Drink Washington State 2014 Enjoy Walla Walla Carménère, Walla Walla Valley, $26


Empire State native Brad Binko turned his back on the life of a somm for that of a winemaker, and the recent grad from College Cellars in Walla Walla now earns high marks outside of the classroom with much of his juice. This Carm is an amped-up Cabernet Franc, offering…

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Wind Rose Cellars 2013 Bravo Rosso Red Table Wine, Washington, $22


Olympic Peninsula winemaker David Volmut continues his tradition of success with this Italian-themed blend. Barbera (52%), Primitivo (24%), Nebbiolo (4%) and Dolcetto (2%) get a Super Tuscan-type influence from Cabernet Sauvignon (18%), and the blend spent 20 months in 30 percent new French oak. As a result, the nose is…

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Mercer Estates 2014 Reserve Cavalie Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills, $40


The classic 2012 vintage in the Pacific Northwest paved the way for many acclaimed wines, and Mercer’s Reserve Cavalie from that year ranked among the region’s most decorated wines. Jessica Munnell’s latest release continues to lead with Merlot (63%), but the contributions by Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Malbec (12%) prompted…

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Eternal Wines 2015 Sunshine Viognier, Walla Walla Valley, $35


Sommelier-turned-winemaker Brad Binko trained at Walla Walla Community College, and he worked with Morrison Lane grapes for this fanciful Viognier. The Morrisons established Viognier on their four-generation farm in Walla Walla, and Viognier historically has been the only white grape they grow in the 20-year history. Beautiful aromas of piña…

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An Outstanding selection of Northwest wines


Only after deciding how we want to rate a wine do we learn what it is. Our top rating is “Outstanding!” (Photo by Darlene Hildebrandt/Digital Photo Mentor) We taste many Northwest wines. When wine is submitted to us for review, it goes into a queue to be tasted under blind…

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Vidon Vineyard 2013 Hans Clone Pommard Estate Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $50


Vicki and Don Hagge began to lay out Vidon (VEE-Dohn) Vineyard in 1999, and they’ve achieved L.I.V.E. status as a certified sustainable site near Newberg, Ore. Don’s work with Pommard in his Hans Block, planted within the elevation range of 400-500 feet, shows the dark and ripe tones one expects…

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Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 DenHoed Vineyards Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, $11


Best Buy! Mike Conway and daughter Natalie shine with aromatic whites, but this marks just their sixth vintage of producing Pinot Gris. Their latest effort may be perhaps their best with this Italian grape, and they present it with an orchard fruit style rather than a tropical style. It starts…

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Winter’s Hill 2015 Estate Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hills, $19


The Gladhart family devotes 2 of their 35 acres to Pinot Blanc, a white grape from Burgundy that thrives in cooler conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Whole-cluster fermentation in stainless steel helps explain the phenomenally floral aromas of piña colada and peach fuzz backed by tangerine, grapefruit and Rose’s Lime…

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Isenhower Cellars 2014 Wallula Vineyard Mourvèdre, Horse Heaven Hills, $34


One of Washington’s oldest plantings of Mourvèdre, a block dating to 1998, comes to life in the hands of Walla Walla’s Brett Isenhower. His presentation of fruit harvested Oct. 9 leads to enticing aromas of dusty blackberry and Jolly Rancher grape candy with pinches of black pepper, anise and oregano.…

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Avennia 2014 Boushey Vineyard Arnaut Syrah, Yakima Valley, $50


Woodinville winemaker Chris Peterson and grower Dick Boushey continue their remarkable connection with Syrah, and this marks the second consecutive vintage in which Avennia has earned our top rating for this annual tribute to Arnaut Daniel, a medieval French lyrical poet. The subtle use of new French oak (15%) over…

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