Washington tagged posts

Under $12 Deals: Bookwalter Notebook NV-2 ($9.95)

March 6, 2013 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Bookwalter Notebook Red Wine NV2I've often written that value-priced Cabernet-based wines from California should generally be avoided.  Most of those wines have made their money on the reputation of the grape, not on the quality of what's in the bottle.  So, let's say you're looking for a great Cab-based wine and you don't want your hard-earned dollars lining the pockets of some beret wearing Frenchman.  Where do you turn?  Washington.

This particular wine from high-end producer J. Bookwalter is a very interesting blend of both multiple grape varietals and multiple vintages.  The goal is consistency from year to year.  It contains 18% Syrah, 33% Merlot, 42%, Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% other varieties from the following vintages: 7% 2011, 69% 2010, 7% 2008, 4% 2007, 13% Other.  Champagne producers use the exact same

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A 91 pt Washington Cabernet Under $15 – Chateau Smith 2009

March 9, 2012 Daily Drinkers  No comments

I'm tired of being disappointed with the Cabernet I try in the under $20 price range.  Most are made of remnant or bulk wine, which is by definition sub-par.  So when I saw a 91 point rating awarded to this Washington Cab, I had to give it a try.

Charles Smith could very well be confused with Sammy Hagar with his golden mop and bold personality. Naturally, he applies that rock star attitude to his wine with bold labels and crazy names.  I love Sammy Hagar and Charles Smith, but I could deal without the shtick because he doesn't need it - the wines speak for themselves.  His K Vintners wines receive massive scores and his value priced label, simply called Charles Smith Wines, is all about value without pretension.  If this Cabernet is any indication, Smith is on the right track.


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A 90 Point Cabernet under $10 – Columbia Crest H3

November 28, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

I just got back from a vacation in St. Thomas where everything, including wine, is obscenely expensive.  As I was standing in the  aisle of the local supermarket, Food Center, the wine I picked without hesitation was a Columbia Crest Chardonnay.  Sure, it was 150% the cost of the same wine here in the U.S. but even at that price it was still absolutely a great value.

Such is the case with nearly all of Columbia Crest's wines and year after year the Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills, labeled "H3" is a standout among standouts.  Napa needs to watch its back because a trojan horse (or rabbit), called Washington's Columbia Valley, is making wines that are every bit as good, though different, and much less expensive.

The 2009 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet is one of those incredible

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Hedges C.M.S. Red Blend. Another Washington value under $10

August 22, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

First, let me clear something up.  In this case,  C.M.S. does not stand for the Centers for Medicare Services as some might have thought. It actually stands for the grapes that make up this Washington red blend - Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah.  And what a fantastic blend it is!

Washington wines are finally hitting many enthusiasts' radars and for good reason.  The quality is outstanding and the values are abundant.  Furthermore, a perfect wine growing climate means incredible consistency - even more than the very consistent north coast of California.

This wine should really be called M.C.S. this year, because it's dominated, both in taste and volume by 45% Merlot.  39% Cabernet and 16% Syrah round out a nice blend that stresses round fruit over tannin and oak.  The finish is nice and

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Delille Cellars Doyenne Syrah ’06 – Serious juice for $35

May 3, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Doyenne, sister label of Delille, is one to watch.  They are producing some absolutely top-notch Rhone blends from the state of Washington: AIX, a blend of Cabernet and Syrah, and Metier, a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah, and this 98% Syrah blended with 2% Viognier.  All of these wines are notably good and honestly, I don't know which to say I like best.

The 2006 Syrah, rated 93 points by Tanzer and Parker, is anchored by blueberry, smoke and vanilla on the nose with the blueberry continuing on the palate complimented by dense black cherry.  Much like ripe black cherries, it has a mouth coating sweetness kept in check with a bright acidity.  The texture creates a length on the finish that begs you to take another sip.  This is a wine I can get truly excited about.


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Top Notch Washington Cabernet – Efeste Big Papa $39.95 WS93

January 12, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  One comment

Tonight I made a three course spread culminating with short rib bolognese and homemade pappardelle pasta.  That pasta needed a big but elegant wine, and I picked the right one tonight.

Technically someone else picked it since last time I was in L.A. Wine Co. Steve told me I had to try this wine. He was absolutely right.  Efeste's (pronounced F S T) 'Big Papa' is made from old vine Cabernet, with vine age averaging 32 years.  That's impressive for Cabernet, which is usually replanted after 25 years due to significantly decreased yields.  The older vines make the wine more concentrated and naturally complex, lessening the need for intricate winemaking techniques.

Everything about this wine is textbook Cabernet from the beautiful deep ruby color to the complex creme brulee (read: new

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2007 Delille Cellars Doyenne Aix Proprietary Red- RP92 $26.95

January 10, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Have you discovered Washington wine yet?  If not, you are missing out on the United States' second largest and, arguably highest value wine region.  Cabernet seems to be firmly planted as the premier grape but Syrah is not far behind in terms of quality, if not popularity.  Doyenne, the Rhone blend label of Delille Cellars, has created a wine that's the best of both worlds, blending 35% Cabernet with 61% Syrah and a splash of Mourvèdre.

Vineyards rule in Washington as winegrowers have chosen to focus on building the reputation of the places the grapes are grown almost more than the brand of the wine.  Over half of the grapes in Doyenne's Aix Proprietary Red come from the famed Ciel du Cheval vineyard in Washington's Red Mountain AVA.  That pedigree certainly comes through as this wine

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Woodward Canyon Cabernet Artist Series #16- Washington’s 93 point value $29.95

December 7, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Woodward Canyon 2007 Cabernet Artist Series #16After having tasted a couple of outstanding, value priced Washington Cabernet in the last few months (Hogue $21.95 and Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells $11.95), I decided it was time to step it up a notch and drink a highly rated, but still high value example.  So on Friday, it was off to our favorite BYOB, Tin Roof Bistro (which also has a well priced wine list), for some burrata, beef short ribs and this  awesome 2007 Artist Series Cabernet.

None of those disappointed.  I knew good things were to come as soon as our favorite server, Nick, started pouring the deeply hued, opaque wine into the decanter.  I could smell the wine from across the table.  Mocha on the nose leads to rich chocolate complemented by good acidity and well integrated oak.  It's all brought together by a very

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Indian Wells 2007- WS90 $11.95

November 14, 2010 Daily Drinkers  No comments

If you're looking for a wine label that delivers incredible value year after year, look no further than Washington state's Chateau Ste. Michelle.  They produce millions of bottles of wine every year but somehow they deliver quality that's really unmatched at the price.

Produced largely from a single vineyard in the Wahluke Slope region of Eastern Washington (pictured below), this wine has a dark inky appearance in the glass and an aromatic nose.  On the palate it's chocolaty, rich and broad with impressive texture for a wine in this price range.  The fruit is nicely framed by the new French and American oak in which it was aged, a luxury almost never seen in Cabernet under $20.  The lengthy finish wraps up an all around great package from Chateau Ste. Michelle.

With 75,000 cases

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Hogue Cellars Caberent Reserve 2006- Washington Cabernet at its finest $21.95

October 14, 2010 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  One comment

Since making a trip to Seattle last week, where I  indulged in some of the state's fine wine, I've been on a mission to find a great Washington Cabernet at a reasonable price.  It appears that I hit it on my first try because The Hogue Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Wahluke Slope Reserve is awesome for the price.

Traditionally, I've had two issues with Washington Cabernet and Bordeaux blends:

1. They tend to be very tight upon opening requiring extended bottle aging to reach their true potential.  This isn't necessarily a deal killer, but I hadn't drunk many Washington Cabernets at their peak until last week when I had an '04 that was drinking very well.

2. Washington Cabernet and blends have weird names that make them hard to remember.

This wine takes care of the first point and

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