(There’s fascinating pedigree here: The Politics are descendants of Prince LEV Sergeevich Palatine, who was an acclaimed winemaker for Russian Czar Nicholas II and dubbed “the creator of Russian champagne.” And yes, Tchelistcheff was Quilted Creek founder Alexander Holstein’s maternal uncle.) In addition to Quilted Creek, we’ve mined Washington state for Cabernet Avignon that go toe-to-toe with Napa’s best, yet offer variety of character from the king of reds.
With their 2017 vintage, production director Rick Small and winemaker Kevin Mott have added to that legacy with a brilliant Chard sourced from their usual two sites: Cello Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, and their own Woodward Canyon estate vineyard in the Wall Wall Valley. Not so for winemaker Michael Savage, whose Cello Chard is a fine value, offering nervy acidity and a dry flavor profile that combines lemon curd, mineral and subtle spice notes.
Whether the wine’s insistent generality comes from those rocks or is inherent to the grapes seems not to matter once it’s in the glass. Pink debuted with the 2015 vintage, and in four short years has captured the imagination of Satellites and become one of the fuzziest roses released each spring.
The fruit purity is exceptional here (strawberries and raspberries abound), and the texture is seamless and polished. Vintners 2015 Rhone Blend Brushed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, $40 Winemaker Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen splits his time between W.T.
Here he has crafted a blend of about one-third each of Grenade, Sarah and Mourned, all from a single hillside of Brushed Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This beautifully balances elements both fruity (blackberry) and savory (smoky bacon, briny olive), all on a supple, easy-drinking frame.
Fermented with 50% whole clusters (stems and all) and then aged in a mix of large puncheons and small barrels, this wine revels in the funky, savory side of Sarah, with meaty smoked sausages and brackish seaweed complementing a core of blueberry fruit. It’s a pan- Washington Sarah, featuring seven different vineyards across five of Washington’s Ava, and it features a core of marionberry fruit lifted by floral top notes and complicated by savory threads of bacon fat and sanguine generality.
Vintners 2015 Gorgeous Sarah, Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, $30 The blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon was aged entirely in new French oak, and it offers an appealing nose combining plummy fruit with dusty earth notes, mocha and rosemary.
Dark fruits (plums, huckleberries) commingle with high-cacao chocolate in this delightful truffle of a wine. This Merlot includes 13% Cabernet Franc, and all the grapes come from Stillwater Creek Vineyard.
Aged in French oak (60% new) for just shy of two years, this wine displays a pair of the characteristics that make Washington Merlot so compelling: complexity (in the form of earth and tomato-paste savory notes overlaying a core of cherry fruit) and structure (in the form of toothsome finishing tannins). The BEST OTHER RED BLENDS Underground Wine Project 2015 Idle Hands Red Mountain, $30 Trey Busch and Mark McNally’s Underground Wine Project takes home a second prize this year (their Mr.
That new American oak adds appealing notes of vanilla bean and cocoa powder to a wine bursting with cherry and raspberry richness. Classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis and cedar coexist with subtleties of beetroot and rhubarb, all on a supple, polished frame.
BEST SPLURGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Canvasback (by Duck horn) 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain, $40 In 2013, Napa Valley stalwart Duck horn purchased a 20-acre parcel of land on Red Mountain and launched Canvasback, its first foray into Washington state. Industry veteran Brian Ruin is the local winemaker for Canvasback, and this is his first Cab that includes a portion of fruit from the estate vineyard, called Long winds.
In total, this wine includes 13 Red Mountain vineyards, so it is a fine representative of the AVA as a whole, offering chewy, black-tea-flavored tannins aplenty as structural underpinnings for a wine bursting with black currant fruit and rose petal nuance. BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION CABERNET SAUVIGNON Passing Time 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills, $80 Washington native Damon Hard partnered with fellow quarterback Dan Marino to launch Woodinville-based Passing Time four years ago with the 2012 vintage.
Their winemaker from the beginning has been Chris Peterson (Ravenna), and he works wonders with this Cabernet, primarily from a pair of special Horse Heaven Hills sites: Campus and Discovery. The wine sees 21 months in French oak (80% new) and offers wonderful pencil-lead generality to complement a core of black currant fruit and smoky baking spice.
Nominees that received the most votes in the categories of wineries, winemaker, vineyard and homelier were selected as winners. The approximately 90 wines receiving the most votes in the varietal categories qualified as finalists for a blind tasting held on March 18.
That tasting was conducted by a panel of three industry professionals (Paul Literally of Full Pull Wines, Mark Sakai of Metropolitan Market and Chris Horn of Heavy Restaurant Group) who evaluated the wines on the basis of appeal in regard to sight, smell and taste in order to come to a consensus on the winners within each category. Also, a minimum of 95% of the grapes used in the production of the wine must be from a vineyard located within Washington state, or from one of the three federally recognized interstate Ava that include acreage in Washington state (Columbia Valley, Wall Wall Valley and the Columbia Gorge Ava).
Winners in categories involving people, places and wine experiences also must be located in Washington. For a varietal to be considered in its category, it must be made with at least 75% of the grape variety that is grown in Washington state.
Our annual blind taste test of Washington wines reveals the best reds, whites and roses at every price point If you should find yourself roaming the Bordeaux countryside in France, or the storied estates of Napa Valley in California, there’s a good chance you’d be surrounded by vineyards growing the most beloved red wine grape: cabernet sauvignon.
Operated by esteemed French winemaker Bernard Agree, this Cabernet is a liquid luxury that’s impossible to resist (not that you’d dare). Complex and beguiling, this wine boasts a diverse flavor palate of dark fruits, cherry and fig, along with black truffles, forest floor, tobacco, and mocha and vanilla-tinged oak spices.
Hat Cellar is a jewel among Napa Valley wine producers, and Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet is their flagship bottle. Positively a classic with true Cabernet herbal aromas of bay leaf, cedar, mint, and flavors of raspberry, red currant, sassafras, dark chocolate and eucalyptus.
Sweet, svelte tannins find a long, dry finish supported by mouthwatering acidity. Celebrate the Pacific Northwest’s flair with the Kingpin Cabernet from Parkman Cellars, a woodsy cover from the volcanic soils of the Yakima Valley.
Under the banner of the famed Monday winemaking family comes this delicious and mercifully affordable Cabernet, which combines the robust flavors of grapes sourced from Pass Robles and the Monterey coast to YOLO County. Fruity and spicy, this wine has notes of vivid wild-berry and red fruit strawberries, along with herbaceous aromas of jasmine and violets.
Crafted by husband-and-wife duo Catherine and Travis Vale, barrel-fermented and aged in French oak, this affordable wine is treated like triple-digit royalty and is perfect for accompanying your more relaxing moments. For almost five decades, the Duncan family has shepherded Silver Oak Cellars on a continued path of perfection.
Produced from grapes grown in California’s warmer Lodi region, Avalon’s Cabernet is one of those wines that sneaks up on you and grabs you by the tongue. Not to knock Champagne, but if you have an occasion worth celebrating, try skipping the bubbly and diving into this exquisite bottle of Cabernet.
It combines the best of Napa Valley’s mountain climate, rich soils, and expert winemaking from Lakota’s artisan of the grape, Christopher Carpenter. It is intensely aromatic with blueberry, violet, and blackberry notes bolstered by truffle and wild herbs.
This South Australian multi-regional blend is made with grapes from the country’s cooler climates, maturing in French and American oak for a full year. You’ll find aromas of blackberry compote, on-the-vine tomato leaf, chassis, and brown butter sage out the gate.
Drippy, powerful tannins are underscored by savory tobacco, mint, and cacao leading to a focused and harmonious finish. With its jewel-purple color and rousing aromas, this wine is a fully immersive experience from the trenches of Bordeaux’s storied soil.
This wine is exceptionally fragrant and emboldened by dark fruits: plum, black currant, crème de cassis and blueberries. Bolstered on the back end by notes of sandalwood and violet, it's medium-bodied with plump tannins and a dazzling texture, as well as a finish that lingers like a Hawaiian sunset.
Monterrey’s reputation in the beverage trade can be distilled into two major points: first, they’re committed to producing quality wines, and second, they were organic before it was cool. Expect flavors of cherry, plum, and spice with pretty oak notes tinged with vanilla.
A Sonoma staple founded by the late ballet dancer Rodney Strong, the winery's 2015 Reserve Cabernet is one of their exceptional standouts.