I hope you all are enjoying a marvelous holiday season. Today we bring you my Washington Report. As senior editor at International Wine Report I have tasted nearly 1000 new Washington wines and have reviewed over 700 new releases from Washington this year. The wines reviewed in this report are new releases spanning multiple vintages from 2014-2017. I believe this to be one of the most comprehensive reports out of Washington. The report covers Washington's major appellations, including Columbia Valley, Walla Walla and Red Mountain AVA’s
Overall, the quality of wines ended up being quite impressive, in particular from the 2014 vintage, with the 2015 vintage being a slight step behind, as they both yielded excellent final results. Both 2014 and 2015 were hot vintages on record, but they were also different in the challenges they presented. In 2014 the growing conditions were nearly ideal, particularly for red wines as many producers achieved rich, intense and age-worthy bottlings. 2015 was a bit more challenging for many producers due to severe summer heat spikes with temperatures reaching the hottest on record. Nonetheless there were some winemakers who thrived in these conditions and carefully managed their vineyards.
Some of the stellar showings were from Quilceda Creek and their sensational new lineup, including the stunning 2015 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. Also standing out were the new releases from superstar vigneron Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards and his talented assistant vigneronne Elizabeth Bourcier, who have taken the world by storm with their 2015 Hors Categorie Syrah and the compelling terroir-driven wines under Cayuse Vineyards, No Girls, Horsepower and La Rata labels.
Other producers who excelled in Walla Walla Rocks District and Walla Walla AVA include Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Rôtie Cellars, Saviah, Rasa Vineyards, Leonetti, Gramercy, Doubleback, Abeja, and the scintillating new Syrah from Delmas.
Coming out of the Columbia Valley, Red Mountain and Yakima Valley AVA's wines from Force Majeure, Long Shadows, Kobayashi, Col Solare, Avennia, DeLille, Den Hoed, EFESTE, and Kerloo Cellars all were amongst the most compelling from their respective AVA's.
While 2015 certainly proved to be challenging, winemakers like Chris Peterson of Avennia, Todd Alexander of Force Majeure and Matt Reynvaan of Reynvaan Family Vineyards have noted the great promise for the 2016 vintage for both red and white wines — particularly creating well-concentrated red wines. We have also seen this to be true as the few 2016 red wines we have seen have showed good mid-palate richness and acidity while the white wines from 2016 possesses wonderful richness but may struggle with achieving poise and tension.
Here is my 2018 Washington Report: http://www.internationalwinereport.com/articles/washington-vol-3