In the April issue of the Review of Washington Wines, there will be eight reds from the 2014 vintage. So this is a good time to compare the 2012, 2013 and 2014 vintages.
2012 - This is probably the most "normal" of recent harvests, resulting in wines with fine fruit and balance. Andy Perdue (Great Northwest Wine) has written, "Stock up! The 2012 vintage provided almost perfect grapes in Washington, and produced wines that are great now and could be even better in a decade or two." I agree about the 2012's being great, but I'm not so sure about aging them for a decade. They seem to be fruit-forward wines that are tasty now, but many don't seem to have the tannins and acidity for prolonged aging.
2013 - This was another early harvest, mostly completed by mid-October. I have found many 2013's to be even better than their 2012 counterparts, with distinct varietal typicity. For example, the Upchurch Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (reviewed in the March issue) scored 20/20 points, while the 2012 scored 19.5/20 points. The same goes for the 2013 Mark Ryan "Lonely Heart" Cabernet Sauvignon (to be in the April issue) as compared to the 2012.
2014 - Again, this was an early harvest, mostly completed by mid-October, with some Cabernet and Malbec coming later. The weather was mostly sunny and in the '70's, resulting in wines that combine ripe fruits with phenols for armoatis and acidty and tannins for structure. The the 2014's I have tasted so far, including the superb Reynvaan Syrahs, are deep, distinctive wines that should age well. I will be tasting more 2014's during Cayuse Weekend, April 1-2, and Spring Release Weekend, May 6-8. More later!
So, if you are thinking of following Andy Perdue's advice, "Depending on how much space you have, load up on 2012 Washington reds," my advice is to save room for the 2013's and 2014's. They may turn out to be more ageworthy wines.