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05.27.2009

The Best Wine in Washington State: Notes from Taste Washington 2009

The first week of April I got the opportunity to do an "immersion" course in Washington State wine. No, this didn't involve repeatedly dunking me in a vat of wine, amusing though that would have been. Rather, it involved attending the annual Taste Washington wine festival in Seattle.

I flew up to Seattle for two reasons. I was asked to give a seminar at the event, which I taste_washington.jpggladly did, focusing on wineries that made their wine in unconventional places like garages, barns, airplane hangers, fire houses, etc. But mostly I was excited for the opportunity to taste a ton of wine.

Prior to this trip I think I had probably tasted forty or fifty different Washington wines in the course of various tastings, buying off restaurant menus, drinking with friends, or any of the normal ways that an active wine lover might come across wines from a particular region.

Fifty wines is not an education. But two hundred and fifty is a good start. That's about how many I managed to taste in the course of the day I spent at Taste Washington.

Before I get on to my scores for the wines, it's important for me to commend the organizers of the Taste Washington event for putting on one of the best public wine and food events I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Yes, it was in a HUGE convention center, which didn't exactly provide much atmosphere, and yes it was crowded. But the event was impeccably organized, easy to navigate, and perhaps most importantly, the quality of the food on offer was some of the best I have ever had at such a large public event. While I qualify as a member of the press now and get into such events for free, I would gladly pay the $85 to go. Heck, I probably ate $85 worth of Kumamoto oysters while I was there.

More important than my admiration for the event, I came away from my crash course in Washington State wines quite impressed with the wines, and in particular with the value they offer for the money. While I tasted a few wines that rang in at over $100, the vast majority of the best wines I tasted were under $60, and some of the best wines I tasted were under $30.

It's quite clear, without a doubt, that for the same quality of wine Washington State Cabernet in particular is about half the price of Napa. Need I say more?

While I've certainly had a few excellent Rieslings and Semillons from Washington, and there is clear potential to make excellent white wine in the state, I definitely consider Washington to be "Red Country." The Bordeaux and Rhone blends on offer can be excellent, and they, like all the best made wines I tasted, are marked by excellent acidity, and purity of fruit.

In short, those who love a great Cabernet Sauvignon would do well to explore these wines more thoroughly, especially in these economic times.

So without further ado...


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2008 Alexandria Nicole Viognier, Columbia Valley. $20. Where to buy?
2007 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc, Columbia Valley. $34. Where to buy?
2007 K Vintners K Viognier, Columbia Valley. $20. Where to buy?
2007 Olsen Estates Riesling, Yakima Valley. $19. Where to buy?
2007 Tamarack Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley. $18. Where to buy?
2008 Whisper Ridge Winery Semillon, Washington State. $18.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 Boudreaux Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 DeLille Cellars Roussanne, Columbia Valley. $??
2008 Efeste Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 Fidelitas Semillon, Columbia Valley. $20
2006 Hogue Cellars Reserve Chardonnay, Yakima Valley. $??
2007 L'Ecole No 41 Semillon, Columbia Valley. $16
2007 Sparkman Cellars Lumiere Chardonnay, Stillwater Creek, Columbia Valley. $32


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2007 Barrister Sauvignon Blanc, Klipsun Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay, Columbia Valley. $19
2006 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Gewurztraminer, Columbia Valley. $12
2007 Cedergreen Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Spring Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $14
2008 Charles Smith Wines Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Evergreen Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $12
2006 DaMa Wines Chardonnay, Grand View and Gamache Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $21
2008 Efeste Riesling, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 Gilbert Cellars Riesling, Yakima Valley. $??
2006 Lodmell Cellars Chardonnay, Spring Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $22
2007 Long Shadows Poet's Leap Riesling, Columbia Valley. $20
2008 Maison Bleue Winery Old Vine Chardonnay, French Creek Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $22
2008 Maison Bleue Winery Viognier, Art DenHoed Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $22
2007 Three Rivers Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley. $19


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2007 Bunnell Family Cellar Viognier, Talcott Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley. $12
2007 Charles Smith Wines Eve Chardonnay, Columbia Valley. $12
2006 Chateau Ste Michelle Cold Creek Chardonnay, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 Côte Bonneville Chardonnay, DuBrul Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $50
2007 Gilbert Cellars Chardonnay, Doc Stewart Estate Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. $20
2006 Hestia Cellars Semillon, Walla Walla. $??
2005 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Estate Chardonnay, Red Mountain. $??
2006 Lodmell Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Spring Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $22
2008 Stevens Winery Divo Viognier, Dineen Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $21
2007 Woodward Canyon Chardonnay, Washington State. $39


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2008 Bergevin Lane Calico White Blend, Columbia Valley. $16
2007 Chinook Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley. $17
2007 Chinook Wines Semillon, Yakima Valley. $15
2006 Januik Chardonnay, Cold Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $30
2008 Shady Grove Albarino, Columbia Valley. $18
2006 Stevens Winery A Second Thought Sauvignon Blanc, Klipsun Vineyard, Columbia Valley.
2008 Syncline Gruner Veltliner, Columbia Valley. $20


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE UNDER 8
2008 Cedergreen Cellars Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley. $17
2007 Ward Johnson Winery Counterbalance Chardonnay, Sun River Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $20


PINK WINES
2008 Airfield Estates Foot Stomper Rose, Yakima Valley. Score: 9. $14. Where to buy?
2008 Barnard Griffin Rose of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley. Score: 9. $12. Where to buy?
2008 Syncline Rose, Columbia Valley. Score: 9. $16. Where to buy?
2008 Cedergreen Cellars Rose, Columbia Valley. Score: 8.5-9. $14
2006 Lodmell Cellars Rose, Columbia Valley. Score: 8.5. $??
2007 Buty Rose of Malbec, Columbia Valley. Score: 8. $19


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
1997 Andrew Will Merlot, Klipsun Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $na
2004 Col Solare Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $75. Where to buy?
2006 DeLille Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley. $50. Where to buy?
2004 Donedei Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $35. Where to buy?


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2007 Airfield Estates Mustang, Estate Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $28. Where to buy?
2006 Betz Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille, Columbia Valley. $58. Where to buy?
2005 Col Solare Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $70. Where to buy?
2006 Corvus Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain. $52. Where to buy?
2004 Côte Bonneville Red Wine, DuBrul Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $120. Where to buy?
2004 Donedei Merlot, Columbia Valley. $??.
2006 Efeste Ceidleigh Syrah, Red Mountain. $34. Where to buy?
2006 Efeste Jolie Bouche Syrah, Columbia Valley. $40. Where to buy?
2006 Efeste Big Papa Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $44. Where to buy?
2005 Fidelitas Merlot, Columbia Valley. $25. Where to buy?
2005 Fidelitas Optu red wine, Columbia Valley. $40. Where to buy?
2006 Fidelitas Cabernet Sauvignon, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $58. Where to buy?
2004 Forgeron Cellars Syrah, Boushey Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $46. Where to buy?
2006 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $45. Where to buy?
2006 Gramercy Cellars Syrah "John Lewis Reserve", Walla Walla. $65.
2006 J. Bookwalter Protagonist, Red Mountain. $50. Where to buy?
2002 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Estate Merlot, Red Mountain. $??.
2006 Long Shadows Saggi, Columbia Valley. $45. Where to buy?
2006 Long Shadows Sequel, Syrah, Columbia Valley. $55. Where to buy?
2006 Powers Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Coyote Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. $25. Where to buy?
2005 Robert Karl Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - H3, Horse Heaven Hills. $30. Where to buy?
2005 Robert Karl Cellars Inspiration Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $55. Where to buy?
2005 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Klipsun Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $32. Where to buy?
2007 Shady Grove Red Wine, Columbia Valley. $20.
2003 Solena Cabernet Sauvignon, Klipsun Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $35. Where to buy?
2006 Sparkman Cellars Stella Mae Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $42. Where to buy?
2002 Townshend Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $26. Where to buy?
2006 Walter Dacon Wines Apperage Syrah, Boushey Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $35.
2004 Whisper Ridge Winery A Voix Basse Red Blend, Washington State. $30.
2006 Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State. $49. Where to buy?


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2005 Alexandria Nicole Estate Syrah, Columbia Valley. $25
2006 Alexandria Nicole Block 17 Syrah, Columbia Valley. $42
2006 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain. $60
2004 Barnard Griffen Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $60
2006 Barnard Griffin Reserve Merlot, Columbia Valley. $30
2005 Barrister Bacchus Syrah, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $32
2006 Barrister Winery Merlot, Columbia Valley. $27
2005 Boudreaux Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Champoux/Loess Vineyards, Washington State. $100
2006 Buty Cabernet, Champoux Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $55
2006 Buty Canlis Syrah, Columbia Valley. $125
2006 Cadence Red Wine, Red Mountain. $55
2006 Cadence Bel Canto Red Wine, Red Mountain. $??
1998 Col Solare Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $na
2005 Côte Bonneville Carriage House Red Blend, DuBrul Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $50
2006 Fidelitas Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla. $40
2006 Hedges Family Estate Estate Red Blend, Hedges Three Vineyards, Red Mountain. $25
2005 Hogue Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope. $??
2005 Hogue Cellars Reserve Merlot, Wahluke Slope. $??
2007 JM Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Klipsun Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 K Vintners K Milbrandt Syrah, Wahluke Slope. $25
2006 K Vintners M.C.K. Syrah, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 K Vintners The Boy, Syrah, Columbia Valley. $??
2003 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain. $35
2005 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Merlot, Red Mountain. $??
2006 Kontos Cellars Syrah, Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley. $36
2006 L'Ecole No 41 Estate Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla. $37
2006 L'Ecole No 41 Estate Perigee, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla. $50
2005 Lodmell Cellars Syrah, Lodmell Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $??
2005 Long Shadows Chester-Kidder, Columbia Valley. $50
2006 Olsen Estates Syrah, Colombia Valley. $39
2006 Pepper Bridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla. $55
2006 Powers Winery Reserve Syrah, Cougar Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. $25
2006 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Red Wine, Columbia Valley. $38
2006 Robert Karl Cellars Claret, Horse Heaven Hills. $20
2006 Spring Valley Vineyards Nina Lee, Walla Walla. $50
2006 Spring Valley Vineyards Red Blend, Frederick, Walla Walla. $50
2006 Spring Valley Vineyards Red Blend, Uriah, Walla Walla. $50
2006 Stevens Winery Black Tongue Syrah, Dineen Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $32
2005 Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $32
2007 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red, Columbia Valley. $20
2005 Tamarack Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley. $28
2005 Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $50
2005 TL Cellars L.L.C. Cabernet Sauvignon / Release No. TWO, Les Collines Vineyard, Walla Walla. $50
2002 Townshend Celalr Merlot, Columbia Valley. $21
2006 Va Piano Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $38
2007 Walla Walla Vintners Merlot, Walla Walla. $28
2006 Walter Dacon Wines C'est Syrah Beaux, Columbia Valley. $38
2006 Whisper Ridge Winery Syrah, Washington State. $28


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2006 Andrew Will Sorella Red Wine, Champoux Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills. $74
2007 Barnard Griffin Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $17
2006 Barrister Winery Cabernet Franc, , Columbia Valley. $27
2005 Bergevin Lane Syrah, Columbia Valley. $26
2007 Bunnell Family Cellar Horse Heaven Hills Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills. $40
2006 Bunnell Family Cellar Syrah, Cliften Hill Vineyard , Wahluke Slope. $40
2005 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $40
2005 Cedergreen Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $36
2007 Charles Smith Wines The Velvet Devil Merlot, Columbia Valley. $12
2005 Chateau Ste Michelle North Star Merlot, Columbia Valley. $??
2005 Chateau Ste Michelle North Star "Stella Maris", Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Efeste Final Final Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Fidelitas Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $35
2004 Heaven's Cave Cellars Bordeaux Blend/Angel's Blend, Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills. $34
2006 Hestia Cellars Meritage, Columbia Valley. $??
2007 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley. $??
2004 Isenhower Bachelors Butter Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $32
2006 Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $30
2003 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Estate Sangiovese, Red Mountain. $25
2003 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Cabernet / Merlot, Red Mountain. $??
2006 Kontos Cellars Merlot, Boushey Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $28
2006 Lee Vee Loo Lee Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley. $32
2005 Lodmell Cellars Merlot, Lodmell Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $43
2005 Long Shadows Pirouette, Columbia Valley. $55
2006 Lost River Merlot, Columbia Valley. $22
2007 Melms Road Merlot, Columbia Valley. $21
2006 NxNW Syrah, Columbia Valley. $25
2006 NxNW Cabernet, Columbia Valley. $25
2006 NxNW Cabernet, Walla Walla. $35
2005 OS Winery R3, Columbia Valley. $35
2006 Powers Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Champoux Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills. $30
2006 Ramseyer Vintage Two Red Wine, Columbia Valley. $35
2006 Ross Andrew Syrah, Boushey Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $28
2006 Sheridan Vineyard L'Orage - Bordeaux Blend, Yakima Valley. $40
2007 Syncline Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge. $28
2007 Syncline Syrah, Columbia Valley. $24
2006 Tamarack Cellars Merlot, Columbia Valley. $28
2006 Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley. $28
2007 Walla Walla Vintners Sangiovese, Walla Walla. $24
2006 Walter Dacon Wines C'est Syrah Magnifique, Yakima Valley. $42
2006 Walter Dacon Wines C'est Syrah Belle, Columbia Valley. $30


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2005 Bergevin Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $55
2006 Bunnell Family Cellar "A Pic" Rhone Blend, Horse Heaven Hills. $??
2006 Buty BEAST Cabernet Sauvignon, Phinny Hill Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills. $35
2005 Cedergreen Cellars Thuja- red Blend, Columbia Valley. $25
2006 Cedergreen Cellars Merlot, Columbia Valley. $40
2007 Charles Smith Wines Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $20
2005 Chateau Ste Michelle Ethos Merlot, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Cuillen Hills Cabernet Franc, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $28
2006 Fidelitas Malbec, Columbia Valley. $35
2006 Gilbert Cellars Claret, Doc Stewart Estate Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. $20
2006 Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope. $28
2005 Heaven's Cave Cellars Syrah "The Dweller", Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills. $24
2006 Hestia Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Dineen Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $38
2006 Hestia Cellars Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills. $??
2006 Hestia Cellars Syrah, Yakima. $32
2005 Hightower Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $35
2007 Isenhower Cabernet Franc, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $29
2005 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Lemberger, Red Mountain. $??
2007 Melms Road Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $24
Northwest Totem Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 NxNW Syrah, Walla Walla. $35
2006 Sheridan Vineyard Mystique - Red Blend, Yakima Valley. $25
2006 Sparkman Cellars WILDERNESS Red Blend, Columbia Valley. $28
2005 Sweet Valley Wines Merlot, Walla Walla. $28
2005 Tasawik Vineyards Reserve (Red), Tasawik Estate Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $34
2006 Va Piano Vineyards Syrah, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Va Piano Vineyards Bruno's Blend, Columbia Valley. $??
2005 Ward Johnson Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain. $25
2005 Yellow Hawk Cellar Solstice, Columbia Valley. $24


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2005 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $28
2005 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Merlot, Columbia Valley. $25
2007 Charles Smith Wines Boom Boom! Syrah, Columbia Valley. $15
2007 DaMa Wines Syrah, Ash Hollow Vineyard, Walla Walla. $18
2006 Dineen Family Vineyard Red Wine, Columbia Valley. $25
2006 Gilbert Cellars Malbec, Doc Stewart Estate Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. $26
2006 Gilbert Cellars Allobroges Rhone Blend, Colombia Valley. $??
2006 Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards Barbera, Wahluke Slope. $35
2006 Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards Syrah, Wahluke Slope. $28
2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Cabernet Franc, Sagemoor Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Qu-Ne Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Grenache, Columbia Valley. $??
2006 Sweet Valley Wines Double Barrel Red, Walla Walla. $22
2006 Ward Johnson Winery Syrah, Ranch at the End of the Road, Red Mountain. $30
2006 William Church Winery Syrah, Dineen Vineyard, Columbia Valley. $28
2005 Yellow Hawk Cellar Sangiovese, Walla Walla. $18


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2005 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $??
2005 Cedergreen Cellars Thuja- red Blend, Columbia Valley. $25
2007 Chinook Wines Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley. $22
2005 Chinook Wines Merlot, Yakima Valley. $15
2005 DaMa Wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Les Collines and Conner Lee Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $27
2006 Hard Row To Hoe Miss de Miner Red Blend, Wahluke Slope. $28
2006 Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards Zinfandel, Pheasant Vineyard, Wahluke Slope. $35
2006 Hightower Cellars Murray Cuvee Red Wine, Columbia Valley. $18
2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man Red Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley. $??
2005 Tasawik Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Tasawik Estate Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $26
2005 TL Cellars L.L.C. Release No. THREE Syrah, Lewis Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $50
2006 Ward Johnson Winery Merlot, Hedges Vineyard - North Block, Red Mountain. $30


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2005 Ch. Rollat Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. $62
2006 Kiona Vineyards & Winery Zinfandel, Red Mountain. $??
2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Elerding Vineyard , Yakima Valley. $30
2006 Northwest Totem Cellars Long House Syrah, Columbia Valley. $??
2005 Sweet Valley Wines Syrah, Walla Walla. $26
2005 Tasawik Vineyards Studio B, Tasawik Estate Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $22
2005 Tasawik Vineyards Merlot, Tasawik Estate Vineyards, Columbia Valley. $24
2007 Yellow Hawk Cellar Red Barn Red, Columbia Valley. $12


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7
2005 Ch. Rollat Eduoard Red Wine, Walla Walla. $65

Comments (17)

Dan wrote:
05.28.09 at 10:35 AM

Nice list and links. I prefer late harvest.

Lego wrote:
05.28.09 at 11:09 AM

I completely agree that Washington State wines are a great value!

I'm just going to throw this out there...I can't stand Robert Karl wines. I know they are getting good scores, but his wines are so over oaked it is ridiculous. The inspiration is aged in 100% new french oak for 26 months! On top of that they use heavily charred barrels. I've seen this tendency in a lot of Washington State wines, and it completely overwhelms the fruit.

Just my 2 cents.

Alder wrote:
05.28.09 at 11:18 AM

Lego,

Thanks for the comments. I definitely think a lot of vintners in WA could dial back the oak. There were a lot of wines that ended up in the mid to high 8's for me that would have likely been scored much higher if they didn't taste like a 2x4.

Having said that, I didn't find the Karl wines objectionable in that way.

Carl H. wrote:
05.28.09 at 12:52 PM

I have friends working at Hanford in the Tri-cities. At their suggestion I toured Red Mountain/Walla Walla 8 years ago and have been hooked on these good Washington State wines since then. Nice to see some of my favorite wines still scoring so well.
Friendly people with lots of enthusiasm about their wine. Very hospitable. Far and away my favorite wine tour to date.

seth wrote:
05.29.09 at 8:56 AM

curious.. did eric dunham not show his wines or did they just not rank for you?

Alder wrote:
05.29.09 at 8:59 AM

Heh. I didn't taste EVERYTHING! I didn't even taste 25%. He may very well have been there.

Emily wrote:
05.29.09 at 9:49 AM

Did you come across Rotie Cellars?

Alder wrote:
05.29.09 at 4:37 PM

I saw Rotie Cellars there, but I didn't end up tasting their stuff.

Mary Beth wrote:
05.31.09 at 5:24 PM

I'm biased b/c I live in Seattle, but another fabulous Washington winery is Brian Carter Cellars. Their Oriana is a light and fruity white - perfect for summer! And their reds, especially Tuttorosso and L’Etalon, are unbelievable!

Anthony Alicastro wrote:
06.01.09 at 6:07 AM

Hola from Cochabamba. The 2004 Col Solare Proprietary Red is available at K&L for $41.99.

Erin wrote:
06.01.09 at 8:53 PM

Hi Alder,

What about DeLille's Harrison Hill Red Blend? Did you taste? Thoughts?

Alder wrote:
06.01.09 at 9:44 PM

Erin,

Sadly they had just poured out of it when I got to their table! :-(

Paul Gregutt wrote:
06.02.09 at 9:32 AM

Thanks for the kind words about WA, Alder. When I point out, as you did, that Washington wines are excellent values, such comments don't carry the same weight as those of a California guy. Come back any time and I'll give you a tour of Walla Walla. You might want to re-try the Rollat - it's pretty fine stuff.

Alder wrote:
06.02.09 at 9:38 AM

Paul,

Thanks for the note. Funny thing about the Rollat, that was the second time I had tasted it in 2 days (the first one tasted blind) and my reaction to two separate bottles was exactly the same.

Alder

Lego wrote:
06.02.09 at 10:43 AM

I was also surprised by your low rating of the Rollat. I had their Savignon Blanc awhile ago and was very impressed. Several people I know in the industry in Washington State have been very impressed with their reds.

06.02.09 at 11:29 PM

Glad to hear that you got to check out the Taste of Washington. An impressive tasting list! I will second Paul's thoughts on Rollat, although it sounds like you had a couple of takes on them. Perhaps a temperature issue? As I noted in my writeup, wine temperatures were getting up into the low to mid-70's during the event.

Rotie Cellars is definitely worth a look at some point as a reader mentioned. Brand new winery from Sean Boyd, the assistant winemaker at Waters.

Regarding the oak some readers mentioned, amen. A lot of heavy handedness from some wineries. The fruit speaks for itself. No need to build a house around it. Also some heavy alcohol levels going on. That said, a lot of tremendous wine coming out of Washington right now and the future here is bright.

Mandy wrote:
06.17.09 at 2:41 PM

Thank you so much for the great review!! We had a wonderful time at Taste Washington! Thank you, Thank you!

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