top 10 northwest wines of the month

Monday, January 30, 2012

Here are the top 10 (score and value) wines I have reviewed in the past month. As always, I list just one per winery, in order to spread the cheer. This new list is heavy on the Chardonnay – a pleasant surprise. The listed retail is as the wineries suggest; you may find some wines for less.

Tranche 2008 Chardonnay; $30
The Celilo vineyard has contributed the fruit to many outstanding Chardonnays from a who’s who list of winemakers, but none better than this. Intensely concentrated, deeply extracted, it explodes with marvelously pure fruit flavors – the full range of citrus, citrus peel, and crisp tree fruits.

Abeja 2010 Chardonnay; $36
Spicy, nutty, based around stone fruits and melon, they do not shy away from the toasty flavors that derive from barrel fermentation in 40% new French oak. The underlying minerality and well-balanced acidity mark this as Washington fruit, most of it from the outstanding Conner Lee vineyard.

Woodward Canyon 2010 Chardonnay; $44
Quite young and tight, with primary apple, melon and stone fruit flavors, this is that rare Chardonnay that surely will reward cellaring. With decanting it becomes creamier, with an aromatic lift of cinnamon and a thread of vanilla running through the toasty finish.

Domaine Serene 2009 Côte Sud Vineyard Chardonnay; $49
Immaculately clean and fresh, this enters with a pleasing lightness, displaying a mix of stone fruits and a streak of vanilla wafer running right through its core. It breathes open in the glass, adding muscle and depth.

Dunham 2008 Lewis Vineyard Syrah; $75
Scents of violets and black cherry introduce a dense, hard, tightly wound, muscular effort which needs a generous amount of breathing time. It rolls through the palate on a train of well-defined fruit, spice and chocolate, all nicely integrated.

Poet’s Leap 2010 Riesling; $20
From an especially cool vintage that favors acidity and citrus, this Poet’s Leap is still a very pretty wine, vibrant and full across the palate, with a mix of apple and peach fruit flavors. Clean and balanced, it adds nuances of tea and even a hint of honey in the finish.

JM Cellars 2009 Syrah; $32
This wine kept improving in the glass over a period of hours, as the initial scents of bourbon barrel gave way to rich blueberry and black cherry fruit, set in a roasted, potent mix of darker flavors. Smoke, coffee liqueur, a whiff of stem, a streak of vanilla, all tightly wound and elevated with scents of citrus peel.

Stevens 2008 XY Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; $42
Bright, tart, ripe and compact red berry fruit is set against firm, polished tannins. Still young and hard, it needs plenty of breathing time, or better yet, cellar it for a few years. Tim Stevens’ reds have proven ageworthy and this earthy, smoky, textural and well-crafted effort should improve for a decade or more.

Cristom 2009 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir; $50
Stylish, precise, elegant and evocative, the Jessie may be the best of an excellent single vineyard lineup from Cristom in 2009. Light toast rims deep black fruit flavors, with excellent concentration. The lengthy finish brings in streaks of espresso and clean earth.

Dusted Valley 2008 V.R. Special Cabernet Sauvignon; $53
Pure Cabernet Sauvignon, deep and sappy, with the dark, licorice and coffee-infused complexity of Walla Walla’s best bottles. Sharp and young, with a potent, liquorous finish, this explosive bottle of cassis-driven fruit should cellar well for a decade or more, even with its screwcap seal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment is awaiting moderation and will be posted ASAP. Thanks!