Last March, I was one of the judges for Seattle Magazine's Washington Wine Awards. The wines were tasted blind in various categories according to variety or type, and price. The winners were announced in the August issue of Seattle Magazine. Here is a compilation of the winning wines which I have reviewed in the Review of Washington Wines and a few others, with my comments.
White Wine of the Year - 2014 Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($28) - In my review of March 2016, I called this a "nicely balanced" Chardonnay. Sourced from various vineyards, some from cool sites, some from warmer ones, it shows fine varietal character. At $28, it offers fine value. 18.5/20 points.
Chardonnay, $20 or Less - 2015 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Indian Wells" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($18) - I missed reviewing this, but after seeing the Awards listing, I picked up a bottle. I found it to be crowd-pleasing style of Chardonnay with semi tropical aromas and flavors, balanced by a bright, juicy finish. 18/20 points.
Rosé, All Prices - 2016 College Cellars Rosé of Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, Reed Vineyard ($16) - From the teaching winery of the Walla Walla Community College, this was made from Pinot Gris grapes given extended hang time to produce a pleasingly supple copper hued Rosé. 18/20 points. March issue.
Red Wine of the Year - 2014 B. Leighton Syrah, Yakima Valley, Olsen Brothers Vineyard ($45) - Due to very limited availability, I have not reviewed this wine. But my nod from the Syrah over $40 category finalists would go to 2014 Mark Ryan "Lost Soul" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($48) -"a stellar vintage from the first vineyard in Washington State to be planted with Syrah." 19.5/20 points. February issue.
Syrah, $25 - $40 - 2014 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Les Collines Vineyard ($40) - My review said "The flavors are alluring, with layers of lavish red and blue fruits.." 19/20 points. January issue.
Cabernet Sauvignon, $30 - $65 - 2014 Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($42) - This 86% Cabernet, with 6% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc and 3% Petit Verdot is very well put together. "The range of flavors give it a plus." 18.5+/20 points. April issue.
Red Blend, $20 - $40 - 2014 Mark Ryan "Numbskull" BDX Blend, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - I called this blend of 73% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot "mouth encompassing." 19/20 points. April 2016.
Red Blend, More than $40 - 2013 Long Shadows Chester-Kidder Red Blend. Columbia Valley ($55) - Somehow, I missed reviewing this. Long Shadows releases the Chester-Kidder a year later than the other portfolio wines. So I must have tasted the 2013 along with the other 2014's which scored 19.5/20 across the board. It should haver scored 19+ or 19.5/20 points.
Rhone Blend, $25 or Less - 2015 Kevin White Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($18) - I was going to review this wine in March, but pulled it when I found out it was sold out. The 2015 Kevin White "La Fraternité" Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($28) - 60% Grenache, 33% Mourvedre and 7% Syrah - 18.5/20 points, will be reviewed in the September issue - , along the 2015 "En Homage" Syrah, Yakima Valley ($28) 19/20 points.
Rhone Blend, More than $25 - 2014 W.T. Vintners Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Stoney Vine Vineyard ($35) - A fine exposition of "Rocks" fruit and minerality. 18.5/20 points. August issue.