Desert Wind Winery 2015 Estate Ruah Proprietary Red Wine, Wahluke Slope, $20

The Fries family of Duck Pond Cellars fame in Oregon built Desert Wind Winery a decade ago in Prosser as a platform for its extensive plantings on the Wahluke Slope and a showpiece wine country inn for the Yakima Valley. Ruah is their flagship bottling, a proprietary red blend they…

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Drumheller Wines 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $12

Best Buy! This young, value brand by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, spearheaded by winemaker Tim Jones, is on the rise. Named for the Drumheller Channels created during the Ice Age Floods near Othello, Wash., it focuses on fruit from the Wahluke Slope. As a product of a record-hot growing year,…

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Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2014 The Explorer Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills, $22

Downtown Walla Walla winemaker Bill Murray pulls from beyond Canoe Ridge Vineyard for this Syrah-dominant blend with Cabernet Franc (27%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), yet he stays within Precept’s other vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills as Wallula and Alder Ridge combine to supply most of the fruit. Nearly 18…

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William Church Winery 2014 Reagan’s Vintage 2 Spires Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $38

This Woodinville winery operated by grads of Washington State University has shined with Syrah soon after opening in the Warehouse District in 2005, and that luscious Rhône red paves the way to this blend with Cabernet Sauvignon (32%). Opulent use of new French oak makes for aromas of plum jam…

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Leah Jørgensen Cellars 2015 Tour Rain Vin Rouge, Oregon, $25

Portland urban winemaker Leah Jørgensen continues to further the cause for “Loiregon,” and she works closely with State of Jefferson grower Herb Quady in Oregon’s Applegate Valley to continue her success with Cabernet Franc. Tour Rain, inspired by the Touraine blends of France’s Loire Valley, is her flagship bottling, a…

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Nine Hats 2015 Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $20

Nine of the planet’s most famous vintners are part of the renowned Long Shadows Vintners project in Walla Walla, and they work with some of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards. There’s not room for all of that juice under Long Shadows brand, so founder Allen Shoup and director of winemaking,…

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Indian Creek Winery 2014 Touriga Naçional, Snake River Valley, $29

While this traditional Port-style variety finds its way into Mike McClure’s fortified program, these three barrels off Arena Valley Vineyard from the 2014 vintage proved too stellar to blend away, prompting the University of Idaho grad to produce this standalone bottling. Viewed as Portugal’s top red and its answer to…

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Mercer Estates 2015 Reserve Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, $29

Previous vintages saw Jessica Munnell dedicate her reserve Chardonnay to Zephyr Ridge Vineyard, but the maturation of young Eagle & Plow Vineyard – now the Mercer family’s largest planting – deems it worthy of playing a role in this program. Half of the lots involved new French oak barrels for…

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Nicolas-Jay 2014 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $65

This decade’s Burgundian invasion into Oregon continues as Jean-Nicolas Méo of famed Domaine Méo-Camuzet marks the delectable debut of his heralded Pinot Noir partnership with longtime friend/former MCA Records executive Jay Boberg. It’s the flagship of their young brand, spearheaded by Adelsheim alumna Tracy Kendall, and it incorporates Bishop Creek…

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Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $30

Back in 1995 when Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri decided to launch Walla Walla Vintners, they wondered if they were too late to the party. After all, the Walla Walla already had seven wineries. More than 20 years later, the two run one of the state’s most successful wineries, and…

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