Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for August 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.
81 wines reviewed in the August issue of Wine Enthusiast.
At the top come a series of wines from Jamie Brown of Waters Winery and 21 Grams. The 21 Grams 2013 Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley ($125, 94 points) is both outrageously good out of the gate while also showing great staying power over time. It’s one of the top wines to come out of this vintage. The Waters 2014 Syrah Washington ($32, 93 points) is an extremely high quality Syrah to find at this price. The Interlude, meanwhile, continues to be a standout offering at a great price (Waters 2015 Interlude Washington $28, 92 points). Finally, the Waters 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington ($50, 93 points) shows an exquisite sense of balance and proportion.
Avennia continues to produce top quality Bordeaux-style blends (Avennia 2015 Sestina Columbia Valley $65, 93 points; Avennia 2015 Valery Columbia Valley $50, 92 points).
The Basalt Cellars Malbec is a terrific example of this variety from Washington, especially for the price (Basalt 2014 Malbec Columbia Valley $28, 91 points).
The Dusted Valley Stained Tooth Syrah is a extremely tasty pan-Washington Syrah that also provides impressive value (Dusted Valley 2014 Stained Tooth Syrah Columbia Valley $36, 92 points).
Winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla at Forgeron Cellars shows off her knack for making high quality white wines (Forgeron 2015 Anvil French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $48, 92 points; Forgeron 2015 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $28, 91 points; Forgeron 2015 Façon Blanc Columbia Valley $28, 90 points). The red wines, however, are also not to be missed (Forgeron 2014 Façon Rouge GSM Columbia Valley $35, 91 points).
Finally, the Pamplin 2014 JRG Columbia Valley ($30, 90 points) year in, year out continues to be high quality and good value.
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21 Grams 2013 Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $125 94 points
This blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 6% Malbec comes off of Cold Creek, Windrow and Stone Tree vineyards. Aged in just 35% new oak, it’s locked-up on first pour; yet nuanced earth, cassis, graphite, dried herb and spice notes emerge as it opens. The palate is flavorful but refined, with compelling balance and bright acidity despite the warm vintage. A stunner with a long life ahead, it will be best from 2024–2032 but should last well beyond that. One of the wines of the vintage. Cellar Selection
Adamant Cellars 2013 Winemaker’s Select Merlot Walla Walla Valley $42 88 points
This 100% varietal wine was aged in 20% new French oak. Its raspberry, green herb and spice aromas lead to ripe fruit flavors that coat the palate. It’s lovely and exquisitely made but seems a bit green for the variety.
Adamant Cellars 2014 Winemaker’s Select Merlot Walla Walla Valley $42 87 points
Anise, cherry, green herb, orange peel and spice aromas carry the nose. These tones carry to the full, fleshy fruit flavors on the palate.
Adamant Cellars 2013 Winemaker’s Select Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $42 87 points
This wine’s graphite, herb, orange peel and cherry aromas are followed by light plum flavors backed by soft tannins. It trails off on the finish.
Adamant Cellars 2014 Artisan Syrah Walla Walla Valley $40 87 points
This wine’s fresh and dried herb, black pepper, orange peel and spice aromas lead to somewhat linear-seeming fruit flavors. It shows none of the hallmarks of either the variety or the appellation.
Adamant Cellars 2014 Winemaker’s Select Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $42 88 points
This 100% varietal wine saw just a kiss of new French oak (20%). Its leafy green herb, blackberry, anise, orange zest and cherry aromas are followed by stylish fruit and fresh herb flavors that linger on the finish. It’s very well made, albeit quite green.
Adamant Cellars 2013 Nalin Walla Walla Valley $32 88 points
This wine is a blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% each Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Its strong dill, green herb, cherry and orange zest aromas lead to tart herb and fruit flavors. It might be too green for some tastes.
Adamant Cellars 2014 Nalin Bordeaux-style Red Blend Walla Walla Valley $32 88 points
This blend of 40% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot and 10% Merlot brings dill, leafy herb, cherry and spice aromas. The flavors are tart, with pleasingly bright acidity. Cherry and orange zest notes linger on the finish. It’s intriguing and very well made but comes off as quite green.
Adamant Cellars 2016 Bijoux Walla Walla Valley $25 89 points
White wines are a rarity in Walla Walla Valley. This blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillion has fascinating sweet herb, lemon zest, wildflower and stone fruit aromas. It’s full bodied, with dry fruit flavors.
Adamant Cellars 2017 Gateshead Vineyard Albariño Walla Walla Valley $25 88 points
This Albariño, the vines for which were planted specifically for the winery, has high-toned orange oil, melon rind and tangerine aromas. It’s richly flavorful, with abundant tangerine flavors and ale notes on the finish that might integrate with time. It intrigues.
Airfield Estates 2017 Sangiovese Rosé Yakima Valley $16 88 points
This pretty pale peach-colored wine opens with strawberry, watermelon and honeydew melon aromas. Its dry, kiwi-like flavors finish with a kiss of sweetness. It brings a lot of appeal.
Arbor Crest 2015 Farrington Malbec Columbia Valley $45 83 points
Vanilla, baking spice, game, dried cherry, Band Aid and medicine cabinet aromas are at the fore in this wine. Light fruit and medicinal flavors follow. It doesn’t come together.
Arbor Crest 2015 Dionysus Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $50 88 points
In this blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot, well-defined plum, baking spice, cedar, raspberry and anise aromas lead to somewhat light, tart, cranberry flavors. It has fine acidity.
Arbor Crest 2015 Conner Lee Vineyard Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $32 85 points
This wine’s game, baking spice and Band Aid aromas are followed by cherry and medicine cabinet flavors. It doesn’t all come together.
Arbor Crest 2015 Four Vineyards Merlot Columbia Valley $25 86 pointsThis wine is a blend of fruit from Conner Lee (42%), Dionysus (33%), Bacchus (21%) and Stillwater Creek vineyards. Its medicine cabinet, dried cherry, pencil lead and woodspice aromas lead to fruit leather flavors. It seems dried out.
Arbor Crest 2016 Five Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $28 86 points
This wine’s green herb, black cherry, cedar box and woodspice aromas lead to dry fruit flavors with a tart, medicinal finish. It seems slightly dried out.
Avennia 2015 Sestina Columbia Valley $65 93 points
This delicious blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc hails from Red Willow, Dionysus and Bacchus vineyards. It’s locked-up on first pour, opening to reveal bittersweet chocolate, graphite, raspberry, blackberry and dried herb notes. The palate is soft and smooth yet dense, showing sophistication, structure and impressive length. Best from 2023–2029. Cellar Selection
Avennia 2015 Valery Columbia Valley $50 92 points
This blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc from Boushey and Champoux vineyards is bouyantly aromatic, with dark raspberry, leafy herb, cocoa powder and incense notes. On the palate, it’s flavorful yet light-footed and exquisitely balanced. Thoroughly captivating. Editor’s Choice
Basalt 2015 GSM Columbia Valley $36 88 points
Made from 44% Syrah, 39% Grenache and 17% Mourvèdre, this offers high-toned raspberry, gun smoke, cherry, herb and pencil lead aromas and rich fruit flavors that finish warm and a bit green.
Basalt 2014 Winemaker’s Barrel Select Merlot Columbia Valley $36 87 points
This wine’s light aromas suggest woodspice and cherry. The palate mixes fruit and barrel flavors, showing pleasing texture and a tart finish. There’s a barbeque note that seems out of place.
Basalt 2014 Rim Red Blend Columbia Valley $22 87 points
This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Merlot. The aromas are quite subdued, recalling dried orange peel, dark raspberry, plum, cranberry and spice. The fruit flavors are pleasing and finish tart.
Basalt 2014 Malbec Columbia Valley $28 91 points
Plentiful blueberry, plum, orange peel, potpourri, spice and herb aromas are followed by plump, fresh, palate-coating blue and purple fruit flavors in this wine. It’s a textbook example of the variety and how delicious the state’s renditions can be. Editor’s Choice
Battle Creek 2015 Battle Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $60 90 points
Vibrant black raspberry, kirsch, sweet herb, red currant and cranberry aromas are followed by restrained, detailed and elegant fruit flavors in this wine. A cranberry-inflected finish caps it off.
Battle Creek 2015 Yamhela Vineyard Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton $60 90 points
This light colored wine brings appealing cranberry, raspberry, cinnamon and forest floor aromas. The flavors are equally light and delicate, with a snap of fresh, cranberry-like acidity and a spice- and fruit-filled finish.
Battle Creek 2016 Undconditional Pinot Noir Oregon $17 87 points
This wine’s unusual rubber tube, stem, herb, sarsaparilla, strawberry and spice aromas lead to full-feeling red fruit flavors speckled with spice. It’s backed by grainy tannins and comes off as slightly green, but there’s still enjoyment to be had.
Brook & Bull 2016 The Few and Far Between Columbia Valley $48 91 points
This wine’s near-equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec saw just a touch (15%) of new oak. The aromas draw you into the glass, evoking plums, cloves, dried herbs and spices. Its ripe, full, soft fruit flavors coat the palate, extending into a warm finish. It exudes a lovely sense of purity.
Brook & Bull 2017 Rosé Columbia Valley $19 88 points
This salmon-tinged wine has light strawberry and mineral aromas. The flavors are full-feeling, tart and juicy. There are a lot of good things going on here.
Cana’s Feast 2013 Bricco Red Blend Columbia Valley $18 88 points
This wine is a unique blend of 44% Sangiovese, 20% Barbera and 13% Primitivo, with pinches of Syrah, Nebbiolo and Malbec. The aromas are light, recalling sour cherry, licorice and spice. The flavors are tart, bringing a blast of acidity and firm tannins. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best.
Cana’s Feast 2013 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Nebbiolo Columbia Valley $32 88 points
Examples of this variety are rare in the state. Pale in color, this one offers anise, cherry, rose hip, tar, pencil eraser and spice aromas. The palate is highly structured, with tart acidity and firm tannins.
Cascadian Outfitters NV Estate Red Blend Columbia Valley $5 87 points
This is the first Washington-labeled canned wine, made from grapes sourced from Goose Ridge Vineyard. It brings black plum, black currant and herb aromas that show a sense of purity. The palate is fruit-forward, with plump, ripe black currant flavors that persist into the finish. It over-delivers for the price. Best Buy
Cascadian Outfitters NV Estate Chardonnay Columbia Valley $5 86 points
The state’s first canned Chardonnay, this was made from Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard fruit. The aromas include apple and melon notes. Showing a light spritz out of the gate, it has sleek and easy-drinking flavors. It’s well priced and true to the variety. Best Buy
Cascadian Outfitters NV Rosé Columbia Valley $5 87 points
Washington’s first canned rosé, this is medium pink in color. The vibrant aromas bring flowers, strawberries, raspberries, peach and orange peel to mind. It drinks just a hair off dry with medium-bodied fruit flavors. It brings appeal, and the price is right. Best Buy
Castillo de Feliciana 2015 Estate Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $48 87 points
This wine’s appealing fresh plum, cherry, pencil lead, wood spice and dried herb aromas are followed by generous fruit and barrel flavors that bring a lightly grainy feel. It’s an intriguing example of this variety.
Castillo de Feliciana 2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $48 87 points
This wine’s plum, clove, herb, freshly hewn wood and barrel spice aromas are followed by plump yet elegant, smooth fruit flavors. The oak steals the show.
Castillo de Feliciana 2015 Estate Malbec Walla Walla Valley $48 89 points
This wine’s bright plum, vanilla and barrel spice aromas lead to persistent, palate-coating fruit flavors. It’s a full-bore, enjoyable interpretation of this variety that shows some warmth on the finish.
Castillo de Feliciana 2014 Reserve Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley $40 87 points
Sourced from a few vineyards from the AVA, this offers aromas of green wood, cherry and tobacco. Its plum and cherry flavors are pleasant accents to a core of intense tannins.
Castillo de Feliciana 2014 Garnacha Walla Walla Valley (OR) $32 87 points
Blended with 12% Syrah, this has initially light aromas that open up to reveal cocoa powder, woodspice, dried herb, red berry and mineral notes. Its sweet cherry flavors are ripe and front-loaded, with a core of tannin in the middle. Cranberry flavors linger on the finish.
Charles & Charles 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Blended with 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, this enjoyable wine brings raspberry and red currant aromas that feel pure, with no obvious new oak influence. The flavors are sleek and juicy.
Cloudlift Cellars 2015 G-S-M Columbia Valley $34 88 points
This wine is 44% Syrah, with the rest equal parts Mourvèdre and Grenache. Its blueberry pie, huckleberry, orange peel, herb, raspberry, black pepper and spice aromas lead to sweet fruit flavors that linger on the finish.
Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Stratus Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $32 88 points
Sourced from Elephant Mountain Vineyard, this offers café au lait, char, woodspice and cherry aromas and sleekly styled fruit flavors backed by bright acidity. The variety’s characteristic burly tannins are well in check.
Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Panorama Merlot Columbia Valley $27 89 points
This wine’s aromas pop, with blueberry, cherry and woodspice notes and a kiss of dried herb. The flavors are ripe and juicy, with a soft texture.
Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Halcyon Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 89 points
This wine offers pleasing café au lait, black raspberry, cherry, graphite and spice aromas. It has lovely polished and balanced blackberry and raspberry flavors that dip slightly in the middle before coming back together on the finish.
Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Cloud 2 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $40 89 points
This new offering from Cloudlift Cellars was made predominantly from old vines at Bacchus Vineyard. The aroma shows notes of herb, cedar, plum and blueberry. It’s full of elegant blue fruit flavors that coat the palate, backed by tart acidity and a lick of tannin.
Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Ascent Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $28 87 points
Blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this offers high-toned spice, raspberry, matchstick, cherry and dried herb aromas. Its light, elegant fruit flavors make it a pretty expression of the variety.
Dumas Station 2015 Cow Catcher Walla Walla Valley $28 87 points
This wine is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc, topped off with 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. Aged in a mixture of American and French oak, it delivers green aromas, suggesting savory herbs, cherry, vanilla, coconut, dill and spice. The sweet barrel flavors tussle a bit with the fruit on the palate, not seeming entirely harmonious at present.
Dusted Valley 2015 Tall Tales Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $60 93 points
Aged in second-fill French puncheons, this wine pops with green and black olive, charcuterie, stem, wet rock and potpourri aromas. The palate explodes with fruit and savory flavors that persist into a mineral-laden finish. A knockout. Editor’s Choice
Dusted Valley 2015 Wallywood Stone Tree Vineyard Wahluke Slope $42 87 points
Mourvèdre makes up 63% of this wine, with the rest 32% Syrah and 5% Grenache. It’s quite reduced out of the gate yet shows a ripe mixture of blackberry, raspberry, black pepper and spice flavors.
Dusted Valley 2014 Stained Tooth Syrah Columbia Valley $36 92 points
Blended with 15% Mourvèdre, this hails from Stoney Vine, Stone Tree, Olsen and Red Heaven Vineyards. Its generous raspberry, black pepper, herb and orange peel aromas are fresh and pure. The palate is rich and ripe, with a smoked meat-filled finish that carries into the distance. Editor’s Choice
Forgeron 2014 Anvil Minnick Hills Vineyard Merlot Walla Walla Valley $65 91 points
This 100% varietal wine brings graphite, cherry, cassis, vanilla and spice aromas. The palate shows depth and concentration, with rich yet restrained flavors backed by velvety tannins. Give it time to open up.
Forgeron 2015 Anvil French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $48 92 points
Sourced from one of the state’s top Chardonnay sites, this wine was aged longer in barrel (16 months vs. 10), with a greater percentage of new oak (50% vs 35%) than the winery’s Columbia Valley bottling. Its toast, cardamom, peach and clarified butter aromas are followed by full-bodied, creamy stone fruit flavors with plentiful spice accents. It’s a delicious expression of the variety from a warm vintage.
Forgeron 2015 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $28 91 points
This is a true pan-Washington Chardonnay, made from grapes from Yakima Valley, Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla Valley and Wahluke Slope. Its clarified butter, lemon curd, white peach and spice aromas lead to a full-bodied, creamy palate, with plentiful lemony accents. It’s richer in style than recent vintages, but the warm year no doubt contributed to that. Editor’s Choice
Forgeron 2014 Façon Rouge GSM Columbia Valley $35 91 points
This blend of 58% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre and 16% Grenache hails from Boushey and Heart of the Hill vineyards. Subdued out of the gate, it offers raspberry, white pepper, herb, cherry pit and marionberry aromas as it opens. The flavors are graceful, pretty and balanced. Editor’s Choice
Forgeron 2015 Façon Blanc Columbia Valley $28 90 points
This blend of 39% Roussanne, 34% Viognier and 27% Grenache Blanc offers nuanced apricot, peach, flower and spice aromas. It’s full bodied and juicy on the palate, with textured stone fruit-like flavors. Peach notes linger on the warm finish.
Liberty Lake 2017 Tahija Sangiovese Candy Mountain Vineyard Rosé Yakima Valley $22 87 points
This pale salmon-colored wine offers orange and herb aromas. The flavors are a bit heavy but finish tart.
Liberty Lake 2013 Heritage Reserve Red Blend Red Mountain $40 86 points
This wine is half Syrah and half Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 30 months in new American and Slovakian oak. It delivers copper penny, wet herb and baking spice aromas, seeming unready to reveal its charms. The palate shows a mixture of fruit and barrel notes that continue through the finish.
Liberty Lake 2013 Petit Verdot Red Mountain $30 87 points
Aged for 30 months in Russian oak, this has reserved aromas suggesting dried and fresh herbs, woodspice, cherries and flowers. The palate is big and brawny, with firm tannins and a green note that persists throughout. It should do well at the dinner table.
Liberty Lake 2013 Merlot Red Mountain $28 88 points
This wine’s baking spice, cherry, vanilla, coconut and anise aromas are followed by soft, saturated red and black fruit flavors. It shows polish, but the oak juts out.
Liberty Lake 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $40 86 points
This varietal wine was aged for 32 months in new American oak. Its vanilla, coconut and cherry aromas lead to a mixture of fruit and sweet barrel flavors, and the latter win out on the finish. The tannins are strong and cinching, and the oak seems too far out front.
Maryhill 2014 Indira Elephant Mountain Vineyards Red Blend Columbia Valley $45 86 points
This pale-colored blend of 57% Cinsault and 43% Counoise offers light aromas of raspberry, plum and spice. The flavors are elegant but finish tart.
Maryhill 2015 Proprietor’s Reserve Grenache Columbia Valley $36 87 points
This light colored wine brings tire rubber, potpourri, raspberry and spice aromas. The palate is soft in feel—full of red fruit flavors that seem a bit hot.
Obelisco Estate 2014 Electrum Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $70 89 points
This wine’s aromas are high toned, suggesting baking spice, dried herb, cherry liqueur and anise. The palate shows sophistication, especially considering the warm vintage and region. Cranberry notes linger on the warm finish.
Obelisco Estate 2014 Nefer III Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $125 89 points
This wine recalls incense, sweet spice, graphite and black cherry on the nose. The palate brings abundant fruit and game flavors, with a meaty finish.
Obelisco Estate 2014 Estate Grown BDX Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $50 88 points
Blended with 25% Malbec, this delivers exotic spice, dark fruit and black licorice aromas. Its black fruit flavors are speckled with plentiful barrel accents, seeming slightly dried out.
Obelisco Estate 2014 Estate Grown BDX Merlot Red Mountain $50 88 points
This wine’s bittersweet chocolate, currant and baking spice aromas are followed by medium-bodied fruit flavors, with cocoa notes on the finish. Though sophisticated, it seems dominated by oak.
Obelisco Estate 2014 Malbec Red Mountain $50 88 points
This wine’s barrel aromas are up-front, with vanilla, anise, cocoa and baking spice notes obscuring its dark fruit and varietal character. It’s medium bodied and enjoyable, with a smooth finish.
Obelisco Estate 2014 Les Gosses Vineyard Syrah Red Mountain $50 87 points
Blended with 25% Malbec, this wine leads with dominant barrel notes, its vanilla, incense, anise, wood and baking spice aromas accenting fruit leather scents. The palate is lighter styled, with dried-out fruit flavors. A meat- and medicine cabinet-laced finish caps it off.
Pamplin 2014 JRG Columbia Valley $30 90 points
Cabernet Sauvignon takes the lead in this blend, balanced with 20% Merlot, 5% Malbec and Petit Verdot. Sourced from top vineyards and aged in just 32% new French oak, it delivers appealing blackberry, dried herb, cocoa, graphite and cherry aromas and well-constructed fruit flavors that dip considerably in the middle. It is nicely structured and comes back together on the finish.
Pendulum 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $19 88 points
This wine’s fresh black currant, plum and herb aromas are followed by lightly green fruit flavors. There’s no mistaking the variety, but it seems a bit hollow in the middle.
van Loben Sels 2015 Bona Dea Stillwater Creek Vineyard Bordeaux-style Red Blend Columbia Valley $65 86 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up three-quarters of this wine, with the balance Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Its mocha, green herb, blackberry, medicine cabinet and anise aromas lead to medium-bodied fruit flavors that have a lightly creamy feel. It seems evolved for its age.
van Loben Sels 2013 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $55 87 points
The raspberry, red cherry, Red Vine candy, cedar and medicine cabinet aromas in this wine make it seem dried out. Its fruit flavors are reserved, dominated by cedar notes. It seems advanced for its age.
van Loben Sels 2016 Conner Lee Vineyard Pinot Noir Columbia Valley $40 86 points
This wine’s mushroom, mint, cranberry and spice aromas seem a bit muddled, and the flavors suggest more of the same. It finishes tart.
Viola 2015 Dugger Creek Vineyard Barbera Walla Walla Valley $32 88 points
This offers jammy cranberry and raspberry aromas, with lemon peel notes and kisses of barrel spice. The palate brings a pleasing texture and sweet fruit flavors, finishing with fruit leather notes. A unique interpretation of a variety rarely seen in Walla Walla Valley.
Viola 2015 Dugger Creek Vineyard Sangiovese Walla Walla Valley $28 88 points
This pale-colored wine offers pure cherry candy and raspberry aromas. The flavors are light, tart and elegant. It doesn’t quite stand up on its own but should fit in well at the dinner table.
Vital 2016 GSM Columbia Valley $28 90 pointsMourvèdre takes the lead in this wine, comprising 45% of the blend, followed Grenache (36%) and Syrah (19%). Its black pepper, plum, raspberry, spice and apple aromas are followed by ripe, soft red and blue fruit flavors. It brings a lot of appeal.
Vital 2017 Rosé Columbia Valley $19 89 points
Pale peach in color, this wine brings strawberry, herb and white peach aromas. It’s light on its feet, with a nice balance of fruit and acidity.
Waterbrook 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $25 88 points
This wine’s black currant, incense, dark plum and spice aromas lead to soft, ripe blue and black fruit flavors. Lightly grainy tannins provide support.
Waters 2014 Syrah Washington $32 93 points
Most of the fruit for this wine comes from Old Stones Vineyard in The Rocks District, the rest from top sites Forgotten Hills and Olsen. The aromas pop, with smoked meat, green and black olive, mountain blueberry, gun smoke, fresh herb, orange peel, flower and wet stone notes. The palate is soft, smooth and sultry yet balanced with vibrancy and freshness. With its extraordinarily long blue fruit- and charcuterie-laced finish, it’s an outrageous value. Best before 2024. Editor’s Choice
Waters 2014 Capella Washington $40 92 points
This blend of 60% Cabernet Franc from The Rocks and 40% Merlot from Canoe Ridge Vineyard enchants with its complex medley of fresh ground herb, sliced green pepper, moist earth, mineral and cherry aromas. There’s dazzling texture and purity to its graceful fruit and savory flavors that carry deep into the finish. Delicious stuff. Editor’s Choice
Waters 2015 Interlude Washington $28 92 points
This wine is half Merlot, with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Well-delineated notes of dried herb, raspberry, black cherry, dried flower, graphite and anise mark the nose. The palate bursts with fresh fruit and earth flavors that are at once textured, pure, polished and light on their feet. A long, fruit-filled finish caps it off. It’s a gorgeous, nuanced wine that way over-delivers for the price. Editor’s Choice
Waters 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $50 93 points
The aromas in this 100% varietal Cabernet Sauvignon from Cold Creek and Stone Tree vineyards rise out of the glass, suggesting scorched earth, dried herb, graphite, flint, cassis and cherry. It has bright but balanced acidity to support its fruit flavors, with green pepper and cherry notes that linger on the finish. It’s flat-out delicious and exceptionally balanced. Put it on the dinner table and watch it shine. Editor’s Choice
Waters 2017 Patina Vineyard Rosé Walla Walla Valley $22 88 points
Darker in color than recent vintages, this wine brings very pretty aromas of cherry, herb and watermelon that lead to bone-dry fruit flavors with sharp-edged acidity. It needs some food alongside it to tame that tartness.
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