In the February issue of the Review of Washington Wines (on line January 25) there will be reviews of wines from some wineries that merit watching in 2018. Here they are, and why.
Walla Walla Vintners - With the retirements of Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri, the direction of WWV is moving toward a broader range of wines. Last Fall, the winery introduced its first white wine, a 2016 Vineyard Select Chardonnay and two estate reds. The winery also has reached out to Red Mountain with a Carmenère and a Cabernet Sauvignon, to be reviewed in the February issue.
Lagana Cellars - With the partnership of Jason Fox and Todd Bernave, Lagana Cellars looks forward to making a bigger impact in the Walla Walla wine scene. The "Nox Perpetua" (Perpetual Night) line is striking. See the upcoming issue for the 2015 Patina Syrah and Seven Hills Cab Franc.
Eight Bells - This Roosevelt-Ravenna winery continues to make well made wines from the partnership of Tim Bates, Andy Shepherd and Frank Michaels. Most of the wines are sourced from Mike Sauer's Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, including the standout 8 Clones Syrah and David's Block Red.
Array Cellars - Since 2010, Henry Smilowics's Array Cellars has been producing some fine Chardonnays from the Conner Lee, Celilo and Otis Harlan vineyards under the direction of Brian Carter and Robert Takahashi. The 2013's are highly impressive, drinking beautifully (18.5/20 for the Washington State, and 19 and 19.5 points for the Celilo and Otis Harlan) and remarkable in a market where most Chardonnays are 2015s and 2016s.
Convergence Zone Cellars - Now located in North Bend, Scott and Monica Greenberg's winery continues to turn out fine values. The 2015 "Sunbreak" Chenin Blanc and "Drizzle" Pinot Gris are terrific white wine bargains. And two fine Malbecs will also be in the February issue.
Gard Vintners - In November, this winery, located near Royal City, opened a tasting room in Downtown Walla Walla. The wines, produced from the family owned Lawrence Vineyards in the Frenchman Hills, are exceptional. Look for the 2014 "Grand Klasse" Riesling, 2013 Syrah and Cabernet as well as a 2013 Malbec and 2014 Don Isidro Red in February.
Co Dinn - Coman - "Co" - Dinn released three new wines from his Sunnyside winery in December, a 2015 French Creek Chardonnay, a 2015 "GSM" Red from Limestone Springs Ranch, and a 2015 Elephant Mountain Red Blend, all Highly Recommended (19+/20 points.