Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for May 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.
128 wines reviewed in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast. Headlining the group is a new project – MTR Productions – from Matt and Lauren Reynvaan of Reynvaan Family Vineyards. The wine is a 2012 Syrah aged 24 months in barrel and 36 months in bottle prior to release. It’s a stunner with an insanely long finish (MTR Productions 2012 Memory Found Syrah Walla Walla Valley $85, 94 points).
Syncline Winery continues to make some of the state’s best Rhone-style wines, led by their flagship wine, the Cuvée Elena (Syncline 2015 Cuvée Elena Columbia Valley $45, 91 points). The Syncline 2016 Subduction Red Blend Columbia Valley ($22, 90 points) meanwhile provides terrific value, as always. Finally, if you’re looking to explore one of the cutting edges of Syrah exploration in the state, take a look at the Syncline 2015 Estate Grown Syrah Columbia Gorge ($60, 90 points).
Two Vintners is also doing some terrific work with Rhone-style wines as well. The Two Vintners 2015 Some Days Are Stones Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley ($50, 92 points) is delicious, while the Two Vintners 2015 Syrah Columbia Valley ($21, 91 points) provides tremendous value. Meanwhile the Two Vintners 2015 Stonetree Vineyard Zinfandel Wahluke Slope ($29, 91 points) is consistently one of the best examples of this variety in the state.
* * *
51 Weeks 2015 Fourgon Petit Verdot Columbia Valley $33 87 points
This wine shows high-toned aromas of herbs and flowers. On the palate, the cherry flavors are light but pleasing with a tart finish. While typical of the variety, it doesn’t stand up on its own but has a place at the dinner table.
Alder Ridge 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $39 87 points
Aromas of overripe red apple, cherry and spice are followed by lighter styled fruit flavors. It seems a bit watery, with the midpalate concentration lacking.
Apex 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $17 85 points
The aromas are light, with notes of herb and citrus while the flavors seem dilute. It doesn’t all come together by the finish.
Basel Cellars 2015 Double River Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 87 points
Aromas of sweet baking spices, pencil lead and black cherry lead to a palate where fruit and barrel tones play equal parts. A vanilla note persists on the finish.
Basel Cellars 2015 Claret Columbia Valley $25 87 points
Merlot and Cabernet Franc each make up 30% of this blend, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Aromas of char, pencil eraser, tobacco, graphite and heaping amounts of exotic spice are followed by lighter styled fruit and barrel flavors that continue intermingling through the finish.
Basel Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $36 87 points
Aromas of vanilla, barrel spice, exotic spice, blackberry and anise lead to nicely proportioned fruit and barrel flavors. It’s intriguing but doesn’t quite deliver.
Basel Cellars 2015 Syrah Columbia Valley $34 87 points
The oak seems at the fore, with notes of vanilla and baking spice in front of orange peel, flower, blue plum and dark fruit. The flavors bring a soft, textured feel. There are good things going on but the wood seems a bit overbearing.
Basel Cellars 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley $36 87 points
Aromas of plum, boysenberry, vanilla and spice carry the nose of this wine. The flavors are surprisingly elegant in style considering the warmth of the vintage and it shows a sense of sleekness that provides appeal.
Basel Cellars 2015 Malbec Columbia Valley $34 85 points
Baking spice, green herbs, tire rubber, vanilla and slightly dried out blue fruit aromas lead to lighter styled flavors that seem very woody. It doesn’t all come together on the palate.
Basel Cellars 2015 Carmenère Columbia Valley $34 85 points
The aromas are a bit off-putting out of the gate, showing notes of tire rubber, with vanilla, herb, green pepper and cayenne. The palate is lighter in style, with soft fruit, herbs and plenty of barrel accents.
Basel Cellars 2015 Estate Double River Vineyard Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley $36 85 points
Not entirely harmonious aromas of smoke, herb, vanilla and crayon lead to smoky blue fruit and barrel flavors.
Basel Cellars 2015 Double River Estate Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $36 87 points
Intriguing aromas of baking spice, black olive brine, crushed gravel and blackberry lead to lighter styled fruit and barrel flavors that taper toward the finish.
Basel Cellars 2015 Inspired Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $46 87 points
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, high toned aromas of vanilla, exotic spice, raspberry and cherry are followed by light, plump fruit and barrel flavors that finish a touch bitter.
Basel Cellars 2015 Merriment Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $46 91 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. Somewhat lighter in color, the aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of graphite, smoke, cedar, herb, green pepper and cherry, along with toasty barrel accents. The palate is elegantly styled, with soft, sumptuous fruit flavors and a vanilla note that lingers on the finish.
Betz Family 2015 La Côte Patriarche Red Willow Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $60 90 points
This wine is quite reduced out of the gate in notes of smoke, game, blue fruit and minerals. The flavors are quite tight and structured. It’s a bit unapproachable now, needing some time in the cellar to settle down.
Brian Carter Cellars 2016 Oriana White Blend Yakima Valley $25 88 points
This wine is a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Riesling. The aromas bring a lot of appeal, with notes of tangerine peel, white flower and ripe peach. The flavors are broad, fruity and thoroughly charming, with stone-fruit flavors on the finish.
Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Tuttorosso Red Blend Yakima Valley $34 88 points
This wine is a blend of Sangiovese (66%), Cabernet Sauvignon (18%) and Syrah (16%). Aromas of blue fruit, herb, cherry, spice and pencil eraser are pleasing but don’t entirely marry. It’s elegant in style, with the concentration seeming a bit light.
Brian Carter Cellars 2014 Corrida Red Blend Columbia Valley $34 88 points
A blend of Tempranillo (66%), Graciano (18%), Garnacha (10%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (6%), this shows exotic spice, herb, tobacco and plum aromas followed by elegant, streamlined fruit flavors. It is a restrained styling, not entirely standing up on its own but still providing interest.
Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Solesce Columbia Valley $65 90 points
Held for four-plus years prior to release, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec brings tight aromas of coffee, herb, cherry, char, dried herb and spiced plum aromas. The palate is elegant but expressive in flavors that stretch out nicely on the finish. It shows a lot of sophistication.
Cerulean 2016 Acadia Vineyards Pinot Gris Columbia Gorge $28 87 points
Slightly funky aromas of melon, apple and spice lead to full bodied, textured fruit flavors. It finishes with a bitter note that causes a bit of distraction.
Cerulean 2016 Acadia Vineyards Grüner Veltliner Columbia Gorge $32 87 points
This variety is an extreme rarity in the state, with only a handful of bottlings produced each year. Light aromas of herb and citrus lead to thick feeling apple flavors boosted by lively acidity.
Cerulean 2016 Acadia Vineyards Pinot Blanc Columbia Gorge $32 87 points
Though common in Oregon, this variety is essentially unheard of in Washington. Bright apple and spice aromas lead to broad feeling fruit flavors.
Cerulean 2016 Acadia Vineyards Riesling Columbia Gorge $32 87 points
Aromas of grapeskin, green apple and lime leaf lead to just off-dry fruit flavors. Bright acidity keeps the interest up on this sleekly styled offering.
Cerulean 2013 Acadia Vineyards Tempranillo Columbia Gorge $30 85 pointsLight in color, the aromas offer notes of pencil eraser and cherry. The flavors are quite light in style, with the concentration dialed way back.
Cerulean 2013 Reserve Acadia Vineyards Tempranillo Columbia Gorge $40 85 points
Lighter in color with an orange tinge at the rim, the aromas bring notes of leather strap, cherry, cigar box and spice. The flavors are light but juicy. The concentration doesn’t seem all there.
Cerulean 2013 Sangiovese Columbia Valley $35 85 points
Lighter in color, aromas of spice and cherry lead to lightly styled fruit flavors. It all seems a bit faint.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $18 88 points
It seems quite blue fruited for a Cabernet, with aromas and flavors of plum and blueberry along with herb, vanilla and baking spice. It doesn’t seem particularly varietal but it’s pretty delicious all the same.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Gewürztraminer Columbia Valley $10 86 points
The aromas are like walking through a field of wildflowers, with off-dry fruit flavors to back it all up. There’s not a lot of complexity but it still provides plenty of appeal. Best Buy
Cinder 2016 Chardonnay Snake River Valley (ID) $18 87 points
Fruit forward aromas of freshly sliced white peach and melon lead to stone-fruit flavors on a medium-bodied palate. It’s sleek in style, with little apparent oak influence.
City Limits 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Coming mostly from Evergreen Vineyard, this wine brings light but pleasant aromas of nuts, apples and pears. The flavors are sleek and easy going. It’s a straightforward, varietally correct offering.
Colter’s Creek 2015 Estate Bottled Tempranillo Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $20 87 points
Aromas of baking spice, plum, smoke and cherry lead to plump, soft fruit flavors backed by very light tannins. There’s a peanut shell aroma that causes some distraction on an otherwise interesting wine.
Colter’s Creek 2015 Riesling Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $7 84 points
This wine shows some reduction out of the gate, along with aromas of flower, sweet herb and lime. The palate drinks dry and is lightly spritzy, with light-bodied fruit flavors.
Colter’s Creek 2016 Estate Bottled Riesling Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $10 86 points
The aromas are a bit subdued, with notes of green apple, peach, Meyer lemon, herb and cinnamon. It drinks medium sweet, without having the acidity to fully stand it up but still providing enjoyment. Best Buy
Colter’s Creek 2015 Rocinante Estate Bottled Red Blend Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $36 87 points
This wine is a unique blend of Tempranillo (40%), Petit Verdot (30%) and Grenache (10%), with the balance equal parts Graciano, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. Aromas of raspberry Fruit Roll-up, cherry cordial, dried herb, and spice lead to light but ripe red fruit flavors that show persistence.
Colter’s Creek 2015 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $30 87 points
The aromas are high toned, with notes red apple skin, raspberry, dried herb, fresh tobacco and barrel spice. The palate is light and elegant, showing a pretty sense of styling. It tapers on the finish.
Colter’s Creek 2016 Juliaette Estate Bottled Rosé Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $18 86 points
A blend of Sangiovese, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, this wine is electric pink in color with an orange tinge. The aromas are not entirely cohesive, with notes of herb and cherry that lead to well styled fruit flavors.
Colter’s Creek 2015 Koos Koos Kia Estate Bottled Bordeaux-style Red Blend Lewis-Clark Valley (ID) $25 87 points
One of the first bottlings from this newly approved appellation, this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Unique aromas of savory green herb, bell pepper, spice and smoke lead to plump, soft fruit flavors. The tannic structure seems a bit lacking and it comes off as pretty green, but there’s interest to be had. Mesquite flavors linger on the finish.
Colter’s Creek 2014 Arrow Rim G-S-M Idaho $30 87 points
Grenache and Syrah make up equal parts of this wine (40%), with the balance Mourvèdre. The aromas bring notes of orange peel and fresh herb, along with whiffs of smoked meat and barrel spice. The flavors are quite light and elegant in style.
Columbia Crest 2015 Reserve Beverly Vineyard Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $45 88 points
Aromas of slightly overripe apple, dried herb and spice are followed by plump, concentrated plum flavors. It doesn’t all come together by the finish.
Columbia Crest 2015 Reserve Four Feathers Vineyard Merlot Columbia Valley $40 88 points
This wine is fruity in notes of raspberry and plum, with plenty of mocha accents. The flavors are soft and supple, intermingling fruit and barrel tones, with the latter stealing the show on the finish.
Columbia Crest 2014 Reserve Wautoma Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $40 91 points
Brooding aromas of black cherry, herb and barrel spice lead to a full-bodied palate supported by firm, slightly dry tannins. Give it some time in the cellar or a long decant to let the tannins settle. Best after 2021.
Covington 2013 Petite Sirah Columbia Valley $30 88 points
The aromas of cherry Fruit Roll-up, woodspice, cough syrup and game show some heat. The palate is full bodied and rich, with fruit and game flavors backed by big, firm tannins.
Covington 2015 Rough House Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $21 87 points
This wine is a blend of 48% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot. Green herbs, flowers, barrel spice and cherry aromas lead to a lightly styled mixture of red and black fruit flavors that lose concentration in the middle. The tannins seem a bit gritty.
Covington 2014 Dineen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $60 87 points
This wine is aged in 100% new French oak for 30 months. The aromas bring notes of ripe red apple, herb and spice. Slightly dried out red and black fruit flavors taper toward the finish.
Covington 2014 Sangiovese Columbia Valley $27 87 points
The aromas come off as a bit dried out, with notes of fruit leather, dried raspberry and spice. The cranberry flavors seem a bit clipped.
Covington 2016 Boushey Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $30 89 points
Coming from third leaf fruit and all barrel fermented with 25% new French oak, this wine offers light aromas of apple, pear, spice and minerals. The palate is creamy and rounded in feel, with light tropical flavors that persist on a finish.
Covington 2013 Starr Red Blend Columbia Valley $40 87 points
This wine is a blend of 78% Syrah and 22% Sangiovese. Aromas of dried herb, woodspice, cedar and purple fruit are followed by medium-bodied flavors backed by lively acidity. It comes up a bit short on the finish.
Drink Washington State 2015 Visit Wahluke Slope Carmenère Wahluke Slope $26 87 points
The aromas come off as quite green, with notes of assorted garden herbs along with cherries and orange. The flavors are lighter in style, painting around the edges with a dip in the midpalate. It’s intriguing but doesn’t entirely come together.
Efeste 2015 Ceidleigh Syrah Red Mountain $39 90 points
Aromas of olive, iron and dark fruit lead to olive brine and raspberry flavors on the palate. From warm region and vintage, this is slightly atypical for the variety and not for all tastes.
Hat Ranch 2016 Estate Grown Dry Rosé Snake River Valley (ID) $16 86 points
A pretty pale-salmon color, the aromas are a mixture of funky, herbal and fruity. The palate meanwhile brings a sleek feel and it doesn’t quite hold together.
Hedges 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 90 points
Aromas of herb, coffee bean, vanilla, blackberry and graphite lead to a restrained palate of well-balanced fruit and barrel flavors. The tannins give a light squeeze. It’s a spot on example of the variety.
Huston 2016 Chicken Dinner White Blend Idaho $16 89 points
A blend of Riesling, Muscat Blanc and Roussanne, this shows aromas of sliced yellow and green apple, with floral and spice notes. The palate is bright and fresh, full of mango, pineapple and citrus flavors. It brings a lot of fruit forward appeal—a very fun wine.
Huston 2014 Private Reserve Petite Sirah Snake River Valley (ID) $55 86 points
Brooding aromas of green wood, dill, smoke and purple fruit are followed by a palate that mixes equal parts fruit and barrel, with tart acidity providing the frame. There are some interesting things going on but they don’t all come together.
Idilico 2014 Reserva Dineen Vineyard Tempranillo Yakima Valley $32 89 points
This wine is made from new-to-the-state clones from the Ribera del Deuro and Toro regions of Spain. The aromas intrigue, with pure notes of blackberry, herbs and black cherry jam. The flavors bring an ultrasoft, polished mouthfeel.
Idilico 2014 Monastrell Yakima Valley $22 89 points
This wine offers jammy cranberry and raspberry aromas accented by herbs that lead to a surprisingly savory palate of rich, decadent smoke and meat flavors. It provides an appealing expression of this variety rarely found in the state at this price. Give it some time to open up.
Idilico 2014 Reserva Upland Vineyard Graciano Snipes Mountain $32 88 points
This variety is an extreme rarity in the state and was custom planted at Upland Vineyard for the winery. The aromas are downright jammy in notes of raspberry and blueberry, with cigar box and light spice accents. The bountiful red fruit flavors bring appeal and a tangy finish.
Koenig Vineyards 2014 Cuvée Amelia Reserve Syrah Snake River Valley (ID) $50 85 points
Aromas of dried cranberry, cherry and barrel spice lead to slightly dried out fruit and meaty flavors. It seems quite evolved for its age and the barrel influence heavy handed.
Koenig Vineyards 2014 Cabernet-Syrah Snake River Valley (ID) $25 85 points
A blend of equal parts, high toned aromas of cinnamon, barrel spice, herb and plum are followed by rich cinnamon and black-fruit flavors on a full-bodied palate.
Koenig Vineyards 2014 Reserve Petit Verdot-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Bordeaux-style Red Blend Snake River Valley (ID) $30 85 points
This wine is a blend of 55% Petit Verdot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. The aromas are unusual, with notes of wood, char, cigar box, game and slightly dried out seeming fruit. The flavors are light and compact, with smoky flavors on the finish.
Latah Creek 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 88 points
Cherry cordial, plum and macerated cranberry aromas are followed by light, elegant fruit flavors. It’s an understated expression of the variety that doesn’t quite stand up on its own but should fit in well at the dinner table.
Latah Creek 2016 Familigia Vineyard Chardonnay Ancient Lakes $14 86 pointsLight but pleasant aromas of baked apple and spice are followed by dry and clean fruit flavors. There’s not a lot of complexity but the variety is unmistakable.
Latah Creek 2016 Familigia Vineyard Riesling Ancient Lakes $12 85 points
The aromas are a bit light for the variety and all high toned, with notes of white flower, cider and peach. It drinks medium sweet, with tangy acidity.
Latah Creek 2015 Fries Vineyard Carmenère Wahluke Slope $18 86 points
Listed at an alcohol level almost unheard of in modern days for a red wine in Washington, the aromas pop in notes of vanilla and other wood spice, with poblano and white pepper. The cranberry and barrel flavors tussle a bit on the palate, not seeming in harmony.
Latah Creek NV Mike’s Reserve Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $20 88 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot. It offers intriguing aromas of berry, herb, cherry, coriander and anise, followed by cranberry and other red fruit flavors that lose their cohesion on the tail end. The oak influence seems pleasantly dialed back.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietor’s Reserve Tudor Hills Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $29 86 points
Bright, fruity aromas of fresh cantaloupe, apple, biscuit and pear lead to a light palate of creamy canned corn and citrus flavors. It finishes tart and a little bitter.
Maryhill 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Tavolo Rosso Red Blend Columbia Valley $32 84 points
This wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Unusual aromas of ashtray and herb are followed by dried out fruit flavors.
Maryhill 2014 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $20 86 points
Light in color, aromas of plum, herb, barrel spice and crushed peanut lead to tart raspberry and plum flavors that come up a bit short on the finish. It’s a straightforward, enjoyable offering.
Maryhill 2014 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Carmenère Columbia Valley $40 85 points
The aromas show notes of herb, green pepper and barrel spice. The flavors are light but plush in feel, with a cherry note on the finish.
Maryhill 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $36 86 points
A blend of fruit from Elephant Mountain and Eagle Ranch vineyards, there’s no mistaking the variety, with its notes of whole green peppers, herbs and dark berries. The concentration of flavors seems quite light, not entirely holding the palate together.
Maryhill 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Malbec Columbia Valley $36 87 points
A blend of Tudor Hills and Gunkel vineyards, this wine shows pleasing aromas of black plum, herb and spice, followed by ripe, full fruit flavors and a lot of barrel accents. There are good things going on but it finishes a touch bitter.
Maryhill 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley $34 87 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Les Collines, McKinley Springs and Elephant Mountain vineyards. Expressive aromas of raspberry jam, red currant and exotic spice are followed by plentiful red fruit flavors and backed by firm tannins.
MTR Productions 2012 Memory Found Syrah Walla Walla Valley $85 94 points
This is a new project from Matt and Lauren Reynvaan of Reynvaan Family Vineyards. Aged 24 months in barrel and 36 months in bottle, this wine shows vibrant, nuanced aromas of charcuterie, bacon fat, violet, fresh herbs, olive and wet gravel. The palate is textured and packed with fruit and savory flavors, while showing loads of elegance and freshness. The insane, smoked meat finish lingers. Editor’s Choice
Pomum 2014 Shya Red Blend Yakima Valley $42 88 points
Most of the fruit for this Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine comes from 35- to 45-year old vineyards. Savory herb, cedar, anise and cherry cough syrup aromas lead to well-proportioned red fruit flavors that delight.
Pomum 2014 Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $24 88 points
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Cabernet Franc (31%), Merlot (23%), Malbec (9%) and Petit Verdot (5%), the aromas seem ever so slightly dried out, with notes of date, fruit leather and exotic spice. The cherry flavors are light and seem a bit bunched up.
Pomum 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $28 88 points
With the fruit coming from the esteemed French Creek Vineyard, the aromas are bright in notes of baked apple, pear, citrus, stone fruit and lees. The palate brings lighter flavor intensity, with a sleek profile and a citrusy finish. Though fermented and aged in French oak (30% new), the oak influence seems quite dialed back.
Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris Columbia Gorge $20 88 points
Intriguing aromas of apple skin, kiwi, minerals and pear are followed by a fascinating palate that is sleek in style but still boasts plenty of kiwi and pineapple flavors on the finish. It’s all framed nicely by bright acidity.
Roza Ridge 2015 Petit Verdot Rattlesnake Hills $20 85 points
The aromas are quite green in tones of savory herbs and green flowers in front of cherry and spice. The palate brings a big blast of acidity that carries through the finish.
Roza Ridge 2015 Malbec Rattlesnake Hills $20 86 points
This wine brings unusual aromas of freshly chopped parsley, orange twist, plum and hickory smoke. The palate is light, fresh and tart, bringing a sense of elegance. Floral notes linger on the finish.
Roza Ridge 2015 Zinfandel Rattlesnake Hills $23 82 points
The aromas bring notes of vanilla, cherry cough syrup and spice. The sweet fruit and spice flavors show a lot of warmth.
Sawtooth 2016 Classic Fly Series Dry Riesling Snake River Valley (ID) $14 88 points
Bright aromas of sweet herb, lime, soda water, white flower and peach are followed by stone-fruit flavors. This seems just a hair off-dry and is lightly spritzy in feel.
Sawtooth 2014 Classic Fly Series Tempranillo Snake River Valley (ID) $30 87 points
High toned aromas of vanilla, baking spice, pencil lead, smoke and fresh tobacco are followed by tart, light cranberry and plum flavors that taper on the finish.
Sawtooth 2015 Classic Fly Series Merlot Snake River Valley (ID) $25 88 points
Aromas of baking spice, red apple and raspberry are followed by plump cherry flavors. It provides appeal if not a lot of complexity.
Sawtooth 2015 Classic Fly Series Malbec Snake River Valley (ID) $28 86 points
The aromas bring unusual, not entirely harmonious notes of white pepper, citrus twist, green herb and spice. The flavors are quite light and elegant, with an attenuated finish. It doesn’t have the stuffing to stand it up.
Sawtooth 2015 Trout Trilogy Syrah Snake River Valley (ID) $35 88 points
The aromas are generous with notes of blueberry pie, vanilla, cocoa, coconut and woodspice, with the oak showing quite prominently. The two continue to intertwine on the palate, with the oak winning out on the finish.
Sawtooth 2015 Trout Trilogy Carmenère Snake River Valley (ID) $35 86 points
Not entirely settled aromas of vanilla, white pepper, green pepper and spice lead to tart, light cherry and pepper flavors. It doesn’t all come together, not quite seeming to have fully ripened.
Sawtooth 2016 Classic Fly Series Chardonnay Snake River Valley (ID) $14 88 points
Engaging aromas of clarified butter, corn silk, vanilla and barrel spice are followed by notes of mineral and lemon zest. The palate brings an abundance of lemony flavors, with an appealing sense of texture. Barrel notes linger on the finish. The wood influence gets a little intense at times but it still has plenty to offer.
Sawtooth 2016 Riesling Snake River Valley (ID) $14 88 points
Aromas of spice, lime leaf, orange rind and flower lead to off-dry peach flavors. It provides a lot of easy-drinking appeal, with dried Nestea flavors on the finish.
Sawtooth 2015 Anniversary Red Blend Snake River Valley (ID) $25 87 points
Celebrating the winery’s 30th anniversary, this wine is a unique blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, 20% Syrah, and 10% each Merlot and Malbec. The aromas of barrel spice, herb, blueberry, baking spice, vanilla, gravel and smoked meat provide intrigue, while showing a light medicinal quality. The palate is soft and light in style, with smoke and cherry flavors persisting on the finish.
Snoqualmie 2015 Whistle Stop Red Blend Columbia Valley $10 85 points
Aromas of pickling and baking spice along with plum are followed by a plush palate that mixes equal parts fruit and barrel. A vanilla marks the finish of this straightforward quaffer. Best Buy
Snoqualmie 2016 Winemaker’s Select Riesling Columbia Valley $8 87 points
Aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle and apricot lead to rich stone-fruit flavors. It brings a lot of easy drinking appeal. Best Buy
Snowbirds 2016 Grüner Veltliner Lake Chelan $18 86 points
Light aromas of cut green apple, lentil, pear and spice are followed by mild fruit flavors on the palate. Enjoy for its easy appeal.
Sparkman 2014 Ruckus Syrah Red Mountain $52 89 points
The aromas aren’t ready to reveal their charms initially, showing notes of berry, herb, olive, cinnamon and spice along with barrel accents. The palate brings sumptuous dark fruit flavors that lose their a touch on the finish.
Sparkman 2014 Rainmaker Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $62 88 points
Dark roasted coffee, anise, herb, graphite and dark fruit aromas lead to soft, textured fruit flavors that drop off a touch toward the finish. The stuffing is good but the tannic structure seems a bit light.
Sparkman 2015 Wilderness Red Blend Columbia Valley $25 88 points
This wine is a unique blend of 62% Syrah, 14% Tempranillo, 11% Grenache, 7% Petite Sirah, 5% Souzao and 1%Touriga Nacional. Appealing aromas of blackberry, plum, flower, crushed nut and spice lead to full-bodied fruit and barrel flavors that persist on the finish.
Ste. Chapelle 2016 Open Air Series Chardonnay Idaho $20 88 points
Aromas of baking spice, custard, vanilla bean and apple are followed by sleek but focused fruit flavors.
Ste. Chapelle 2015 Panoramic Idaho Petite Sirah Snake River Valley (ID) $22 84 points
Unsettled aromas of plum, smoke, hot pepper and green wood lead to a light-bodied, smoky palate backed by firm, gritty tannins. It doesn’t all come together.
Ste. Chapelle 2015 Panoramic Idaho Petit Verdot Snake River Valley (ID) $27 87 points
Aromas of vanilla, baking spice, pencil shavings and plum lead to a light and elegant but still plump palate of tart fruit flavors. The variety’s often burly tannins seem nowhere to be found but it’s an intriguing wine that needs some food to accompany it to fully deliver.
Ste. Chapelle 2015 Panoramic Idaho Malbec Snake River Valley (ID) $27 86 points
Aromas of plum, vanilla, black pepper and barrel spice lead to light citrus and cherry flavors. It provides intrigue but is not entirely successful.
SuLei 2015 Roller Girl Jammer Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $20 88 pointsIt’s rare to find a Walla Walla Valley designated red wine at this price, and this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec brings plenty of appeal. Light aromas of cherry, herb and whiffs of green pepper lead to plump, ripe plum flavors that deliver a lot of enjoyment.
SuLei 2015 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $34 89 points
Coming from a hot vintage, the aromas are quite jammy in notes of raspberry, plum and currant, along with sprinklings of barrel spice. The flavors are rich and decadent. It’s a bit hard to find the variety but there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had all the same.
Syncline 2015 Cuvée Elena Columbia Valley $45 91 points
This wine is a blend of 60% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah, 13% Grenache and 7% Carignan. High toned, very pure aromas of raspberry, plum and assorted herbs lead to a tight palate of red- and blue-fruit flavors. Give it a several hour decant or some additional time in bottle to see it at its best. Editor’s Choice
Syncline 2015 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Syrah Red Mountain $50 88 points
Aromas of raspberry, blue fruit, herbs, flowers and smoke are followed by tart, light-bodied fruit flavors. It’s intriguing but doesn’t all quite come together.
Syncline 2015 Heart of the Hill Mourvèdre Red Mountain $50 90 points
This wine offers reserved aromas of plum, dried herb and spice. Extremely pretty, elegant red fruit and plum flavors burst on the palate, showing a lot of purity. Recent vintages of this variety from this winery have been big, bold and rich. This one is a bit more about delicacy.
Syncline 2016 Subduction Red Blend Columbia Valley $22 90 points
This wine is a blend of 40% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 14% Cinsault and 11% Carignan. High toned aromas of dried herb, red plum, white pepper, smoked meat, raspberry, dried flower and fennel lead to a soft, flavorful palate, with a lengthy, raspberry and spice filled finish.
Syncline 2015 Estate Grown Syrah Columbia Gorge $60 90 points
Fruit for this small-production wine came in at a scant one ton per acre and was all aged in older oak barrels. Generous aromas of raspberry, huckleberry, dark fruit, herb and whiffs of black pepper. The palate offers tart, tangy, tightly wound fruit flavors that bring a firm grip of puckering tannins. This requires additional time in bottle or a long decant to be properly appreciated. Best after 2021.
Tenet 2015 GSM Columbia Valley $70 92 points
This wine—a joint project between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Rhône stars Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie—is a blend of 40% Grenache, 38% Mourvèdre and 22% Syrah. The aromas are locked up on first pour, with notes of blackberry, underbrush, orange peel and spice. The palate packs a big punch of red and black fruit flavors that are bold but still show a lot of finesse and brightness.
The Conqueror 2016 Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills $19 86 points
Vibrant aromas of freshly cut red apple, melon and pear are followed by a creamy, viscous palate. The texture seems a bit at odds and doesn’t entirely work.
The Conqueror 2015 Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $27 87 points
The aromas are downright fruity, with plentiful plum notes along with green pepper, herb and spice. The flavors are sleek in style, a bit wanting in the middle but still providing enjoyment. It finishes a touch bitter, with lightly gritty tannins.
Three of Cups 2014 Le Croyant Petite Sirah Red Mountain $32 84 points
Not entirely settled aromas of barrel spice, mint and blue fruit are followed by tart fruit flavors that come up quite short. Enjoy this straightforward wine soon.
Twin Cedars 2014 Petit Verdot Rattlesnake Hills $34 85 points
Aromas of vanilla, anise, cherry and green wood are followed by light, simple fruit flavors. Drink now.
Twin Cedars 2015 Sangiovese Rattlesnake Hills $27 87 points
Aromas of cranberry, cherry and barrel spice lead to plentiful cran-raspberry flavors that show some warmth on the finish. It’s an enjoyable example of the variety.
Two Vintners 2015 Some Days Are Stones Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $50 92 points
Despite coming from the Rocks District which is known for favoring savory tones, the aromas of this wine start out with a lot of primary fruit, including blueberry and plum. Smoked meat, dried violet, olive, gravel, dried herb and grilled asparagus become prominent over time. It shows a whole lot of hang time on the potpourri filled finish.
Two Vintners 2015 Lola Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $30 92 points
This is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the fruit coming from Yellow Jacket and Pepper Bridge vineyards respectively. The aromas bring notes of blackberry, dried herb, plum, smoked meat and wet gravel. The black fruit and savory flavors are rich and extracted, coating the palate from end to end, with more dark-fruit flavors lingering on the finish.
Two Vintners 2015 Syrah Columbia Valley $21 91 points
This is a pan-Washington Syrah, with fruit coming from Olsen, Pepper Bridge, Discovery, Dineen, Stone Tree, Boushey and Stoney Vine vineyards. It’s a bit closed up on first pour, with notes of spice, dried herb, dark fruit, orange peel and whiffs of smoked meat. The palate is seamless in feel, gliding along with fruit and savory flavors that persist on the lengthy finish. It brings a very pleasing understated quality—a rare find at this price point. Editor’s Choice
Two Vintners 2015 Some Days Are Diamonds May’s Discovery Vineyard Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $50 92 points
This wine is almost completely closed up on first pour, opening up to show aromas of sage, smoked meat, purple fruit and dried flowers. Despite the warmth of the vintage—and the higher alcohol level—the palate seems fresh and focused, with enough backbone to do well in the cellar.
Two Vintners 2015 Stonetree Vineyard Zinfandel Wahluke Slope $29 91 points
Appealing aromas of spice, cranberry, raspberry and candy bar lead to rich, full bodied, ripe fruit flavors that completely coat the palate. The listed alcohol level pushes the upper reaches but it maintains its balance extremely well. If you’re looking for a delicious, hedonistic interpretation of this variety, look no further.
Two Vintners 2015 Sal May’s Discovery Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $55 88 points
Aromas of dark roasted coffee, woodspice and pencil lead are followed by lighter styled cherry flavors. The tannins bring a light grip. It provides interest but all seems a bit understated.
Two Vintners 2014 Merlot Columbia Valley $32 87 points
Coffee bean, red apple and spice aromas are followed by elegantly styled fruit flavors. There’s interest to be had but it doesn’t all quite come together by the finish.
Two Vintners 2016 O.G Extended Maceration Olsen Vineyard Gewürztraminer Yakima Valley $28 89 points
Kept on skins for eight weeks, the aromas of this orange wine explode from the glass, with notes of candied ginger, lychee, rose petal and orange rind. It shows pleasing weight and intensity, with a viscous feel.
Washington Hills 2015 Late Harvest Riesling Columbia Valley $11 86 points
Aromas of lime leaf, honeysuckle, apple and peach are followed by sweet stone-fruit flavors. It goes down easy. Best Buy
Waterbrook 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 86 points
The aromas of black currant, garden herbs, green pepper and black plum show a lot of purity. The flavors are plump and pleasant, with the concentration seeming to dip in the middle.
Waterbrook 2016 Malbec Columbia Valley $15 86 points
Bright aromas of candied plum, herb and baking spice are followed by plentiful ripe plum and black currant flavors.
Waterbrook 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $13 86 points
Fruit forward aromas of raspberry jam, baking spice and oak lead to lightly styled red fruit flavors. This lacks in concentration but what’s there is an enjoyable, straightforward expression.
Waterbrook 2015 Icon Red Blend Columbia Valley $34 88 points
Merlot makes up 60% of this blend, with the balance equally split between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. High toned aromas of dried green herb, vanilla, baking spice and cherry lead to light but plump red and black fruit flavors.
Waterbrook 2016 Reserve Chardonnay Columbia Valley $17 87 points
Bright aromas of melted butter, vanilla, candlewax and peach lead to broad feeling stone fruit flavors, with a bitter note on the finish. The oak seems a bit intense for the fruit.
Waterbrook 2016 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $15 86 points
The aromas bring pleasant notes of apples and flowers. The palate is straight down the fairway, with plump fruit flavors.
Williamson Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Snake River Valley (ID) $25 89 points
Savory herbs, plum and barrel spice notes intertwine on the aromas of this wine. The palate is tightly packed with fruit and taut tannins. Give it time in the cellar or an extended decant.
Williamson Vineyard 2016 Blossom Sangiovese Rosé Snake River Valley (ID) $16 85 points
Pale salmon in color, the aromas bring bright notes of watermelon and strawberry bubble gum. The flavors are broad and fat in feel, not coming together.