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Predictions for 2015
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 29 December 2014 14:31

Now that the first issue for 2015 of the Review of Washington Wines is now on line, it's time for me to make some predictions about Washington wines in 2015

More High Quality Wines - Washington wines' cup runneth over. In the year 2014, each issue of the Review of Washington Wines had at least fifty wines. The overall quality of the wines reviewed has increased dramatically and there are more of them as new wineries producing top wines have emerged. Expect this trend to continue through 2015.

More High Quality-Price Ratios - Along with more high quality wines, there are more wines that offer high quality in releation to their prices. Last week's Blog listing of wines scoring 19/20 points for $40 or less included no less than 85 wines. This is another trend that will continue through 2015.

More New Wine Grape Acreage - The big news recently was the Betz Family Winery's purchase of 40 acres in the Sevein development in the South Walla Walla Valley. There is much more acreage available, and expect more investors to take positions there and elsewhere in the state.

Watch for the 2013's - More wines from the 2013 vintage, a "normal" year with near average temperatures and excellent harvesting conditions will be released in 2015. On the basis of my tastings from the barrel and bottle, the 2013's seem to be in between 2011 and 2013 in terms of character. The 2011's, from a cooler year, are more structured and ageworthy, resembling "old world" ones. The 2012's are more fruit forward and tasty, offering early gratification. The 2013's combine both structure and fruit, making them finely balanced, yet ageworthy wines. See "The Renvaan 2013 Syrahs Preview" section of the January issue of the Review of Washington Wines for an indication of how the 2013's are developing.


Wineries to Watch in 2015

Betz Family Winery - In the November issue of the Review, I reported on the winery's 2012 Rhone-style wines, all scoring 19.5 or 20/20 points. This is a dramatic new higher quality level resulting from an increased rigor in barrel selection. Watch for the 2012 "BDX" style wines to be released in 2015.

Buty Winery - With Chris Dowsett in charge as winemaker, Nina Buty's winery by the Walla Walla airport has gone from strength to strength. The 2011's were exceptional and expect the 2012's to be even more so.

Canvasback - The Red Mountain Duckhorn venture was off to an impressive debut with it's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (reviewed December, 2014). I tasted 2013's from the barrel with winemaker Brian Rudin a few months ago and found them to be rich and well structured. Watch for the final assemblage to be released later.

Eight Bells - This Ravenna district winery, owned by Tim Bates, Andy Shepherd and Frank Michels, turned out a stellar 2012 Eight Clone Syrah from the Red Willow Vineyard and some fine 2011's (reviewed December, 2014). Watch for more 2012's to be released in 2015.

Flying Trout - Now that Ashley Trout is back at work at the new Tero / Waters / Flying Trout facility on Peppers Bridge Road, look for some tasty new wines in 2015, including some magical Malbecs.

Waters - Watch for some impressive new releases from Jamie Brown as well. Can't wait for the 2012 Loess Vineyard Syrah.

Kevin White Winery - This winery continues to turn out knock-out values. The 2012 "La Fraternité" and "En Hommage" scored 19/20 points for $28. Watch for the 2013's to come out in 2015.

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 29 December 2014 15:51
 
Best Wine Buys of 2014
Written by Rand Sealey   
Sunday, 21 December 2014 22:38

This is our annual listing of wines scoring 19/20 points for $40 or less and wines scoring 18.5/20 points for $25 or less. Some may be sold out.

 

Wines Scoring 19/20 Points for $40 or Less

2012 Alexandria Nicole Reseve Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills, Destiny Ridge Vineyard ($28) - August

2011 àMaurice Cellars Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($38) - May

2011 àMaurice Cellars Malbec, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($35) - July

2011 àMaurice Cellars "The Anderson" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($40) - July

2012 àMaurice Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley Conner Lee Vineyard ($35) - July

2011 Balboa Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Eidolon Vineyard ($34) - April

2010 Barrister Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($31) - February

2010 Barrister Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($35) - February

2010 Bunnell Family Cellar "Petit Bec" Red Wine, Wahluke Slope, Northridge Vineyard ($36) - January

2010 Bunnell Family Cellar Petire Sirah, Wahluke Slope, Northridge Vineyard ($40) - January

2010 Bunnell Fami;y Cellar "Fête" Red Wine, Snipes Mountain ($38) - August

2011 Cadaretta Syrah, Columbia Valley ($35) - January

2012 Carter-Lamour Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($30) - December

2011 CAVU Cellars Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, Alder Ridge Vineyard ($28) - January

2012 CAVU Petite Sirah, Yakima Valley, Lonesome Spring Vineyard ($32) - November

2012 Ch. Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen "Erioca" Riesling, Columbia Valley ($22) - March

2010 Corvus Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($39) - July

2011 DeLille Cellars Doyenne "Signature" Syrah, Red Mountain ($40) - March

2013 DeLille Cellars Doyenne Roussanne, Red Mountain ($36) - November

2010 Domaine Pouillon Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Gorge, McDuffee Vineyard ($36) - July

2012 Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($22) - September

2010 Dowsett Family "Devotion" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($30) - September

2012 Eight Bells "* Clone" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($32) - December

2011 El Corazon "Dorado" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($40) - January

2011 El Corazon "Young & Wild & Free" Grenache, Columbia Valley - June

2012 El Corazon "Dos Jefes" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - June

2011 El Corazon "Supernova" Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - June

2010 Fielding Hills Syrah, Wahluke Slope, Riverbend Vineyard ($38) - October

2011 Flying Trout "Cutthroat" Red Blend, Columbia Valley ($35) - April

2011 Flying Trout Malbec, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($37) - April

2011 Flying Trout "Old Vines" Malbec, Rattlesnake Hills, Konnowac Vineyard ($30) - November

2011 Flying Trout "The Brook Blend" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($36) - November

2012 Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($27) - January

2012 Full Pull & Friends Syrah-Grenache, Columbia Valley ($30) - August

2007 Full Pull & Fiends "CVBDX" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($30) - August

2012 Guardian Cellars "Entrapment" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Conner Lee Vineyard ($30)

2010 Henry Earl Estates "Homesteader" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($40) - October

2012 Isenhower Cellars "Road Less Travelled" Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley ($34) - April

2012 Isenhower Cellars "À Bloc" Malbec, Columbia Valley ($34) - April

2012 Isenhower Cellars "River Beauty" Syrah, Yakima Valley ($34) - April

2012 Isenhower Cellars "FOI No. 10" Mourvèdre, Yakima Valley ($34) - December

2012 Isenhower Cellars "Jongleur" Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley ($34) - December

2011 JB Neufeld Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley ($35) - September

2011 JB Neufeld Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, DuBrul Vineyard ($37) - September

2012 JM Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($350 - March

2011 Kevin White Reserve Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($28) - May

2012 Kevin White "La Fraternité" Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($28) - October

2012 Kevin White "En Hommage" Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($28) - October

2012 K Vintners "Milbrandt" Syrah, Wahluke Slope ($30) - August

2012 K Vintners "Clifton Hiil" Syrah, Wahluke Slope ($40) - August

2012 Lauren Ashton Reserve ChardoNNy, Columbia Valley ($38) - June

2012 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($36) - December

2012 Maison Bleue "Au Contraire" Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, French Creek Vineyard ($25) - February

2012 Maison Bleue "Métis" White Wine, Columbia Valley ($30) - May

2010 Mansion Creek Cellars "Julia's Blend" Reserve Red, Red Mountain, Red Heaven Vineyard ($36) - September

2010 Mansion Creek Cellars "Viña Espanola" Reserve Grenache, Red Mountain, Red Heaven ($36) - September

2010 Mansion Creek Cellars "Viña Espanola" Reserve Tempranillo, Red Mtn. Red Heaven ($36) - September

2012 Nefarious Cellars Syrah, Lake Chelan, Defiance Vineyard ($35) - October

2012 Numbskull Red Wine ("GSM") Walla Walla Valley ($32) - August

2012 Numbskull Red Wine ("BDX") Walla Walla Valley ($38) - August

2010 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($35) - April

2010 Otis Kenyon Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Stellar Vineyard ($34) - April

2013 Rotie Cellars Southern White, Washington State ($28) - July

2012 Rotie Cellars Southern Blend, Washington State ($40) - July

2011 Seven Hills Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($35) - March

2012 Seven Hills Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($36) - October

2012 Seven Hills Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - October

2010 Sinclair Estate Vineyards "Pentatonic" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($40) - April

2012 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Enchantress" Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, French Creek Vineyard ($18) - March

2012 Sparkman Cellars "Wonderland" Grenache, Yakima Valley ($32) - March

2012 Sparkman Cellars "Preposterous" Malbec, Red Mountain ($38) - June

2011 Syncline Cuvée Elena, Columbia Valley ($40) - July

2012 Syncline "Scintillation" Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($30) - July

2009 Tamarack Cellars Syrah, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) - February

2011 Tapteil Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($39) - January

2010 Tero Estates Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($39) - January

2010 Tero Estates "DC3" Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyards ($38) - February

2012 Tero Estates "ST" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($38) - July

2011 Tero Estates "DC3" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyards ($38) - July

2011 Tero Estates "Herb's Block" Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyards ($39) - October

2010 Three Rivers Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Champoux Vineyard ($39) - December

2012 Trio Vintners Carmenère, Walla Walla Valley ($28) - December

2012 Tulpen Cellars Vino Blanc, Walla Walla Valley, Los Oidos Vineyard ($32) - February

2010 Tulpen Cellars Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, Yellow Bird Vineyard ($38) - February

2009 Tulpen Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - February

2012 Waters "Tremolo" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - August

 

Wines Scoring 18.5/20 Points for $25 or Less

2013 Amavi Cellars Semillon, Walla Walla Valley ($23) - August

2011 Angel Vine Zinfandel, Columbia Valley ($20) - February

2011 Angel Vine Petite Sirah, Columbia Valley, Stonetree Vineyard ($20) - February

2011 Angel Vine "The Hellion" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - February

2011 Angel Vine Zinfandel, Columbia Valley Stonetree Vineyard ($20) - April

2013 Balboa Rosé of Syrah, Walla Walla Valley Eidolon Vineyard ($20) - May

2013 Bergevin Lane "Love Struck" Viognier, Columbia Valley ($20) - October

2012 Board Track Racer "Suicide Shift" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - February

2012 Board Track Racer "The Chief" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - December

2012 Brian Carter Cellars "Oriana" White Wine, Yakima Valley ($22) - November

2012 Cadaretta Cellars "SBS" White Wine, Columbia Valley ($23) - August

2012 Canoe Ridge Reserve Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills ($20) - April

2012 Ch. Ste. Michelle Riesling, Columbia Valley, Cold Creek Vineyard ($18) - February

2013 Ch, Ste Michelle Riesling, Columbia Valley, Cold Creek Vineyard ($20) - September

2012 Ch. Ste. Michelle Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard ($25) - September

2012 Cloudlift Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($20) - February

2012 Cloudlift Cellars "Ascent" Cabernet Franc, Horse Heaven Hills ($25) - February

2012 Coeur d'Alene Cellars Viognier, Washington ($20) - January

2011 College Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Dwelley Vineyard ($16) - April

2012 College Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Clarke Vineyard ($25) - December

2012 DaMa Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($21) - April

2012 Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills ($25) - September

2012 Dunham Cellars Riesling, Columbia Valley, Lewis Vineyard ($19.50) - February

2011 Flying Trout "Deep River Red," Columbia Valley ($23) - November

2012 For a Song Syrah, Columbia Valley ($15) - July

2012 For a Song Pinot Noir, Williamette Valley ($15) - July

2013 Forgeron Cellars Façon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($25) - August

2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($22) - August

2013 Gramercy Cellars Viognier, Lake Chelan, Antoine Creek Vineyard ($22) - June

2013 Gramercy Cellars Rosé, Columbia Valley, Olsen Vineyard ($25) - June

2011 Guardian Cellars "Chalk Line" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - March

2013 Hard Row to Hoe Viognier, Lake Chelan ($24) - October

2013 Hard Row to Hoe Chardonnay, Lake Chelan ($24) - October

2011 L'Ecole No. 41 Merlot, Columbia Valley ($24) - May

2013 L'Ecole No. 41 "Old Vines" Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($14) - June

2013 L'Ecole No. 41 "Luminesce" Estate White Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($21) - December

2013 L'Ecole No. 41 Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, Red Mountain, Klipsun Vineyard ($21) - December

2011 Lost River Nebbiolo, Wahluke Slope ($25) - November

2010 Lost River Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($25) - November

2013 Nefarious Cellars Roussanne-Marsanne, Lake Chelan, Summit Vienayrd ($25) - October

2013 Nefarious Cellars Estate Riesling, Columbia Valley, Stone's Throw Vineyard ($20) - October

2010 Nodland Cellars "Avant-garde" Carmenère, Walla Walla Valley ($24) - January

2010 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley ($25) - April

2012 Otis Kenyobn Roussanne, Columbia Valley ($20) - April

2012 Renegade Winc. Co. Grenache, Walla Walla Valley ($15) - April

2013 Robison Ranch Cellars Viognier, Walla Walla Valley ($19) - August

2012 Savage Grace Chardonnay, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($25) - March

2012 Savage Grace Cabernet Sauvignon, Rattlesnake Hills ($25) - March

2012 Saviah Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($25) - January

2013 Syncline Grenache Blanc, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($24) - July

Treveri Cellars "Equinox Cuvee" Brut Sparkling Wine, Columbia Valley ($20) - September

Treveri Cellars "Laudare" Brut Sparkling Wine, Columba Valley ($20) - September

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Müller-Thurgau Sec, Columbia Valley ($21) - September

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé, Columbia Valley ($18) - December

2010 Trio Vintners Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley ($23) - May

2011 Walla Walla Vintners Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley ($25) - February

2012 Walla Walla Vintners Dolcetto, Walla Walla Valley, Dwelley Vineyard ($24) - May

2012 Walla Walla Vintners Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley ($25) - May

2013 W.T. Vintners Grüner Veltliner, Columbia Gorge, Underwood Mountain Vineyard ($20) - May

2013 Waitsburg Cellars "Three White" Wine, Columbia Valleyt ($18) - August

2013 Waitsburg Cellars "Chevray" Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) - August

2013 Waitsburg Cellars "Chenninères" Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) - August

Last Updated on Monday, 22 December 2014 16:32
 
Top Wines of 2014
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 15 December 2014 22:17

On December 1st, I published my compilation of Wines Reviewed July - December 1014. Links for this listing and the one for January - June 2014 can be found under "Email Messages" on "Your Subscriptions" page after loging into the Review of Washington Wines website. To find a review for a particular wine, go to the issue for the month in which the wine was reviewed and scroll down until the review is found.

Below is the annual listing of the top wines of 2012, scoring 20/20 points and 19.5 points. This does not list wines that are reviewed in the Review Blog such as Cayuse (May 2014 posting) and others. On December 22nd, the Review Blog will list the wines offering the most bang for the buck: wines scoring 19 points for $40 or less and wines scoring 18.5 points for $25 or less. Some of the wines in the listing below and in the upcoming ones may be sold out.

 

The 20/20 Points Wines

2010 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($60) - January

2013 àMaurice Cellars "Sparrow" Estate Viognier, Walla Walla Valley ($35) - May

2012 Betz Family "La Côte Patriarche" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($55) - November

2012 Betz Family "La Côte Rousse" Syrah, Red Mountain ($55) - November

2012 Ashan Cellars Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, Kestrel Vineyard ($45) - June

2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "The Contender" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($75) - January

2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Stonessence" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($85) - January

2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Queen's Road" White Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($60) - May

2010 Waters "21 Grams" Red Wine, Washington State ($125) - April

 

The 19.5/20 Points Wines

2011 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($60) November

2010 Alleromb Syrah, Columbia Valley, Scarline Vineyard ($110) - June

2010 Allromb Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, La Reyna Vineyard ($110) - June

2012 Alleromb Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, La Reyna Vineyard ($56) - June

2011 Allermomb Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($72) - November

2011 Alleromb Syrah, Columbia Valley, Scarline Vineyard ($95) - November

2010 àMaurice Cellars "Amparo" Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($47) - May

2010 àMaurice Cellars "Owl and Crown" Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($65)

2011 àMaurice Cellars "Amparo" Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($47) - November

2012 Ashan Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($45) - June

2012 Ashan Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Conner Lee Vineyard ($45) - October

2012 Betz Family "Besoleil" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($45) - November

2012 Betz Family "La Serenne" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($55) - November

2011 Cadaretta Cellars "Springboard" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($70) - August

2008 Côte Bonneville Red Wine, Yakima Valley, DuBrul Vineyard ($120) - September

2011 DeLille Cellars Grand Ciel Syrah, Red Mountain ($65) - June

2011 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Red Wine Red Mountain ($78) - June

2011 DeLille Cellars Harrison Hill Red Wine, Snipes Mountain ($85) - June

2011 FIGGINS Estate Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Figgins Estate Vineyard ($85

2011 Gramercy Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($50) - June

2011 Januik Reserve Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($65) - June

2011 K Vintners "The Beautiful" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($60) - May

2011 K Vintners "Cattle King" Syrah, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($70) - December

2012 Leonetti Cellar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($90) - June

2011 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($100) - June

2011 Long Shadows "Sequel" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($55) - August

2012 Long Shadows "Sequel" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($55) - Decembert

2012 Long Shadows "Pirouette" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($60) - December

2012 Long Shadows "Pedestal" Merlot, Columbia Valley ($60) - December

2012 Long Shadows "Feather" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbis Valley ($60) - December

2011 Maison Bleue "Liberté Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($50) - May

2011 Mark Ryan "Lonely Heart" Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($85) - April

2010 Northstar Premier Merlot, Columbia Valley ($85) - February

2011 Owen Roe Red Wine, Yakima Valley, Union Gap Vineyard ($85) - September

2011 Pepper Bridge "Trine" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($65) - October

2012 Rasa Vineyards "Living in the Limelight" Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley, Dionysus Vineyard ($55) - July

2012 Rasa Vineyards "Tilting at Windmills" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($75) - July

N/V Reininger "CPR" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($75) - February

2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Foothills in the Sun" Reserve Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($70) - January

2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "The Unnamed" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($70) - January

2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "In the Rocks" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($70) - January

2009 Ross Andrew Old Block Syrah, Columbia Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($75) - June

2011 Rotie Cellars "little g" Grenache, Washington State ($60) - April

2012 Rotie Cellars Northern Blend, Washington State ($40) - July

2011 Saviah Cellars "The Stones Speak" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Funk Vineyard ($55) - December

2011 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($45) - March

2011 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyards, Hill Block ($53) - August

2011 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyards, Plateau Block ($55) - August

2011 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyards, Old Block ($57 - August

2011 Waters Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Loess Vineyard ($50) - March

2011 Waters Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Forgotten Hills Vineyard ($65) - August

2010 Woodward Canyon Estate Reserve Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($79) - January

2012 Woodward Canyon Chardnnay, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($66) - September

2011 Woodward Canyon "Old Vines" Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State ($99) - September

Last Updated on Monday, 15 December 2014 23:35
 
Holliday Barrel Tasting in Walla Walla
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 08 December 2014 15:30

December 5-7 was Holliday Barrel Tasting Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley. It was a festive occasion as many wineries had tasting rooms decorated with lights and greenery. Some also poured barrel samples of upcoming vintages. Here are some highlights.

On Friday, the morning of the 5th, I drove out West to Lowden to visit L'Ecole No. 41 and Woodward Canyon.

2013 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley (Barrel Sample) - This is a combination of Seven Hills and Ferguson vineyards, composed of 80% Merlot and 10% each of Cabernets Sauvigonon and Franc. It showed a brilliant crimson color and lovely aromas of raspberry, cherry, plum, rose petals, tobacco and incense. The flavors were deep cored, with notes of licorice, bittersweet chocolate and basaltic minerals. The wine turned chewy on the back with macerated fruits, kirsch and roasted nuts, followed by a lingering sweet-dry tannin finish. 19+/20 points.

2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard - The tasting room also poured a Magnum from the winery library. It showed beautifully. Deep ruby colored, it possessed an evolving nose of wild berries, tobacco, cedar, dried roses and incense. The flavors also showed maturing development, with notes of dried berries, toast, earth, chocolate, graphite. The back picked up roasted nuts, semi dried fruits and a lingering complex finish. 19+/20 points.

At Woodward Canyon, I tasted three new releases (to be reviewed in the January issue of the Review of Washington Wines), a delicious 2013 Chardonnay, a tasty 2012 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2012 "Erratic" Rhone-style red. Then, I headed back East and stopped at Reininger where I tasted the newly releasred 2012 Syrah and Helix "SoRho" red blend, both to be reviewed in February. Chuck Reininger also presented this barrel sample.

2013 Syrah, Walla Valla Valley, Pepper Bridge Vineyard (Barrel Sample) - This most likely will be blended with Seven Hills for the winery's 2013 Walla walla Valley Syrah. It showed a deep ruby color and earthy, peppery aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, crushed roses. lavender and spiced incense. The flavors were dense and mouth encomplassing, with notes of licorice, bittersweet chocolate, French roast and gravel and loess earth. The back picks up notes of dried blueberries and creme de cassis. The final blend, combining the aromatics of Pepper Bridge with the structure of Seven Hills is likely to be a classic. 19/20 points.

In the afternoon, Lynn and I went to the Tero/Waters/Flying Trout tasting room in the Marcus Whitman Hotel for a book signing of Cate McIntyre Walker's, "Wines of Walla Walla Valley: A Deep-Rooted History." It is a delightful book about the history of winemaking in the Walla Walla Valley, replete with stories, recipes, pictures and more. A fuller review will be in an upcoming Review blog. Afterwards, we went across the street to Kontos Cellars' new tasting room. The Kontos brothers will be bidding farewell to the Incubators location near the airport. We also tasted the new 2012 Les Collines Syrah and 2010 Alatus Red Blend which will be reviewed in January.

The next morning, Saturday, the 6th, I drove over to Walla Walla Vintners where a barrel sample of the 2013 Cabernet Franc was presented.

2013 Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley (Barrel Sample) - To be released next Spring, this showed a brilliant ruby color and enticing aromas of wild raspberries, cherries, plums, crushed roses, mulberry, brambles, tobacco and smoldering incense. The medium bodied flavors were bright and chewy, intermixed with licorice, cocoa and minerals and loam. The wine turned chewy textured on the back, with notes of pressed berries, roasted nuts, and dried spiced cherries, followed by a ripe sweet-dry tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.

Next, I stopped at Dunham Cellars, where I tasted these upcoming 2013's with winemaker Daniel Wampfler. They were highly impressive.

2013 Dunham Cellars Merlot, Columbia Valley, Lewis Vineyard (Barrel Sample) - Deep, brilliant ruby, colored, this possessed an intriguing nose of wild raspberry, cherry, plum, crushed roses, mulberry, tobacco and oriental incense. On the palate, the flavors were bold and dark fruited, intermixed with licorice, bittersweet chocolate, French roast and alluvial minerals. The back picked up macerated berries, mocha, kirsch and dried plums, followed by a long, chewy finish. 19+/20 points.

2013 Dunham Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley, Lewis Vineyard (Barrel Sample) - This is a knock-out Syrah. Opaque purplish colored, it emited unmistakable varietal aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, attar of rose, sandalwood, tobacco, lavender, violets and incense. The full-bodied flavors matched the aromatics, with loads of dark fruits that were permeated with licorice, dark chocolate, French roast coffee beans, and alluvial minerals. The intensity continued on the back with sensations of roasted berries and nuts, mocha, and creme de cassis, followed by a lavish, yet structured,  lingering spiced ripe tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.

Then I drove back to Mill Creek Road to K Vintners where Charles Smith poured this Rhone-style blend, named for his daughter, Charlotte. To be released in the Fall, it is now available as futures for $50 a bottle.

2012 K Vintners "Charlie" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley (Barrel Sample) - A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaault, and Picpoul, this showed a deep, brilliant ruby color and an exotic, earthy nose of wild raspberries, cranberries, black currants, crushed roses, lavender and spiced incense. The flavors mirrored the aromatics with deep red and blue fruits that were imbued with licorice, cocoa powder, black tea, silt and loam, The back picked up roasted berries and nuts, mocha, creme de cassis, kidskin leather and a bit of funk, all leading into a thick, savory sweet-dry tannin finish. At 14% alcohol, it showed balance as well as power. 19+/20 points.

In the evening, we went to the annual Tero/Waters/Flying Trout Winemakers' Dinner. All three winemakers, Doug Roskelley (Tero Estates), Jamie Brown (Waters) and Ashley Trout (Flying Trout) were present, and a fabulous dinner, prepared by the Marcus Whitman chefs and accompanied by superb wines, was served.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 08 December 2014 16:57
 
Year-end Countdown to 2015
Written by Rand Sealey   
Monday, 01 December 2014 15:09

As we enter the last month of 2014, we are going into our annual year-end wrapup for the Review of Washington Wines. Here's what we have coming up in our Blog postings this month.

December 1 - The Compilation of Wines Reviewed July - December 2014. This is our semi annual listing of wines reviewed for the second half of the year. An email has already been sent to subscribers with this list. It can also be found on the subscription page (under "Your Subscriptions") by clicking on "Wines Reviewed July - December 2014" under "Emails." If you are an expired subscriber, go to the signup page of the Review Website to renew. You can do this without missing a single issue.

December 8 - Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend in Walla Walla - The weekend of December 5 - 7 is a festive event, with many wineries offering tastes from the barrels and recent releases amid festive holiday decor. Next Monday's Blog posting will report on wines tasted then.

December 15 - Top Wines of 2014 - This will be a listing of all wines scoring 20/20 or 19.5/20 points for the year in the Review of Washington Wines.

December 22 - Best Buys of 2014 - This will list all wines scoring 19/20 points for $40 or less, and 18.5/20 points for $25 or less.

December 29 - The January 2015 Issue and Looking Ahead to 2015 - Our first issue for 2015 will go on line along with Predictions for 2015 and Wineries to Watch in 2015 in the week's Review Blog.

More later, and Happy Holidays!

 
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