* = denotes hard-to-find wine
1. Horsepower Sur Echalas Vineyard Grenache Walla Walla Valley 2014 • $120 *
Christophe Baron’s old-school techniques—high densities of grape plantings, grown vertically on stakes and ploughed by draft horse—yield a stunningly aromatic wine with sophisticated texture.
2. No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Grenache Walla Walla Valley 2014 • $75 *
Another Christophe Baron project, this one led by assistant vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier, deftly navigates the challenge of ripening grenache in the Rocks District to deliver complex aromas (peat, green olive, herb, and stargazer lilies) and a palate loaded with fruit and savory flavors.
3. Kevin White La Fraternité Red Wine Yakima Valley 2015 • $28
This blend of grenache, mourvèdre, and syrah from Upland and Boushey vineyards is not only one of this year’s top wines, it’s also an outrageous value—a constant theme for this young Woodinville winery that always overdelivers.
4. Gramercy L’Idiot du Village Mourvèdre Columbia Valley 2014 • $42
Winery founder and master sommelier Greg Harrington has a particularly skilled touch with mourvèdre; here he creates an elegant, layered wine with plenty of herb and spice aromas and flavors.
5. Maison Bleue Bourgeois Grenache Walla Walla Valley 2014 • $45
One of the state’s most talented Rhone-style winemakers coaxes aromas of raspberry, kirsch, and flowers and the purest of flavors from a single Rocks vineyard; this is truly a breathtaking wine.
6. La Rata Red Blend Walla Walla Valley 2014 • $75 *
When she’s not busy dazzling with other Christophe Baron labels, Elizabeth Bourcier, his assistant vigneronne, blends a most unusual combination—grenache, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah—to brilliant effect.
7. Avennia Justine Columbia Valley 2014 • $40
Richness and restraint are displayed in equal measure, thanks to a blend of grenache, mourvèdre, and syrah.
8. Barrister Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley 2014 • $31
Some of the state’s finest cabernet franc comes out of this Spokane-area winery, and pulls no punches with these ripe cherry and herb flavors, not to mention the extended finish.
9. Block Wines Golden Block Boushey Vineyard Grenache Yakima Valley 2015 • $40
The house winery for Seattle-based online retailer Full Pull Wines brings exuberant aromas of smoked meat, fresh herb, and white pepper, plus plentiful fruit and savory flavors—no surprise, as the hypertalented Morgan Lee of Two Vintners serves as winemaker.
10. Rasa QED Axiom of Choice Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley 2015 • $38
QED is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase quod erat demonstrandum, meaning, “what was to be demonstrated.” What mathematician-winemaker Billo Naravane demonstrates here is an ability to make outrageously good cabernet franc.