#1Reynvaan Family Vineyards Stonessence Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2010
When Bainbridge Island natives Mike and Gale Reynvaan hired Cayuse vigneron Christophe Baron as a consultant to help establish their vineyard and winery in 2004—their son Matt serves as winemaker—the results were immediate and impressive. The 2010 Stonessence syrah takes the winery—and Matt Reynvaan’s talents—to a new level. Appropriately named, it drinks like liquid rock, with abundant mineral notes, earthy funk, ash, and olives, a concentrated, rich texture, and an extended finish. Any and all superlatives apply. $70


#2Cayuse Vineyards Syrah Cailloux Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2010
Another classic from Cayuse Vineyards, whose distinctive terroir always shows off syrah’s savory side with rich, earth-laden aromas and flavors now universally referred to as the “Cayuse funk.” It’s sublime with floral notes, olive, earth, and umami. The palate is soft and elegant while retaining exquisite concentration and depth. And, yes, the funk is in the house. $80

 

#3Reynvaan Family Vineyards In the Rocks Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2010
Cofermented with viognier, this ethereal wine has notes of black olive, umami, bloody meat, and mineral that will haunt you long after the bottle is finished. It’s soft and textured; a great depth of flavors lead to a hyperextended finish. $55 

 

#4Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010
For decades, Quilceda Creek has been the benchmark for cabernet sauvignon in Washington state. The 2010 vintage only continues the winery’s tradition of excellence in the form of bold fruit flavors and structured tannins. Give this one three or more years in the cellar or decant for at least six hours. $135 

 

#5Maison Bleue Le Midi Grenache Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010
Jon Meuret left behind a promising career as a dentist in Kansas City to come to Washington to make Rhone-style wines. Hailing from a vineyard long known for its syrah, his 2010 Le Midi Grenache is a head turner with aromas of black and red raspberries, white pepper, herbs, anise, and mineral. The intensity of fruit flavors is simply breathtaking. $35


#6Cayuse Vineyards God Only Knows Grenache Armada Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2009
This is an aromatically arresting wine with umami and prominent floral notes, alongside peat, olive brine, and sea salt, and of course it brings the famous Cayuse funk. It’s soft and seductive, offering abundant savory flavors and a long, lingering finish. $85 

 

#7Force Majeure Collaboration Series VI Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2010
Force Majeure—a French term for an act of god or a “superior force”—pairs some of the state’s top winemakers with fruit from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, one of our state’s viticultural crown jewels. Here Syncline Cellars winemaker James Mantone blends mourvèdre and syrah with a pinch of grenache. It’s aged in concrete tanks and French oak puncheons, larger-format barrels that reduce exposure to wood; the focus is on the fruit, which comes down like a velvet hammer. $50 

 

#8Figgins Estate Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2010
This Bordeaux-style blend hails from a single vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. “When we saw this piece of land, we knew it was special,” says winery president and second-generation winemaker Chris Figgins. Special indeed. Just three vintages in, this vineyard site is positively singing. This is one for the cellar. Give it at least two years or decant. $85

 

#9Rasa Vineyards QED Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010
Part of the “rise of the Rhones” seen all over this year’s Top 100 list, this blend of syrah, mourvèdre, grenache, and viognier is an aromatic tour de force with barrel spices, smoked meat, huckleberries, and black pepper. It’s lush in feel, and its concentrated flavors display depth and intensity. One to swoon over. $50


#10Soos Creek Artist Series No. 10 Red Blend Columbia Valley 2010
Winemaker David Larsen has made his mark crafting wines that consistently punch well above their weight class. A blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sau-vignon, and merlot coming from some of Washington’s top vineyard sites (Champoux, Dineen, and Weinbau), the 2010 Artist Series No. 10 Red Blend shows cabernet franc’s intoxicating floral side and is packed to the brim with herbs and dark fruit while still showing exceptional restraint. $30

 

#1121 Grams Red Wine Washington State 2010
A joint project between winemakers Jamie Brown (formerly of Waters) and Greg Harrington (Gramercy), this vintage is mostly cabernet sauvignon along with cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. Aged in just 45 percent new French oak, this one’s all about elegance and full of cherry, dried herb, and olive notes. It’s textured in feel, and its finish goes on for miles—or at least more than a minute. $125


#12Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2010
Gary Figgins and his wife, Nancy, gave birth to the modern-day Walla Walla Valley wine industry back in 1977 when they founded the area’s first bonded (aka commercial) winery. More than 35 years later, with their son, Chris, at the helm, the winery still leads the way in terms of consistency and quality. $90


#13Cadence Bel Canto Red Wine Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain 2010
Winemaker Ben Smith left behind a career at Boeing to pursue his passion for winemaking, focusing on blends from Red Mountain. His 2010 Bel Canto red wine is more than three-quarters cabernet franc and dazzles with floral, mineral, earth, and cherry notes. It displays serious depth and elegance and is equal parts structure and fruit expression. This is one for the cellar. $55

 

#14Mark Ryan Winery Long Haul Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010
While the focus of the Long Haul—a merlot-focused blend of the five Bordeaux varieties—has always been on Red Mountain, the 2010 vintage adds fruit from Yakima Valley’s famed Red Willow Vineyard. The newcomer certainly elevates the results, creating a dense, rich wine full of red and black currant, dry chocolate, spice, and floral notes. Just a baby now, this will only improve with additional time in the bottle. $48 


#15Dunham Cellars Late Harvest Riesling Lewis Estate Vineyard Columbia Valley 2011
Coming in at a mighty 26.7 percent residual sugar, this dessert-style riesling, made with grapes from a single vineyard, is supremely rich and decadent with notes of marmalade, honeysuckle, and petrol. The flavors come in waves, and the finish lasts as long as you care to count. $38



Published: September 2013