Syzygy Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley 2007 $36

91 Points
  This cab has aromas of cranberries, strawberries, earth, and licorice. On the palate: plump fruit flavors and ripe tannins.

Waters Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 $50

91 Points
  While Waters Winery is best known for its compelling single-vineyard syrahs, winemaker Jamie Brown shows an equally deft touch with cabernet sauvignon. True to the house style, the oak and alcohol are dialed down while the acid is dialed up. The result is a beautiful exploration of cabernet’s feminine side with plenty of earth and herbal accents.

Buty Winery Columbia
Rediviva Phinny Hill Estate
Grown Horse Heaven Hills 2007 $50

91 Points
  Aromas of dark fruit, blueberries, bittersweet chocolate, and spice dominate this blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon. It is luscious on the palate with a sweet, chocolate-filled finish.

Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon The V Columbia Valley 2008 $49

91 Points
  The V’s pure dark-cherry aromas mix with high-toned herbal notes and black currant. The palate is wound up tightly with dark fruit, herbal notes, and chewy tannins. Give this one two or more years in the cellar.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley 2007 $38

91 Points
  The Chateau’s perfumed wine shows earth, toasty spice, dark fruit, mineral, and very light herbal notes, and a palate that is densely packed with black fruit and well-integrated tannins.

Bergevin Lane Vineyards
Intuition Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $59

91 Points
  The Intuition Red is Bergevin Lane’s top-of-the-line bordeaux-style blend, dark and brooding with chocolate, espresso, black currant, and black cherries on the nose, it’s dense and powerful wine that drinks like a candy bar with a firm grip of tannins wrapped around a tight core of blackberry flavors and a long, lingering finish.

L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2008 $35

91 Points
  This ripe, full, 100 percent cabernet sauvignon is made with fruit from a series of distinctive vineyards: Seven Hills, Loess, Va Piano, Pepper Bridge, and Yellow Jacket.

Tranche Cellars Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley 2007 $25

91 Points
  A first release from Tranche, sister winery to Corliss Estates with a breathtaking Blue Mountain estate vineyard, this cab franc’s extra bottle age helps it drink like a much spendier bottle.

Sineann Merlot Champoux Vineyard Columbia Valley 2009 $36

91 Points
  Winemaker Peter Rosback says he almost gave up on making varietally labeled merlot after the beating it took in the marketplace due to what he describes as “the plethora of overpriced mediocre examples.” The rich, voluptuous fruit from Champoux Vineyard changed his mind. Give this wine one to two years in the cellar before opening.

Ramseyer Vintage Four Red Wine Yakima Valley 2008 $42

91 Points
  This blend (90 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent cabernet franc) could use at least two years in the cellar; it’s somewhat closed up at present with aromas of dust, cherries, pepper, and herbal notes. The palate has chalky tannins with a firm grip.

Tulpen Cellars Merlot
Columbia Valley 2007 $28

91 Points
  Ken Hart is vineyard manager for a who’s-who list of Walla Walla Valley vineyards. For his own Tulpen Cellars wines, Hart cherry-picks some of the best rows from these vineyards to make wines that dazzle the senses without breaking the bank.

Tempus Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 $32

91 Points
  Winemaker Joe Forest follows up his impressive 2007 vintage release with another standout cabernet, a big, bold, fruit-filled wine with firm tannins.

Forgeron Cellars Vinfinity Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $46

91 Points
  Give this cab blend one to two years to age; it’s somewhat closed up at present with dusty cranberries and high-toned red fruit on the nose. The palate is loaded with red fruit flavors and grippy, chalky tannins.

Novelty Hill Grenache Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2008 $28

91 Points
  This Stillwater Creek Grenache hails from a steep, south-facing section of the vineyard, littered with fractured basalt. The resultant wine is aromatic and perfumed with white pepper, floral notes, fresh raspberries, and light chocolate. The broad, expansive palate has soft fruit flavors and a persistent finish.

Darby The Flipside Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008 $35

91 Points
  Seattle native and former professional golfer Darby English is well known for his big, bold reds. But the Flipside, a richly flavored blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre, shows his more subtle side. It is full on the palate with a distinctive earthy funkiness.

Buty Winery Rediviva of the Stones Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2008 $55

91 Points
  A syrah (79 percent) and cabernet sauvignon (21 percent) blend made with fruit that grew on the winery’s LeFore estate vineyard, the nose has mineral and floral notes, plus orange peel, barnyard, and cherry. The tart palate is elegantly structured.

97  Guardian Cellars Chalk Line Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008 $25

91 Points
  The Chalk Line red is Guardian’s “kitchen sink” wine, made with fruit from a variety of vineyards. Nice sink: dark fruit, black pepper, oak spice, herbal notes, and saline on the nose and a palate that ramps up with waves of dark fruit flavors before slowly receding to a long finish.

98  Elsom Cellars Malbec Yakima Valley 2008 $38

91 Points
  This dark blend of 91 percent malbec and 9 percent merlot has a beautifully rich, textured palate with dark fruit flavors and a firm backbone of tannins.

Sinclair Estate Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009 $28

91 Points
  Hailing from Lewis Vineyard, this 100 percent chard was barrel aged sur lie (the
residual yeast is left unfiltered) to provide a creamy complement to its stone and tropical fruit flavors.

100 Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $32
91 Points  Winemaker Danny Gordon sources cabernet for this wine from a list of the state’s best vineyard sites including Tapteil, Seven Hills, Bacchus, DuBrul, and Ciel du Cheval. The resulting wine is full of chocolate flavors and velvety tannins.

Too Much of a Good Thing

These two 91-point wines didn’t fit in our top 100, but you definitely don’t want to miss them.

101 Syzygy Red Wine |Columbia Valley 2007 $24

91 Points
  This rich and extremely well-priced wine from Syzygy is half Syrah with the balance made up of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and malbec.

102 Zero One Vintners Golden Delicious Riesling |Columbia Valley 2009 $13

91 Points
  This off-dry, 100 percent riesling is singing with vibrant fruit flavors and has a lingering finish.

All labels courtesy the wineries.