Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 74

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
93 | Avennia

$50

2017 Columbia Valley Valery ^ Inspired by
Bordeaux's Right Bank blends, Valery is composed mostly of merlot from Boushey Vineyard, with a dollop of Red Mountain cabernet franc. The 2017 gives off aromas of tar,
smoke and tobacco while its plum-juice flavors are carried by finely woven tannins. It's a
sizeable wine, but feels seamless and elegant,
ideal for a lean cut of lamb. -P.J.C. §
521951

93 | Browne

$20

2018 Columbia Valley Heritage Cabernet
Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ Seductive from start
to finish, this youthful cabernet is redolent of
juicy plums, even as it conveys more complex
and savory accents of cedar, ink, violets and
consommé. It manages to be sensual without
being overtly fleshy, with a fine structure and
a texture as sleek as burnished wood. It thoroughly overdelivers for the price; pour it with
an herb-crusted pork loin. -P.J.C. §

93 | Novelty Hill

$55

2017 Columbia Valley Cascadia ^ Novelty
Hill was once considered Mike Januik's entrylevel brand, capitalizing on what had been an
unknown part of the Columbia Valley, the
Royal Slope-now one of the valley's newest
AVAs. It leads with classic Washington scents
of cedar frond and tobacco leaf, then delivers
rich, velvety red-cherry-and-plum fruit and
generous, balanced flavor. -P.J.C. §
521999

92 | Basalt

$36

2017 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauv-
ignon (Best Buy) ^ Savory scents of clove and
cinnamon lead in this attractive cabernet. It
feels youthful and vibrant but composed
through three days of tasting, with mildly
dusty tannins-ideal for a lamb. -P.J.C. §

93 | Gramercy Cellars

$95

2017 Columbia Valley Reserve Caber-
net Sauvignon ^ Gramercy's 2017 Reserve
returns to the customary blend of Bacchus
and Phinny Hill vineyards; it's a majestic
wine, savory with scents of bay laurel and
sage, and a mild coniferous background for
its dark-plum flavors. The texture is remarkable, a saline current running through the
wine and lending structure, tension and minerality. This takes time to reveal itself and will
benefit from aging in bottle. -P.J.C. §
522011

93 | Matthews

$80

2017 Columbia Valley Reserve Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ Precise tannins and wood notes
help to contain this wine's power: Scents of
pipe tobacco, cedar and eucalyptus surround
the intense fruit, the flavors ranging from
dark cassis and plum to dried currant and
blackberry, all supported by a savory undercarriage of tannins. This has the stuffing to
cellar. -P.J.C. §
521983

74

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

92 | Board Track Racer

$35

92 | Chateau Ste. Michelle

$65

2018 Columbia Valley BTR Reserve Cab-
ernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ This reserve
from Mark Ryan McNeilly's entry-level tier
is arresting in its dramatic violet color. It's a
big wine, but sleek and vibrant, maintaining
precision through power chords of plum and
cherry fruit and fine tannins. -P.J.C. §
521969
2017 Columbia Valley Artist Series ^ This is
as posh as red blends get in Washington, a
luxuriously plummy wine with sumptuous
oak and a dark core of cassis and blackberry
flavors. A blend of 56 percent cabernet sauvignon and nearly 40 percent merlot, the balance cabernet franc and malbec, it's impressively silky, with chewy, melting tannins that
feel satisfying and deeply flavorful. It has the
stuffing to age well in the cellar; if you open
it now, decant it for steak. -P.J.C. §
521927

92 | Mark Ryan

92 | Matthews

$34

92 | Pursued by Bear

$70

92 | Walla Walla Vintners

$50

91 | Armstrong

$44

91 | Browne

$30

91 | Browne

$20

2016 Columbia Valley Claret (Best Buy) ^ A
claret-style blend, this contains 45 percent
cabernet sauvignon and 32 percent merlot,
the balance cabernet franc, petit verdot and
malbec. It's well oaked, and yet some of the
valley's savory markers show through, like
the notes of cedar, tobacco leaf and sun-dried
tomato. It's generous in flavor, yet the wine's
lively acidity and savory sandalwood grip of
tannins makes it feel light and lean. -P.J.C.
(W&S 2/20; 2,235 cases) §
521988
2017 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvi-
gnon ^ This wine has impressive old-vine
pedigree, with fruit from Weinbau, Dubrul,
Champoux and Dionysus. Posh from the
outset, it's like a baby Bordeaux in its scent,
with notes of cedar, mint, tobacco, tarragon and plum. The flavors are streamlined
and elegant, guided by a generous complement of oak-30 months, 100 percent new,
Taransaud barrels-that will need time to
integrate. Cellar. -P.J.C. §
522013

521930

521898

fruit of Klipsun, held fast by a full complement of oak (72 percent new). It needs time
in the cellar to stitch together. -P.J.C. §
518964

$65

2017 Columbia Valley Old Vines Caber-
net Sauvignon ^ The old vines for this cabernet grow in disparate climates-Red Willow, in the cool reaches of the Yakima Valley,
and Klipsun, one of the warmest sites on
Red Mountain. The wine strikes a balance
between them, the leafy accents from Red
Willow brushing up against the sun-warmed

2017 Columbia Valley Sagemoor Vineyard
Cabernet Sauvignon ^ This stylish cabernet
leads with aromas of sage and berries
brushed with resin. The flavors are a touch
backward right now, peppery and leafy, but
the wine has invigorating tannins and plenty
of lively acidity to cut into a ribeye. -P.J.C. §
521976
2016 Columbia Valley David's Folly ^ This is
two-thirds cabernet sauvignon, but it's showing off the one-third petite verdot at present:
It's heady and rich, with flavors of mocha,
licorice and blackberry. The tannins are formidable but fine, giving the wine a silky texture that will complement barbecue. -P.J.C. §
521955
2017 Columbia Valley Tribute (Best Buy) ^ A
blend of six varieties, dominated by merlot,
cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, this
wine leads with aromas of mocha, cassis and
sugar plum. The flavors lengthen with air and
take on a mountain feel, with juniper-scented
tannins and a cedary, velvety feel. -P.J.C. §
521952
2018 Columbia Valley Family Vineyards
Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) ^ A steal at
the price, this cabernet is packed with flavor,


https://markryanwinery.orderport.net/wines/Board-Track-Racer https://www.gramercycellars.com/shop/?view=products&slug=current-releases

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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