The 2016 wine grape harvest in Washington State is pretty much wrapped up. Rains in late October prompted winegrowers and wineries to pick up the remainder of the harvest, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (luckily, most of that had already been picked). By various estimates, the crop is 5 to 10 percent above normal, mainly due to larger grape clusters, which means more volume. Quality, overall, is good, especially for the earlier ripening varieties. More definitive qualitative assessments will occur over the coming months as winemakers check the progress of the wines through the fermentations (primary and malolactic). Winemakers are optimistic. But more later!

Fall Release Weekend in Walla Walla is Coming Up

This year, Fall Release Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley is this weekend, November 4-6. In the 18 October Review of Washington Wines Blog, I listed a number of wineries especially worth visiting. Here are a few more additions.

Sleight of Hand Cellars - On Sunday morning, I  tasted some outstanding 2014 reds - The Sorcerer Grenache, Levitation Syrah and Psychedelic Stoney Vine Syrah, all 19+ to 19.5 points. Reviews to be in the December issue, going on line November 23.

Tranche Cellars - For Fall, Tranche released a superb 2013 Chardonnay from the Celilo Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge. It was my highest scoring Chardonnay in the Seattle Magazine Wine Awards Judging back in March. A full review will be in the December issue. Some highly impressive 2012 reds - Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon - will be in the January issue. 

Proper Winery - This winery has gotten 90 plus points scores every vintage since the inaugural 2009. The 2013 will be poured at Walla Walla Gourmet (formerly Salumerie Cesario) on Saturday from 1 to 5.

Gramercy Cellars - This morning, I tasted two stellar 2014 reds, The Third Man Grenache and The Deuce Syrah, 19+ and 19.5, respectively. Reviews will be in the December issue. Also outstanding are two 2013's, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon to be reviewed January.