paul gregutt’s top 100 washington wines

Monday, December 06, 2010

Each year at this time, I compile a personal Top 100 list, published in the Seattle Times. In fact, it was a suggestion from the publisher of the newspaper that first inspired the idea. It is the only list that focuses exclusively on wines made with Washington fruit – though there are occasional, rare exceptions (notably this year’s #1 wine), allowing for the shared appellations of Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, and Columbia Gorge.

In the new edition of my book, the four previous Top 100 lists have been published, and the new 2010 list came out in yesterday’s Seattle Times. Here I am showing the wines with the scores that they have received in my exclusive reviews for Wine Enthusiast magazine.

A word or two about methodology. When compiling this list, I look through a year’s worth of tasting notes, and select one wine from each of 100 wineries. They are ranked by score, and within each scoring category by price, the least expensive first. The original suggested retail price is also quoted.

You will see some wineries missing from the list that clearly belong in a Top 100. That is simply because, for one reason or another, I was not able to taste the winery’s new releases ahead of the deadline for this article, which was written some weeks ago. Fans of Beresan, Ch. Rollat, Eroica, Nicholas Cole, :Nota Bene, Owen Roe, Sheridan, Soos Creek and Va Piano (and I count myself among them) please note – they are missing from the list only because I did not have the tasting notes, not because they don’t deserve to be here.

A couple of observations: the average score for the Top 100 is higher than ever before. This year’s list is dominated by cabernets and rieslings. Certain vineyards – notably Ciel du Cheval, Champoux, Conner Lee, and Celilo – are standouts. Given that just one wine is selected for each winery, there may seem to be some unusual calls on certain winery/wine matchups. They always reflect the best score/value for that particular winery this past year. Here we go:

Paul Gregutt’s Top 100 Washington Wines For 2010

#1 – Cayuse 2007 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah ($65) 100
#2 – Charles Smith 2007 Royal City Stoneridge Vineyard Syrah ($120) 99
#3 – Buty 2007 Champoux Vineyard Red Wine ($55) 97
#4 – Betz Family 2007 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) 97
#5 – Abeja 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) 97
#6 – Leonetti Cellar 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) 97
#7 – Rulo 2007 Syrah ($20) 96
#8 – Woodward Canyon 2009 Chardonnay ($39) 96
#9 – Andrew Will 2007 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Wine ($53) 96
#10 – Grand Rêve 2007 Ciel Du Cheval Vineyard Reserve ($75) 96
#11 – Quilceda Creek 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($125) 96
#12 – Poet’s Leap 2009 Riesling ($20) 95
#13 – Sineann 2008 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc ($40) 95
#14 – Fielding Hills 2008 RiverBend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($42)95
#15 – JBookwalter 2007 Conner Lee Vineyard ‘Conflict’ Red ($50) 95
#16 – Mark Ryan 2007 Lonely Heart Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) 95
#17 – Doubleback 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($82) 95
#18 – Forgeron 2008 Late Harvest Sémillon ($14) 94
#19 – Dowsett Family 2009 Celilo Vineyard Gewürztraminer ($22) 94
#20 – Januik 2008 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay ($25) 94
#21 – Tranche 2008 Viognier-Roussanne ($30) 94
#22 – DeLille Cellars 2008 Chaleur Estate Blanc ($34) 94
#23 – K Vintners 2007 Northridge Syrah ($35) 94
#24 – àMaurice 2007 Red Blend ($35) 94
#25 – Stevens 2007 XY Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($42) 94
#26 – Efesté 2007 Big Papa Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) 94
#27 – Sparkman 2007 Darkness Syrah ($50) 94
#28 – Northstar 2007 Walla Walla Valley Merlot ($50) 94
#29 – Olsen Estates 2008 Golden Berry Select ($55) 94
#30 – Pepper Bridge 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($55) 94
#31 – Dumas Station 2006 Minnick Hills Rsrve Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)94
#32 – Gorman 2008 The Evil Twin Red ($60) 94
#33 – Col Solare 2007 Red ($70) 94
#34 – O•S Winery 2009 Champoux Vineyard Riesling ($15) 93
#35 – Syncline 2009 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Viognier ($20) 93
#36 – Dunham Cellars 2008 Lewis Vineyard Riesling ($22) 93
#37 – Novelty Hill 2008 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay ($22) 93
#38 – Southard 2007 The Whipping Boy Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) 93
#39 – Pacific Rim 2008 Solstice Vineyard Riesling ($25) 93
#40 – Barrister 2008 Cabernet Franc ($27) 93
#41 – Seven Hills 2007 Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($32) 93
#42 – JM Cellars 2008 Chardonnay ($32) 93
#43 – Amavi Cellars 2008 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah ($34) 93
#44 – Brian Carter Cellars 2007 Corrida Red ($35) 93
#45 – Reasons 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($35) 93
#46 – Reininger 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($38) 93
#47 – L’Ecole No 41 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) 93
#48 – Doyenne 2007 Syrah ($40) 93
#49 – Bunnell Family 2007 Clifton Hill Vineyard Syrah ($42) 93
#50 – Dusted Valley 2007 Reserve Syrah ($45) 93
#51 – Tamarack Cellars 2007 DuBrul Vineyard Reserve Red ($45) 93
#52 – Robert Karl 2006 Inspiration Reserve Red ($45) 93
#53 – Cadence 2007 Tapteil Red Wine ($45) 93
#54 – Tero Estates 2007 Windrow Vineyards Windrow Red ($45) 93
#55 – Walla Walla Vintners 2007 Vnyd Select Cabernet Sauvignon ($48) 93
#56 – Sequel 2007 Syrah ($55) 93
#57 – Feather 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) 93
#58 – Corliss Estates 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) 93
#59 – Arbor Crest 2008 Conner Lee Vineyard Cabernet Franc ($18) 92
#60 – Nefarious Cellars 2009 Stone’s Throw Vineyard Riesling ($18) 92
#61 – Upland Estates 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($18) 92
#62 – Gamache Vintners 2008 Estate Riesling ($18) 92
#63 – Silver Lake 2008 Late Harvest Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($19) 92
#64 – Darby 2009 Le Deuce Viognier-Roussanne ($22) 92
#65 – Maison Bleue 2008 La Montagnette Grenache ($25) 92
#66 – Watermill 2007 Estate Petit Verdot ($28) 92
#67 – SYZYGY 2007 Syrah ($33) 92
#68 – Zerba Cellars 2007 Petit Verdot ($38) 92
#69 – Boudreaux Cellars 2006 Merlot ($40) 92
#70 – Sleight of Hand 2007 The Illusionist Red ($40) 92
#71 – Gramercy Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($42) 92
#72 – Spring Valley Vineyard 2007 Uriah Red ($50) 92
#73 – Chester Kidder 2006 Red ($50) 92
#74 – Walter Dacon 2007 Boushey Vineyard Appanage Syrah ($50) 92
#75 – Pedestal 2007 Merlot ($55) 92
#76 – Pirouette 2007 Red ($55) 92
#77 – Caterina 2008 Willard Family Vineyard Viognier ($15) 91
#78 – Tempus Cellars 2009 Evergreen Vineyard Riesling ($16) 91
#79 – DaMa 2007 Syrah ($18) 91
#80 – Alexandria Nicole 2008 Quarry Butte Red ($20) 91
#81 – Davenport Cellars 2007 Syrah ($20) 91
#82 – Powers 2006 Coyote Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) 91
#83 – McCrea 2008 Grenache ($28) 91
#84 – Trust Cellars 2007 Syrah ($28) 91
#85 – Saviah 2007 Malbec ($30) 91
#86 – Hogue 2006 Reserve Merlot ($30) 91
#87 – Gordon Brothers 2007 Tradition Red ($30) 91
#88 – Ch. Ste. Michelle 2007 Ethos Chardonnay ($32) 91
#89 – Rôtie Cellars 2008 Southern Blend Red ($35) 91
#90 – Columbia Crest 2007 Stone Tree Rsrv Cabernet Sauvignon ($35) 91
#91 – Guardian Cellars 2007 Gun Metal Red ($37) 91
#92 – Cadaretta 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) 91
#93 – Waters 2007 Loess Vineyard Syrah ($40) 91
#94 – Woodinville Wine Cellars 2007 Indomitable Red ($40) 91
#95 – Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2007 Vixen Red ($45) 91
#96 – Milbrandt 2007 Northridge Sentinel Red ($55) 91
#97 – Fidélitas 2007 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon ($55) 91
#98 – Willow Crest 2009 Pinot Gris ($12) 90
#99 – Barnard Griffin 2009 Chardonnay ($14) 90
#100 – Thurston Wolfe 2009 PGV White Wine ($16) 90

15 comments:

Michael Davidson said...

Paul -

Love your annual lists, and I love the one-wine-per-winery policy. I'm curious about the decision to treat each Long Shadow wine as being from a separate winery? Seems to violate the spirit of the rule.

Great list!

PaulG said...

Michael, quite honestly, I agonized over the Long Shadows decision. To include just a single wine seemed to penalize the winery, which has a different winemaking team for every wine. If I limited Long Shadows to a single wine, I should theoretically do the same to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates also. So I ultimately decided to give each Long Shadows wine an equal chance to make the list, and many of them did. No matter how I set the "rules" there seem to always be exceptions, and I am the first to admit it. Thanks for writing!

David said...

Hi Paul - Greetings from chilly London. Do you have a listing of the AVAs for the respective top 100 list?

Thanks,

David Bowman.

PaulG said...

David, I do not have such a list right at hand. Many would be rather generic (Columbia Valley or Washington) as grapes were sourced from a variety of vineyards around the state.

MagnumGourmet said...

That Rulo is a steal. Hopefully Kurt and Vicki don't get too inundated.

1WineDude said...

Quite pleased to see both Rôtie Cellars and Buty on the list.

Thanks for the shopping list, by the way! :)

Anonymous said...

sad not to see any Gifford Hirlinger on your list.

Anonymous said...

Is Sineann a Washington Winery?

PaulG said...

Anon(s) – as I wrote: "It is the only list that focuses exclusively on wines made with Washington fruit – though there are occasional, rare exceptions (notably this year’s #1 wine), allowing for the shared appellations of Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, and Columbia Gorge."

So, yes, Sineann is an Oregon winey, but the wine listed is made with Washington fruit. And yes, the Cayuse winery (and vineyards) are entirely in OR– as I noted in my introduction. So maybe less time playing "gotcha" and more time actually reading what is written...???

gj-captures said...

God I can only imagine how stomping and snorting mad winepeeps.com are at a Cayuse being number 1 AND getting a 100 points! Couldn't agree more on the Chamberlin being perfect, it's nose is brilliant. I thought there might be another 100 for the Royal City, I thought it was pretty close to the '06, in my amateur opinion.
Great list, good to see some whites high in the numbers!

Michael Davidson said...

One more note about Long Shadows: Would you consider giving more than one slot to Grand Reve if the wines were deserving? Same deal - multiple winemaking teams, right? And I bet the winemakers at Grand Reve are more involved in the actual making of the wines than the celebs at Long Shadows.

Regardless, great list.

PaulG said...

Grand Reve is a little different - there are multiple winemakers but a single vineyard, and the project is aimed at becoming an estate winery ASAP. So I don't have a definite answer on that one; hey, I'm making it up as I go!

Carl Shelton said...

Which '07 Trust? I have my opinion about which is greater--the Walla Walla Valley or the Columbia Valley--but I'd love to hear your view

PAL said...

Paul, love the list. Sorry there are so many nit-pickers, but I guess when it comes to wine ... it's worth fighting over!
I do love the WW wines and make a trip every year for their fall release.
This list is a great 'go to' for gifts, finding new wineries to visit, and new wines to sample.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

I dislike the one-wine-per-winery policy as there are much better wines that have not made the list. Usually use this as our shopping guide for several months, but not this year. It is not dependable.
Sandra Schumacher

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