Rasa Vineyards The Lyricist Riesling Columbia Valley 2010 $30

92 Points
  Since 2010 was considerably cooler than recent vintages, brothers Billo and Pinto Naravane of Rasa Vineyards created a riesling with additional sugar to balance out the higher acidity brought on by the chill. The medium-plus sweet wine drinks beautifully now but will likely age well for up to a decade in the cellar.


L’Ecole No. 41 Perigee Red Wine Seven Hills Vineyard
Walla Walla Valley 2008 $50

92 Points
  This year Walla Walla winery L’Ecole No. 41 changed its label from the much-loved watercolor to an etched drawing of its iconic schoolhouse. But some things stay the same: Here is another superb offering of its flagship Perigee Red Wine from Seven Hills Vineyard, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot.

43  Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot Columbia Valley 2007 $55

92 Points
  Some of the fruit from this big, bold merlot blend comes from the lauded Tapteil and Weinbau vineyards in the Columbia Valley. It’s lush and full of red fruit with well-integrated tannins.
44  Tamarack Cellars Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve Red Wine Red Mountain 2007 $50

92 Points
  The winery best known for its consistently delicious Firehouse Red wine presents a reserve blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc that’s dark in color and rich and intense on the palate with plump, ripe fruit flavors and polished tannins.




45  J. Bookwalter Winery Chapter Three Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $78

92 Points
  This cabernet sauvignon blend has toasty, smoky-char aromas along with dark fruit, resin, floral notes, and light game. Silky smooth on the palate, it’s full of chocolate at the finish.

46  Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $40

92 Points
  Let this blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot age one to two years—it’s currently locked up aromatically with brambly berries, bittersweet chocolate, licorice, sweet spices, and toast.
Amavi Cellars Syrah Les
Collines Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2008 $34

92 Points
  Amavi—rhymes with “mama me”—is a combination of the Latin words for love and life. And what’s not to love about life when you’re drinking a 100 percent syrah that is aromatic with chocolate and wild blueberries, and has a gauzy palate of blueberry flavors?
Northstar Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2007 $50

92 Points
  Northstar is one of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s “string of pearls,” founded with the goal of creating the state’s best merlot. The winery inches ever closer to its goal with its 2007 Walla Walla Valley wine, a thick, muscular varietal with rich fruit flavors and well-integrated tannins.
Mark Ryan Winery Dead Horse Red Wine Ciel du
Cheval Red Mountain
2008 $45

92 Points
  An aromatic wine with black fruit, raspberries, and floral notes, it is dense, dark, and rich with tightly coiled tannins that slowly unwind to an extended finish.
Pepper Bridge Merlot
Walla Walla Valley 2008 $50

92 Points
  This exquisitely rich wine bursts with red and dark fruit flavors and ripe tannins: a real-deal Washington merlot. Age two or more years for optimal sipping.
Woodinville Wine Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley 2007 $45

92 Points
  Winemaker Sean Boyd traveled the globe working at wineries in Australia and Portugal before putting his roots down in Woodinville. His worldliness shows with this dark, rich 100 percent cab made with fruit from the Stillwater Creek, Conner Lee, and Dineen vineyard
Long Shadows Sequel Syrah Columbia Valley 2007 $50

92 Points
  Aussie John Duval made his name crafting Penfolds’s iconic Grange in the ’80s and ’90s before leaving to establish Duval Wines in 2002. Since that time, he has continued to make some of Australia’s greatest shiraz. With Sequel, he interprets the grape on Washington soil, and it remains a consistent standout from this top-tier winery. The ’07 is brooding on the nose with salted licorice, dark fruit, dry chocolate, and mint.


Lantz Cellars Cabernet
Sauvignon Barrel Select Columbia Valley 2007 $42

92 Points
  The alcohol on this cab is high at 15.9, but the wine carries it beautifully. It’s dark in color with aromas of toasty spice, dark fruit, and black currant. The palate is tightly wound up with dark fruit and chalky tannins.

Matthews Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 $70

92 Points
  Woodinville’s Matthews Estate dates back to the mid-’90s, but this is the winery’s first cabernet sauvignon in 10 years. An impressive comeback indeed: The nose is a big bowl of fruit with raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, and rose hips covered with a dusting of chocolate and licorice. The palate is tart and puckering with cranberry flavors and a lingering finish.


Sinclair Estate Vineyards Pentatonic Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2008 $40
92 Points  Talk about tricky timing: Microsoftee Tim Sinclair and his wife Cathy opened Sinclair’s doors in April of 2010 despite a stormy economic forecast. But the winery has thrived with top-notch wines from former Columbia Crest hand Amy Alvarez-­Wampfler. This one has alluring aromas of sweet oak spices, dark fruit, chocolate, and floral notes, and is abundant with chocolate and dark fruit flavors: Drinking it is like biting into a candy bar.

Sleight of Hand Cellars The Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 $45
92 Points  Audiophile and winemaker extraordinaire Trey Busch was working as a clothing buyer at Nordstrom when he went out to Walla Walla to visit some friends. Within a month’s time he had quit his job, put his house on the market, and was working as an assistant winemaker at Dunham Cellars. His deliberate passion is clear in this dark, fruit-filled red (92 percent cabernet sauvignon and 8 percent syrah) made from free-run juice.

Covington Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Klipsun
Vineyards Red Mountain 2007 $60

92 Points
  The palate on this cab (blended with 10 percent cabernet franc, 5 percent merlot, and 5 percent petit verdot) is gigantic: tart, puckering, lush, and rich.

àMaurice Cellars Viognier Columbia Valley 2009 $25
91 Points àMaurice delivers a full-bodied viognier with aromas of flowers, toasty spice, and white peaches that leap from the glass.


Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 $42

91 Points
  In an impressive lineup, Abeja’s cabernet sauvignon consistently hogs the spotlight: It’s one of the state’s best. The 2008 is aromatically closed up at present but has hints of black cherry, raspberries, ash, and spice

Cadaretta Windthrow
Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008 $50

91 Points
  This blend of syrah, mourvedre, counoise, and
grenache has a dark ruby color and smells of raspberries, game, ash, and smoke. It’s full of pure, penetrating fruit flavors capped off by a lingering finish.

All labels courtesy the wineries.