In the October issue of the Review of Washington Wines, there are 31 red wines from the 2014 vintage out of a total of 46 reds. This is an indication that most of the wines now being released are 2014s and are going into a maturing cycle as the 2015's are just entering its release cycle (eight in the October issue).
Vintage release cycles are the natural progression of wineries moving from one vintage to the next. Wineries release new vintages either when the supply of a previous vintage has been depleted and when they are deemed drinkable enough for release. Only a few wineries hold wines for more than a year or so after bottling. Wineries, like many businesses, need cash flow and releasing new vintages is how this keeps going.
The 2014 vintage was another warm year (preceded by 2013 and followed by 2015, both warm years). There was a hot summer, with some days above 110 degrees, and a mild fall led to much of the harvesting completed by mid October. This resulted in ripe, well balanced wines that are already drinking well, although many will benefit from further aging. In other words, 2014 is turning out to be a classic vintage.
As an indication of the classicism of the 2014 reds, here are the top wines of the vintage in the October Review of Washington Wines.
2014 Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($75) - 19.5/20 points
2014 Pepper Bridge "Trine" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($65) - 19+/20 points
2014 Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($70) - 19.5/20 points
2014 Woodward Canyon "Charbonneau" Red Wine, Walla Walla County ($79) - 19+/20 po
2014 Woodward Canyon "Old Vines" Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State ($99_ - 19.5/20 points
There are also a fair number (14) of wines scoring 19/20 points in the October issue.
The strand that runs through these 2014s is the depth and balance that the wines possess: fine fruit, good acid balance, and ripe, smooth tannins, all making for approachable, yet age worthy wines. One cannot go wrong buying these wines.
The next vintage cycle, that of the 2015s, will be coming soon. I will be writing about it in the Review Blog accompanying the November issue of the Review of Washington Wines.