cherry lead to full-bodied cherry and cranberry flavors. It shows focus and intensity.
Eternal 2015 Eternal Gratitude Gamache Vineyard Merlot Columbia Valley $50 88 points
Aromas seem unsettled, with notes of dust, herb and cherry. The flavors are plush and ripe, delivering plenty of enjoyment.
Eternal 2016 Eternal Sunshine Morrison Lane Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $35 87 points
Unusual aromas of watermelon Jolly Rancher, lime zest and white flower are followed by light flower and peach flavors that finish tart. It doesn’t all come together.
Gård 2014 Ice Wine Riesling Columbia Valley $60 92 points
This wine erupts from the glass, with aromas of brown sugar, candied pineapple, dried orange rind and flower. Flavors are viscous, intense and rich, with a mango-filled finish that sails. It’s the perfect end to any evening.
Gård 2015 Reverence Columbia Valley $50 92 points
This wine is a blend of 49% Syrah, 38% Grenache and a whopping 13% Viognier, with the latter expressing itself on both the aromas and palate. The wine pops, with notes of freshly peeled orange, stargazer lilly, gravel, olive, smoked meat, blueberry and boysenberry. Soft and sumptuous, the palate shows a lot of elegance and expression along with an extended finish. Editor’s Choice
J & J NV 4 Boys 4th Release Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $19 86 points
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, this has aromas that bring notes of black licorice and cherry, along with light oxidative notes. It’s a shame, as good things are happening on the palate.
J & J 2014 Middleton Petty Vineyard Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $40 87 points
Aromas of cherry cough syrup and herb bring a light volatility. The black-cherry and licorice flavors are light and appealing but can’t make up the difference.
J & J 2015 Summit View Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $30 87 points
This vineyard sits high on the ridge crest of the SeVein project in the southern end of the valley. Aromas of herb, green tea and purple fruit are followed by tart, plump fruit flavors backed by tacky-feeling tannins.
J & J 2015 Summit View/Les Collines Vineyard Malbec Walla Walla Valley $29 88 points
Aromas lean into the green, with notes of savory garden herb along with dark raspberry and plum. The plum flavors are plump with a lightly scratchy feel to the tannins. There’s intrigue but it seems a bit underripe and leafy.
Kerloo 2015 Majestic Columbia Valley $36 92 points
Grenache (69%) takes the lead on this wine, followed by Mourvèdre (26%) and a pinch of Syrah. Aged in neutral French oak, it offers aromas that aren’t yet ready to reveal their charms on first pour. Notes of spice, herb and black pepper evolve into smoked meat and raspberry accents over time. The palate is swoon-worthy, with soft, supple fruit and savory flavors that lead to a persistent finish. The sense of purity dazzles. Editor’s Choice
Kerloo 2015 Calling Club Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $48 91 points
This 100% varietal wine is a blend of fruit from top sites Klipsun (60%) and Dioynsus. Baking spice, herb, cocoa, tobacco, espresso and cherry aromas lead to suave, silky cherry and cocoa flavors. Like the vintage it came from, it holds nothing back. The oak (65% new French) is a bit up front at present but should integrate with additional time in bottle. Best after 2020.
Kerloo 2016 Limited Release Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $48 88 points
Aged in neutral French oak, this offers intriguing, slightly funky aromas of lemon verbena, green-apple skin and mineral that lead to sleek green- and red-apple flavors backed by racy acidity.
Kerloo 2015 Limited Release Upland Vineyard Syrah Snipes Mountain $40 93 points
Vineyard-designated wines from this appellation are rare, and this wine shows the promise of this site. There’s no mistaking the variety, with its enchanting aromas of fragrant flower, smoked meat, chopped parsley, green olive and purple fruit. Flavors are supremely fresh and bright, showing a mixture of fruit and savory, with assorted herb notes intertwined throughout. An extended finish, filled with notes of olive, caps it off. It’s beautiful on its own but should sing at the dinner table. Give it time to open up. Editor’s Choice
Kitzke 2015 Barrel Select Field Blend Candy Ridge Vineyard Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $65 88 points
This wine blends Cabernet Sauvignon (41%), Cabernet Franc, (28%), Malbec (28%) and Petit Verdot. Smoke, woodspice and cedar aromas are in front of fresh-chopped herb, green pepper and black raspberry, with green-olive notes lurking in the background. The palate is light but juicy, with coffee and cherry flavors that bring a slight sense of astringency. Citric acidity lingers on the finish.
Maryhill 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $16 86 points
Light aromas of white flower, lemon curd and spice are followed by sleek, light fruit flavors. It’s a straightforward, varietally correct wine.
Maryhill 2014 Merlot Columbia Valley $20 87 points
Aromas of mint, woodspice, raspberry and coffee are followed by ripe red-currant flavors. Soft, lightly grainy tannins provide support. It has good things going on and is varietally correct but seems a bit woody.
Maryhill 2016 Riesling Columbia Valley $14 87 points
Sweet herb, lime twist and peach aromas are followed by sleek, narrow citrus and stone-fruit flavors that drink off dry.
Maryhill 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $26 86 points
This wine comes off as a bit green out of the gate, with aromas of mortared fresh herb along with blueberry, woodspice and vanilla. Flavors are soft and light, concentrated in the middle but missing at the edges. The tannins bring a lightly gritty feel.
Oak Knoll NV Toasted Cow Vintners Blend 6th Edition Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 85 points
This wine is half Syrah with the rest equal parts Pinot Noir and Tempranillo. Aromas are locked up on first pour, only revealing high-toned notes of barrel spice. Over time, notes of candied raspberry, black licorice and dried cherry start to emerge. The palate brings plump red- and black-fruit flavors. Cranberry notes linger on the finish.
Proper 2015 Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley $48 93 points
Coming from the Rocks District, this offers expressive aromas of potpourri, fresh chopped parsley, orange peel, green olive, smoked meat, fresh flower and wet stone. These lead to plush, palate-coating fruit and savory flavors. Olive and charcuterie notes linger on the finish. Editor’s Choice
Three of Cups 2014 Le Jugement Lonesomes Springs Vineyard Yakima Valley $29 88 points
Syrah makes up half of this wine, with the rest equal parts Grenache and Mourvèdre. Aromas of marionberry, herb, smoked meat and spice lead to a well-balanced palate that glides on the baking-spice-filled finish. The oak plays a bit prominently at times but overall it works.
Three of Cups 2016 White Blend Columbia Valley $16 85 points
This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (61%), Sémillon (23%), Riesling (12%) and Albariño. The aromas are a bit faint, with notes of herb, fig, pear and soda water that don’t seem entirely in sync. The palate brings broad, dry flavors that come up short.
Three of Cups 2015 L’Astre Les Collines Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $30 88 points
Vibrant aromas of blue fruit, dried herb and potpourri lead to light, soft, tart fruit and barrel flavors. Blue-fruit flavors linger on the finish. It seems compact right now but good things are going on.
Twin Cedars 2014 Syrah Red Mountain $30 86 points
Aromas are light and dominated by barrel notes, including vanilla and coconut. The black-fruit flavors are sweet and rich, showing quite a bit of warmth. It doesn’t all add up.
Twin Cedars 2014 Merlot Rattlesnake Hills $27 88 points
Inviting aromas of cherry cordial, dried herb and chalk lead to generous, well-fashioned fruit flavors. Light tannins provide support.
Twin Cedars 2014 Bronze Star Yakima Valley $30 86 points
This wine is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon along with 25% Cabernet Franc and 25% Malbec. Slightly elevated volatiles are followed by aromas of cherry, cinnamon, green herb, licorice and baking spice. Flavors are light and elegant in style.
Two Vintners 2015 Claire Boushey Vineyard Grenache Yakima Valley $40 93 points
Light in color, this wine offers beguiling aromas with notes of fire pit, flower, stem, potpourri, black raspberry and smoked meat. Ethereally light and enchanting, it’s texturally rich and flavorful, with a warm finish—a delicious example of this site and variety. Editor’s Choice
Two Vintners 2015 Make Haste Cinsault Yakima Valley $21 92 points
This wine is all Cinsault from Olsen Vineyard. Aged in neutral French oak, it’s resplendent with aromas of raspberry jam, potpourri, plum, flower and garrigue. The palate is transparent in style with elegant but rich red-fruit and plum flavors that lead to a lengthy, warm finish. Editor’s Choice
Upsidedown 2016 The Gold Drop Collection Grenache Columbia Valley $40 88 points
Light in color, this offers faint aromas that give up almost nothing on first pour, except notes of spice. Still young, the palate is more revealing, showing elegant flavors of raspberry and plum. If the aromas open up it could move up a notch.
Watermill 2014 Anna Marie Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 88 points
The barrel influence is primarily aromatical with notes of nougat, vanilla and sweet spices out in front of cherry and red apple. The fruit vies with the oak for attention on the palate as well, although the latter shows a pleasing supple feel as well as excellent concentration. There’s impressive fruit here, but the oak unfortunately gets in the way of it.
Watermill 2014 Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley $36 87 points
Barrel aromas are at the fore, with notes of vanilla, dill, toast and baking spice, along with a light meaty note. The flavors show a luscious, velvety feel, with the oak influence running quite high.
Watermill 2014 Estate Vineyard Tempranillo The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater $36 85 points
The aromas are oak dominated, with notes of vanilla extract, coconut, dill, spearmint and freshly hewn wood, with the fruit struggling to get to the surface. There’s a soft, pleasing feel to the palate but the wood again gets in the way. The fruit is hard to find.
Watermill 2014 Dugger Creek Vineyard Nebbiolo Walla Walla Valley (OR) $24 87 points
This variety is unheard of in the appellation. Quite pale in color with an orange tinge, the aromas bring notes of macerated cranberry and cherry, along with a vanilla note that gives the impression of confection. The palate brings lighter-styled fruit flavors, with the oak taking over on the back half. The tannins are quite light for the variety. It’s intriguing but doesn’t seem varietal.
Watermill 2015 Viognier Columbia Valley $18 86 points
Aromas of watermelon Jolly Rancher, peach and flower are followed by broad honeysuckle and stone-fruit flavors. It doesn’t all come together.
Watermill 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $32 87 points
The oak is far out front, with aromas of vanilla, shaved coconut, toast and freshly chopped wood, making it hard to get at the notes of dark fruit and herb. The flavors show fruit mixed with a heavy barrel influence, with the latter winning out on the finish.
William Marie 2016 Syrah Columbia Valley $25 86 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Block 66 of Double Canyon Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. The aromas aren’t entirely harmonious, with notes of dark, slightly overripe-seeming fruit along with black pepper and licorice, showing some volatility. The black-raspberry flavors are light and compact. It doesn’t come together.
Wind Rose 2016 The Keeper Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $20 86 points
Light aromas of melon, pear and herb lead to similarly faint fruit flavors. It’s cleanly made but everything seems very dialed back.
Wind Rose 2016 Bravo Bianco White Table Wine Chardonnay Yakima Valley $22 88 points
This wine is all Chardonnay. Bright aromas of candied apple, crayon and melon lead to broad, dry fruit flavors that show a touch of bitterness on the finish. It’s a pleasing, very cleanly made offering of this variety.
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