Below are my Wine Enthusiast reviews for November 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.
115 wines reviewed in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast.
Ben Smith at Cadence has always focused on making Red Mountain wines built more around acid and tannin structure than opulent fruit. That style can be harder to pull off in hot vintages that have comprised most of this decade, though Smith has often managed to thread the needle. 2016 however, brought a bit of the best of both worlds: a warm season brought ripe fruits, but a cool September and October slowed ripening and assisted with acid retention.
The result is some glorious wines that are quintessentially Cadence (Cadence 2016 Tapteil Vineyard Red Mountain $45 94 points, Editor’s Choice; Cadence 2016 Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $55 94 points, Cellar Selection; Cadence 2016 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $45 92 points, Editor’s Choice; Cadence 2016 Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $55 92 points, Cellar Selection). Meanwhile Cadence’s Coda is always an exceptional value, and the new release augurs well for the winery’s 2017 wines (Cadence 2017 Coda Red Mountain $28 91 points, Editor’s Choice).
Kevin White Winery consistently makes some of the highest quality-to-price ratio wines in Washington. We see that again with his 2017 offerings (Kevin White 2017 En Hommage Syrah Yakima Valley $30 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Kevin White 2017 La Fraternite Yakima Valley $30 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Kevin White 2017 Pionnier Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $40 92 points, Editor’s Choice). These wines always get snapped up quickly, so get thee hence.
Michael Savage at Savage Grace Wines makes some of the most intellectually interesting wines coming out of Washington (see a recent profile I did on Savage here). His latest releases also include some of the most hedonistically appealing. The Savage Grace 2017 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Riesling Columbia Gorge is one of the most delicious examples of this variety I have tasted this year ($22, 92 points, Editor’s Choice). Savage’s Grüner Veltliner is also outrageously good (Savage Grace 2018 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Grüner Veltliner Columbia Gorge $22, 91 points, Editor’s Choice).
But it gets even more interesting. A white Cabernet Franc from Red Willow Vineyard? Yes! (Savage Grace 2018 Blanc Franc White Wine Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $22, 91 points, Editor’s Choice). How about a Cabernet Sauvignon from 1985 plantings all aged in neutral oak (Savage Grace 2016 7-Mile Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hills $30, 91 points, Editor’s Choice)? Gorge Gewürztraminer? (Savage Grace 2017 Oak Ridge Vineyard Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $26, 91 points, Editor’s Choice). These are incredibly impressive wines.
Speaking of Gorge Gewürztraminer, holy goodness Dowsett Family’s 2016 offering is delicious (Dowsett Family 2016 Celilo Vineyard Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $29, 93 points, Editor’s Choice). This is always arguably the best Gewürztraminer made in the U.S. This vintage takes it up a notch.
Co Dinn Cellars is giving some compelling insights into what Snipes Mountain has to offer (Co Dinn 2016 Roskamp Vineyard Chardonnay Snipes Mountain $45, 92 points, Editor’s Choice; Co Dinn 2015 Roskamp Vineyard Block Two Syrah Snipes Mountain $50, 91 points). I would love to see more producers work with Snipes fruit.
I featured the Concentric Wine Project 2018 Gamay Noir Columbia Valley in this year’s Seattle Metropolitan wine list. I’ll mention it again here. It’s easily one of my favorite wines of 2019 ($30, 91 points, Editor’s Choice) and is perfect for the holiday season. Concentric is a side project from the folks at Fielding Hills, who recently released their first varietally labeled Carménère (Fielding Hills 2016 Estate Riverbend Vineyard Carménère Wahluke Slope $44, 91 points, Editor’s Choice). It’s a delicious example of the variety.
Those looking for a high quality Washington Cabernet Sauvignon at an affordable price, look no further than the Efeste 2016 Taylor Mag Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain ($30, 91 points).
On the value side, the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills is a big time winner ($15, 90 points, Best Buy).
A wine that is crazy good for the price is the City Limits 2017 Street Art Syrah Columbia Valley ($15, 91 points, Best Buy). This is my value red of the year. It’s drinking young still but is a whole lot of wine for the money.
Finally, Lobo Hills gives us to impressive, well-priced whites (Lobo Hills 2018 Dry Riesling Yakima Valley $17, 91 points, Editor’s Choice; Lobo Hills 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $18, 90 point).
Without further ado!
Image by Richard Duval.
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14 Hands NV Rosé Washington $6 87 points
A canned offering, its melon, strawberry and sour cherry aromas lead to ripe strawberry and kiwi flavors. It’s a surefire crowd-pleaser.
Barons 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $65 92 points
Cocoa, char, cherry, chocolate and coffee aromas are at the fore. Coffee, chocolate and cherry flavors follow, with fruit and barrel playing well off each other. There’s enough structure to lay down a few years in the cellar.
Barons 2016 Petit Barone Columbia Valley $25 90 points
Pleasing aromas of dark cherry meats, cocoa and barrel spice lead to rich, full-bodied dark-cherry flavors that pack a big punch. It hits a high mark. Editor’s Choice
Barons 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 90 points
Aromas of cocoa, char, licorice and black cherry are out front. Tightly wound, full-bodied palate-coating coffee, cherry meat and chocolate flavors follow. Firm tannins back it up. There’s a lot packed into the bottle.
Barons 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $65 90 points
Aromas of green herb, tar, plum, dark chocolate and pencil lead to full-bodied black-cherry and jam flavors. Coffee and chocolate notes linger on the finish.
Barons 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $18 89 points
Fruit for this wine comes from Sagemoor Vineyard, with a dash of 4% Sémillon from Gamache. Light aromas of citrus peel and fig lead to textured honeycomb and citrus flavors, with the Sémillon seeming to contribute a stronger part than its percentage might suggest.
Barons 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $18 88 points
This wine shows resemblance to a New Zealand style, with strong aromas of citrus, green pepper, gooseberry and kiwi along with papaya, guava and fresh asparagus. Broad kiwi and citrus flavors follow. A warm, slightly bitter finish caps it off.
Barons 2017 Gamache Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley $25 88 points
Aromas of Creamsicle, straw and lees lead to bountiful stone-fruit and spice flavors, with a creamy feel. The style gets a bit in the way of the substance.
Barons 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $45 87 points
The aromas offer notes of green herb, tobacco, earth and olive. The tannins come off as dry and astringent, needing some time in the cellar or food alongside them to be tamed.
Cadence 2016 Tapteil Vineyard Red Mountain $45 94 points
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot each make up roughly a third of this wine. The scorched earth, black-cherry, dark-raspberry, flower and dried herb aromas are reserved on first pour. The palate is packed tightly, with layered and exquisitely balanced dark-fruit flavors backed by a lot of structure. There a sense of tension and balance that is captivating. It will have a very long life ahead of it. Give it a 24-hour decant if drinking in the near term. Best after 2025. Editor’s Choice
Cadence 2016 Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $55 94 points
This wine is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. Distinctive aromas of black cherry, graphite, dark raspberry, fresh herb, flower and scorched earth lead to a fresh, flavorful palate packed with fine-grained structured tannins. An extended finish ups the interest. Give it at least 24-hours to decant if drinking in the near term. Best after 2025. Cellar Selection
Cadence 2016 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain $45 92 points
Winemaker Ben Smith has made a name for himself making sophisticated, structured, swoonworthy wines. This is another example. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (43%%), Cabernet Franc (35%), Merlot (14%) and Petit Verdot, the aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of scorched earth, flower, black currant, anise and herb. Exquisitely balanced, structured fruit flavors follow. It’s a knee buckler with undeniable appeal, drinking well now but beckoning for some time in the cellar. Editor’s Choice
Cadence 2016 Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain $55 92 points
Cabernet Franc (82%) makes up the lion’s share of this wine, with the rest Merlot (12%) and Petit Verdot. It’s tight as a drum out of the gate. Brooding aromas of black and red currant, scorched earth, flower and herb are followed by focused, fresh, lively fruit flavors supported by highly structured tannins. As is typically the case with this producer, it’s much more about the future than the present, with a lot of aging potential in front of it. Best after 2026 with a very long life beyond that. Cellar Selection
Cadence 2017 Coda Red Mountain $28 91 points
Coming from declassified barrels that clearly saw a whole lot of love and care, this wine is 45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot. Fresh herb, dark-raspberry, licorice and black-cherry aromas are followed by extremely well-balanced, reserved but still sumptuous fruit flavors. Firm structured tannins back it up. It’s a (very) serious wine to find at this price and augurs well for the winery’s 2017 wines to come. Give it at least a 24-hour decant if drinking in the near term or some years in the cellar. Editor’s Choice
Canvasback 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $42 91 points
Bright, compelling aromas of raspberry, red currant and spice lead to ripe red-fruit flavors that taper toward the finish. Plump, surprisingly tamed tannins provide support.
Canvasback 2016 Grand Passage Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $84 91 points
This is the flagship wine from Duckhorn’s Washington label. Aromas of black raspberry, black currant, pencil eraser and spice lead to full-bodied red- and black-fruit flavors, with a dense midpalate. It’s high on the hedonism scale, with the tannins well tamed from this sometimes burly appellation.
Cellardoor 2017 Theron Rosé America $15 89 points
So pale in color it could be a white wine, the aromas bring notes of peach and lemon. Broad, well-balanced fruit flavors follow. A warm, slightly smoky finish is all that holds it back.
Cellardoor 2015 Ned Said America $26 88 points
Merlot makes up nearly two-thirds of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Franc and a pinch of Cabernet Sauvignon. Barrel notes of baking spice and vanilla get ahead of the aromas and flavors of dark fruit. Still, there is enjoyment to be had.
Cellardoor 2017 Riesling America $18 88 points
There’s no question about the variety, with its notes of white flower, pear and lime leaf. Juicy, broad-feeling, off-dry stone-fruit and pear flavors follow, with lively acidity backing them up.
Cellardoor 2015 Aurora Red Blend America $32 87 points
Fruit for this wine, which is produced in Maine, comes from the Columbia Valley. A blend of Syrah (52%), Cabernet Sauvignon (29%) and Cabernet Franc, aromas of vanilla, dried black cherry, plum, coconut and baking spice are followed by ripe, full-bodied fruit flavors, with a creamy feel. Vanilla and cocoa accents linger on the finish. The oak plays a prominent part in the show.
Cellardoor 2017 Chenin Blanc America $18 85 points
Freshly cut red-apple aromas lead to off-dry, but leaning sweeter full-bodied fruit flavors. It doesn’t have the acid to stand up to the sugar but will still have an audience.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2015 Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $48 91 points
Appealing aromas of dark coffee grounds, cherry and spice are out front. Rich, full-bodied, power-packed fruit flavors follow, with dense firmly wound tannins backing them up. It shows the best of this often challenging vintage. Best after 2023. Decant if drinking in the near term.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills $15 90 points
Aromas of grass, grapefruit and herb lead to a crisp citrus flavor on the full-bodied palate. These tones carry on the finish. Best Buy
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $28 90 points
Aromas of vanilla, herb, cherry and baking spice are followed by a full-bodied palate. The tightly wound tannins need some time to unspool. The oak plays prominently, but it’s quite tasty with coffee lingering on the finish. Give it a short decant if drinking in the near term.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Mimi Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $19 87 points
The aromas are unusual, with notes of scorched earth and soil, showing reduction that distracts. Over time, bittersweet chocolate, cherry and herb notes emerge. The palate shows a reserved sense of styling, exhibiting polish and balance. A light grip of tannins pulls it all together. It’s in an awkward spot at present.
Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2016 XLC Dry Riesling Columbia Valley $45 88 points
This is the inaugural release of this wine, made with extended lees contact in upright oak casks. Starting out reduced, it opens up to reveal aromas of slate, lemongrass, lemon, wilted flower and a whiff of diesel. Bone-dry, layered citrus and red-apple flavors follow, stretching out the finish. It’s more interesting than successful.
City Limits 2017 Street Art Syrah Columbia Valley $15 91 points
This early release red boasts expressive aromas of iron, tangerine peel, raspberry and blue fruit. Generous blue-fruit flavors follow, with a light grip of tannins backing them up. It has the big-time “yum” factor of a more serious wine and will only get better with some additional time in bottle. Decant if opening in the near term. Best Buy
Co Dinn 2016 Roskamp Vineyard Chardonnay Snipes Mountain $45 92 points
This wine is a blend of clones 76 and 96 at Roskamp. Appealing aromas of peach, honeycomb, pineapple, lees and lemon curd lead to a creamy, palate-coating mouthfeel, redolent with stone-fruit flavors. A lingering finish caps it off. It’s a Chardonnay prototype, made in a fuller style. Editor’s Choice
Co Dinn 2015 Roskamp Vineyard Block Two Syrah Snipes Mountain $50 91 points
Dried herb, blueberry-compote and baking-spice aromas are out front. The ripe fruit, herb and orange-rind flavors show the warmth of the vintage and region but keep it all in check.
Columbia Winery 2016 Element Wahluke Slope $40 91 points
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, black-currant, bittersweet chocolate, raspberry-jam, cocoa and baking-spice aromas lead to full-feeling flavors that sail on the finish. It shows the warmth of the vintage and appellation while keeping both in check.
Columbia Winery 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $16 89 points
Toast, freshly brewed coffee, chocolate and spice aromas are at the fore, with barrel notes playing a strong influence. Full-bodied raspberry and cherry flavors follow, shortening on the finish. It hits a high mark for the price.
Columbia Winery 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $45 89 points
Aromas of whole tangerine, soil, raspberry, wild cherry Luden’s cough drops and barrel spice are followed by plentiful red- and black-fruit flavors that show a pleasing sense of balance throughout. Firm tannins provide the structure.
Columbia Winery 2016 Vision Red Blend Horse Heaven Hills $45 88 points
A blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache, the aromas take some time to coax out. Notes of dried herb, raspberry, orange peel and dark fruit emerge over time. Full-bodied, rich but balanced flavors follow. It finishes warm, with a drying feel.
Columbia Winery 2018 Stratos White Blend Columbia Valley $30 88 points
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, grapefruit, star fruit and grass aromas are followed by plentiful, full-feeling tropical-fruit flavors. A warm finish caps it off.
Columbia Winery 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $16 88 points
Café au lait, orange-rind, red-fruit, cherry and maple bar doughnut aromas are followed by sweet, plentiful raspberry flavors that persist through the finish. It drinks more like Merlot than Cabernet but brings plenty of enjoyment.
Columbia Winery 2016 Syrah Horse Heaven Hills $40 87 points
Baking-spice, butterscotch and dark-fruit aromas are followed by quite ripe, pitch-black-fruit flavors. It tapers toward the quite warm finish. The wood seems primary.
Columbia Winery 2016 Tempranillo Horse Heaven Hills $38 87 points
The aromas are brooding, with notes of dried herb, baking spice, wood spice and dark fruit. Full-bodied flavors follow but don’t quite have the stuffing to pull it all off.
Columbia Winery 2017 Barbera Columbia Valley $42 87 points
Reticent aromas of raspberry, red plum and wet penny are followed by fuller-feeling but lighter-styled tangy flavors. It’s an odd mix.
Columbia Winery 2018 Viognier Columbia Valley $30 85 points
Aromas of wilted flower, Mandarin orange and peach lead to a full-bodied, oily-feeling palate. A warm, bitter finish caps it off.
Columbia Winery 2018 Grenache Rosé Horse Heaven Hills $26 85 points
Bright watermelon and cantaloupe aromas lead to just off-dry seeming flavors that feel thick and weighty. It needs a lot more acidity to stand it up.
Concentric Wine Project 2018 Gamay Noir Columbia Valley $30 91 points
Examples of this variety are a rarity in the state, with this one made in a Beaujolais Nouveau style—100% whole cluster and all carbonic maceration before aging in neutral oak. The aromas intrigue, with notes of cigar box, tobacco, herb, strawberry and flower, showing clear stem influence. Light, vibrant and pure red-fruit flavors follow. It shows a sense of focus that enchants. Best with a slight chill. Editor’s Choice
Dowsett Family 2016 Celilo Vineyard Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $29 93 points
The aromas jump out of the glass, with notes of lychee, white flower, orange rind, grapefruit and fresh ginger. The dry palate is richly flavorful and exquisitely balanced and structured. An exceptionally long, spice-filled finish caps it off. Editor’s Choice
Drink Washington State 2018 Visit Walla Walla White Blend Walla Walla Valley $NA 89 points
Aromas of flower, jasmine, peach and herb lead to full-feeling, almost sweet-drinking stone-fruit flavors. There’s a lot to like.
Dunham 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley $22 90 points
In the first release of this wine, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and pineapple aromas are out front. Full-feeling, almost sweet-drinking mango and pineapple flavors follow, with a warm finish capping it off. It shows the variety’s richer side.
Dynasty Cellars 2015 DC3 Walla Walla Valley $NA 89 points
Intriguing, high-toned aromas of black licorice, cherry cordial, vanilla, cedar box and spice lead to a palate full of firm tannins and ripe fruit flavors. Despite the warmth of the vintage, it has a pleasantly restrained style.
Dynasty Cellars NV Irresponsible Red Blend Columbia Valley $NA 87 points
The aromas are subdued, with notes of cocoa and cherry. Plump, ripe flavors follow, with tart acidity and the tannins giving a slightly dry squeeze. Put it on the dinner table to see it at its best.
Efeste 2016E Taylor Mag Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $30 91 points
Green herb, dried herb, coffee and cherry aromas lead to full-bodied well-balanced cherry flavors backed by sneaky firm tannins.
Eight Bells 2014 Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $38 91 points
This wine comes from one of the state’s premier vineyards in the far western end of the valley. Starting out a bit reduced, the subsequent aromas are bright and fresh, with notes dark raspberry, dried herb, jam and tar. Reserved, superbly balanced fruit flavors follow, lingering on the finish. It possesses a lovely sense of structure.
Eight Bells 2016 Barrel Select Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley $80 91 points
This is the winery’s first reserve-level offering, coming from a multi-clonal block of Cabernet at this vineyard. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, toast and herb are at the fore. Reserved, chocolatey flavors follow. The barrel influence shows more strongly than the norm for this winery, but it has good stuffing. Best after 2023.
Eight Bells 2015 David’s Block Red Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley $38 91 points
This wine comes from a field blend inspired by the late master of wine David Lake: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Malbec, 9% Merlot and 4% each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A bit reduced out of the gate, dried and fresh herb aromas mix with notes of tar, pencil lead, licorice and black cherry. Tightly wound chocolate, coffee and cherry flavors follow. The varieties marry together perfectly, with a long finish capping it off. Editor’s Choice
Eight Bells 2015 Old Salt Red Willow Vineyard Red Blend Yakima Valley $28 89 points
Sangiovese (68%) makes up the bulk of this wine, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It’s a touch reduced out of the gate, with raspberry, herb, pencil eraser and cherry aromas underneath. The medium-bodied dark chocolate and cherry flavors show a lovely sense of balance and restraint, especially considering the warmth of the vintage.
Eight Bells 2018 Boushey Vineyard Chardonnay Yakima Valley $28 89 points
Partially barrel fermented, the aromas offer notes of melon and herb. Full-bodied flavors follow. It’s a very pretty, very pure interpretation of the variety, with the oak seemingly pulled way back.
Eight Bells 2016 Red Willow Vineyard Rosé Yakima Valley $25 89 points
This is the inaugural offering of this wine, which is 100% Mourvèdre. A pretty pale-peach color, with an electric pink tinge, the aromas bring appealing notes of watermelon, cherry, spice and herb that lead to broad but mouthwatering fruit flavors, with a nice lick of acidity. It’s an intriguing offering, straddling medium-bodied and fuller styles.
Elephant Seven 2018 Blue Mountain Vineyard Viognier Walla Walla Valley $20 87 points
The aromas seem to lack definition, with notes of herb, citrus and lees. Medium-bodied slightly creamy-feeling flavors follow. The variety doesn’t seem to show itself, though it still provides enjoyment.
Fielding Hills 2016 Estate Riverbend Vineyard Carménère Wahluke Slope $44 91 points
Examples of this variety are a rarity from this appellation, and this is the first release of Carménère from the winery. Cocoa, vanilla, blackberry, herb, plum and bramble aromas lead to full-bodied fruit and barrel flavors. It has a terrific “yum” factor, with a lot of hedonistic appeal. Editor’s Choice
Fielding Hills 2016 Estate Riverbend Vineyard Malbec Wahluke Slope $42 91 points
The aromas are expressive, with notes of coconut shavings, dark plum, coffee, vanilla and cocoa. Rich, full-bodied, layered dark-fruit and barrel flavors follow, packing a big punch. Vanilla notes linger on the finish. Fruit and barrel play equal parts in this compelling show. Editor’s Choice
Flume 2016 Dolcetto Rosé Columbia Gorge $22 86 points
This wine is a pretty pale-salmon color. Apple-cider aromas lead to thick-feeling apple flavors. Drink now.
Goose Ridge 2015 Vireo Red Blend Columbia Valley $42 90 points
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah make up near equal parts of this blend. High-toned aromas of flower and dried herb are out front, followed by notes of blackberry jam and cherry. A mouthful of dark fruit flavors backs it all up, with lightly grainy tannins in support. A warm finish caps it off.
Goose Ridge 2015 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $40 90 points
The aromas are brooding, with notes of cigar box, black licorice, baking spice and cherry, with the fruit seeming ever so slightly dried out. Full-bodied Fruit Roll-Ups flavors follow. It shows a sense of poise and balance that ups the interest.
Goose Ridge 2016 g3 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $15 88 points
Cocoa, coffee and dark-cherry aromas are followed by slightly medicinal-seeming fruit flavors. It could use more tannic structure to stand it all up.
Goose Ridge 2014 Sol Duc Estate Meritage Columbia Valley $55 88 points
Subdued aromas of cherry, soil, wood spice and vanilla are followed by bunched-up black-fruit flavors. Firm, slightly dry tannins back it all up.
Goose Ridge 2016 g3 Estate Grown Red Blend Columbia Valley $15 87 points
The aromas offer notes of baking spice, herb, tobacco and plum. The flavors are palate coating, dipping in the middle, with a light grip of tannins backing them up. It finishes bitter.
Goose Ridge 2015 Estate Bottled Syrah Columbia Valley $38 87 points
Aromas of dark, slightly dried out raspberry, cranberry and orange peel lead to spritely dark-fruit flavors buffeted by slightly gruff tannins. It drops off toward the finish. The fruit seems a bit dried out, and it runs hot.
Goose Ridge 2016 g3 Estate Grown Family Owned Merlot Columbia Valley $15 86 points
The aromas are reticent, with notes of raspberry and cherry. The palate seems to
apart a bit in the middle.
Goose Ridge 2018 Estate Bottled Rosé Columbia Valley $24 86 points
Visually, this has a pretty pale-salmon color. Light strawberry and raspberry aromas are followed by a slightly creamy-feeling, weighty palate that gets bogged down.
Helix by Reininger 2016 Cima Piccola Red Blend Columbia Valley $44 88 points
Sangiovese makes up 48% of this Super Tuscan-style wine, with the rest equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark chocolate, soil, purple-fruit, leather and spice aromas capture the attention. The palate brings a sense of freshness, painting around the edges. A warm finish caps it off.
Helix by Reininger 2016 Phinny Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $30 87 points
Aromas of char and cherry jam are prominent. Somewhat lighter-styled fruit and barrel flavors follow. Coffee notes linger on the finish. The variety seems hard to discern.
J. Bookwalter 2017 1st Edition Conner Lee Vineyard Columbia Valley $45 92 points
A return to winemaker Caleb Foster’s roots, this is the first release of this wine, consisting of three-quarters Sémillon, 17% Sauvignon Blanc and 8% Muscadelle. Lively aromas of peach, honeycomb, orange rind, fig and toasty accents lead to full-bodied, richly textured but still well-balanced fruit flavors. It brings a sense of seriousness.
Januik Winery 2016 Merlot Columbia Valley $25 90 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of dried herb, dark chocolate, cherry and cedar. Well-proportioned, slightly jammy red- and black-fruit flavors follow, supported by a lovely sense of structure and accented by plentiful barrel spices. It hits a lot of high notes.
Januik Winery 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $30 88 points
Cherry-candy and dark-fruit aromas are followed by medium-bodied coffee and cherry flavors. The tannins seem a bit bunched up.
Kestrel 2018 Rosé Yakima Valley $21 85 points
Darker in color than most rosés currently coming out of the state, the aromas are light and elusive. Dry-drinking strawberry flavors follow. It seems a bit innocuous.
Kevin White 2017 Pionnier Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley $40 92 points
This wine is mostly Grenache (85%), with the balance Mourvèdre and Syrah. Aromas of mineral, raspberry, herb, cherry, flower, white pepper and smoke lead to rich, seamless, full-bodied blue- and red-fruit flavors. More hedonistic in style than the norm for the winery, it has a big “yum” factor. Editor’s Choice
Kevin White 2017 En Hommage Syrah Yakima Valley $30 91 points
Half Boushey and half Olsen fruit, aromas of smoked ham, dried herb, berry, orange twist and raspberry lead to ripe, full-bodied, textured blue- and red-fruit flavors, with smokey notes on the finish. It’s a hedonistic delight and a big-time bargain to boot. Editor’s Choice
Kevin White 2017 La Fraternite Yakima Valley $30 91 points
With fruit coming from Upland, Boushey and Olsen vineyards, Grenache makes up just over two-thirds of this wine, with the rest Mourvèdre (25%) and Syrah (8%). Vibrant, fruit-filled aromas of plum, raspberry, smoke and herb lead to full-feeling fruit flavors that dance across the palate, followed by a warm finish. There’s a lovely sense of purity and intensity that ups the interest. Editor’s Choice
King Estate 2016 Weinbau Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley $54 91 points
Brooding aromas of baking spice, black cherry, graphite, black currant and anise carry to the rich palate. The warmth of the vintage is on full display in this hedonistic offering of the variety.
King Estate 2016 Weinbau Merlot Columbia Valley $52 90 points
Coming from a vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, this wine offers appealing aromas of baking spice, dark cherry, bittersweet chocolate and plum. The palate is well balanced in cherry and chocolate flavors.
King Estate 2016 Sonrisa Tempranillo Columbia Valley $50 87 points
The aromas offer notes of red apple, vanilla and cherry, not sitting entirely squarely. Full-bodied fruit and barrel flavors follow. A tart finish caps it off. There are some interesting things happening, but they don’t all mesh.
Lobo Hills 2018 Dry Riesling Yakima Valley $17 91 points
The aromas jump out of the glass, with notes of jasmine, lime leaf, white peach, sweet herb, wet stone and honeysuckle. The impression is off dry, but it’s just the intensity of the ripe stone-fruit flavors. A long finish is the capstone. It’s an impressive offering. Editor’s Choice
Lobo Hills 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley $18 90 points
Pleasing fruit-forward aromas of kiwi, herb, melon, citrus and wet stone lead to a mouthwatering palate that is simultaneously sleek and rounded in feel. Pink-grapefruit flavors linger on the finish. It has a lively, thirst-quenching aspect that heightens the appeal.
Lobo Hills 2014 Spilya Vineyard Syrah Yakima Valley $30 88 points
Aromas of raspberry compote, cranberry, spice, plum and orange peel lead to full-bodied, slightly candied-seeming red-fruit flavors, with a pleasing lick of acid sticking it all together. It shows a bit of the heat of the vintage but still keeps it together.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietor’s Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley $36 88 points
Dried herb, cherry, dark chocolate, raspberry, plum and anise aromas are out front. Plump, tart fruit flavors follow. There’s a strange mixture of tartness and ripeness.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietor’s Reserve Rosso Granato Red Blend Columbia Valley $38 86 points
Aromas of bittersweet chocolate, leather and cherry lead to tart spritely flavors. It’s interesting but not entirely successful.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietor’s Reserve Tudor Hills Vineyard Malbec Columbia Valley $38 86 points
Fresh and dried herb aromas intermingle with notes of tire rubber, tar and plum. The concentration doesn’t seem all there on the palate.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietor’s Reserve Grenache Columbia Valley $42 86 points
Red-apple, butterscotch and flower aromas are followed by medium-bodied flavors. The variety doesn’t seem to emerge at all.
Novelty Hill 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $26 89 points
Aromas of dark roasted coffee beans, char, vanilla and cherry are followed by fruit and barrel flavors that show more of the same. There are good things happening, but the barrel influence seems primary at present. Perhaps they will settle in with time.
Ocelli 2014 Grenache Snipes Mountain $45 88 points
Aromas of raspberry gummy and cherry are followed by pure-seeming red-fruit flavors. It has a nice gulpable quality to it.
Ocelli 2014 Grenache Columbia Valley $30 88 points
This wine is half fruit from Angiolina Farms and half from Upland Vineyard. It is immediately appealing in flavors of strawberry, dark raspberry and herbs.
Ocelli 2014 Grenache Yakima Valley $45 87 points
All of the fruit for this wine comes from Angiolina Farms. High-pitched aromas of raspberry and cherry are followed by plump-feeling fruit flavors. It seems a bit one-dimensional, though still bringing plenty of appeal.
Original House Wine NV Riesling America $25 87 points
The aromas pop, with notes of peach, jasmine, flower, herb and red-apple skin. Off-dry, lip-smacking fruit flavors follow, stitched together by a strong sense of acidity. It hits the mark.
Original House Wine NV Rosé America $25 86 points
A pretty pale-peach color, pink-grapefruit, orange-peel and flower aromas lead to off-dry stone-fruit and citrus flavors. A pleasing sense of acidity stands it up.
Original House Wine 2017 Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon America $12 86 points
Off-dry dark-fruit and herb flavors are at the heart of this lightly aromatic wine. It’s a straightforward, red wine quaffer.
Original House Wine 2018 Fish House Sauvignon Blanc America $12 86 points
Light aromas of pink grapefruit and herb lead to light, puckering citrus and papaya flavors. One wants more aromatically but the acidity is lovely. If it opens, it moves up.
Original House Wine 2017 Original Red Blend America $12 85 points
The aromas offer subdued notes of mesquite, herb and dark fruit. A hair off dry, medium-bodied-feeling plum and blackberry flavors follow, with light smoke accents on the finish.
Original House Wine NV Chardonnay America $25 83 points
Light aromas of yellow apple and melon lead to medium-bodied flavors. A bitter note distracts.
Perimeter 2017 Riesling Washington $8 85 points
Subdued aromas of apple, jasmine and flower lead to off-dry-drinking fruit flavors. It’s a straightforward quaffer. Best Buy
Perimeter 2017 Merlot Washington $10 83 points
Vibrant aromas of braised green pepper, plum, ashtray and red cherry are followed by off-dry-drinking fruit flavors. It would be green for a Cabernet Franc, but the sugar helps it out.
Prospice 2018 Breezy Slope Vineyard Rosé Walla Walla Valley $22 91 points
Rosé has traditionally been a rarity in the valley, with this one coming from a vineyard at 1,700-feet elevation—high the by the valley’s current standards. An inaugural release, this Grenache-Counoise rosé is so lightly colored most might think it a white wine, but it catches the eye. Pleasing aromas of strawberry and sour cherry lead to a sleek, flavorful, acid-driven palate. It’s a bullseye. Editor’s Choice
Reininger 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $40 91 points
Fragrant aromas of dried herb, milk chocolate, tobacco, black cherry, graphite and spice box are followed by full-bodied action-packed cherry flavors. The tannins give a firm squeeze. It’s a Cabernet prototype. Best after 2024. Editor’s Choice
Sail to Trail WineWorks 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $40 89 pointsAromas of black licorice, spice, graphite, sawdust, herb, coffee and dark cherry and followed by tart, puckering cranberry and cherry flavors and a tight squeeze of tannins. A lightly smoky finish caps it off. Give it some time in a decanter if drinking in the near term.
Savage Grace 2017 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Riesling Columbia Gorge $22 92 points
The aromas draw you into the glass, with fresh, focused notes of rubbed lime leaf, orange, ginger and citrus. The medium-sweet-drinking flavors show layering and complexity, with more than enough acidity to stitch it all together. A hyper-extended finish caps it off. It’s a home run—one of the white wines of the vintage. Editor’s Choice
Savage Grace 2017 Oak Ridge Vineyard Gewürztraminer Columbia Gorge $26 91 points
Fruit for this wine comes from a 1,400-foot elevation, organically certified, dry-farmed vineyard, with all of those being extreme rarities in the state. Very pretty aromas of mineral, orange oil and flower lead to a textured, slightly viscous-feeling palate, packed full of orange zest and spice flavors framed by lively acidity. It’s a complete delight. Editor’s Choice
Savage Grace 2016 7-Mile Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hills $30 91 points
Fruit for this wine comes from vines planted in 1985—old vines. All aged in neutral oak—a rarity for the variety—aromas of raspberry compote, herb and mineral lead to achingly pure, intense but exceptionally balanced red-fruit flavors that bring a frank sense of deliciousness. If you want to taste old vine Washington Cabernet unencumbered by oak and pretense, look no further. Editor’s Choice
Savage Grace 2018 Blanc Franc White Wine Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley $22 91 points
Coming from one of the area’s premier vineyards, this is a one-of-a-kind wine in the state: a white Cabernet Franc, whole cluster pressed and aged in stainless-steel tanks for six months. After starting out a touch reduced, aromas of spicy herb, whole green pepper and citrus lead to medium bodied, layered, acid-driven flavors. It’s a knee buckler, with white wine acidity but the body of a lighter red. Editor’s Choice
Savage Grace 2018 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Grüner Veltliner Columbia Gorge $22 91 points
The aromas are brooding, with notes of wet stone, citrus, apple skin and herb. The zippy fruit flavors undulate across the palate, with a hyper-appealing, textured feel from the two days of skin contact. Lively acidity piques the interest. It brings a sense of seriousness and intensity. Editor’s Choice
Savage Grace 2016 Dépendant Red Wine Dineen Vineyard Côt Rattlesnake Hills $32 90 points
Whereas most of the fruit from this variety and vineyard was bottled young and released early, five barrels that make up this wine received additional élevage. Vibrant, fruit-forward aromas of raspberry, cherry, thistle, farmyard and cranberry lead to tart, tangy red-fruit flavors. As always with the wines from this producer, it’s best suited for the dinner table.
Savage Grace 2017 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Gorge $30 89 points
This wine comes from a dry-farmed vineyard—an extreme rarity in the state. It shows a lot of toasted grapenut aromas and flavors out of the gate. Notes of green apple and star fruit follow. Mouthwatering acidity ups the interest. Some additional bottle time should serve it well.
Sixto 2016 Roza Hills Chardonnay Washington $55 93 points
This wine comes from vines planted in 1977 at 1,350 above sea level—high by the state’s standards. Half fermented in concrete with the rest in oak barrel before being aged in puncheons, aromas of toast, pineapple, lanolin, cream and spice lead to a full-bodied palate, with textured tropical-fruit flavors. It’s a tasty, full-bodied, rich, very stylistic offering of the variety that need some time in the cellar. Best after 2023. Cellar Selection
Spring Valley Vineyard 2016 Estate Grown Derby Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley $50 89 points
Sliced and whole green-pepper aromas are out front, followed by notes of red cherry and orange. These aromas carry through to soft, textured the palate.
StoneCap 2018 Estate Grown Riesling Columbia Valley $10 87 points
Bright aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, white peach and dried Nestea Iced Tea lead to medium-sweet-drinking fruit flavors that linger on the finish. It delivers a lot of straightforward appeal.
Ten Mile 2016 Red Blend Washington $NA 83 points
Raspberry jam, herb and wet metal aromas lead to just off-dry-drinking fruit flavors backed by plump tannins. The concentration comes off as quite light. It’s all an uncomfortable mix.
Tenet 2017 The Pundit Syrah Walla Walla Valley $25 89 points
The aromas pop, with notes of black raspberry, earth, dried herb, smoked meat and blue fruit. It’s soft and velvety in feel, with a finish that carries. There’s a lot of wine packed into the bottle. Give it some additional time to see it at its best.
WildHaven 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills $20 85 points
The aromas pop with notes of jalapeño pepper, green pepper, flower, plum and black currant. Lighter-styled fruit flavors follow, painting around the edges. The concentration seems light and it all comes off as quite green.
Williamson Vineyard 2017 Dry Riesling Snake River Valley (ID) $12 88 points
The aromas intrigue, with light notes of flower, lime and herb. Off-dry-drinking fruit flavors follow. The dry designation seems at odds with the wine, but there are good things going on. Best Buy
Williamson Vineyard 2016 Malbec Snake River Valley (ID) $25 86 points
Aromas of butterscotch, orange peel and herb are out front. Cherry, plum and orange-peel flavors follow. It doesn’t all seem to have fully ripened or be in harmony.
Williamson Vineyard 2016 Homestead Red Blend Snake River Valley (ID) $22 82 points
Tire rubber, coffee bean, fresh herb and flower aromas are out front. The palate comes off as quite sweet, with the sugar causing significant distraction.
Looks very good. I like the new layout. Navigation is easy. Thanks for the work!