1. No Girls Grenache La Paciencia Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2013 $85
Grenache is a particularly cold-tender grape and the Rocks District sees frequent frosts and freezes. From this challenging dynamic emerges a truly superb bottle, with outrageous aromas of smoked meat, funk, and white pepper.
2. Fidélitas Cabernet Sauvignon Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2013 $65
Champoux Vineyards is one of our finest sites, with its unmistakable profile of concentrated fruit flavors, firm but beautiful tannins, and a dusty, earthy quality. All this is evident on the palate, and in the aromas of earth and barrel spice awaiting decanting or a nice long stay in the cellar.
3. Gramercy Cellars The Deuce Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2013 $54
Washington may not have a signature variety—we do multiple things well—but in the Walla Walla Valley, syrah absolutely shines. Here, aromas of violets, smoked meat, red fruit, and herb lead to soft, pillowy fruit flavors; it’s near impossible to put the glass down.
4. Two Vintners Some Days Are Stones Syrah Stoney Vine Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2013 $45
A handful of winemakers truly capture the essence of the Rocks; Woodinville’s Morgan Lee is among the best. Expansive aromas of green herbs, black olive, potpourri, and wet stone are followed by savory flavors, broad on the palate, and a long finish.
5. Avennia Arnaut Syrah Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2013 $50
Grower Dick Boushey built his vineyard’s fame on syrahs exactly like this one—a mix of fruit and savory, with aromas and flavors of mineral, herb, earth, and black fruit. An undeniable pleasure.
6. Dusted Valley Vintners Tall Tales Syrah Stoney Vine Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2013 $60
The estate vineyard shows the Rocks at its earthy, savory best. Aromas of peat, herb, funk, and grilled asparagus lead to sweet fruit and savory flavors with impressive concentration.
7. Eight Bells Winery Eight Clones Syrah Red Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley 2013 $35
Red Willow is Washington’s spiritual home for syrah, with the first vines planted at this site in 1986. There are few better interpretations of Red Willow than Seattle’s Eight Bells. Aromas and flavors of raspberries, blueberries, flowers, and smoked meat carry through the lingering finish.
8. Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2013 $45
With its softer, fine-grained tannins, Ciel du Cheval is an exception to Red Mountain’s typical burly wines. This bottle boasts concentrated fruit flavors and loads of poise and polish, plus aromas and flavors of cocoa, coffee, and dark cherries.
9. Reynvaan In the Rocks Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2013 $70
Though it’s known for its outrageously funky aromatics and flavors, the Rocks region can also reveal itself in subtle ways, as evidenced by these aromas of black olive and wet stone. They lead to light, restrained fruit and savory flavors; there’s a lot of elegance in this bottle.
10. Va Piano Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2013 $95
Subtle and reserved, DuBrul Vineyard is one of Washington’s iconic vineyard sites. Here cocoa, herb, and cherry aromas are followed by rich fruit flavors, elegant with plenty of hang time on the finish. Give it a one-hour decant to see it at its best.