As we near the end of the first half of the year, I have looked back at the January through June issues of the Review of Washington Wines to see what the most compelling wines were. These are wines that really stand out, especially for their respective categories. Here is a list of such wines and why they are so compelling. This is not by any means a complete list. There are more wines that are truly outstanding. The ones picked out are ones that call out to be really noticed.
2013 Woodward Canyon Estate Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($79) - This is an outstanding and unique version of a BDX blend, 33% Merlot, 33% Petit Verdot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. It pulls together the distinctive varieties into a highly complex combination. 19.5/20 points. Reviewed January.
2013 Charles Smith "King Coal" Cabernet-Syrah, Washington, Northridge Vineyard ($100) - A powerful combination of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah from near Royal City. Vigorous and complex from beginning to end. 19.5/20 points. February.
2014 Mark Ryan "Lost Soul" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($46) - This is a stellar vintage from the first vineyard in the state to be planted with Syrah. Seductive and saturated, it is a superb expression of Washington Syrah. 19.5/20 points. February.
2014 Mark Ryan "Lonely Heart" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($95) - From the Quintessence and Obelisco vineyards, this 100% Cabernet is deep and concentrated, a superb expression of Red Mountain Cab that shows elegance from beginning to end. 19.5/20 points. April.
2014 Avennia Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard, 1985 Block ($95) - This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in 100% new French oak. The flavors are wide ranged and complex, showing perfection in balance and complexity. 20/20 points. May.
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Ferguson Vineyard ($65) - This blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% - Merlot and 6% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, is deep and penetrating, with basaltic minerality and a long, powerful finish. 19.5/20 points. May.
2014 Alleromb Grenache, Columbia Valley, Scarline Vineyard ($65) - Full of mouth caressing flavors and superb balance, this is one of the best Washington Grenaches I've run across. 19.5/20 points. May.
2012 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard, Plateau Block ($55) - This is a big, powerful Cabernet with intense aromas and penetrating flavors, all superbly integrated and balanced. 19.5/20 points. May.
2014 Waters "Old Stones" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($50) - Full and brawny, with lots of flavor and back palate saturation, this is a superb expression of "Rocks" terroir. 19.5/20 points. May.
2014 Canvasback "Grand Passage" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($80) - This "Reserve" Cabernet from Duckhorn shows a wide array of complex flavors and varietal precision throughout. 20/20 points. June.
2014 Gramercy Cellars "John Lewis" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Les Collines Vineyard ($85) - From Block 16 and cluster fermented, this is Les Collines Syrah at its best, full and fleshy, yet focused, all flowing seamlessly. 19.5/20 points. June.
2014 Adams Bench "Ursula" Sangiovese, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($52) - This is world class Sangiovese, in the caliber of a Brunello di Montalcino, deep and intense, yet smooth and satiny. 19.5/20 points. June.
2014 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($70) - Composed of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot, this is a knockout. With a full array of aromatics and flavors, it is tall, dark and handsome. 20/20- points. June.
2014 Maison Bleue "Frontière" Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Waliser Vineyard ($65) - This is Jon Meuret's first foray into "Rocks" Cabernet Sauvignon. It shows intense aromatics and distinct, powerful, yet supple flavors that all pull together admirably. 19.5/20 points. June.
2013 DeLille Cellars Grand Ciel Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($160) - A big, powerful 100% Cabernet, intensely aromatic, with compact and intense, yet smooth flavors and a two minute finish, this has it all. 20/20 points. June.