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Looking Ahead to 2016
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 28 December 2015 15:33

As the year comes to a close, I am writing about what's ahead in Washington Wine for 2016. Here are my predicitions.

 

More Exceptional Wines at Affordable Prices

In my last Review Blog posting, " Wine Best Buys of 2015," there were 80 wines scoring 19/20 points for $40 or less and 42 wines scoring 18.5/20 points for $25 or less. This is the largest listing ever in this publication. It attests to Washington State's high quality to price ratios, something that is unmatched by California or Europe. With the current costs of grapes and production it is harder to come up with exceptional wines for less than $25. These are often undervalued or underappreciated varietals. But when it comes to truly outstanding wines, one doesn't have to spend $50 or more a bottle. All this is what makes Washington wines a value bonanza.

 

Along with Expanding Wine Grape Acreage Comes Infrastructure

With the increased acreage of vineyards, there needs to be increased infrastructure for wine production. Last Fall, the Dusted Valley Winery opened a new production facility on Braden Road in the South Walla Walla Valley. And a major new development is under way at the junction of Lower and Middle Waitsburg Roads, just off Highway 12. This will include production and shipping facilites.

 

More Tasting Venues Around the State

When it comes to wine tasting rooms, it isn't just Walla Walla and Woodinville any more. Walla Walla is filling up, and Woodinville is maxed out. Seattle's SODO (SOuth of DOwntown) district is an up and coming winery and tasting room venue. During 2015, Kerloo Cellars, Scarborough, and Structure Cellars opened just south of Spokane Street on First Avenue South. And other wineries have plans to open facilities in the area. Further south, in Georgetown, the Charles Smith Jet City winery in making a big impact. The Leavenworth and Spokane areas are expanding as well.

 

Watch for the 2013's and 2014's

As the 2012 vintage nears the end of its cycle, more 2013's are being released and the 2014's will be coming around before long. The 2013's are turning out to be "friendly wines," as Vicky McClellan (Seven Hills Winry) descibes them. Coming from a warm summer and cooler harvesting season, they are nicely balanced and attractive. (See my blog of 1 October for more). The 2014's come from a more normal year, with fewer temperature spikes and a steady, even harvest. The 2014's I have tasted so far, are elegant, well-structured wines, with fine aromatics. They seem to have both Old World and New World characteristics. More later!

 

Wineries to Watch in 2016

Nota Bene Cellars - Tim Narby and Carol Bryant have turned out some very nice 2012's which will be reviewed in the February and March issues of the Review of Washington Wines.

àMaurice Cellars - Anna Shaefer continues to turn out outstanding wines. As the Estate Vineyard off Mill Creek Road, continues to mature, some highly impressive wines will be coming.

Walla Walla Vintners - With its Estate Vineyard next to àMaurice, and the adjacent Yellow Bird and Leonetti Vineyards, we will be seeing the makings of a sub-AVA. Gordy Veneri tells me some interesting blends and varetals will be coming out from WWV.

Barrister - This Spokane Winery is making its mark as it continues to produce impressive wines. Some fine 2012 have been released and more is in the offing.

Full Pull & Friends - Paul Zitarelli's negociant label continues to offer excellent values - 19/20 points wines for $30.

Salida and Gino Cuneo - Doug McCrea's Salida offers interesting wines from Spanish varietals and Gino Cuneo, does likewise with Italian varietals, making the "Latin Corner" on Second and Rose in downtown Walla Walla a must-visit location. See the Blog posting of 8 December for upcoming releases.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 December 2015 16:56
 
Wine Best Buys of 2015
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 21 December 2015 00:10

Wines Scoring 19/20 Points for $40 or Less

2014 àMaurice Cellars Viognier-Marsanne, Yakima Valley ($35) - July

2012 àMaurice Cellars Malbec, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($38) - July

2012 àMaurice Cellars "The Ivey" Artist's Series Red Wine ($40) - July

2013 àMaurice Cellars Malbec, Columbia Valley ($38) - November

2013 Analemma Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Atavus Vineyard ($27) - September

2013 Analemma Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Oak Ridge Vineyard ($27) - September

2013 Ardor Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley, Lawrence Vineyard ($40) - December

2012 Array Cellars Chardonnay, Washington State ($25) - December

2012 Array Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($32) - December

2012 Array Cellars "Dijon Clone" Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, Otis Harlan Vineyard ($32) - December

2012 Andrew Januik "Stone Cairn" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($40) - June

2011 Baer "Callisto" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($39) - July

2012 Balboa Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Eidolon Vineyard ($34) - April

2014 Balboa Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($30) - July

N/V Barrister "Barrister's Block" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($33) - February

N/V Barrister "Barrister's Block" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($33) - October

2012 Barrister Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Pepper Bridge Vineyard ($35) - February

2012 Bergevin Lane "Paco Franco" Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope, Stone Tree Vineyard ($38) - March

2012 Browne Family Vineyards Malbec, Columbia Valley ($35) - August

2012 Bunchgrass Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Frazier Bluff Vineyard ($35) - September

2011 Bunnell Family Cellar Souzão, Snipes Mountain ($36) - November

2011 Bunnell Family Cellar "Fête" Red Wine, Snipes Mountain ($40) - November

2011 Convergence Zone "Black Cloud" Malbec, Red Mountain, Hedges Vineyard ($39) - August

2012 Cuillin Hills Malbec, Columbia Valley, Weinbau Vineyard, Block 51 ($34) - July

2012 DaMa Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - April

2012 DeLille Cellars Doyenne "Aix" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($39) - May

2011 Domaine Pouillon "La Barrique Perdu" Mourvedre, Horse Heaven Hills, McKinley Springs Vyd. ($40) - September

2010 Don Carlo Vineyard Vino Rosso, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - March

2010 Don Carlo Vineyard Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - March

2013 Dowsett Family Riesling, Columbia Gorge, Aunt Diane's Vineyard ($16) - December

2012 Dumas Station Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - March

2012 El Corazon "Tiger's Blood" Carmenere, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($38) - January

2012 El Corazon "Blueprint" Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - January

2012 Flying Trout "Cutthroat Blend" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($35) - April

2013 Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($28) - May

2012 Full Pull & Friends Merlot, Red Mountain, Klipsun Vineyard ($30) - April

2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Angela's Vineyard ($30) - April

2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($30) - April

2013 Full Pull & Friends Merlot, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($30) - December

2013 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($30) - December

2012 Gifford Hirlinger Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($36) - February

2012 Gifford Hirlinger Estate Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - September

2012 Guardian Cellars "The Wanted" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($37) - May

2012 Hard Row to Hoe Estate Reserve Syrah, Lake Chelan ($40) - April

2012 Kerloo Cellars Grenache, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($40) - April

2012 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - April

2012 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Les Collines Vineyard ($40) - April

2012 Kerloo Cellars Malbec, Wahluke Slope, Stone Tree Vineyard ($40) - April

2012 Kerloo Cellars Tempranillo, Columbia Valley ($34) - August

2012 Laurelhurst Cellars "El Humidor" Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills ($38) - March

2012 L'Ecole No 41 Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($36) - April

2012 L'Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($39) - April

2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Chardonny, Columbia Valley, Evergreen Vineyard ($35) - November

2013 L'Ecole No. 41 Grenache, Wahluke Slope, Stone Tree Vineyard ($36) - November

2012 Maison Bleue "Metis" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($40) - February

2011 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) - March

2013 Nota Bene Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Conner Lee Vineyard ($30) - April

2011 Nota Bene Cellars Red Wine, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) - April

2012 Obelisco Syrah, Red Mountain, Les Gosses Vineyard ($40) - July

2012 Otis Kenyon Carmenere, Washington State ($40) - May

2010 Robert Karl Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Gunselman Bench Vineyard ($35) - February

2010 Robert Karl Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($35) - February

2014 Rôtie Cellars Southern White ($32) - July

2014 Rôtie Cellars Grenache Blanc ($32) - July

2012 Saviah Cellars Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - April

2012 Scarborough "The Immortal" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Lewis Vineyard ($35) - August

2013 Seven Hills Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley, McClellan Vineyard ($35) - September

2013 Seven Hills Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, McClellan Vineyard ($38) - September

2013 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Enchantress" Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, French Creek Vyd. ($28) - May

2012 somme des parties "A Stream Diverted" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - June

2012 somme des paries "Down in the Valley" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($38) - June

2013 Syncline Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($35) - September

2012 Tertulia Cellars Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Riviere Galets Vineyard ($35) - April

2012 Tertulia Cellars Petit Verdot, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($35) - July

2012 Walla Walla Vintners Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - April

2013 Walla Walla Vintners Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - November

2012 Waters "Capella" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - February

2012 William Church Malbec, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($38) - June

2012 Zerba Cellars Estate Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - March

 

Wines Scoring 18.5/20 Points for $25 or Less

2014 Amavi Cellars Semillon, Walla Walla Valley ($24) - September

2012 Amelia Wynn Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Dwelley Vineyard ($25) - June

2014 Armstrong Family Riesling, Columbia Valley ($18) - July

2014 Balboa Rosé of Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Eidlon Vineyard ($24) - May

2012 Barnard Griffin Reserve Roussanne, Columbia Valley ($20) - January

2010 Barnard Griffin Côtes du Rob, Columbia Valley ($25) - January

2012 Bergevin Lane "She Devil" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($24) - March

2013 Buty Semillon-Sauvignon-Muscadelle, Columbia Valley ($25) - August

2014 Buty Semillon-Sauvignon-Muscadelle, Columbia Valley ($25) - December

2014 Castillo de Feliciana Albariño, Columbia Valley ($22) - September

2014 Ch. Ste. Michelle "Indian Wells" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($18) - August

2012 Chinook Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley ($25) - August

2014 College Cellars Mourvedre Rosé, Walla Walla Valley, Nostra Terra Vineyard ($15) - June

2013 Convergence Zone "Dewpoint" Riesling, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($17) - August

2013 Convergence Zone "Sunbreak" Chenin Blanc, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($19) - August

2014 Domaine Pouillon "Savoir Faire" White Wine, Columbia Valley ($23) - September

2013 Dunham Cellars "Shirley Mayes" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($25) - February

2013 Forgeron Cellars Riesling, Columbia Gorge, Underwood Mountain Vineyard ($22) - February

2014 Forgeron Cellars Rosé of Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($22) - May

2013 Foundry Vineyards "White on White" Wine, Columbia Valley ($19) - January

2011 Full Pull & Friends Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($20) - December

2012 Guardian Cellars "Chalk Line" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - May

2014 K Vintners Viognier, Yakima Valley, Art Den Hoed Vineyard ($25) - August

2014 Lagana Cellars Roussanne, Columbia Valley, Sagemoor Vineyard ($25) - June

2014 Lauren Ashton Rosé, Columbia Valley ($24) - May

2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Semillon, Columbia Valley, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($21) - November

2014 L'Ecole No. 41 "Luminesce" White Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($21) - November

2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($24) - November

2012 Memmaloose "Idiot's Grace" Dolcetto, Columbia Gorge ($25) - January

2012 Scarborough "The Works II" Rhone Red Blend, Yakima Valley ($25) - August

2013 Stottle Viognier, Columbia Valley ($20) - August

2014 Syncline Grenache Blanc, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($25) - September

2012 Tempus Cellars Grenache, Yakima Valley ($25) - January

2013 Tranche Cellars Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley ($18) - June

2014 Waitsburg Cellars "Chevray" Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) - November

2014 Waitsburg Cellars "Cheninieres" Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) - November

2014 Waitsburg Cellars "Three" White Wine, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($18) - November

2013 Waitsburg Cellars "Three" Merlot Malbec Mourvedre, Columbia Valley ($24) - November

2014 Waters Rosé, Washington State ($20) - April

2014 W.T. Vintners Grüner Veltliner, Columbia Gorge, Underwood Mountain Vineyard ($20) - July

2014 W.T. Vintnrs "Parasol" Rosé of Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($20) - July

2013 Zerba Cellars Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley, Cockburn Ranch Vineyard ($24) - March

 

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2015 16:04
 
The Top Wines of 2015
Written by Rand Sealey   
Sunday, 13 December 2015 14:42

On the "Your Subscriptions" page of the Review of Washington Wines you will find links to compilations of wines reviewed from January-June 2015 (mislabeled "your membership") and from July-December 2015. These are in alphabetical order, so to find wines from a particular winery, just scroll down the list. From these lists (which do not include wines reviewed in Review Blog postings) are the wines scoring 20/20 and 19.5/20 points, the Review's Top Wines of 2015.

 

Wines Scoring 20/20 Points

2012 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($60) - May

2009 Corliss Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($85) January

2012 K Vintners "Cattle King" Syrah, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vienyard ($70) - December

2013 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Stonessence" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($100) - January

 

Wines Scoring 19.5/20 Points

2012 Adams Bench "Ursula" Sangiovese, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($52) - May

2011 Alleromb Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Scarline Vineyard ($90) - February

2013 àMaurice Cellars "Owl & Crown" Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($65) - November

2012 àMaurice Cellars "Amparo" Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($47) - November

2012 Avennia "Arnaut" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($50) - May

2012 Buty "Redivia of the Stones" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Rockgarden Estate Vineyard ($60) - January

2012 Col Solare Red Wine, Red Mountain ($75) - June

2009 Corliss Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($75) - January

2010 Corliss Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($75) - November

2010 Corliss Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($85) - November

2012 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Rouge, Red Mountain ($65) - May

2012 DeLille Cellars Harrison Hill Red Wine, Snipes Mountain ($90) - May

2012 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($89) - June

2012 Flying Trout "Mary's Block" Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($45) - March

2013 Forgeron Cellars "Anvil" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, French Creek Vineyard ($48) - September

2012 K Vintners "Phil Lane" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($70)

2012 K Vintners "The Hidden" Syrah, Wahluke Slope, Northridge Vineyard ($70) - December

2012 L'Ecole No. 41 Ferguson Vineyard Estate Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($59) - May

2013 Leonetti Cellar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($75) - June

2012 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($95) - June

2013 Long Shadows "Saggi" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($50) - September

2013 Long Shadows "Sequel" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($55) - September

2012 Long Shadows "Chester Kidder" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($55) - September

2013 Long Shadows "Pedestal" Merlot, Columbia Valley ($55) - December

2013 Long Shadows "Pirouette" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($60) - December

2013 Long Shadows "Feather" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($60) - December

2012 Maison Bleue "Bourgeois" Grenache, Columbia Valley ($50) - May

2012 Maison Bleue "Voyageur" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($55) - May

2012 Mark Ryan "Old Vines" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($65) - April

2012 Mark Ryan "Lonely Heart" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($95) - April

2012 Obelisco "Electrum' Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Obelisco Vineyard ($70) - July

2014 Owen Roe Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, DuBrul Vineyard ($48) - August

2012 Owen Roe "1973 Block" Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($72) - August

2012 Proper Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($42) - May

2012 Rasa Vineyards "Doctrina Perpetua" Syrah, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($60) - June

2012 Rasa Vineyards "Fianchetto" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, XL Vineyard ($95) - June

2013 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Foothills Reserve" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($80) - January

2013 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "The Unnamed" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($80) - January

2013 Reynvaan Fanily Vineyards "The Contender" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($90) - January

2012 Rotie Cellars "Swordfight" Red Wine, Washington State ($60) - January

2012 Rotie Cellars "dre" Mourvèdre, Washington State ($60) - January

2013 Rotie Cellars Northern Blend, Washington State ($48) - June

2013 Rotie Cellars "Swordfight" Red Wine, Washington State ($60) - December

2013 Rotie Cellars "Homage" Red Wine, Washington State ($60) - December

2013 Rotie Cellars "Little g" Grenache, Washington State ($60) - December

2012 Saviah Cellars "The Stones Speak" Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($55) - October

2012 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($45) - February

2012 Seven Hills "Pentad" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($75) - May

2012 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Illusionist" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($52) - May

2013 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Psychedelic" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Stoney Vine Vineyard ($60) - November

2013 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Sorceress" Grenache, Columbia Valley ($60) - November

2012 Spring Valley Vineyard "Frederick" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($50) - August

2012 Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($65) - June

2012 Va Piano "Black Label" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Les Collines Vineyard ($65) February

2012 Va Piano "Black Label" Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, DuBrul Vineyard ($95) - May

2010 Waters Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($80) - February

2013 Woodward Canyon Estate Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley ($66) - July

2012 Wodward Canyon "Old Vines" Cabefrnet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($99) - July

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 December 2015 15:59
 
Holiday Barrel Weekend in Walla Walla
Written by Rand Sealey   
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 18:00

This year, Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley on December 4th through 6th. It was a festive weekend with wine tasting rooms decorated with Holiday lights and greenery. Most wineries also had one or two wines to taste from the barrel. Here's a rundown of the most interesting wines, from the 2013 and 2014 vintages, which will be released in the future.

2014 Saviah Cellars "Foot Stomp" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Funk Vineyard - As the name suggests, this was crushed the traditional way. It shows a deep purplish color and true varietal aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, tobacco and incense. The palate offers loads of dark fruits, intermixed with chocolate, coffee and "Rocks" minerals, followed by a long, complex finish. 19+/20 points.

2014 Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc (Release April) - Brilliant ruby colored, this wine offers a typical nose of raspberry, cherry, plum, roses, mulberrt and earth, with chewy textured red fruits, marked by notes of licorice, chocolate, and loam. The back picks up roasted berries and nuts, followed by a ripe moderate tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.

2014 Tero Estates Charbono, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard - Charbono is a rarity. Christian Brothers and others used to make it in the Napa Valley in the '60's. This one shows a crimson color and perfumed aromas of blackberry, cranberry and cassis, with scents of wild roses, tobacco and spiced incense. The mouth enveloping flavors are deep and robust, yet silky, with notes of fruit liqueurs and charcoal on the back, followed by a chewy, piquant, ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.

2013 Kontos Cellars "Beckett" Red Wine (Release May, 2017) - Composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 20% Syrah, this is a striking wine. It offers a deep ruby color and a sultry, smoky nose of wild berries, roses, tobacco and incense. The flavors are thick and massive, yet velvety, with notes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, loam and gravel and silt minerals, followed by a long finish. 19+/20 points (possiblely 19.5).

2014 Flying Trout "Mary's Block" Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard - This may be the vineyard's best Malbec to date. It shows a deep purplish color and rich aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, crushed roses and violets. The black and blue fruit flavors are alluring as well, mouth encompassing, bold, yet velvety, with a long, true varietal finish. 19.5/20 points.

The following four wines are available from the wineries at futures pricing.

2014 Gino Cuneo Cellars "Bonatello Riserva" Sangiovese - This wine is exquisitely wrought, with a deep ruby color and seductive aromas of cherry, currant, orange peel, roses and incense. The flavors are deep and bright, with silky red fruits and a long finish. 19/20 points.

2013 Gino Cuneo Cellars "Seccopasso" Red Wine - This is the only Amarone style wine made in the U.S. It shows a deep garnet color and intoxicating aromas of wild berries, cherries, walnuts, dried cherries and oriental incense. The flavors, as well, are deep and complex, with notes of dried fruits, cherry liqueur and spices, followed by an intense, dry true Amarone finish. 19.5/20 points.

2013 Salida Cellars Malbec - This wine exhibits Malbec's traits of a dark purplish color and aromas of black fruits, currants, earth, crushed roses, and violets. The flavors are deep and chewy textured, more old world than new, recalling the "Black Wine" of Cahors. 19/20 points.

2013 Salida Cellars "Voila Walla Espagnol" Red Wine - This wine is an intriguing blend of Petite Sirah, Malbec, Tempranillo and Mataro. It shows a deep ruby color and a rich, smoky nose of blackberry, blueberry and plum with scents of roses, tobacco, vanilla and incense. The flavors are thick and well textured, with lots of dark fruits, a liqueur imbued back and a long finish. 19+/20 points.

 

Next WeeK - The Top Wines of 2015 - Wines scoring 20/20 and 19.5/20 points - Monday, December 14.

 
Holiday Recommendations: Sparklers & Dessert Wines
Written by Rand Sealey   
Tuesday, 01 December 2015 15:06

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, this is the time to think about wines for the upcoming Holidays. With all the new releases this Fall, we haven't had space to review sparkling wines and dessert wines, so here are my recommendations.

 

Sparkling Wines

Some of the best values in bubbly comes from Treveri Cellars in Wapato. Most are $20 or less.

Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blancs, Extra Brut ($15) - This is a bone dry (zero dosage) 100% Chardonnay, with streaming bubbles and aromas of citrus and apple along with stony minerals. 18/20 points.

Treveri Cellars Rosé Sec ($18) - A blend of Chardonnay and Syrah, this offers an eye of the partridge color and attractive aromas and flavors of strawberry, pink pear, orange peel and wildflowers. The finish is off-dry (22 grams per liter dosage). 18.5/20 points.

Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noirs Brut ($20) - Made from Pinot Noir, this shows a pale pinkish color, streaming bubbles, and lovely strawberry, cherry and citrus flavors. The dosage is 8 grams per liter, making it an elegant Brut. 18.5/20 points.

Treveri also makes fine sparklers from Gewurztraminer, Muller-Thurgau and a distinctive, frothy Syrah.

Other fine sparklers are:

2012 Hard Row to Hoe "Good in Bed" Sparkling Wine, Lake Chelan ($42) - Produced from Estate Pinot Noir grapes, this shows a brilliant pale copper color, streaming bubbles and enticing scents of strawberries and white lilac, with fresh, vibrant flavors and bright fuit acids. 19/20 points.

2014 Isenhower Cellars Roussanne Sparkling Wine, Extra Brut, Yakima Valley ($39) - This was a hit at our Thanksgiving dinner. Sourced from the Olsen Ranch Vineyard, it offers a medium gold color and a fine mousse along with semi-tropical and litichi nut aromas and flavors. Very dry (Extra Brut) and crisp, with tangerine and lemon notes. 19/20 points.

2011 Annalema Blanc de Noirs Brut, Columbia Gorge, Avatus Vineyard ($56) - I picked up a couple of the last few bottles of the 2010 when visiting the winery last summer. Three to four years on tirage, the 2011 Blanc de Noirs (Pinot Noir) offers a pale pinkish gold color and floral aromas of strawberry, citrus, and wildflowers, with leesy, toasty flavors and fine bubbles. 19+/20 points. Also available from Full Pull ($50)

In real Champagne, our go-to bubbly is from Gaston Chiquet, a fine recoltant-manipulant (grower-producer) in Dizy.

Gaston Chiquet Champagne N/V Brut Tradition ($49.99 at Esquin) - Medium gold colored, with a fine mousse and aromas of pear, peach strawberry, orange peel and pear blossoms and an intermingling of white and red fruits (40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir) with a creamy texture. No oak, so the complexity speaks for the wine. 19+/20 points.

Chiquet also makes a fine Blanc de Blancs and Rosé.

 

Dessert Wines

2009 Dusted Valley Late Harvest Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($35 - 375 ml.) - This was another hit at Thanksgiving. It showed a deep ruby color and rich aromas of blackberry and cassis, with deep, spicy varietal flavors, in a slightly sweet (5.1 grams per 100 ml. residual sugar) format, making it a delightful accompaniment to tarts. 19/20 points.

Two Washington wineries, Thurston Wolfe and Brian Carter Cellars make fine Port-style wines from Portuguese varietals such as Touriga Nacional, Souzao and Tinto Cao.

2010 Thurston Wolfe JTW's Port ($12.50 - 375 ml.) - This is a Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon combination. It shows a deep ruby color and rich aromas and flavors of boysenberries, cherries, chocolate and spice. The residual sugar is 10%, makeing it sweet, but not cloying. 18.5/20 points.

Thurston Wolfe Tawny 8 Year Old Port ($16 - 375 ml.) - This is produced from Zinfandel that was stored outdoors, exposing it to the elements over eight years. It offers rich, spicy aroms and flavors of cherry liqueur and almonds, with rich, nutty sweetnes. 18.5/20 points.

2012 Brian Carter Cellars "Opulento" ($22 - 375 ml. $40 - 750 ml.) - This is as close to Portugese Port as you can get - 48% Touriga Nacional plus others, aged in French oak (20% new). Inky colored, it possesses aromas of caramel. orange peel and coffee, with spacious dark fruit flavors. 19/20 points. Available from Full Pull for $17.99.

 

For other bubblies and stickies, check out Full Pull's offering of November 30th. The wines had me drooling, and I will be placing an order.

 

Countdown to the Year's End

Early next week, I will be emailing our semi-annual  alphabetical complilation of wines reviewed from July through December. Then here is the timetable for upcoming Review Blogs.

December 8 - Holiday Barrel Tasting in the Walla Walla Valley

December 15 - Top Wines of 2015 - Wines scoring 20/20 and 19.5/20 points

December 22 Best Buys of 2015 - Wines scoring 19/20 points for under $40 & wines scoring 18.5/20 points for under $25.

December 29 - The January issue of the Review of Washington Wines & Looking Ahead to 2016

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 December 2015 17:11
 
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