70+ wines reviewed below, including the latest from Amos Rome, Beckstone, Cloudlift, DarkRock, Devison, Dossier, Goose Ridge, Itä, J. Christopher, Kevin White, Kirkland Signature, Luke, Pášxa, Rush Lattin, Saviah, The Grande Dalles, The Walls, Time & Direction, and Top Source.

Mourvèdre is an underappreciated variety in Washington. In the last acreage survey in 2017 there were a mere 126 acres of the variety in the state out of 55,000+ total. However, it can make some of the state’s best wines. One of them is Kevin White Winery’s La Paysanne.

“That grape is so distinctive in Washington,” owner and winemaker Kevin White says of Mourvèdre. “It has its own richness.” The La Paysanne is half Olsen and half Boushey, with both vineyards in Yakima Valley.

“On one hand, with Olsen, you’re getting leather and animal and this deep foundation,” White says. “Then on the other, with Boushey, you’re getting bright raspberry and white pepper. It’s the yin and yang of Washington Mourvèdre.”

As always with Kevin White, you also get crystalline purity and exceptional quality at prices that don’t break the budget (Kevin White La Paysanne Mourvèdre Yakima Valley 2021 $40, 94 points, Cellar Stocker. NB: This is a wine club wine.)

The wines below also include Devison’s inaugural offering of Mourvèdre, the 2021 Off The Table. It’s 82% Thunderstone Mourvèdre and 18% Southwind Syrah. Winemaker Peter Devison says he modeled the wine after Cabassaou from Domaine Tempier.

“My focus is always Old World,” says Devison. “My inspirations are coming from the wines I love from France.” Devison agrees that Mourvèdre from Washington can be special.

“It’s got citrus peel and tree bark and is glossy, rich, and polished,” he says of his 2021 offering. It is also the best wine Devison has made to date (Devison Off the Table Mourvèdre Columbia Valley 2021 $59, 96 points, Critic’s Choice).

The wines below also include a number of standout Rhône-style blends. This is a style that consistently excels in Washington, whether the blends are Syrah, Mourvèdre, or Grenache-dominant or a blend of all three varieties along with others.

One example that takes an interesting twist on this style is The Walls 2020 The Ramparts, which is over half Grenache, about a third Mourvèdre, and the rest Counoise (The Walls The Ramparts Red Wine Red Mountain 2020 $42, 94 points, Critic’s Choice).

Meanwhile Top Source, a new producer that I will write more about in a subsequent article, offers superb value with its Grenache/Syrah blends (for example, Top Source Red Wine Columbia Valley 2020 $30, 94 points, Critic’s Choice). Similarly, Saviah’s G.S.M is a whole lot of wine for $40 (Saviah G.S.M Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2020 $40, 93 points, Critic’s Choice).

Bottom line, these Rhône-style blends are a sweet spot for Washington. Quality is high and oftentimes value is too.

Finally, might Sémillon make a comeback in Washington? While the state has seen an explosion in plantings over the last three decades, Sémillon went from 700 acres in 1993 down to a mere 235 today.

L’Ecole No. 41 has long carried the banner for Sémillon in Washington. More recently, new producers are working with the variety too.  While the numbers are small, it represents a shift.

One of them is Itä, which makes two Semillons. Fruit for each comes from Les Collines Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley. One is fermented and aged in stainless steel (Itä Les Collines Vineyard 1 of 2 Sémillon Walla Walla Valley 2022 $28, 93 points, Critic’s Choice), the other in neutral oak. They are both compelling wines.

Meanwhile Devison made its first Sémillon in 2022, with fruit also coming from Les Collines. It’s aged in neutral oak with no malolactic fermentation, with the latter helping bring a zing of acidity.

“It’s got this beautiful fig, white peach, and lanolin character, but then there’s this richness and energy on the palate,” Devison says (Devison The Hunter’s Pride Les Collines Vineyard Sémillon Walla Walla Valley 2022 $35, 92 points, Critic’s Choice). Another young winery I’ve previously reviewed, Grosgrain, makes top quality Sémillon both as a still and a sparkling wine.

Sémillon has always been special in Washington both for its immediate appeal – which mixes complex aromas with textural richness – and its ageworthiness. However, in recent decades, fewer and fewer consumers have paid attention to the variety. Young wineries like Devison, Itä, Grosgrain, and others shining a spotlight on Sémillon seem sure to rekindle interest.

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At Northwest Wine Report, all scores come from blind tastings in varietal sets. Read more about this site’s process for rating and reviewing wines. Read about the Northwest Wine Report rating system and special designations. Read about how to interpret scores. See a list of recently reviewed producers.

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