Cerebella Wines 2013 Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, $30

Robb Zimmel’s first commercial vintage at Zimmel-Unruh Cellars includes his Cerebella brand, and the recent graduate of Washington State University-Tri-Cities wine program is off to a jammy start with this red Bordeaux variety from the Walla Walla Valley. The former Army flight medic presents Malbec with expressive aromas of black…

Continue reading

Hoodsport Winery NV Blueberry, Washington $24

There were less than 20 wineries in Washington state when Hoodsport entered the industry, and while it produces wines from vinifera, the Puget Sound producer also releases several non-grape bottlings – including two styles of Blueberry. This is the off-dry version, but it’s no overly sweet at just 1% residual…

Continue reading

Burnt Bridge Cellars 2013 Les Collines Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $40

The first urban winery in Vancouver, Wash., since Fort Vancouver invested rather heavily in this Cab, starting with one of the Walla Walla Valley’s top sites and following that with 22 months in 75% new French oak. Hence, there’s an early greeting of dark chocolate, but there also are aromatics…

Continue reading

Cloudlift Cellars 2013 Panorama Merlot, Columbia Valley, $26

A product of South Seattle Community College’s Northwest Wine Academy, Tom Stangeland devoted more Merlot than ever before to his proprietary Panorama red blend – enough (78%) to prompt him to label it it as Merlot. He pulled from Joel Hattrup’s acclaimed Elephant Mountain Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills, Arianses…

Continue reading

Merry Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $46

Palouse winemaker Patrick Merry helped create a culture for Pacific Northwest wine in Pullman, Wash., and he uses fruit from acclaimed Seven Hills Vineyard in Oregon to burnish his reputation with Bordeaux varieties. A product of a warm vintage, the fruit came in from the field at 26 Brix on…

Continue reading

Barnard Griffin 2014 Rob’s Red Blend, Washington, $14

Best Buy! Rob Griffin takes the credit for stitching together this remarkably approachable blend of Merlot (53%), Cabernet Sauvignon (33%), Syrah (8%) and Malbec (6%) that’s loaded with milk chocolate, black cherry, dark plum and vanilla bean aromas. Cherry juice and chocolate-covered almonds begin to describe the flavors, backed by…

Continue reading

Dumas Station Wines 2013 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $32

This bottling marks a first for Walla Walla Valley grower/winemaker Jay DeWitt and Dumas Station – a full-on, 100 percent Merlot – and the results from Birch Creek Vineyard and Minnick Hills Vineyard are superb. His program of 40% new oak creates aromas reminiscent of black raspberry jam, black cherry…

Continue reading

Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2014 The Expedition Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $15

Best Buy! Canoe Ridge Vineyard has given “The Expedition” title to its wines, playing off the ridgetop site named by Lewis and Clark after they noted in 1805 that it looked like an overturned canoe. The winery’s 2014 Merlot from the Horse Heaven Hills offers a hint of pepper, then…

Continue reading

Sleeping Dog Wines 2014 Buoy Vineyards Sweet Aurora Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $21

Larry Oates traditionally produces this dessert-style with Sauvignon Blanc as a cheery memorial to founding mascot Aurora, the beautiful rescue dog who passed on in 2013. The nose of honey, apple, Asian pear, straw and minerality leads to flavors of baked apple pie with notes of kiwi. Ample acidity akin…

Continue reading

Heymann Winery NV Cranberry Wine, Washington, $16

The Heymanns continue to excel with fruit wines, particularly cranberry, and their latest release offers remarkable complexity. It starts with aromas of pure cranberry with dried pineapple and a touch of earthines. Inside, there’s brightness on the entry with this high-acid fruit, and the residual sugar of 7 percent gives…

Continue reading