- Written by Rand Sealey
Last week, we spent eight days in the Midwest, flying to Kansas City and driving from there to Bentonville, Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. The focus of the trip was to visit Museums with collections of fine art, but also to receive some exceptional dining experiences as well. Here's our account of this trip.
On Saturday, April 7, we took the early morning flight from Walla Walla to Seattle, and then to Kansas City. When we arrived in KC, it was still winter. Temperatures were in the 40's and no trees budding. For dinner, we had booked the Corvino Supper Club, owned and by Michael and Christina Corvino. He is the chef and grew up in Walla Walla, the son of Joe and Carolyn Corvino. For the entrée, we had fried whole chicken, a Midwestern staple, which was deliciously moist and judiciously breaded. The Corvinos each came to our table to greet us. The meal was accompanied by a tasty, robust 2014 Domaine Raspail Gigondas.
The next day, we went to the Kimball Museum, a Gunnar Birkerts-designed (1994) building. There, we saw some compelling prints by Cuban artist Belkis Ayón and street photography from the 'sixties by Garry Winograd. We had lunch at one of the best museum restaurants in the country, Café Sebastienne, where we had chicken salad croissant sandwiches with Beaujolais. After lunch, we went to the Nelson-Atkins Gallery, endowed by the Kansas City Star newspaper founder. William Rockhill Nelson. In the Bloch wing, we saw socially conscious photography, and in the main galleries, the famous Caravaggio painting of St. John the Baptist. For dinner, we went to JJ's, reputed to be one of Kansas City's best steakhouses. We were not disappointed. The restaurant had a promotion of 40% off on Bordeaux by the bottle. After consultation with the sommelier, we ended up with a 2010 Chateau Grand Pontet, Saint Emilion, Being Merlot dominated (70%, with 15% each of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon), it was a perfect accompaniment to our filet mignon.
The following day, Tuesday, the 9th, the museums were closed, so we had lunch at Café Trio on Main Street, near our Best Western. I had crab cakes and Lynn, mac and cheese, with Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier. In the afternoon, we went to the home of well known regional artist, Thomas Hart Benton. My parents were close friends of Tom and Rita when my family lived in Kansas City in the 1940's and house sat for the Bentons when they went to Martha's Vineyard for the summer. We saw Tom's studio and the bedroom where I slept one night visiting the Bentons in 1967. We returned to Trio for dinner where I had short ribs (actually thick) with Lenore Washington Syrah and Lynn, stuffed acorn squash with Cline Viognier.
On Wednesday, the 10th, we drove south to Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of the Walmart headquarters, where the famous Crystal Bridges Museum is located. When we arrived in Bentonville, we went to The River Grill (actually no river nearby) for lunch. It was nice and quiet with Ansel Adams prints on all the walls, and we met the owner, who has owned the restaurant for 19 years. We had chicken salad sandwiches with Ch. Ste. Michelle Riesling, always a reliable standby. Later, we drove by the Crystal Bridges entrance and a guard (with a tech son in Seattle) gave us tips on what to do the next day. Dinner was at "Tusk and Trotter," a noisy, crowded place with tables of 8 or 10 people. We divided a full barbecued baby spareribs, along with Handcraft Winery California Petit Syrah.
The next day, we drove into Bentonville, parked next to the Compton Gardens and walked north on pathways to the Crystal Bridges Museum buildings. First, we had a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house that was disassembled in New Jersey and reassembled on the Crystal Bridges property; it is constructed of cement blocks and lots of Philippine mahogany wood. Lunch at Crystal Bridges was straightforward, Vietnamese noodle salad with chicken and Sebastiani Chardonnay. At the museum, we saw a wide range of contemporary American art works, including a maquette model of the 3-story tall Jim Dine Pinocchio which was fabricated at the Walla Walla Foundry and then disassembled and shipped to Borås, Sweden. Then we walked back to the Gardens along the "Tulip Trail." At the upscale 21c Museum Hotel on A Street in Bentonville, frequented by art lovers and Walmart execs, we enjoyed a "Rajah" cocktail (Gin, Chartreuse and bitters). The hotel is owned by Alice Walton. We remained at the hotel for dinner at "The Hive" restaurant, decorated with an artistic rendition of a giant beehive on the walls. Our affable waiter served us perfectly cooked diver scallops which paired beautifully with a Macon-Chaintré, from one of the best villages in the Maconnais. After dinner, we toured the hotel's extensive art collection.
On Thursday, the 12th, we drove southwestward to Tulsa, the home of the Gilcrease Museum, founded by Oklahoma oilman Thomas Gilcrease who amassed an extensive collection of Western art, including works by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, plus native American crafts. The restaurant was one of the nicest museum dining rooms we've ever experienced, spacious and sunny, with white tablecloths. I had a buffalo burger with a Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon and Lynn, a Cobb salad with Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay. The food and wine went together so nicely we each had two glasses. In the evening, we had dinner at "Baxter's Interurban" right next door to the Best Western - grilled chicken Caesar salad with Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay. I related the story of how that slightly sweet Chardonnay got created accidentally, as the result of a stuck fermentation, and how Jess Jackson sued his former winemaker, Jed Steele for allegedly stealing the formula.
Friday, April 13th was not an unlucky day. We drove south to Dallas where our first stop was the Dallas Museum of Art. The lunch was, again, straightforward, with tuna salad croissant sandwiches and house Chardonnay. Then we toured the museum, starting with Yayoi Kusama's "Pumpkin Infinity Room;" a 45 second "look" was our viewing time allotment! The museum galleries included many contemporary photographs and modern masters, including René Magritte, Piet Mondrian, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe and many more. We also walked in the Nasher Sculpture Garden across the street. That day was Lynn's birthday and we went to the city's best seafood restaurant, Ocean Prime, for dinner. Lynn loves Champagne, so we had a bottle of Henriot Brut Souverain - very precise and elegant - with our Gulf snapper and grilled Brussels sprouts.
On Saturday, we drove west to Fort Worth to visit three museums in the Museum District. First, the beautiful Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, designed by architect Tadao Ando. There, we saw a diverse and impressive collection of modern art. Lunch was at Café Modern where Lynn had a tuna Nicoise salad, and I had a burger with Charles Smith "Boom Boom" Syrah. After lunch we toured the Kimbell Art Museum (two pavilions one designed by Louis Kahn, the other by Renzo Piano) and then the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. We then went to the Best Western Irving DFW near the airport. Dinner was Chinese food, at Lin's Garden, the only restaurant in the area. Our spicy chicken and Seafood Delight were washed down with Margaritas.
Early the next morning we flew from DFW to SEA and then to ALW ending what was a memorable trip with fine wine, food and art.
- Written by Rand Sealey
This weekend, April 6-7, is Cayuse Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley. This when Christophe Baron's winery on Sunnyside Road in the "Rocks" releases its new vintage and previews barrel samples of the following vintage. This Friday morning, we drove down there to visit and celebrate the Bionic Frog's 21st Birthday. Here's what we tasted.
2016 Cayuse Viognier, Walla Walla Valley, Cailloux Vineyard - This is a gorgeous Viognier. Christophe Baron makes one that is more age worthy than most. This vintage shows a bright gold color an alluring aromas of pear, peach, papaya, honeysuckle, jasmine and white incense. The flavors are deliciously vivid and mouth filling, replete with pear skin, peach stone and minerals, followed by a long, persistently minerals finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Cayuse "Flying Pig" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley - This Cabernet Franc, Merlot blend exhibits a semi opaque ruby color and intoxicating aromas of wild blackberries, huckleberries, black currants, tobacco, herbs, crushed roses and smoldering incense. The flavors are bold and direct, redolent of dark fruits that are intermixed with licorice, dark cocoa, espresso and Rocks minerals and loam. The back picks up roasted berries and nuts and then amps up with mocha, charcoal and herbs on the lingering finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Cayuse "Camaspolo" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley - This Cab-Merlot blend offers a deep ruby color and a rich Cabernet dominated nose of blackberries, cherries, plums, cassis, crushed rosed, mulberry, tobacco, cedar and incense. The flavors are seemingly taut and direct, yet accessible, with notes of licorice, cocoa, French roast and minerals. The structure continues on the back with macerated berries, roasted walnuts, integrated oak and graphite, followed by a firm, yet sweetish tannin finish. 19+/20 points.
2016 Cayuse Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Cailloux Vineyard - Crimson-purple colored, this emits lovely, floral aromas of wild raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates, red currants, rose petals, sweet tobacco, lavender, dried herbs, violets and wafts of light spiced incense. The flavors are medium bodied but lavish, with much Syrah purity, marked by cocoa, black tea and stony minerals. The lengthy back picks up pressed fruits, graphite, kidskin and fine grained, sweetish moderate tannins and flows seamlessly into a lingering finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Cayuse "Bionic Frog" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley - All from the Cocinelle ("ladybug") Vineyard, this shoes a purplish ruby color and an intense nose of wild fruits - blackberries, blueberries, cherries, black currants - with scents of attar of rose, pipe tobacco, lavender, incense and evident Rocks funk. On the palate, the flavors are thick and chewy, muscular yet supple, with intermixtures of licorice, French roast and minerals. The back reveals sensations of macerated berries, roasted nuts, leather, game and burnt charcoal, followed by a lingering chewy tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Cayuse Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, En Chamberlin Vineyard - Deep ruby colored, this possesses a rich, earthy, perfumed nose of blackberries, mountain huckleberries, black currants, bayberry, crushed black roses, lavender and smoldering incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with thick, chewy black and blue fruits that re infused with licorice, Sumatra roast and riverbed minerals. The saturation continues on the back with roasted berries and nuts, dried currants and burnt charcoal, followed a lingering sweet-dry tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Cayuse "Impulsivo" Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, En Cerise Vineyard - Deep ruby colored, this possesses an intriguing nose of blackberries, cranberries, plums, black currants, crushed black roses, dark tobacco and burnt wood. The flavors are taut yet chewy textured, with black fruits that are underscored by notes of licorice, bittersweet chocolate, chicory coffee and mineral and loamy earth. The intensity continues on the back with sensations of roasted berries and almonds, bitter dried orange peelsl and cherries, followed by a long, long dryish Gran Reserva Rioja like finish. 19.5/20 points.
The 2016 preview was followed by a pouring of a library wine from the 2011 vintage, a challenging one, but with some compelling wines such as this one.
2011 Cayuse "Bionic Frog" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley - Deep ruby crimson colored, this edited a perfumed nose of dark fruits - blackberry, cherry, plum, black currant - with scents of attar of rose, dark flowers, maduro wrapper, garrigue and smoldering oriental incense. The flavors show the tautness of a 2011, fortress-like, but in this case, still accessible, with a highly nuanced mid palate, marked by notes of licorice, bittersweet chocolate, French press coffee and distinct Rocks minerality. The back picks up pressed berries, roasted nuts, toffee and burnt charcoal, followed by a long, complex herb and spice dusted old world like sweet-dry tannin finish. 20/20 points.
After Cayuse, we went over to Reynvaan Vineyards at the end of Cottonwood Road in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. There, we tasted a couple of whites - Grenache Blanc and Viognier - and reprises of the 2015 In the Rocks and In the Hills Syrahs,, and a preview of the 2016 "The Classic" Red Wine from the barrel.
2016 Reynvaan "The Classic" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley - Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc. It comes on like a classically-styled "BDX" blend with a deep ruby color and intoxicating aromas of blackberries, black cherries, black plums and black currants, with scents of black roses, bayberry, tobacco, cedar and incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with authoritative, yet accessible dark fruits that are imbued with licorice, cocoa, French roast and Rocks minerals. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of macerated berries, roasted walnuts, mocha, toffee and pencil lead, followed by long, purely fruited ripe tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
No Review Blog Next Week
Tomorrow morning, we will be leaving for Kansas City for the beginning of a tour of Art Museums in the Midwest, returning April 15. The next Blog posting will be on April 16.
- Written by Rand Sealey
Over the past few weeks, in addition to tasting Washington wines for the May issue of the Review of Washington Wines, we have been drinking several wines that are particularly interesting. Here they are.
Lail Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the Napa Valley's most legendary figures was John Daniel Jr. who in the 1950's and 1960's headed Ingenook Vineyards which was founded by Gustav Niebaum in 1879. Today, Daniel's daughter Robin Lail and her daughters own Lail Vineyards in Calistoga, which continues the John Daniel heritage. A couple of nights ago, our next door neighbor brought over the following wine.
2012 Lail Vineyards "Blueprint" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($80) - Semi opaque ruby colored, this 88% Cabernet (with 8% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot) emits seductive, ripe aromas of blackberries, cherries, plums, crushed black roses, sweet tobacco, cedar, sandalwood and incense. The flavors are thick and fleshy, almost opulent, yet focused, with notes of licorice, Belgian chocolate, French roast and minerals. The saturation continues on the back with roasted berries and nuts, mocha, toffee and graphite. The alcohol registers at 15.4%, but is smoothed over by the continuing opulence that continues on through the lingering ripe tannin finish. 19+/20 points.
The Lirac Wines of Domaine de la Modorée
Lirac is a commune near Avignon in the South Rhone Valley. It is adjacent to Tavel which is known for its rosé wines. The principal grapes of Lirac are Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah for the reds and Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier for the whites. Domaine de la Modorée is one of the best producers.
2016 Domaine de la Modorée Lirac Blanc, "La Reine des Bois" ($39.99 - wine.com) - Composed of one third each of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne, this displays a brilliant gold color and floral aromas of pear, peach, honeydew melon, papaya and citrus. The flavors are wide ranged, yet laser-like, with notes of peach stone, pear skin and granitic minerals. On the back, the wine turns deliciously juicy, yet crystalline, with sensations of poire and pêche liqueurs, and recurring melon and papaya rinds, and touches of nougat and grapefruit zest on the lingering, lightly spiced finish. 19/20 points.
2015 Domaine de la Modorée Lirac, "La Reine des Bois" ($39.99 - wine.com) - This combination of 34% Grenache, and 33% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre exhibits a deep purplish-ruby color and an intoxicating nose of wild raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates and black currants, with scents of crushed roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco, lavender, Provençal herbs and violets. The flavors, as well, are alluring, bathed with black and blue fruits that are imbued with licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and granitic minerals. The saturation continues on the back with macerated berries, roasted nuts, framboise and cassis liqueurs, orange peel and charcoal, followed by a lingering, spiced warm (15% alcohol) ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.
The Villages Wines of Louis Jadot
Maison Louis Jadot, founded in 1859, is one of the most respected negotiant-proprietaires in Burgundy. Its portfolio comprises of wines from a wide range of appellations from Beaujolais and the Maconnais, Côte Chalonnaise, the Côte d'Or and Chablis. While the Premier and Grand Crus are the stellar wines, Jadot also produces fine wines from the communal "Villages" appellations. Here are some fine examples.
2015 Louis Jadot Givry ($31.99 - wine.com) - From the Côte Chalonnaise, this Pinot Noir offers a medium brick red color and attractive aromas of strawberry, cherry and red currant, with scents of red roses, tobacco leaf and whiffs of white incense. The flavors are pleasingly supple ("tendre," as the French say) with notes of red licorice, herbal tea and light earth, leading nicely into a smooth moderate tannin and acid finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Louis Jadot Mercurey ($32.99 - wine.com) - Mercurey, along with Givry, produces mostly Pinot Noir. This one shows a medium brick red color and perfumed aromas of strawberries, pomegranates, and red currants, with scents of crushed roses, light sweet tobacco and violets. The flavors, as well, are alluring, with pleasing medium bodied red fruits that are imbued with red licorice, cocoa powder and medium roast coffee. The back picks up fraise and cassis liqueurs on the way to a soft moderate tannin and acid finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Louis Jadot Santenay ($39.99 - wine.com) - Santenay is situated at the southern end of the Côte d'Or, adjacent to Chassage-Montrachet. This version offers a brilliant purplish-ruby color and an unmistakable Pinot Noir nose of strawberries, cherries, cassis, rose petals, orange peel and light incense. The flavors are generous and round, yet focused, with notes of red licorice, cocoa powder, medium roast coffee and earth. The back reveals sensations of pressed berries, toasted nuts and soft pencil lead, followed by a smooth light tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2015 Louis Jadot "Le Chapitre" Bourgogne ($35.99 - wine.com) - Le Chapitre is a Jadot Domaine wine, sourced from vineyards in Chenôve, adjacent to Marsannay at the north end of the Côte de Nuts. It displays a medium purplish red color and enticing aromas of wild strawberries, black currants, red plums, rose petals, sweet tobacco, wildflowers and light incense. The medium bodied flavors comprise pressed red and blue fruits that are endowed with red licorice, cocoa and chalky earth. The supple textured back picks up pressed fruits, toffee and light graphite, followed by a smooth soft tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Louis Jadot Côte de Nuits Villages ($37.99 - wine.com) - From selected vineyards in Fixin, Brochon, Preméaux and Comblanchien, this shows a brick red color and enticing aromas of fraises de bois, framboise, and cerise, with scents of red roses, orange peel, spring flowers and whiffs of incense. The flavors are supple, yet well delineated, with considerable Pinot character, accompanied by notes of licorice, chocolate and chalky earth. The back picks up pressed berries and red fruit liqueurs on the way to a supple finish. This is what the Burgundians call a vin de plaisir. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Louis Jadot Fixin ($41.99 - wine.com) - Fixin is located near the north end of the Côte de Nuits, just past Gevrey-Chambertin to whose wines this is similar. It displays a brick red color and enticing aromas of fraises de bois, wild cherries, black currants, crushed red roses, tobacco leaf, sweet pea flowers and white incense. The medium bodied flavors are varietally pure, replete with red licorice, cocoa powder, medium roast coffee and minerals. The seduction continues on the back with sensations of pressed berries, toasted nuts, fraise and cerise liqueurs, and creme de cassis, followed by a moderate alcohol (12%) and satiny tannin finish. As a vin de plaisir, this gets a plus. 18.5+/20 points.
- Written by Rand Sealey
Back on 24 October, 2017, I wrote in my Review of Washington Wines Blog:
"At this stage, the 2015 reds are showing very well. In general, the wines are well fruited and structured, with fine aromatics (phenols) and depth. Acid levels are, for the most part, sturdy, more so than for the 2013s from another warm year and with well balanced tannins. Most of the 2015s released so far have been from other varieties than Cabernet Sauvignon, many of which will be released next Spring."
Now that the 2015 Cabernets and "BDX" blends are coming on the market, it appears that the climate gods smiled on Cabernet Sauvignon in 2015. After a hot summer, a moderate cooling trend in October allowed the flavors and aromatics of Cabernet Sauvignon, typically a late ripening grape, to develop.
Here's what we have so far and coming up in the way of high scoring 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet dominated BDX blends.
In the March issue, I reviewed the 2015 Long Shadows "Feather" Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) and the "Pirouette" BDX Red ($60), both scoring stellar 19.5/20 points.
In the April issue of the Review of Washington Wines, just now on line, we have:
2015 Guardian Cellars "Gun Metal" Red Wine ($42) - 19/20 points
2015 Andrew Januik "Stone Cairn" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($40) - 19/20 points
2015 JM Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Shaw Vineyard ($55) - 19+/20 points
2015 L'Ecole No. 41 "Perigee" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($55) - 19+/20 points
2015 L'Ecole No. 41 Ferguson Vineyard Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($65) - 19.5/20 points
2015 Avennia "Sestina" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($65) - 19.5 points
In the May issue, there will a quintet of single vineyard 2015 Cabernets from the Seven Hills Winery: Seven Hills Vineyard, McClellan and Summit View in the Walla Walla Valley; Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain; and Elephant Mountain northwest of Zillah. Also, there will be the 2015 Mark Ryan "Dead Horse" Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain (19+/20 points).
I expect there will be more outstanding 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and blends being released in the coming months. Stay tuned!
- Written by Rand Sealey
On Monday, February 19th, we went to the Seven Hills Industry Night where the winery's 2017 Dry Rosé was released. Three weeks later, on Monday, March 12th, Lagana Cellars debuted its 2017 Rose of Pinot Noir. These marked the kickoff of the season's 2017 rosé wines. Here's a preview of the rosés to be reviewed in the upcoming April and May issues of the Review of Washington Wines.
To be Reviewed in the April Issue
2017 Seven Hills Dry Rosé, Columbia Valley ($18) - Primarily Cabernet Franc with a bit of Petit Verdot and Malbec, this offers a pinkish light copper color and enticing aromas of strawberry, pink peach Rainier cherry, white flowers and white incense. The flavors are fresh and sprightly and picks up fraise and cerise liqueurs on the way to a mouth watering finish.18.5/20 points.
2017 Three Rivers Rosé Wine, Columbia Valley ($16) - Composed of 70% Syrah, 27% Sangiovese and 3% Riesling this shows a pinkish-copper color and enticing aromas of strawberry, red currant, grapefruit, spring flowers and whiffs of clover and spice. The flavors are gently extracted, accented by fraise and cassis liqueurs and a twist of grapefruit peel, followed by a juicy, dry finish. 18+/20 points.
2017 Brook & Bull Rosé Wine, Columbia Valley ($19) - Ashley Trout's March Cellars has been renamed Brook & Bull. This debut rosé is composed of 47% Mourvèdre, 33% Syrah, 18% Grenache and 2% Sangiovese. It shows a pink-copper color and attractive aromas of strawberry, cherry, watermelon and tangerine. The flavors are fresh and lightly extracted, followed by crisp, juicy, nicely balanced finish. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Lagana Cellars Pinot Noir Rosé, Walla Walla Valley, Breezy Slope Vineyard ($20) - Light salmon colored, this possesses expressive aromas of strawberry, cherry, red currant, strawberry and spring flowers. The flavors are quaffable, yet textured, with notes of grape skins, melon run and minerals, followed by touches of orange peel and hazelnut on the juicy, dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
To be Reviewed the May Issue
2017 Chateau Ste. Michelle Rosé, Columbia Valley ($8.99 at QFC) - I ran across this at the Totem Lake QFC in Kirkland while picking up some takeout sushi. Packaged in a tall pot shaped bottle, it resembles a Côtes de Provence Rosé. It shows fresh aromas of raspberry, pomegranate, tangerine, lavender, pepper and white incense. The flavors are fresh and lively with a nice, dry finish. Will retaste later when I can get another bottle. 18/20 points.
2017 Isenhower Cellars Cabernet Franc Rosé, Yakima Valley ($17) - Sourced from 27 year-old vines at the Dutchman Vineyard, this offers a light copper-pink color and attractive aromas of strawberries, Rainier cherries, tangerine and watermelon. The flavors are pleasingly juicy, with notes of grape skin, fraise and cerise liqueurs and recurring tangerine peel, followed a lingering, faintly honeyed yet dry finish. 18/20 points.
2017 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Magician's Assistant" Cabernet Franc Rosé, Yakima Valley, Blackrock Vineyard ($19) - This features a light salmon coli and intriguing aromas of strawberry, pomegranate, pink lilac and spring flowers. The young fruit flavors are accented by grape skin, pomegranate skins and stony minerals. The back picks up fraise and cerise liqueurs and tangerine peel on the way to a crisp, bright finish. 18/20 points.
2017 Saviah Cellars Rosé Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($18) - Composed of 57% Sangiovese and 43% Barbera from the Dugger Creek Vineyard, this shows a light salmon color and intriguing aromas of raspberry, cherry, tangerine, cherry blossom and white incense. The flavors are nicely extracted with notes of grape skin and creekside minerals, followed by a crisp, recurring tangerine peel accented finish. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Browne Family Vineyards Grenache Rosé, Columbia Valley ($20) - Light pink-copper colored, this shows aromas of strawberry, Rainier Cherry, red currants, strawberry blossoms, spring flowers and white pepper. The gently pressed fruits pick up fraise and cerise liqueurs and tangerine peel on the way to a crisp light alcohol (11.8%) Provence-like dry finish. 18+/20 points.
2017 Maryhill Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley ($9.99 at Albertson's) - This is the nicest 2017 Sangiovese Rosé I've tried so far. Brilliant pink colored, it possesses attractive aromas of strawberry, cherry, watermelon and ruby grapefruit. The flavors are delightfully fresh and lively, with notes of light grape skins, minerals and fraise and cerise liqueurs, followed by an, again, fresh, lively finish. 18+/20 points.
2017 Tranche Cellars Pink Pape Rosé, Yakima Valley, Blackrock Vineyard ($20) - Composed of 47% Grenache, 27% Counoise and 26% Cinsault, it shows a light pink-copper color and a fragrant nose of strawberry, Rainier cherry, pink grapefruit, cherry blossoms, spring flowers and a whiff of white incense. The flavors are sprightly and fresh, with notes of fraise and cerise liqueurs, followed by a zesty grapefruit peel accented boy finish. 18.5/20 points.