A Wine for Tonight: 2013 Cune Monopole Rioja Blanco



By Kori ~ October 15th, 2014

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? If so, you might want to check out the 2013 Cune Monopole Rioja Blanco from the Rioja Alta appellation in Spain.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$20
  • Must be widely available

Cune, also known as Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España, was founded in 1879 by brothers Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asua in Haro, Rioja, and is still family-owned and family-operated by direct descendants of the founders. Monopole, produced by Cune since 1915, is the oldest white wine brand of Spain.

“Slight yellow greenish color. Seductive scent of spring, white flowers and fresh tropical fruit. In the mouth, it is nice and long, leaving a slight acidity that gives a feeling of freshness that results in an increased potential retronasal aroma. Ideal companion for appetizers, snacks, fish and seafood.” –Cune

2013 Cune Monopole Rioja Blanco (Rioja Alta, Spain): 100% Viura. Pale, straw yellow in color. Very aromatic with orange blossom and tropical notes on the nose. More floral notes as well as lime come through on the palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with very crisp acidity. Well-balanced and refreshing with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $15; Available elsewhere, $9 to $18



Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, Lesser Known Varietals, Spanish Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25
 

Wine Tasting Dinner: Sauvignon Blanc from Around the World



By Kori ~ October 1st, 2014

Sauvignon Blanc has been one of our favorite white varieties for years. We have a soft spot for Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which was solidified on our trip to the region in 2005. Ever since, we have made it a point to try Sauvignon Blanc from other countries/regions when we have the chance. We decided to put two of our New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc favorites up against four others, two from Washington State and two from France, in one of our wine tasting dinners. Last Friday was a beautiful late September day here in Seattle, perfect to enjoy crisp, refreshing white wines before our cooler fall weather arrives.

All of the wines paired well with Mom’s (LaGayle) dinner of tomato basil soup, ensalada mixta, chicken tapenade, grilled garlic basil polenta cakes, roasted asparagus with balsamic browned butter, and topped off by orange sherbet with strawberries drizzled with simple syrup and ground black pepper for dessert.

The consensus favorite of the evening was the 2013 Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. In the 1940′s, Nikola Nobilo emigrated from Croatia and planted some of the first commercial grapevines in New Zealand. He was one of the pioneers responsible for the worldwide popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

The other two wines in this tasting that deserve extra attention because of their high quality and excellent value are the 2013 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and the 2012 Efeste Feral Sauvignon Blanc from Washington State. These top three wines are outstanding and are great choices to enjoy on your deck on a warm evening or to complement lighter fare such as chicken or fish any time of the year.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2013 Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand): Pale, straw yellow. Beautiful nose with grapefruit and lime aromas. More grapefruit and lime as well as vegetal notes come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a very long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Total Wine & More (Seattle, Washington), $8; Available elsewhere, $8 to $13

2013 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Very aromatic with grapefruit, lime, and fresh cut grass on the nose. More grapefruit, lime, and a touch of pineapple come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with racy acidity. Well-balanced and refreshing with an extremely long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Total Wine & More (Seattle, Washington), $12; Available elsewhere, $10 to $14

2012 Efeste Feral Sauvignon Blanc (Evergreen Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Gorgeous nose with lime, grapefruit, pear, and a touch of minerality. More citrus notes come through on the palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with tart acidity. Well-balanced with a very long, lingering finish. Very crisp and refreshing.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Total Wine & More (Seattle, Washington), $20; Available elsewhere, $19 to $21

2013 Chateau Montet Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux, France): Pale, straw yellow. Nose is a bit tight at first, then pear and apple aromas come through. More pear, apple, and a touch of citrus come through on the palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Total Wine & More (Seattle, Washington), $10

2012 Woodinville Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, straw yellow. Aromatic with apple, pear, lime, and a touch of minerality on both the nose and palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Total Wine & More (Seattle, Washington), $15; Available elsewhere, $15 to $17

2012 Gilles Blanchet Pouilly Fume (Loire, France): Pale, straw yellow. Moderately aromatic with apple notes on the nose. More apple as well as pear and a touch of flint comes through on the palate. Dry and light-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Total Wine & More (Seattle, Washington), $18



Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, French Wine, New Zealand Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25
 

A Wine for Tonight: 2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc



By Kori ~ September 17th, 2014

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? If so, you might want to check out the 2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc from Clarksburg in California.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$20
  • Must be widely available

Dry Creek Vineyard, founded in 1972 by David Stare, is located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley just outside of Healdsburg, California. Well-known for their Fumé Blancs and Zinfandels, Dry Creek Vineyard also produces a number of other good wines. And best of all, their wines deliver serious bang-for-your-buck. “A great wine at a fair price” was founder David Stare’s mantra, and the family continues to uphold this philosophy. Today, Dry Creek Vineyard is run by David’s daughter Kim Stare Wallace and her husband Don.

“A classic summertime sipper, our wonderfully crisp and refreshing Dry Chenin Blanc perfectly represents our love for this classic grape variety. In the glass, fragrant aromatics such as white peach, melon and citrus are immediately appealing. This vintage displays the classic Loire character of earth and crushed minerals that give the wine depth and nuance. There is an underlying chalky quality with some spicy undertones that really make this wine shine. The palate is equally fine with excellent acid lifting the ripe apple and zesty citrus flavors.” –Dry Creek Vineyard

2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg, California): 100% Chenin Blanc. Pale straw yellow. Very aromatic with citrus and orange blossom on both the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $12; Available elsewhere, $9 to $12



Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, American Wine, California Wine, Chenin Blanc, White Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25
 

Long Shadows Vintners: 2011 Sequel Syrah [Wow! Alert]



By Kori ~ September 10th, 2014

Founded by Washington wine pioneer Allen Shoup, Long Shadows Vintners is a collection of ultra-premium wineries comprised of internationally acclaimed winemakers from the major wine regions of the world. Each winemaker is a partner in a unique winery dedicated to producing a single Columbia Valley wine representing a “best of type” that reflects the winemaker’s signature style.

Allen Shoup is considered one of the pioneers of the Washington wine industry. He was the CEO of Stimson Lane wine group for years. During that time, he oversaw their portfolio of wineries, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest, and forged relationships with many important players in the wine business around the world. Upon retirement, he pursued his dream of bringing some of the most highly acclaimed winemakers from different regions around the world to Washington to make world-class wines from Washington grapes comparable to the wines they make in their native wine regions. The Long Shadows winemaker-partners began crafting their signature wines in 2003.

Through the years, we’ve had the pleasure of tasting a number of Long Shadows wines. Recently, we had the opportunity to taste the 2011 Sequel Syrah in a blind samples tasting. It “wow”-ed us! Not only is it an amazing wine, but it also delivers serious bang for your buck.

Sequel is a Syrah made by John Duval, one of the most famous winemakers in Australia and around the world. He is best known for his work with Penfolds Grange, Australia’s most famous wine, and now owns his own John Duval Wines.

2011 Sequel Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): 94% Syrah and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, dense purple. Gorgeous nose with blackberry and spice aromas. Blackberry, black cherry, black pepper, and spice come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high, smooth tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a very long, lingering finish. Wow!
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $50; Available elsewhere, $42 to $53



Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Five-Star Quality Wines, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25
 

Mumm: Bubbly from France and Napa



By Kori ~ August 20th, 2014

The Mumm family founded the G.H. Mumm champagne house in 1827. In 1876, as a tribute to some of their most prestigious clients, G.H. Mumm decorated a few of their bottles with a crossed red silk ribbon as a reference to the Legion of Honour. Today, G.H. Mumm is the leading champagne brand in France and the third best-selling champagne in the world. The Cordon Rouge Brut is their signature cuvee.

In 1979, G.H. Mumm set out to find an ideal winegrowing area in the United States. They picked Guy Devaux for the project. Devaux had more than 40 years experience crafting still and sparkling wines in France, South America, and the U.S. He was given one criterion from the Mumm family; find a terroir where he could create wine from traditional Champagne grapes using the method champenoise process. He chose the Napa Valley in California and established the Mumm Napa winery there in 1986. The Brut Prestige is their signature sparkling wine.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste the NV G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut Champagne and the NV Mumm Napa Prestige Brut Sparkling Wine in a blind samples tasting. Both wines are very good and deliver serious bang for your buck.

NV G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut Champagne (Reims, Champagne, France): 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 25% Pinot Meunier. Small, fairly fast bead of bubbles. Pale straw yellow. Beautiful nose with apple and floral aromas. More apple as well as pear comes through on the palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $45; Available elsewhere, $37 to $49

NV Mumm Napa Prestige Brut Sparkling Wine (Napa Valley, California): 51% Pinot Noir, 46% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier, and 1% Pinot Gris. Small, fairly fast bead of bubbles. Pale straw yellow with a faint pink tinge. Aromatic with apple and citrus fruit on both the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25; Available elsewhere, $15 to $21



Filed under: American Wine, California Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, French Wine, Sparkling Wine, Wines Over $25
 

New Releases from Fielding Hills, 2011 Vintage



By Kori ~ August 6th, 2014

Fielding Hills Winery, a small, family-owned winery in Wenatchee, is one of the top wineries in Washington State. Owner/winemaker Mike Wade and his wife Karen are longtime apple and cherry growers who have turned a middle portion of their orchard near Mattawa into a vineyard. Their RiverBend Vineyard, planted in 1998, is in the Wahluke Slope AVA and is their sole source of grapes. We have tasted their wines from their inaugural vintage in 2000 through their current 2011 vintage and continue to be impressed. They are so consistent; it is not a question of whether their wines will be good but where they will fall on the quality spectrum between “very good” and “Wow!”

Strictly red wine producers, Fielding Hills makes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a red blend called Tribute. Recently, we had the opportunity to taste all five of their new releases from the 2011 vintage in a blind samples tasting. Our favorite was the 2011 Syrah, which is outstanding. The 2011 Merlot and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon were also quite impressive. Those three wines also deliver serious bang for your buck.

If you are ever in the Wenatchee area, Fielding Hills is a stop you do not want to miss. I encourage you to give Mike and Karen a call to make an appointment to visit the winery. This fall, Fielding Hills will open a new tasting room in Lake Chelan. Regardless of whether you are able to visit or not, I encourage you to get your hands on a bottle or two of Fielding Hills wine and enjoy.

2011 Fielding Hills Syrah (RiverBend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 94% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Dark, dense purplish red in color. Gorgeous nose with blackcurrant, black cherry, and savory aromas. Fruit-forward with black fruit and savory notes on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity, and a very long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $38

2011 Fielding Hills Merlot (RiverBend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 81% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Dark purplish red. Beautiful nose with black plum, black cherry, and spice box aromas. More black plum and spice box come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, smooth tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $36

2011 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (RiverBend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah, 2% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Nice nose with blackcurrant, black cherry, leather, and earth aromas. More black fruit, leather, and earth come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $42

2011 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc (RiverBend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 85% Cabernet Franc, 10% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep, dark red in color. Aromatic with black fruit, earth, and a touch of spice on the nose. Black cherry and leather come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $30

2011 Fielding Hills Tribute Red Wine (RiverBend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 55% Cabernet Franc, 20% Syrah, 15% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep red. Aromatic with black fruit and faint floral notes on the nose and palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $38



Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Merlot, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25
 

A Wine for Tonight: 2013 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé



By Kori ~ July 16th, 2014

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? If so, you might want to try the 2013 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé from the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$20
  • Must be widely available

Julia’s Dazzle Rosé is produced and bottled under the Dolan & Weiss Cellars label. However, the masterminds behind it are Long Shadows’ founder Allen Shoup and winemaker Gilles Nicault. For years, Gilles made a dry rosé for Allen to enjoy and share with his own family and friends. After numerous requests from guests at Allen’s dinner parties, in 2011, he asked Gilles to set aside a special block of grapes at The Benches Vineyard to allow for increased production. Formerly known as Juliette’s Dazzle, this wine continues to deliver in its third vintage and is a great choice to enjoy on these warm summer days.

“Sourced from a special block of Pinot Grigio from The Benches Vineyard at Wallula, the grapes were whole cluster pressed and the clarified juice fermented at cool temperatures to retain its intensely vibrant aromatics and flavors.”

2013 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé (The Benches Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): 98% Pinot Grigio and 2% Sangiovese. Pale pink salmon in color. Very aromatic with watermelon, raspberry, and floral notes on both the nose and palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $16; Available elsewhere, $15 to $18



Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, American Wine, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Rose Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25
 

Challenging Wine Pairing: Gnocchi



By LaGayle ~ June 25th, 2014

While gnocchi does not receive as much attention as other pastas, potato gnocchi has become popular and frequently appears on restaurant menus. In fact, in the past year, I have enjoyed delicious gnocchi both in Italy and here in Seattle. Since we Wine Peeps enjoy Italian food very much, I decided to prepare a challenging wine pairing meal using gnocchi drizzled with sautéed leeks and truffle oil as our entrée. It was a simple, but very enjoyable, meal that included the gnocchi and a caprese salad.

Once again, I referred to my favorite book, What to Drink with What You Eat, and decided to try a Rosé and Chianti with this meal. We selected the 2012 Robert Ramsay Rosé from Washington State and the 2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva from Italy. Both wines were excellent, but the unanimous choice as the best pairing was the Rosé.

What would you pair with this meal?  And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for future challenging pairings.

Bon Appétit!

2012 Robert Ramsay Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington): 45% Grenache, 45% Cinsault, and 10% Viognier. Medium pinkish salmon color. Very aromatic with raspberry, strawberry, and watermelon on both the nose and palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a very long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $18; Available elsewhere, $16 to $18

2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva (Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy): Deep, dark red. Very aromatic with black cherry and earth on both the nose and palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity and smooth tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: K & L Wine Merchants (California), $17.99; Available elsewhere, $17 to $25



Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, Italian Wine, Red Wine, Rose Wine, Sangiovese, Washington State Wine, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25
 

A Wine for Tonight: 2011 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon



By Kori ~ June 4th, 2014

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? If so, you might want to try the 2011 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County in California.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$20
  • Must be widely available

Rodney Strong founded Rodney Strong Vineyards, located in Healdsburg, California, in 1959. Current owner Tom Klein and the Klein family purchased the winery in 1989. Head winemaker Rick Sayre has been with the winery since 1979. Rodney Strong sustainably farms thirteen estate vineyards in Sonoma County.

Rodney Strong consistently offers a lineup of good quality wines that deliver serious bang for your buck in their Sonoma County line, which is available nationally.

“A deep, saturated color leads to lifted aromas of blackberry, cocoa and herby black-currant, which is followed by a rich, layered mouthfeel, loaded with juicy black cherry, cedar, and crème de cassis. This wine is also elegantly structured with fresh acidity and ripe, mature tannins. Enjoy this vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon now and over the next several years.” –Winemaker Rick Sayre

2011 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County, California): Deep, dark red in color. Aromatic with red and black fruit, leather, and a touch of black pepper on both the nose and palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity, smooth tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $20; Available elsewhere, $12 to $20



Filed under: A Wine for Tonight, American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25
 

Wine Tasting Dinner: 2007 Washington Syrah Revisited



By Kori ~ May 21st, 2014

Washington Syrah compares favorably with the best in the world. Washington Syrah generally falls somewhere in between the jammy Shiraz of Australia and the more austere Syrah of the northern Rhone. It generally has good acidity and tannins. The common denominators of our favorite Syrahs from Washington have been deep, dark purple color and luscious black fruits, with hints of green bell peppers, black pepper, and spice.

The 2007 vintage was one of the best vintages in the history of Washington State. We featured 2007 Washington Syrah in a couple of our wine tasting dinners several years ago when those wines were recently released. Now that wines from the 2007 vintage have some bottle age on them, we decided to revisit some of those Washington Syrahs in our wine tasting dinner last Friday. It was another fabulous evening of great wines, the company of wonderful friends, and LaGayle’s (Mom’s) excellent food. All six wines paired extremely well with our dinner of tomato basil soup, ensalada mixta salad, grilled beef tenderloin steak, Swiss chard with caramelized onions, roasted rosemary tri-colored potatoes, and topped off with eclair cake garnished with whipped topping and raspberries for dessert.

Wines from Grand Rêve Vintners (now known as Force Majeure Vineyards), Rasa Vineyards, and Kerloo Cellars came out on top in this stellar lineup. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these wines. Washington State produces fabulous Syrah, and the winemakers who made these six wines are among the state’s best. At seven years old, these wines are all drinking beautifully and should have a number of good years left.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2007 Grand Rêve Collaboration Series III (Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): 100% Syrah. Winemaker Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery. Dark, dense red. Very aromatic with earth, herbs, blackberry, and licorice on the nose. Red and black fruit, licorice, and earth come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a very long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $45; Available elsewhere, $60 to $95

2007 Rasa Vineyards Principia Reserve Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Dark, dense red. Gorgeous nose with a lot going on aromatically. Blackberry, black plum, clove, pepper, smoked meat, and pencil lead fill both the nose and palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and high yet silky tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $85

2007 Kerloo Cellars Les Collines Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Deep, dark red. Beautiful nose with aromas of blackberry, black cherry, and spice. More blackberry and black cherry as well as leather and smoked meat come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a very long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Winery, $29

2007 Fielding Hills Syrah (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Dark, dense purple. Very aromatic with blackberry, black cherry, mocha, and floral notes on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $40; Available elsewhere, $38 to $42

2007 Corliss Estates Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark, dense purple. Nice nose with earth and black fruit aromas. More earth and black fruit as well as smoked meat come through on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity and high tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $55; Available elsewhere, $60

2007 Sequel Syrah [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark, dense purple. Nose is a bit tight at first, then black fruit and smoky aromas come through. Black fruit, black pepper, and spice dominate the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $45; Available elsewhere, $44



Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Over $25