Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for March 2019. 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. 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.
108 wines reviewed in the March issue of Wine Enthusiast.
DeLille Cellars Chaleur Blanc is often a benchmark for white wines in Washington, and the winery’s 2017 vintage of this wine certainly sets a standard. It’s one of the best white wines I’ve ever had from Washington and is certainly the highest scoring white I’ve reviewed in my six-plus years at Wine Enthusiast (DeLille 2017 Chaleur Blanc Columbia Valley $35, 94 points, Cellar Selection). Note that the winery is still on the 2016 vintage at present. No matter, it’s outrageously good in its own right (92 points, Editor’s Choice).
The Gramercy 2017 Viognier Columbia Valley ($22, 92 points, Editor’s Choice) is another standout from this vintage.
I can’t say enough good things about the wines Charlie Lybecker is making at Cairdeas Winery. The wines all have a clear sense of vision, focusing on freshness and purity (Cairdeas 2016 Caislén an Pápa Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $45, 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Cairdeas 2017 Concrete Lawrence Vineyards Syrah Columbia Valley $42, 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Cairdeas 2016 Cinsault Yakima Valley $34, 90 points, Editor’s Choice). Retasting the Cinsault at a dinner last weekend, I lost track of how many times my wife said, “Wow that’s a (expletive removed) good wine.” It is. If you like Rhone-style wines – and if you don’t we can’t be friends – Cairdeas is a must try. Of note, the winery is also presently constructing a new facility on Lake Chelan.
New winery Elephant Seven continues to impress with its expressions of Yellow Bird Vineyard in upper Milk Creek (Elephant Seven 2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $37 92 points, Editor’s Choice). Check out their tasting room in Walla Walla next time you’re in town.
Kerloo Cellars delivers two tasty and very well-priced Rhone-style wines (Kerloo 2016 Majestic Columbia Valley $26 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Kerloo 2016 Syrah Columbia Valley $25 91 points, Editor’s Choice).
Meanwhile, keep your eyes out for newcomer Willow Wine Cellars. Their 2015 Boushey Cabernet Franc is a delicious take on this warm vintage but cool site (Willow 2015 Boushey Vineyards Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $28 90 points, Editor’s Choice). The winery is located in the Columbia Gorge.
In terms of value wines, we certainly see the strength of 2017 whites in wines like the Charles & Charles 2017 Art Den Hoed Riesling Yakima Valley ($15, 89 points).
The 2017 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling also all hit the mark. As I have said before, these are the best value wines in the state and among the best in the wine world (Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Riesling Columbia Valley $9, 89 points, Best Buy; Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Dry Riesling Columbia Valley $9 89 points, Best Buy; Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley $9, 87 points, Best Buy). Another standout from Ste Michelle is the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley ($11, 89 points, Best Buy). I could drink that wine all day long – and at $11, I could even afford to!
Charles Smith’s project ViNo is quietly making some terrific values (Vino 2016 Red Blend Washington $12 88 points, Best Buy; Vino 2016 Moscato Washington $12, 88 points, Best Buy; Vino 2017 Evergreen Vineyard Pinot Grigio Ancient Lakes $12, 87 points, Best Buy).
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Adega Northwest 2015 Firethorn Vineyard Trillium Block Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley (OR) $36 86 points
This is a rare Columbia Valley appellated wine that comes from a vineyard on the Oregon side. Baking-spice, mocha, cherry and tire-rubber aromas are at the fore. Somewhat lighter-seeming fruit flavors follow and paint around the edges. It provides interest but doesn’t all work.
Adega Northwest 2015 Two Blondes Vineyard Block 8 Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $28 86 points
The mocha, dried herb, tire rubber, hay and cherry aromas are brooding. The flavors are lighter styled, painting around the edges. The fruit doesn’t seem to have fully ripened.
Adega Northwest 2015 Firethorn Vineyard Syrah Columbia Valley (OR) $30 86 points
A rare wine coming from the Oregon side of the Columbia Valley, its subdued aromas of spice, tire rubber and dried dark fruit are followed by ripe raspberry and cherry flavors and a cranberry-filled finish. It all seems a bit overripe.
Adega Northwest 2015 Weinbau Vineyard Block 10 Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope $36 86 points
Comes from this esteemed vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. The aromas rise up, with notes of apple, dried cherry and baking spice, seeming a bit desiccated. Plentiful fruit flavors follow, with the tannins bringing a firm grip, needing some time to loosen.
Adega Northwest 2015 Grower’s Cuvée Miguel Rodriguez Weinbau Vineyard G-S-M Columbia Valley $30 86 points
Syrah makes up 40% of this wine, with the balance equal parts Grenache and Mourvèdre. The aromas don’t seem entirely settled, with notes of jelly bean and herb along with dried fruit. Sleek fruit flavors follow.
Adega Northwest 2015 Two Blondes Vineyard Block 7 Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $36 85 points
Aromas of overripe cherry, herb and fruit leather lead to dried-out-seeming fruit flavors backed by gritty tannins. It all seems quite desiccated, with the heat of the vintage showing.
B. Leighton 2015 Olsen Brothers Vineyard Petit Verdot Yakima Valley $55 90 points
Aromas of cherry meats, spice, high-toned green herb, orange peel, citrus and earth are followed by focused, tart, citrusy flavors, with firm tannins providing support. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best.
Bayernmoor 2017 Chardonnay Wahluke Slope $29 85 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Weinbau and Otis vineyards. The aromas offer notes of corn on the cob, kiwi and canned pineapple. The palate falls flat.
Cairdeas 2016 Caislén an Pápa Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $45 91 points
This wine is a blend of 37% Grenache, 28% Mourvèdre, 16% Syrah, 11% Counoise and 10% Cinsault, coming from one of the state’s top Rhône variety sites. High-toned, thoroughly enchanting aromas of raspberry gummy, huckleberry, fresh ground black pepper, smoked meat and rose hips are followed by initially elegantly styled fruit flavors that bring a sense of freshness, broadening over time. Smoked meat and white pepper notes linger on the long finish. It brings all of the freshness and elegance of the vintage. Give it time to open up and it delivers, with a long life in front of it. Editor’s Choice
Cairdeas 2017 Concrete Lawrence Vineyards Syrah Columbia Valley $42 91 points
Generous aromas of raspberry, blueberry, hard candy, herb and spice give way to compact, initially lightly spritzy, tightly wound plum flavors that bring an appealing sense of purity and freshness. The sense of balance only adds to the enjoyment. It would benefit from a bit of additional time in the bottle or some time in a decanter to open up, but it delivers. Editor’s Choice
Cairdeas 2016 Cinsault Yakima Valley $34 90 points
Blended with 25% Alicante Bouschet—the first use of this variety I am aware of in the state—the aromas boast notes of smoked meat, dried flower, herb, black pepper and sea salt, leaning hard into the savory. The palate is sleek and pure in style, with a lingering, smoked meat and white pepper-filled finish. Editor’s Choice
Cairdeas 2017 Diffraction Washington $24 89 points
This is a unique blend of principally 32% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 16% Cinsault and 11% Counoise, along with pinches of Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet. Primary huckleberry, raspberry gummy, black pepper and herb aromas are followed by elegant, graceful fruit flavors. The concentration seems light at times, but what is there delights, with a lovely sense of balance. Give it some additional time in the bottle to see it at its best.
Cairdeas 2016 Trí Columbia Valley $42 89 points
This wine is just under three quarters Syrah, with the balance Mourvèdre and Grenache. Cherry candy, black pepper and spice aromas lead to soft, supple fruit and peppery flavors. It doesn’t quite have the intensity to stand up on its own but should shine at the dinner table. Pair it with lamb chops with a cherry glaze.
Cairdeas 2016 Boushey Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $55 89 points
Intriguing aromas of smoked meat, iron and herb draw you into the glass. Plump, juicy but still elegant fruit flavors follow. There’s a lovely sense of balance and purity that keeps the interest up.
Casa Smith 2016 Porcospino Northridge Vineyard Primitivo Wahluke Slope $25 88 points
Raspberry jam aromas are at the fore, followed by notes of spice, ash and cherry. Light, tart, plump-feeling jammy fruit flavors follow. It brings appeal.
Casa Smith 2016 Cinghiale Wahluke Slope & Rosebud Vineyards Sangiovese Wahluke Slope $25 88 points
Aromas of gun smoke, herb, raspberry, cranberry and fire pit are followed by sweet, well-balanced raspberry jam flavors. There is a lot to like.
Casa Smith 2016 Cervo Northridge Vineyard Barbera Wahluke Slope $20 87 points
The smoke, tire rubber and raspberry aromas seem unusual. The candied cranberry and cherry flavors are lighter styled. It’s a unique, not entirely successful offering of the variety.
Castle Rock 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $12 84 points
Black currant, tire rubber, green herb and mesquite aromas are followed by fruit flavors that paint around the edges, missing in the middle. The variety seems hard to find.
Cathedral Ridge 2016 The Daughter Columbia Valley (OR) $58 83 points
This wine is a blend of 53% Mourvèdre, 35% Grenache and 12% Malbec. The aromas bring notes of white pepper, cut red apple, Band-Aid and ash, with the volatiles amped up. Lighter-styled cranberry flavors follow that trail toward the finish. It doesn’t all work.
Cathedral Ridge 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Columbia Valley (OR) $30 82 points
This wine is a blend of equal parts of these two varieties. The aromas seem lightly volatile, along with notes of green herb and cherry. Quite light fruit flavors follow.
Cathedral Ridge 2015 Syrah Columbia Valley (OR) $34 81 points
Aromas of hay, herb, licorice and citrus twist lead to dried-out-seeming fruit flavors that fall flat. The variety seems impossible to find.
Charles & Charles 2017 Art Den Hoed Riesling Yakima Valley $15 89 points
Aromas of freshly squeezed lime and white peach lead to tart, mouthwatering, just a hair off-dry fruit flavors. The sense of acidity and balance is lovely.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Riesling Columbia Valley $9 89 points
Flower, lime leaf, slate, peach and citrus aromas are out front. Sleek, off-dry, leaning sweeter fruit flavors follow. There’s a sense of balance that heightens the appeal. It’s a whole lot of wine for the money. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $11 89 points
Aromas of pink grapefruit, tropical fruit and herb lead to broad feeling, ever so slight spritzy fruit flavors. A tart, lingering finish caps it off. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Dry Riesling Columbia Valley $9 89 points
The aromas pop, with notes of rubbed lime leaf, citrus, white peach and cut green apple. Sleek, bone-dry, Nestea Lemon Iced Tea flavors follow, with the finish sailing. This is always one of the best wine values on the shelf, and this vintage does not disappoint. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley $9 87 points
The aromas seem subdued for the variety, with notes of flower and peach. Medium-sweet stone fruit flavors follow. Best Buy
Cosentino 2016 Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $20 83 points
Cedar box and mesquite aromas are at the fore, with the cherry notes seeming subdued and dried out. Ripe, jammy, sweet fruit flavors follow. It doesn’t all work.
DeLille 2017 Chaleur Blanc Columbia Valley $35 94 points
The wine’s aromas are arresting in notes of lemon pith, herb, stone fruit, fig, spice, mineral and citrus. Full-bodied, layered and exquisitely balanced fruit flavors follow with a zing of electric, lemony acidity stitching it all together. The fig- and tropical fruit-filled finish seems near endless. It’s showing beautifully now, but should only get better with some time in the cellar. Best 2020–2025. Cellar Selection
Elephant Seven 2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $37 92 points
This wine comes from the Upper Mill Creek area of the valley and is blended with 8% Viognier. The aromas are perfumed in tones of flowers and freshly peeled oranges, while raspberry and plum notes become more prominent over time. The palate brings an elegant blueberry flavor, with swoon-worthy purity and balance that carries through the long finish. Editor’s Choice
Elephant Seven 2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Block 3 Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45 88 points
Blended with 8% Viognier. The aromas start out surprisingly subdued, with notes of raspberry jam, flower and herb. The flavors are lighter in style, shortening up on the warm finish. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery.
GFW 2016 Vinocluster Rattledeaux Columbia Valley $24 86 points
This Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend brings overt aromas of wood spice, green herb, tire rubber, vanilla and green pepper, followed by lighter-styled fruit flavors. The tannins come off as quite grippy, not seeming to have fully ripened.
GFW 2016 Vinocluster Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $24 85 points
Lighter aromas of dried herb, licorice, vanilla and cherry are out front. Light, tangy fruit flavors follow, with the tannins showing a bit of grit.
GFW 2016 Vinocluster Merlot Rattlesnake Hills $24 85 points
The aromas are light and hard to tease out. Smooth fruit flavors follow, with the concentration not all there. The variety seems hard to find.
Gordon Estate 2015 Estate Syrah Columbia Valley $21 88 points
The aromas pop, with notes of olive, smoke, spice, dark fruit and tire rubber. The palate is seamless and well balanced. It provides a lot of appeal.
Gordon Estate 2015 Estate Merlot Columbia Valley $21 85 points
Mortared savory herb, cherry and spice aromas are at the fore. Broad cranberry flavors follow, with a light grassy note on the finish. It comes off as green for the variety. Drink now.
Gordon Estate 2017 Estate Chardonnay Columbia Valley $14 85 points
Melon, yellow apple and spice aromas are out front. Ripe peach flavors follow, with a browned apple note on the finish. It’s a straightforward, enjoyable offering of the variety.
Gordon Estate 2015 Estate Petit Verdot Columbia Valley $24 84 points
Vanilla aromas are out front, followed by green wood notes, flowers and cherries, with the palate showing more of the same. The variety seems hard to find, with the wood stealing the show.
Gramercy 2017 Viognier Columbia Valley $22 92 points
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Antoine Creek Vineyard, north of the Lake Chelan appellation. Aromas of lemon balm, white peach and honeysuckle are followed by generous but still sleekly styled fruit flavors that show beautiful depth, balance and tension. Lemony acidity heightens the interest. The winery’s best offering of this variety to date. Editor’s Choice
Inconceivable 2014 Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Though not labeled as such, Syrah makes up close to two-thirds of this wine, with the rest Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. The latter shows itself strongly, with aromas of dried orange peel and flower in front of plum, black pepper and smoked meat. The palate is straight down the fairway, with lighter fruit flavors that bring appeal.
Inconceivable 2014 After the Floods Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $25 85 points
The aromas offer varietal notes of dried and fresh herb, along with whiffs of spice and cherry. The flavors are somewhat lighter in style, with the tannins having a grainy feel.
K Vintners 2015 Royal City Stoneridge Vineyard Syrah Washington $150 92 points
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Stoneridge Vineyard on the Royal Slope and was harvested at a scant 1.2 tons per acre, then barrel aged in puncheons on lees for 26 months. The aromas pop, with notes of green olive, brown stem, licorice, fresh herb, flower, tobacco and cherry. The palate is silky smooth and detailed, with plentiful black fruit flavors on the finish. Firm tannins back it all up. It needs some time to fully come together. Best after 2022. Cellar Selection
K Vintners 2015 Ovide Jack’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Walla Walla Valley $55 91 points
Smelling this wine, there is no question it comes from the Rocks District. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah, aromas of green and black olive, moist earth, ash and mineral are followed by soft, velvety, elegantly styled fruit flavors. It’s a very pretty wine, with peat and smoke notes on the finish.
K Vintners 2015 Cattle King Upland Vineyard Syrah Snipes Mountain $70 91 points
This is 100% whole cluster pressed, aged on skins for 43 days before being aged in half new and half neutral puncheons. Focused aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, clove pod, licorice, orange peel, smoked meat and herb lead to ripe, rich, lip-smacking fruit flavors that trail slightly on the finish. Its best days are in front of it.
K Vintners 2015 The Beautiful Powerline Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley $60 91 points
This wine is co-fermented with 3% Viognier, with the fruit coming from the winery’s estate. Outrageous aromas of cigar box, freshly peeled orange, smoked meat, wet gravel, sea salt, black pepper, peat and flower are followed by soft, light palate-coating but still deft fruit and savory flavors that sail into the distance. This is an area to watch in the valley.
K Vintners 2015 The Hidden Northridge Vineyard Syrah Wahluke Slope $70 91 points
The aromas are reserved out of the gate, with notes of blackberry, smoked meat, green herb and exotic spices all wound up incredibly tightly. Over time, notes of green olive, violet, orange peel and ash emerge. The palate is rich but supple. It shows a bit of astringency at present. Best after 2020.
K Vintners 2015 Klein Syrah Walla Walla Valley $70 91 points
Spice, licorice, cigar box, lavender and blackberry aromas are at the fore. On the palate, the flavors are ripe and sweet, with the concentration dipping at times. The tannins seem quite clenched and dry at present. Perhaps some time in the bottle will stitch it all together.
K Vintners 2015 Powerline Syrah Walla Walla Valley $45 91 points
Aromas of grilled asparagus, fire pit, olive tapenade and hickory smoke are followed by pillowy soft savory flavors that glide on the finish, with the tannins bringing a grainy feel, needing some time to smooth out. This young, cobblestone-strewn vineyard is quickly establishing itself as a special site.
K Vintners 2015 The Deal Sundance Vineyard Syrah Wahluke Slope $40 91 points
Coming from a site planted in 1997, the aromas are brooding but still draw you into the glass, with notes of blackberry, dark plum, black raspberry, licorice, ash and whiffs of dried orange peel and smoked meat. The palate is deep and rich, packing a powerful punch with an extended finish following, with Amaro-like bitters. The tannins bring a fair amount of astringency at present. Best after 2022.
K Vintners 2015 King Coal Stoneridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Washington $100 90 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up three-quarters of this wine, with the balance Syrah. The aromas offer notes of green olive, mortared green herb, stem, fresh tobacco and spice, leaning hard into the savory. Juicy, ripe but still elegant fruit flavors follow. Chalky, dry feeling tannins back it all up.
K Vintners 2015 Phil Lane Syrah Walla Walla Valley $70 90 points
This vineyard is located at the winery’s homestead property in Upper Mill Creek. Mortared green herb, grilled asparagus and smoked meat aromas are followed by light, elegant cherry and herb flavors that persist on the finish. Lightly gritty tannins back it up. It’s all about delicacy, but it brings it in abundance. Best after 2019.
K Vintners 2017 Art Den Hoed Viognier Yakima Valley $25 90 points
Fruit for this wine comes from a vineyard at 1,300 feet of elevation—high for the state. All aged in neutral French oak, the wine has aromas that bring notes of ripe peach, apricot and flower. Full-bodied, well-structured stone fruit and creamsicle flavors follow. There’s much to enjoy.
K Vintners 2016 Milbrandt Syrah Wahluke Slope $35 89 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Northridge (54%) and Clifton Hill vineyards. The aromas offer notes of wet gravel, dried and fresh stem, orange rind, blackberry and dark plum. Sweet, somewhat linear raspberry and darker fruit flavors follow that bring a sense of purity and intent, with slightly tacky-seeming tannins backing it all up.
K Vintners 2015 Roma River Rock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Walla Walla Valley $55 88 points
Three-quarters Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Syrah, this wine comes in at an alcohol level (12.5%) unheard of for a red wine in the state in modern times. The aromas are brooding, with notes of sea salt, herb, tobacco, barrel spice and earth. The flavors are light and elegant, not entirely holding together throughout but still providing a lot of interest.
K Vintners 2015 Charlotte Walla Walla Valley $55 88 points
42% Mourvèdre, 28% Syrah and 16% Grenache make up the majority of this wine, with the balance Counoise, Cinsault, Picpoul and Grenache Blanc. Aromas of overripe-seeming cherry, raspberry, black pepper, herb and spice are followed by tart flavors that show more of the same. The tannins seem clenched.
Kerloo 2016 Majestic Columbia Valley $26 91 points
Grenache makes up just under three-quarters of this wine, followed by 21% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah. The aromas intrigue, with notes of raspberry, stem, tobacco, orange peel, flower and white pepper. Light, lithe cherry and raspberry flavors follow, with plentiful smoked meat accents throughout. It’s all about elegance. Editor’s Choice
Kerloo 2016 Syrah Columbia Valley $25 91 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Red Willow (52%) and Upland vineyards, with a dash of 5% Viognier capping it off. The aromas are arresting, with notes of green olive, stem, parsley, smoked meat, black pepper and fresh herb out front. The palate is sleek but compelling, along with plentiful smoked meat flavors and an extended finish. Editor’s Choice
Kerloo 2017 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $NA 89 points
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Block S1 at this vineyard. The aromas aren’t yet ready to reveal their charms, showing notes of talc, mineral, herb, lees and whole lemon. There is a sense of directness, balance, purity and length to the palate that is captivating. Citrus notes linger on the finish.
Kerloo 2016 Reserve Release Bacchus Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $NA 88 points
Almost all of this wine comes from the Old Block at this vineyard. The aromas are light and seem hard to tease out initially, later revealing notes of cherry, tobacco and dried and fresh herb. On the palate, it’s elegant, with the flavors focused around the edges and lighter in the middle.
Kerloo 2016 Exclusive Release Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $57 88 points
This wine is 100% varietal, with a dash of fruit coming from Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. The aromas are high toned, with notes of baking spice, anise and cherry. Compact, lighter styled fruit flavors follow. It needs time to stretch its legs to show its best.
Kerloo 2016 Les Collines Syrah Walla Walla Valley $57 87 points
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Block 50, the sprawl block at this vineyard. The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of violet, black pepper, smoked meat and plum. Lightly spritzy, tacky-feeling fruit flavors follow, with dry tannins and a cough drop note on the finish.
Maryhill 2017 Chardonnay Columbia Valley $16 87 points
Pleasing aromas of melon, spice and peach lead to medium-bodied stone fruit flavors. Tart acidity backs it up. The alcohol pokes through at times.
Maryhill 2015 Vineyard Series Art Den Hoed Petite Sirah Columbia Valley $40 85 points
This wine is 100% varietal, aged in a mixture of French and other European oak (55% new). The aromas offer notes of wood, vanilla, dried cherry and herb. Plentiful, full-bodied cranberry flavors follow. The tannins give an astringent squeeze that distracts.
Maryhill 2015 Indira Elephant Mountain Vineyards Rattlesnake Hills $44 85 points
This wine is a blend of 54% Cinsault and 46% Counoise. It’s quite light in color with an orange tinge at the rim. The aromas seem closed up at present, while the palate offers faint, slightly tangy fruit flavors. The flavors seem quite dilute.
Maryhill 2015 Vineyard Series McKinley Springs Vineyard Mourvèdre Horse Heaven Hills $40 85 points
This is 100% varietal, aged 20 months in a mixture of American and European oak (40% new). It’s quite light in color with an orange rim. The aromas offer notes of pencil eraser, licorice, raspberry and graphite. Light, not entirely ripened fruit flavors follow. The variety seems hard to find.
Maryhill 2017 Proprietor’s Reserve Tudor Hills Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $29 85 points
Aromas of almond skin and spice lead to sweet, citrus-filled, full-bodied fruit flavors. It shows quite a bit of alcoholic warmth.
Mercer 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $17 88 points
Aromas of wet slate, kiwi, pineapple and herb are out front. Broad feeling tropical fruit flavors follow and carry through the kiwi-filled finish, with mouthwatering acidity backing it up. There’s a lot to like.
Mercer 2016 Merlot Horse Heaven Hills $20 87 points
Aromas of raspberry jam and spice are followed by plump, juicy red fruit flavors. It delivers appeal.
Mercer 2016 Reserve Heritage Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $25 87 points
This is a blend of 42% Syrah, 38% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Malbec. The aromas are brooding, with notes of herb, plum, cherry and spice. The palate is lighter in style, with the tannins bringing a sense of astringency that settles a bit with some time open.
Mercer 2016 Malbec Columbia Valley $20 85 points
The aromas are quite green, with notes of green pepper, dried tobacco and fresh green herb along with orange peel. Light, tangy fruit flavors follow, with plentiful orange peel notes throughout.
Mercer 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $25 85 points
Lighter in color than the norm for this variety. The aromas offer notes of raspberry gummy and herb. The flavors are quite dilute, with the concentration lacking and the tannins gritty.
Mercer 2016 Edge of Heaven Blend Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $20 84 points
Quite dried out-seeming aromas of raspberry, vanilla and cherry are followed by ripe fruit flavors that also seem desiccated. The concentration comes off as quite light.
Noviello 2015 Brava Red Mountain $52 88 points
Cabernet Sauvignon comprises half of this wine, with the rest equal parts Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Dark chocolate, baking spice, black licorice, graphite, dried herb and cherry aromas are followed by ripe fruit flavors that bring appeal.
Noviello 2016 French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $28 87 points
Aromas of butter, lees and spice are followed by full-bodied, creamy fruit flavors, finishing warm. The heat holds it back.
Noviello 2015 Syrah Red Mountain $50 87 points
Coming from a hot appellation in a hot vintage, this wine offers aromas of dark roasted coffee, ham and green herb—a strange mix. Somewhat lighter-styled cranberry and cherry flavors follow.
Noviello 2015 Luigi Red Mountain $48 87 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up half of this wine, with the balance 33% Merlot and a whopping 17% Petit Verdot. Reticent aromas of cherry and spice are followed by cherry and cranberry flavors. The tannins bring a firm, dry grip.
Noviello 2017 Rosé of Syrah Lake Chelan $18 85 points
Orange with a slightly bricked color. Melon and herb aromas are out front. The palate is broad, with fat feeling fruit flavors that need more acidity to stand them up. It comes off as quite warm.
Owen Roe 2016 Yakima Valley $28 89 points
Merlot makes up just over half of this wine, with the rest 37% Cabernet Franc along with dashes of 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec. Dried and fresh herb aromas are at the fore, with cherry and spice notes in the background. There’s a lovely sense of elegance to the palate. This one is all about restraint, equal parts intrigue and delivery.
Owen Roe 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $42 89 points
The aromas enchant, with notes of fresh herb, flower, blackberry and cherry, showing a lovely sense of purity and delineation. Far from a big bruiser, the palate brings a compelling sense of elegance and restraint, with cranberry flavors and firm tannins backing it up.
Owen Roe 2016 Rosa Mystica Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $28 88 points
Cherry, baking spice and green pepper aromas lead to ripe, juicy, compact cranberry and cherry flavors. It piques the interest, though doesn’t entirely come together.
Owen Roe 2016 The Pearl Block Union Gap Vineyard Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $72 88 points
Plum, dried herb and red apple aromas are out front, with plenty of graphite and spice accents following. The flavors are juicy and fresh, with a tart cranberry finish and grainy tannins.
Owen Roe 2016 Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $72 87 points
The aromas offer notes of fresh herb, cigar box, barrel spice and dark cherry, seeming subdued out of the gate. Plentiful, somewhat lighter-styled cherry flavors follow. Grainy, slightly dry tannins provide support. It’s in an awkward place right now.
Owen Roe 2016 DuBrul Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $72 87 points
The aromas seem hyper ripe, especially for this producer and site, with notes of cassis, blackberry and spice. Ripe fruit flavors follow, with dry-seeming tannins providing support. It’s an odd mix.
Savage Grace 2017 Oak Ridge Vineyard Orange Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $26 88 points
This is one of the few orange wines coming out of the state at present. The aromas enchant, with notes of lychee, rose petal, orange rind and spice. Bone-dry flavors follow, showing a touch of bitterness on the finish.
Savage Grace 2017 Two Blondes Vineyard Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $32 86 points
This young release wine is light in color with an orange rim, offering notes of fresh tobacco, herb, orange peel and green pepper. Quite smoky fruit flavors follow. There are good things going on, but the smoke influence has a big impact.
Seven Hills 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $20 89 points
Herb, pineapple, pink grapefruit, licorice and clove aromas are at the fore. Taut fig and tropical fruit flavors follow, with tart acidity keeping the interest high.
Seven Hills 2015 Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $45 88 points
The aromas of licorice, herb, tire rubber, raspberry and cherry bring a sense of delineation. The palate is plump in the middle, less so around the edges. There are a lot of interesting parts, but they don’t fit together at present.
Seven Hills 2016 Carmenère Walla Walla Valley $35 88 points
Aromas of peppery spice, sliced green pepper and jalapeño lead to medium-bodied fruit flavors that bring a sense of purity and balance. It’s a pleasing if a bit green example of the variety. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best, pairing with roasted chicken sprinkled with sage.
Seven Hills 2016 Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot Walla Walla Valley $45 88 points
The aromas are light and a bit difficult to tease out initially, with notes of cedar box, green pepper, spice and raspberry. Light but juicy fruit flavors follow, with the tannins giving a firm, slightly astringent squeeze. It intrigues, but the variety seems difficult to find.
Seven Hills 2015 Clone 191 Summit View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 88 points
This is the first clonally labeled Cabernet I am aware of in the state. Herb and flower aromas are out front and make an impression. Over time, notes of dark cherry, anise and earth emerge. There’s a lovely sense of delicacy to the palate, though the tannins seem dry, unresolved and gruff, with a touch of bitterness. Best after 2022.
Seven Hills 2016 Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley $35 87 points
Jalapeño, green pepper and leafy herb aromas are at the fore, followed by notes of graphite, cherry and spice. Dried-out, slightly medicinal-seeming flavors follow.
Seven Hills 2016 McClellan Estate Vineyard Malbec Walla Walla Valley $35 87 points
The aromas offer notes of dried cherry and licorice, with the fruit seeming a bit desiccated. Ripe, full-bodied flavors follow. The fruit seems dried out, but it still provides enjoyment.
Seven Hills 2016 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $55 87 points
Garden herb, dried cherry, leather and spice lead to somewhat lighter-styled golden raisin flavors backed by quite gritty tannins with medicinal accents. It doesn’t all come together, seeming dried out.
Sixto 2016 Uncovered Chardonnay Washington $35 89 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Frenchman Hills, Moxee and Roza Hills vineyards. Aged in 32% new French oak puncheons. Lemon balm, wet rock, candlewax and spice aromas lead to sleek but textured nectarine flavors that pique the interest. A lingering finish caps it off.
SR 262 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $15 83 points
Raspberry, struck match, whole green pepper and spice aromas are paired with lighter-styled fruit flavors. It seems washed out and green.
Substance 2015 Vineyard Collection Me Northridge Vineyard Merlot Wahluke Slope $45 89 points
Aromas of raspberry and cherry jam jump up from the glass. The palate brings a sense of delicacy that delights, with chalky, slightly dry-feeling tannins backing it up. There’s no doubt about the warm vintage and appellation that it comes from, with the ripeness dialed up.
Substance 2015 Vineyard Collection Bx Klein Vineyard Walla Walla Valley $70 88 points
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 45% of this wine, with the balance 28% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Franc, each of which shows itself. Vibrant, appealing aromas of raspberry jam, licorice, cranberry, dried flower, crushed blackberry and herb are followed by tightly wound fruit flavors. The tannins bring a fair amount of grip and dry grit.
Substance 2015 Vineyard Collection Stoneridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 88 points
The aromas are fruit forward, with notes of raspberry and cherry along with cola, herb and spice accents, pushing the boundaries of ripeness. The palate can’t quite live up to that promise, coming off as lighter in style with slightly grippy tannins out of the gate. Coffee notes linger on the finish.
Substance 2015 Vineyard Collection Cs Powerline Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $45 88 points
This wine seems to teeter on the edge of ripeness, with aromas of green pepper, mint and fresh chopped herb out in front of cherry. The compact, somewhat lighter-styled, blackberry flavors need some time to spread out.
Substance 2015 Vineyard Collection Jack’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $45 87 points
Fruit for this wine comes from the Rocks District. The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of black olive, raspberry, smoke, licorice, high-toned savory herb, cherry, crushed chalk and spice. Soft, light, savory fruit flavors follow with a cranberry-filled finish.
Tamarack Cellars 2016 Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $30 89 points
Light aromas of dried herb, cherry, pencil lead, spice, rubber and vanilla are followed by somewhat lighter-styled but still fresh, well-balanced fruit flavors. It brings a sense of sophistication and elegance.
Tamarack Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $35 87 points
Aromas of plum, green herb, licorice, cigar box and baking spice lead to somewhat disjointed-seeming fruit flavors, with a firm lick of dry tannins on the outer edges. It doesn’t all come together at present.
Tamarack Cellars 2013 20th Anniversary Emerald Release Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $100 87 points
Dried out aromas of cherry, anise, vanilla, baking spice and cola lead to a palate that shows more of the same. The fruit seems quite desiccated, with the tannins a bit jagged. It seems quite evolved for its age.
Tamarack Cellars 2017 Viognier Columbia Valley $20 86 points
Subdued aromas of peach and herb are followed by spritzy, full-bodied stone fruit flavors. The variety’s intensity and joy seem to be missing
Vino 2016 Red Blend Washington $12 88 points
This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese. Aromas of green herb, raspberry and plum lead to fleshy, pure, black currant and raspberry flavors. There’s a pleasing sense of directness to it. Best Buy
Vino 2016 Moscato Washington $12 88 points
There’s no question about the variety, with its outrageously bright notes of lychee, flower, orange peel and spice. Spritzy, medium-sweet fruit flavors follow, with plentiful Mandarin orange notes throughout. Have it as an aperitif. Best Buy
Vino 2017 Evergreen Vineyard Pinot Grigio Ancient Lakes $12 87 points
Vineyard-designated offerings of this variety are an extreme rarity in the state. Citrus, green apple, herb and wilted flower aromas predominate. The palate is light in style, with a textured feel. Best Buy
Willow 2015 Boushey Vineyards Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $28 90 points
Aromas of raspberry jam and dried herb lead to a palate that shows a dazzling sense of purity, texture and deftness to the ripe fruit flavors. An herbal streak runs throughout. It’s a very pretty interpretation of the variety. Editor’s Choice
Woodward Canyon 2015 Artist Series #24 Cabernet Sauvignon Washington $59 91 points
This wine is a blend of fruit from Woodward Canyon Estate, Champoux, Sagemoor and Spring Creek vineyards. Despite seeing just 50% new oak, aromas of baking spice and vanilla are at the fore at present, in front of notes of herb and cherry. The palate brings a suave feel, with a lovely sense of texture, dipping in the middle before coming back together. The oak influence is intense right now. Give it time to settle in. Best after 2023. Cellar Selection