Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging Part 2

10:38 am Tasting Notes

Red wines earning a Platinum or Double Platinum from my panel at the recent Wine Press Northwest Platinum judging included:

The Bunnell Family Cellar 2014 Painted Hills Vineyard Petit Verdot; Columbia Valley, Washington:  A sense of earth on the nose opens to tasty wild berries on entry.  A rich tapestry of blackberry, huckleberry and boysenberry fruits, mocha, savory spice, and subtle oak is showcased on the palate.  With its silky texture, pleasing balance and firm tannins, it’s a fine example of Petit Verdot as a standalone variety.  Platinum, SRP:  $48

Maryhill Winery 2015 Art den Hoed Petite Sirah; Yakima Valley, Washington:  All about blackberries as this enchanting Petite Sirah approaches the nose. Expanding on the palate to complement the deep berry notes are flavors of spearmint leaves, dark plums, a twist of black pepper and well managed oak.  Vibrant acids, chalky tannins, and a long-lived finish keep it lively and persuasive.  Platinum, SRP:  $36

Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2015 Petite Sirah; Washington:  Earthy and penetrating while maintaining elegance, this impressive Petite Sirah shows lovely varietal characteristics.  Black plum, boysenberry, subtle earthiness and a hint of tar, and savory spice create a tasty and spirited flow through the palate.  Refined tannins and a silky mouthfeel top it off gracefully.   Platinum, SRP:  $28

Thurston Wolfe 2015 Petite Sirah; Horse Heaven Hills, Washington:  The fragrant floral aroma is charismatic, wow.   Powerful while elegant at the same time, it broadcasts purity all the way through.  Blackberries, purple plums, fresh tobacco, spice box notes, hint of black olive, and underlying toasty oak provide a kaleidoscope of flavors on the palate.  Rich, smooth, bright and complex through the long-lasting finish.    Double Platinum, SRP:  $20

Wilridge Winery 2014 Wilridge Vineyard Estate Biodynamic Sangiovese; Naches Heights, Washington:  Fruit forward with a touch of earth up front, this Sangio is entrancing.  Cranberry, Bing cherry and a thread of cocoa join the earthy elements on the palate.  The elevated level of acidity pulls it all together, sealing the stimulating package.  Platinum, SRP: $30

Maryhill Winery 2015 Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Exceptionally aromatic, this savory Sangiovese fully engages the palate.  Dried cherry, cranberry, hints of earthiness, gratifying spicy elements and a solid acid backbone drive the wine to a classic expression of Sangio.  Finishes with style and persistence. Platinum, SRP:  $36

The Bunnell Family Cellar 2015 Wine o’Clock Sangiovese; Columbia Valley, Washington:  The compelling nose begs you to linger over the glass.  Earthy, cherry, forest berry aromas and flavors shout out varietal correctness.  This Sangio demonstrates elegant fruit, gentle tannins and precise balance from the inviting start to the lingering finish.  Platinum, SRP: $24

Indian Creek Winery 2016 Sangiovese; Snake River Valley, Idaho:  Gorgeous florals on the nose pave the way to classic earth-tinged cherry notes on entry.  Immaculately balanced with damp earth, red cherries, expressive spice components and brilliant acids unfolding onto the palate.  Builds to a gloriously long finale.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $25

Whidbey Island Winery 2016 Sangiovese; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Here is a pleasingly aromatic, earth-driven Sangiovese with a solid backing of red fruit.  Broadening on the palate are notes of tobacco leaf, underlying orange peel, cranberry and spicy cherry compote melding in harmony; finishes with good lift.  Platinum, SRP:  $22

Road 13 Vineyards 2013 Fifth Element; British Columbia, Canada:  This generously fruited and pure red blend is crafted of  45% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 19% Cab Sauv, 13% Cab Franc and  5% Petit Verdot.  Aromas and flavors of boysenberries, blueberries and chocolate-covered black cherries arouse the senses.  Understated oak adds further dimension.  With bright acids and firm tannins joining the solid core of fruit, it is deep, dark and delicious. A hint of candy apple coating shows through on the spicy finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $49 Canadian

Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Right Bank Red; Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  This savvy blend of 77% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon invites you into the glass with aromas of wild blackberries and licorice, yum!  Consistent flavors on the palate, as blackberry jam, savory spice, black cherry, anise, dark chocolate and toasty oak nuances entwine.  Firm tannins, nice acids and deep fruit are perfectly balanced; lovely now, and cellar worthy. Platinum, SRP:  $39.99

14 Hands Winery 2014 The Reserve Red Blend; Horse Heaven Hills, Washington:  A scent of angels share in a barrel room greets the nose; heavenly.  On the palate it brims with red cherry, huckleberry, blueberry, vanilla and a pinch of baking spices.  Firmly structured and well balanced with a spice-laced, lingering finale.  Platinum, SRP:  $30

Dead End Cellars 2014 No Return Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon; British Columbia, Canada:  The inviting aromatics of mixed berries and chocolate mint are irresistible.   Spilling delectably onto the palate are well defined layers of blueberry, Sweetheart cherry, tobacco leaf, red currant, blackberry, traces of earth, and warm spices.  Richly textured with impeccable balance and a persistent finish.  Approachable now and age worthy.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $27 Canadian

Aluel Cellars 2015 Coat of Arms Red Wine; Columbia Valley, Washington:  This smooth and compelling blend of 73% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot pleases the nose with deep, dark fruits.  Black cherry, plum, and blackberry compote meld in harmony with savory spice and subtle earthiness.  Well-structured and balanced with refined tannins providing good support.  Appealing from first sip to last lingering one.  Platinum, SRP:  $40

Black Market Wine Company 2015 The Syndicate; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:    Wow, the expressive aroma captivates the senses with this dry red blend.  Intensely flavored and layered as blueberry jam, black cherry, black licorice, boysenberry, black tea and dried herbs uncoil gracefully onto the palate.  Good structural integrity, well integrated tannins, and a velvety texture simply shine.  Finishes long and strong. Platinum, SRP:  $30

Palouse Winery 2015 Two Blondes Vineyard The Poet Red Wine; Rattlesnake Hills, Washington:    The spice driven aroma and purity of fruit are beautifully displayed with this blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Franc.   Blueberry pie, blackberry, a touch of melted chocolate, hints of tobacco, fresh chopped herbs, and brilliant acids are framed by a nice backbone of tannins.  Velvety smooth as it progresses to a long-lasting finish. Platinum, SRP:  $50

Blind Creek Collective 2015 Consensus Red Wine; Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  This tantalizing blend (composed of 32.5% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 18.5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec) showcases old world and new world characteristics.  Earthiness and dark fruit on the nose remain consistent on entry.  Black plum, anise, cassis, well managed oak and spiced blackberry compote meld harmoniously on the palate.  The powerful structure, depth of fruit and firm tannins suggests years of enjoyment ahead.  Platinum, SRP:  $60 Canadian

Barrister Winery NV Rough Justice X; Columbia Valley, Washington:  This fruit driven, Merlot dominant red blend opens with jammy goodness on the nose and entry.  Blackberry, olallieberry, and blueberry fruits entwine with toasty notes, vanilla bean, a hint of spice and cocoa powder.  Nice purity and good palate weight, with a bright and juicy finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $23

Eye of the Needle Winery 2014 The Point Reserve Red; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Red fruits waft from the glass with this well-balanced red blend (composed of 50% Cab Franc,  20% Merlot, 13% Malbec,  9% Cab Sauv and  8% Petit Verdot).  Radiant and pure as red cherries, raspberries and fresh strawberries join Italian herbs, and toasted oak nuances gliding smoothly across the palate.  Bright and fresh on the long, satisfying finish.  Platinum, SRP $35

Love that Red 2014 Daily Double; Columbia Valley, Washington:  The fragrance of this Cab Franc dominant blend (50% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Merlot) is reminiscent of a stroll through a field of wild berries.  Succulent plum, concentrated berries, cool spearmint, subtle spiced oak notes and bittersweet chocolate shavings fill the mouth.  Nicely balanced with complementary acidity offsetting the dense fruit.  Platinum, SRP:  $80

C. C. Jentsch 2014 The Chase; Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  Violets on the nose of this dry red (a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah), open to dark fruit and black tea notes. Complex and stylish as layers of Bing cherry, black olive, blackberry, hints of tar, black licorice, underlying roasted red pepper, and savory herbs broaden on the palate.  Refined tannins, pristine balance and a lingering finish complete the stunning package.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $19.90 Canadian

Warr-King Wines 2014 Descendant Red Wine; Washington:  Black fruits and spice on the nose lead to licorice, dark plum, tart cherry, marionberry, Herbes de Provence, black raspberry jam, a hint of smoke, and a pleasing earthy edge on the palate.  Brisk acids keep this blend of 67% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and  9% Petit Verdot wine nicely balanced, and the lasting finish is vibrant. Platinum, SRP:  $36

Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Selway; Washington:  Deep, dark and intense from the persuasive aromatic, through the rich palate, to the finish that keeps on going.  This blend of 37% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 26% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet franc, 3% Syrah, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon is artfully crafted.  Blackberry cobbler, sweet boysenberries, toasted oak spice, cassis and mocha are framed by firm tannins, and a nice thread of licorice comes through on the rich aftertaste.  Platinum, SRP:  $45

Rio Vista Wines 2015 River View Red Grand Reserve Blend; Columbia Valley, Washington: Elegance in a glass!  Juicy red and black berries on the nose set the stage for this expressive and precisely balanced red, a blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet  Sauvignon.  Lush berries and pomegranate fruit entwine with hints of earth, fresh roasted coffee beans, a trace of molasses, and spice box notes.  Pure through the persistent finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $38

Robert Karl Cellars 2015 Malbec; Horse Heaven Hills, Washington:  Black fruits on the nose pave the way to this finely balanced Malbec.  Full bodied and intensely structured with black plum, blackberry and bay leaf accents melding with a nice underlay of oak.  Powerful with a firm backbone of tannins while showing off a smooth texture and gracefulness; approachable now, and one for the cellar if you can wait. Double Platinum, SRP:  $26

Damsel Cellars 2015 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Malbec; Wahluke Slope, Washington:  Engaging aromatics present spice notes that waft temptingly from the glass.  Wild berry, black currant and blueberry fruit join spiciness and hints of black tea on the equally engaging palate.  Well-structured with a solid frame of tannins and a perfect level of acids through the lasting finish.  Platinum; SRP:  $36

Maryhill Winery 2015 Tudor Hills Vineyard Proprietor’s Reserve Malbec; Columbia Valley, Washington:  A lovely floral aroma greets the nose with this brilliantly balanced Malbec.  Layers of juicy black boysenberry, purple plum and black cherry fruit, sage, and dusty earth elements coat the mouth, with a subtle hint of cocoa on the long, pleasing finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $36

Zerba Cellars 2015 Malbec; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  The alluring floral aroma of this gem will take your breath away!   Layers of dark plum, black cherry, blackberry, a touch of blood orange, hint of molasses, understated oak, and coffee bean soar onto the palate.  Well composed with a solid backbone of tannins, precise balance and deep fruit.  Purity abounds through the grand finale.   Double Platinum, SRP:  $45

Larch Hills Winery 2016 North Okanagan Lemberger; North Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada:  Wildly aromatic, this gem begs you into the glass.  Bing cherry, a twist of multi-colored peppercorns, thyme, black raspberry, and a splash of Dr. Pepper entwine gracefully, and the well managed oak sits perfectly in the background.  Well balanced with good depth through the succulent finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $15

The Bunnell Family Cellar 2013 Grenache; Yakima Valley, Washington:  Magnificent raspberry and spice aromas up front continue to build as the wine meets your lips.   Raspberry jam, ripe pomegranate seeds, juicy red cherries and cinnamon stick flavors glide across the palate. The perfect level of acidity and soft, silky tannins create a gorgeous mouthfeel; simply scrumptious.  Double Platinum SRP:  $36

Love That Red 2015 Grenache; The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, Oregon:  Chopped garden-fresh herbs and a hint of earth on the nose.  Filling the mouth are wild raspberries, blueberry pastry, loganberries, and blood orange with nice savory spice accents.  Toasty oak notes add dimension without being over the top, and the finish is round and juicy.  Platinum, SRP:  $50

Palencia Wine Company 2015 Grenache; Yakima Valley, Washington:  Fragrant scents of crushed red raspberries and savory notes are stimulating.  Pomegranate juice, spicy raspberry chutney, grapefruit and red cherries energize the palate.  Pure, distinctive and well balanced with lively acidity through the elegant final sip.  Platinum, SRP:  $36

Rocky Pond Winery 2016 Double D Vineyard Grenache; Columbia Valley, Washington:  This deeply fruited Grenache starts the parade with confidence.  Aromas of raspberry, blueberry and fresh turned earth on the nose, with the appealing earthiness remaining consistent on the palate.  Black raspberries, brown spices, purple plums, loganberries, and marionberries at the core are underscored by brisk acids and firm tannins.  Platinum, SRP:  $33

Tertulia Cellars 2016 Rivière Galets Estate Vineyard Grenache; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  Rich and jammy is this expressive, generously fruited Grenache.  Black raspberries, chocolate covered strawberries, nutmeg, red licorice whips, a touch of earth and the sweet peppery note of pink peppercorns crisscross the palate.  Nicely balanced and velvety smooth; a juicy, satisfying quaff.  Platinum, SRP:  $35

Aluel Cellars 2014 Coat of Arms Red Wine; Rattlesnake Hills, Washington:   This blend of 86% Carmenère and 14% Cab Sauv opens with aromas of a warm from the oven cherry pie and subtle florality; tantalizing.  Luscious on the palate where black raspberry, cherry, dark chocolate, cranberry orange muffin, minerally notes, and underlying herbaceous elements intertwine.  The oak is nicely integrated, tannins are round and approachable, and the finish is memorable.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $40

Beresan Winery 2014 Carmenère; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  Hints of violets on the nose chart the course for this spicy and expressive Carmenère.  Succulent blackberries, purple plum jam, toasty oak nuances, black pepper, a tinge of eucalyptus, and candied cherries meld in harmony.  Lively acids keep it balanced through the juicy finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $40

Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 Fries Vineyard Carmenère; Wahluke Slope, Washington:  A bit shy at first, this intense Carmenère shows off nicely with aeration.  Black currant, blackberry, and savory earth elements, spiced oak, vanilla bean and black cherry crisp flavors are supported by firm tannins, and the finish displays peppery notes.  Platinum, SRP:  $18

Maryhill Winery 2015 Elephant Mountain Vineyard Carmenère; Rattlesnake Hills, Washington:  Oozing with juicy, sweet black fruit, this Carmenère is both deeply flavored and zesty.  Boysenberry, marionberry and black cherry, hints of dried herbs, and underlying oak converge with nice acids and well-integrated tannins.  Very elegant with a satin like mouthfeel, and the finish goes on and on.  Platinum, SRP:  $44

Fences Winery 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Rogue Valley, Oregon: Concentrated fruit and toasty oak on the nose float up from the glass.  Black plum, cherry pie, black currant, chocolate covered blueberries, and a touch of tobacco fill the palate.  Richly textured with nice balancing acidity through the long, smooth finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $42

Love That Red Wine 2014 Derby Day Cabernet Sauvignon; Red Mountain, Washington: Aromas of dried earth and bright fruit hold your attention.  Boysenberry, Japanese plum, cassis, black cherry, hints of vanilla and warm toast join pleasing earthiness on the palate.  Well integrated tannins provide good framework, and the balance is spot on.  Finishes with splendor.

14 Hands Winery 2015 The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Horse Heaven Hills, Washington:  Dusty berries and savory notes provide a captivating entry to this well-balanced Cab Sauv.  A velvety texture, lavish purple plum, mulberry and boysenberry fruit, a splash of orange, accents of licorice, cocoa bean, and vanilla extract weave a colorful composition of flavors on the palate.  A kick of savoriness adds depth through the finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $30

Woodward Canyon Winery 2014 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon; Washington:  Wow, extraordinary Cab Sauv!  Compelling aromas and flavors of dark plum, saddle leather, eucalyptus, blackberry, tobacco, black currant, hints of earth and spiced oak nuances; such purity and complexity in this glass.  Well-structured and pristine in balance with firm tannins and a forever finish.  It drinks magnificently now, and cellaring will reap further rewards.  Platinum, SRP:  $99

Gordon Estate 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Here is an intense and spirited Cabernet Sauvignon with generous fruit and gentle, approachable tannins   Flavors of blackberries, plum preserves, cherry liqueur, dried sage, tea leaves, toasted oak notes and black olive tapenade intertwine on the palate, and the finish lingers.  Platinum, SRP:  $23.99

Maryhill Winery 2015 Kiona Vineyards Heart of the Hills Cabernet Sauvignon; Red Mountain, Washington:  The expressive aromatic shouts out Cabernet Sauvignon.  Black currant, blackberry, Damson plum, fresh pipe tobacco, Bing cherry, eucalyptus, a touch of crushed mint leaves, nutmeg, and toasted oak spice marry delectably.  Firm tannins and lively acids support the fine core of fruit.  The depth and synchronization of flavors carries long after the last drop.  Platinum, $49

This unique competition, presenting all Gold medal wines from the get-go, showcases the best of the best in the Great Northwest.  Congrats to all the grapegrowers, winemakers and vintners who contributed to the quality of the fine wines showcased; there is plenty to crow about here!  For a list of all results, visit

Leave a Comment

Your Comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.