V I N T A G E S 2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 7
Our coverage from Washington State continues, as our Senior Editor, Owen Bargreen has compiled one of the most comprehensive reports out of the region, covering over 700+ new releases this year. The wines reviewed in this report are all new releases, which span accross multiple vintages from 2015-2017 and include age-worthy wines from the most prestigious houses as well as incredible values that are ready to be enjoyed upon release. This 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 were they also quite 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 by carefully managing their vineyards.
Some of the most impressive 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 AVAs include Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Rôtie Cellars, Saviah, Rasa Vineyards, Leonetti, Gramercy Cellars, Doubleback, Abeja, and the scintillating new Syrah from Delmas.
Coming out of the Columbia Valley, Red Mountain and Yakima Valley are the outstanding new wines from Force Majeure, Long Shadows, Kobayashi, Col Solare, Avennia, DeLille, Den Hoed, Efeste and Kerloo Cellars, all of whom produced some of the most compelling new releases from their respective AVAs.
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 of the 2016 vintage for both red and white wines — particularly well-concentrated red wines. We have 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.
With each year we continue to find compelling evidence that some of the best wines in the world are made in Washington — we look forward to sharing our perspective with you and hope that you have the opportunuty to experience some of these truly fascinating wines!