Over the past couple of weeks, we've been retasting some wines that I've already reviewed. Frequently, we get extra wine samples. Some wineries send two bottles of each wine with one as a backup. When we visit wineries, we usually purchase a couple of bottles or more for future reference. Since the time I wrapped up the August issue of the Review of Washington Wines, we've been revisiting these wines.
2020 Convergence Zone Cellars "Three Forks" Rosé of Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($20) - This was reviewed in the April issue and we liked it so much that we bought three more bottles. Brilliant pink tinged copper colored, it possesses intriguing aromas of pink peach, Rainier cherry, blood orange, cherry and orange tree blossoms and orange incense. The flavors are well delineated, accented by peach and cherry stones and minerals. The back picks up cherry and peach liqueurs and orange peel, followed by a well defined finish. This still scores 18.5/20 points.
2020 Frichette "Sashay" Rosé, Columbia Valley ($30) - This is another distinctive Rosé. Produced from Merlot, it displays a brilliant copper-pink color and intriguing aromas of raspberry, pink cherry, blood orange, cherry and orange blossoms and orange incense. The flavors, as well, are striking, with grape skins, cherry stones and minerals, The back reveals framboise and cerise liqueurs and recurring orange peel, followed by a lingering dry, finely fruited finish. The distinction of flavors gives it a plus, 18.5+/20 points, same as in the July issue.
2020 Amavi Semillon, Walla Walla Valley ($22) - Semillon is an undervalued white variety. Blended with 15% Sauvignon Blanc, this one shows a brilliant lemon-gold color and a distinctive nose of Bosc pear, Key lime, Crenshaw melon, meadow flowers and white incense. The flavors are rich, almost creamy, accented by pear and grape skins and minerals. The back picks up notes of beeswax and toast, counterpointed by recurring lime zest and melon rind on a crisp yet juicy finish. Reviewed July, it scores 18.5/20 points both times.
2018 Vital Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - The profits go to the Walla Walla SOS Clinic. This Syrah shows a deep ruby-crimson color and intense aromas of blackberry, blueberry, black currant, black roses, dark tobacco, lavender, olive tapenade and spiced incense. The flavors are mouth-filling and true to variety, with dark fruits that are intermixed with licorice, cocoa, French roast and silty minerals. The saturation continues on the back with macerated berries, roasted nuts, creme de cassis, blueberry preserves and charcoal, followed by a lingering spiced ripe tannin finish. Tastes like a $50 Syrah. Now and last June, 19/20 points.
2018 JM Cellars Cinsault Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($35) - Cinsault is one of the grapes used in Châteauneuf du Pape, but is rarely bottled as a varietal. I bought an extra bottle as I thought it would be interesting. This version (with 15% Syrah and 10% Grenache) shows a deep ruby-crimson color and enticing aromas of raspberry, bayberry, black currant, crushed roses, sweet tobacco, lavender and incense. The flavors are ample yet substantial, with red and black fruits that are intermixed with licorice, cocoa, black tea and earth. The back picks up framboise and creme de cassis liqueurs, followed by a ripe moderate tannin and acid finish. Both in June and now, 18.5/20 points.
2018 Efestē "Paulie" Red Wine, Wahluke Slope, Stonetree Vineyard ($40) - This blend of 42% Mourvèdre, 33% Grenache and 25% Syrah was reviewed in the June 2020 issue. Now it shows a deep ruby color and an intoxicating nose of wild fruits - blackberries, mountain blueberries, brambly currants - with scents of crushed roses, tobacco, garrigue, fennel and spiced incense. The flavors, as well are dramatic, with layers of dark fruits that are infused with licorice root, dark cocoa, Sumatra Roast and Wahluke scorched earth. The wine enriches further on the back with creme de cassis, roasted nuts, leather and charcoal, followed by a lingering, spiced ripe tannin finish. Both times: 19/20 points.
2018 Longship "Once is Enough" Petite Syrah, Wahluke Slope, Weinbau Vineyard ($36) - Also known as Durif, this wine boasts a semi opaque ruby-crimson color and intense aromas of blackberry, blueberry, black currant, crushed black roses, garrigue, cracked pepper and spiced incense. The flavors, as well, are bold, with dark fruits that are intermixed with licorice root, dark cocoa, French press and Wahluke scorched earth. On the back, the wine takes a sweetish, chewy turn with macerated fruits, roasted nuts, creme de cassis and burnt charcoal (a trait of Petite Syrah), followed by a lingering spiced ripe tannin finish. Reviewed April, then and now 19/20 points.
2017 Adams Bench "Ursula" Sangiovese, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($58) - This is weighty Sangiovese. From grapes grown by Mike Sauer, it exhibits a semi opaque purplish ruby color and intense aromas of black cherries, black currants and black plums with scents of black roses, dark tobacco, sandalwood, anise and incense, The flavors are deep and authoritative, yet accessible, with layers of dark fruits that are marked by licorice root, dark cocoa, espresso, and alluvial minerals. On the back, the wine intensifies further with macerated fruits, roasted hazelnuts, mocha, cherry and currant liqueurs and pulverized charcoal, and then smooths out into a long sweet-dry tannin finish. Reviewed December 2020, then and now, 19.5/20 points.
2016 De la Luz Reserva Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Golden Ridge Vineyard ($60) - Victor De la Luz sent two bottles, one reviewed in the October 2020 issue. This time, it shows a deep ruby-crimson color and seductive aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, crushed roses, mulberry, sandalwood, olive and sweet oriental incense, The medium full bodied flavors are thick, almost opulent with layers of red fruits that are intermixed with licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Palouse Hills loess minerals. On the back, the wine amplifies with roasted berries and nuts, mocha, toffee, fine ground graphite and toast, followed by a lengthy, herb dusted ripe tannin finish. Both times, 19.5/20 points.
2016 Force Majeure "Parvata" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($70) - We bought this blend of 49% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah and 10% Grenache in May 2019 at a preview tasting at the winery in Milton-Freewater and reviewed it in the June 2019 issue. Now, it shows a deep purplish ruby color and and intense, smoky aromas of blackberry, huckleberry, brambly currants, crushed roses, pipe tobacco, sandalwood and smoldering spiced incense. The flavors are bold and fleshy, still young, with layers of dark fruits that are infused with licorice, dark cocoa, dark roast coffee and Red Mountain scorched earth. The penetration continues on the back with creme de cassis, charcoal and spices on the rich, long finish. Still has a great future. Both times: 19.5/20 points.
The following wines were revisited at lunch at the Valdemar Estates tasting room in Walla Walla.
2019 Valdemar Estates Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, DuBrul Vineyard ($50) - This is world class Chardonnay. It displays a brilliant lemon-gold color and floral aromas of pear-apple, peach, star fruit, apple blossoms, acacia flowers, lemon verbena and white incense. The flavors are exquisitely balanced, with vivid true varietal fruits that are accented by grape and pear skins and Rattlesnake Hills minerals. The back reveals poire and pêche liqueurs and touches of crème brulée and toasty oak (50% new French) followed by a long, long finish, lifted by precise fruit acids. Reviewed June, both times: 19.5/20 points.
2018 Valdemar Estates Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($65) - Blended with 5% Grenache, this Syrah exhibits a deep ruby-crimson color and intense aromas of blackberry, mountain blueberry, black currant, crushed roses, pipe tobacco, lavender, violets and oriental incense. The flavors are intense, laser-like with dark fruits that are infused with licorice, cocoa powder, French roast and silty minerals. The penetration continues on the back with macerated fruits, mocha, crème de cassis and pulverized charcoal, all extending into a long, focused spiced sweet-dry tannin finish. 19.5/20 points. Reviewed June 2020 (wrongly listed as 2017) , then and now, 19.5/20 points.
2018 Valdemar Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Klipsun Vineyard ($80) - This is Red Mountain Cabernet at its best. It displays a semi-opaque ruby-crimson color and intense aromas of blackberry, black cherry, black plum, black roses, dark tobacco, sweet pea flowers, sandalwood, olive, anise and spiced incense. The flavors are intense yet refined, with dark fruits that are infused with licorice, dark chocolate, French press and Red Mountain scorched earth. The penetration continues on the back with sensations of roasted fruits and walnuts, kirsch, pencil shavings, integrated oak (60% new French) and touches of caramel and toast, followed seamlessly by a lengthy firm yet sweetish tannin finish. 19.5/20 points, now and June 2021.