Do you want wines that offer the most bang for the buck for your summer entertaining and enjoyment? Here's a list of recently reviewed wines that score 18.5/20 points for $25 a bottle or less. This list includes new reviews of wines from Kerloo Cellars and upcoming reviews of College Cellars.
2016 Kerloo Cellars Grenache Blanc, Walla Walla Valley, Blue Mountain Vineyard ($20) - Medium gold colored, this offers attractive aromas of pear-apple, peach, Crenshaw melon, pear blossoms, honeysuckle, jasmine and white incense. The flavors are vivid and nicely extracted, with notes of peach soon, melon skin and minerals. The back picks up poire and pacha liqueurs, melon rind and lemon zest, followed by a faintly honeyed yet lip-stinging finish. 18.5/20 points. New Review.
2016 W.T. Vintners Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, Stonebridge Vineyard ($20) - Chenin Blanc is one of Washington's most undervalued varieties. This one offers pear, peach, melon, honeysuckle and jasmine aromas of bright, expressive white fruit flavors. 18.5/20 points. To be reviewed in the August issue.
2016 Castillo de Feliciana Albariño, Columbia Valley ($22) - From a grape originating in the Galicia region of Spain, this shows intriguing aromas of pear-apple, honeydew melon, lime, white lilac, lemon verbena and fennel. The white fruit flavors are lively and bracing, picking up melon rind and creme fraiche on the way to a racy, persistent mineral finish. 18.5/20 points. - August.
2016 Gifford Hirlinger Estate Pinot Gris, Walla Walla Valley ($20) - Iridescent colored, this shows enticing scents of white lilac, pear blossoms, verbena and fennel with appealing white fruits dancing on the palate. More Alsace-like than most Washington Pinot Gris. 18.5/20 points. - August.
2016 College Cellars "RVM" White Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($20) - "RVM" stands for Roussanne (48%), Viognier (17%) and Marsanne (35%). It offers attractive fruit compote aromas and flavors that possess attractive vibrancy and a crisp, juicy finish. 18.5/20 points. - August
2016 Amavi Cellars Sémillon, Walla Walla Valley ($24) - Blended with 15% Sauvignon Blanc, this offers fresh, floral aromas and rich, crisp, well delineated flavors with a touch of beeswax (a trait of Semillon) and a lively finish. 18.5/20 points. - June
2016 Long Shadows "Poet's Leap" Riesling, Columbia Valley ($20) - This super value shows a gold color and enticing, floral aromas of pear, peach and citrus with scents of honeysuckle and clover. The flavors are vivid, finishing off-dry (1.2% residual sugar). 18.5/20 points. - June
2016 Kerloo Cellars Grenache Rosé, Columbia Valley, Painted Hills Vineyard ($22) - Brilliant salmon colored, this emits enticing aromas of strawberry, Rainer cherry and tangerine, with scents of alpine summer flowers and spiced white incense. The flavors, as well, are appealing, with notes of grape skin, tangerine peel and Painted Hills minerals. The back picks up kirsch and fraise liqueurs on the way to a lightly spiced, pleasingly juicy finish. 18.5/20 points. New Review.
2016 Aluvé Sangiovese Rosé, Walla Walla Valley ($22) - Pink-copper colored, this possesses enticing strawberry, cherry and cantaloupe aromas with scents of cherry blossoms and meadow wildflowers. The ripe fruits resonate on the palate and finish pleasantly juicy and dry. 18.5/20 points.- July
Julia's Dazzle Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, The Benches Vineyard ($20) - From Pinot Gris grapes given extended hang time to produce a brilliant copper color, this offers aromas of cherry, grapefruit,muck melon and incense. The flavors are intermixed with grape skin, orange peel and melon rind and the finish is lifted by bright fruit acids. 18.5/20 points. - July
2016 Saviah Cellars Rosé, Walla Walla Valley ($18) - This is a tasty combination of 56% Sangiovese and 44% Barbera. It shows a brilliant copper-pink color and enticing aromas of strawberry, Rainier cherry, watermelon, spring flowers and white incense. The flavors are fresh and juicy with persistent minerality. 18.5/20 points. - June
2016 The Walla "Cruel Summer" Rosé Wine, Columbia Gorge ($22) - This has an added "secret ingredient." It shows a salmon color and aromas of strawberry, loganberry, red currant, rose petals and white spiced incense. The flavors are nicely extracted, with notes of tangerine peel and volcanic minerals. 18.5/20 points. - June
2015 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley. Blue Mountain Vineyard ($20) - This bargain offers a deep ruby color and rich aromas of blackberry, blueberry and currants, with scents of black roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco and incense. The black and blue fruit flavors are generous and direct, with notes of licorice, cocoa, roasted coffee beans and minerals. The back picks up macerated berries, roasted nuts and creme de cassis, followed by a juicy, savory moderate tannin finish. Buy now, the supply won't last long. 18.5/20 points. New Review.
2016 College Cellars "La Laurella" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($25) - This 100% Sangiovese was originally intended to be part of a "Super Tuscan" blend, but was deemed outstanding enough to be on its own. Well structured and Tuscan-like with notes of black cherry, plum and olive. with a dryish finish. 18.5/20 points. Full review to be in August.
2015 College Cellars "GSM" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - This blend of 45% Grenache, 37% Mourvedre and 18% Syrah offers enticing berry and currant aromas with scents of red roses, tobacco and incense. The flavors pick up dusty earth and minerals along with cassis and charcoal. 18.5/20 points. - August.
2015 College Cellars Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley, Clarke Vineyard ($25) - Crimson-colored and perfumed, this wine is velvety, yet forceful, with notes of French toast, silty minerals, creme de cassis and graphite, all very appealing. 18.5/20 points. - Full review August.
2015 College Cellars Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, Anderson Vineyard ($25) - Richly aromatic and will-structured, with notes of mulberry, licorice, chicory coffee, roasted nuts, and more, this wine is strikingly Rioja- like. Generous, yet focused. 18.5/20 points. - August
2014 Buty BEAST "Wildebeest" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($22) - This mix of 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 16% Merlot, 1% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7% Mourvedre and 3% Grenache is more than a catch-all blend. It combines the structure of the BDX varieties with the fleshy Rhone varietal fruits. 18.5/20 points. - July