Washington Wine 2015

Top Red Blends

Washington winemakers can—and do—blend just about every ­imaginable variety. Here are this year’s best results.

By Sean P. Sullivan September 9, 2015 Published in the September 2015 issue of Seattle Met

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Col Solare Winery

1. Baer Winery Callisto Red Blend Columbia Valley 2012 - $39

This blend is 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent syrah, and 10 percent petit verdot; 100 percent of the fruit comes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. It’s a dazzler, tasting of rich blackberries, tar, and herbs. Give it a couple years in the cellar or a several-hour decant. 

2. Gorman Winery The Evil Twin Red Wine Red Mountain 2012 - $65

Three-quarters syrah and one-quarter cabernet sauvignon, with all of the electricity winemaker Chris Gorman is known for, this red is packed with dark cherry, earth, and smoked meat aromas and flavors that show concentration and depth. 

3. Matthews Claret Columbia Valley 2012 - $40

Winemaker Aryn Morrell has always shown a skilled touch with his claret—an English word for a Bordeaux-style blend. This wine is fruit forward with aromas of plum, blackberry, and spice that lead to layered, pure fruit notes. It also contains 5 percent syrah, which would be verboten in Bordeaux.

4. W. T. Vintners Red Blend Stoney Vine Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2013 - $35

Sommelier Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen is wine director at Seattle’s RN74 restaurant by day and crafts wines like this blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre by night. From the Rocks District, it pops with aromas of green olive, earth, mineral, and grilled asparagus along with a velvety feel and a hyperextended finish. 

5. Col Solare Red Wine Red Mountain 2012 - $75

A partnership between Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Italy’s Antinori family, Col Solare focuses each year on a single wine, a cabernet sauvignon–centric blend. The 2012 vintage displays aromas of coffee, toast, and blue and black fruit, followed by dense, structured flavors with a long finish. 

6. Bunchgrass The Bard Walla Walla Valley 2012 - $30

This winery’s nanoproduction—a mere 800 cases per year—makes it an insider’s secret, especially given the can’t-be-beat prices. The wine is a lithe blend of grenache, syrah, and malbec that coats the palate with wild strawberry, incense, and coffee. 

7. Corvus Cellars Syrah–Petite Sirah Red Mountain 2011 - $35

A blend that has become a calling card for this winery and is an almost equally split between these two varieties, it packs a powerful punch with full-bodied cherry, soil, and baking spice flavors. Give it a several-hour decant before drinking. 

8. Kevin White Winery La Fraternité Red Wine Yakima Valley 2013 - $28

This blend of grenache, mourvèdre, and syrah comes from Upland, Olsen Estates, and Boushey vineyards. The aromas jump up with notes of black pepper, flowers, and raspberries followed by a velvety palate that shows a pleasing sense of purity. 

9. Long Shadows Chester-Kidder Red Wine Columbia Valley 2011 - $50

Cabernet sauvignon takes the lead, followed by syrah and petit verdot. Blackberry, coffee, and licorice aromas yield full-bodied dark fruit flavors that linger. 

10. Saviah Cellars Hunt and Gather Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2012 - $55

The winery’s latest addition to its portfolio is a blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon that shows a complex array of scents, including huckleberry, plum, and black olive. It’s plush in feel with a real sense of texture and vibrancy.

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