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WA 91

A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and the rest Malbec, the 2014 Columbia Valley Red Wine offers an impressive bouquet of black raspberries, toasted spices, licorice and integrated toasty oak. Ripe, rounded and beautifully textured, it has loads to love and should drink nicely for 7-8 years, probably longer.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2017)
WS 88

Dark and peppery, with a tangy edge to the firmly textured blackberry, fresh sage and tar flavors that play against refined tannins on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best after 2014.

- Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator (Nov, 2012)
The palate is powerful and extremely focussed with great depth of fruit character that is well framed by fine grain tannin, and drawn together to a long finish by naturally balanced acidity. Aged in fine grained oak predominantly hogsheads (70% new being a blend of 80% French and 20% French coopered American oak plus 30% being one and two year old French/American oak) for 18 months.
The Arizona take on a Super-Tuscan blend: 50% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese. Aged 18 months in new & neutral French oak, making for a lush and spicy wine perfect with steak or veal, and especially compliments red sauce dishes.Located in the Verde Valley of Arizona, Caduceus operates under the direction of founder/winemaker/musician Maynard James Keenan, himself a descendant of Italian winemakers. The grapes come from his own Merkin Vineyards in Jerome, AZ, where he grows a multitude of varietals.
WE 91

A classic Cab blended with smaller handfuls of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, this 2011 is balanced and supple in plum, cassis and minty chocolate. The oak is accented in pretty ways by clove, sage and cardamom spice. Structured and soft, the finish is lengthy and the wine perfectly capable of waiting until 2019–2021 in a cellar.

- Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast (Nov, 2014)
WA 93, WE 93, WS 93

The 2012 Tapteil Vineyard is elegant and complex, with lots of minerality in its red plums, blueberry and floral bouquet. Full-bodied, mouth filling, layered and pure, with lots of tannin on the mid-palate and finish, it needs short-term cellaring and will be another 2012 from Ben that will see its 20th birthday in fine form. The blend here is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc, all of which spent 18 months in 40% new French oak.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2015)
WS 90

Well-proportioned, tight and smoky, with a firm, structured beam of licorice- and blackberry-tinged fruit. Ends with fine-grained tannins and a long, clean finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2030.

- James Laube, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2016)
WE 93

A blend of 30% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, this opens with aromas of ripe blackberries, Mediterranean herbs and cedar. The firmly structured palate doles out layers of black currants, blackberries, white pepper and licorice alongside chewy tannins. Drink through 2022.

- Kerin O'Keefe, Wine Enthusiast (March, 2017)
WA 93-95, WE 94

Tasted as a barrel sample and Betz’s take on a right bank Bordeaux, the 2012 Clos de Betz is 67% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Petit Verdot. Inky-purple in color (has anyone seen a Betz wine not inky purple?), if offers impressive cassis, plum liqueur, spring flowers and underbrush-style aromas and flavors to go with a mouth-filling, layered and voluptuous style on the palate. I love the mid-palate here, and the tannin builds through the finish, so, while it should have plenty of up-front appeal, it should also evolve for 15+ years.

As always, my visit with Bob Betz and Tyson Schiffner at Betz Family Winery (which has been owned by the Griessel family since 2011) is always one of the highlights of my trip through Washington. For the tasting at the domaine, we focused on the 2012s (I tasted the 2011s from bottle at my office in Colorado), and they are easily some of the greatest wines I’ve tasted from this estate to date. While these wines always have considerable structure and focused profiles, these 2012 have an extra dimension of depth and texture, and should not be missed!

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2014)
WA 91

The 2012 Musée is Bedell's upper level, a roughly equal blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot with 18% Malbec. It was aged for 14 months in French oak (25% new; the rest second and third use). This is my favorite of the reds this issue. It gets the nod for the purity of fruit--the fruit flavor is just concentrated and delicious here, while nonetheless avoiding anything overtly sweet or jammy. In other words, it remains a cool-climate red with a sense of refinement and understatement. That concentration of flavor without the feel of richness gives it a distinguished, classic feel. I used the word "purity" notwithstanding the extra hit of oak here. Even with that, the beautiful fruit, with just a hint of beef on the end (the Malbec?), rises above it. It also has the best length on the finish and the best structure of Bedell's group this issue.

It will be a pleasure to drink over the next decade. Hopefully, it will develop and not just hold in the cellar, too. That, admittedly, is my main concern. Dive in now; you won't care. There were 300 cases produced.

- Mark Squires, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2016)
WA 93

A blend of predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (76%) and Merlot (12%) with some Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, the 2012 Cyrus has a deep garnet color and slowly evolving nose of crème de cassis, plum preserves and cedar box with hints of underbrush, pencil lead, cloves and charcoal, plus a waft of bay leaves. The medium-bodied palate delivers tons of muscular fruit with a firm frame of grainy tannins and lively acid, finishing long with plenty of berry preserves, herb and earth layers.

- Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (April, 2017)
WS 90

Ripe and sleek, with underlying tobacco and chocolate notes adding to the deftly balanced beam of black cherry. Comes together smoothly on the refined finish. Drink now through 2018.

- Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator (Dec, 2014)
The nose is packed with ripe strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit as well as a lot of floral undertones. The structure of this wine is abundant with juicy, velvety tannins.

Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec
Our 2014 Estate Red is soft and rich with a fragrant bouquet of black cherry, black tea and lavender. The palate is plush and round, offering flavors of black currants, tobacco leaf, dark chocolate and leather. As the flavors fan out across the palate, a distinct oak nuance intermingles seamlessly with supple tannins on the long finish. This wine is appealing in its youth, but will also age beautifully over the next 10 years.
WA 92, WS 91

2011 was a difficult vintage in general for Washington, yet the wines excel here, with solid depth and richness, and surprising concentration. Made from 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, the 2011 Two Blondes offers first rate complexity, as well as classic Cabernet character. Sweet red and black fruits, wild herbs, tobacco leaf and hints of violets are just some of the nuances here. The wine is medium-bodied, pure, focused and elegant on the palate. In short, it’s a classic Washington Bordeaux blend to drink over the coming decade.

Winemaker Anna Shafer continues to produce elegant, classically styled wines from her 13-acre estate vineyard located on the eastern edge – which is slightly higher in elevation and gets additional moisture – of Walla Walla.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2014)
WA 93+, WS 92, WE 91

One of the reserve wines from Ben Smith, the 2013 Bel Canto is a fabulous blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot that saw just under two years in 50% new French oak. It shows the lengthy elevage on the bouquet with a spicy, ripe, incense, dried flowers and currants driven style that shows a hint of evolution at first, yet continues to gain freshness and purity with time in the glass. This gives way to a complex, layered red that has fabulous mid-palate depth, building, ripe tannin and a big finish. Even with the slightly evolved style, this beauty will age gracefully. Give bottles 3-4 years and plan on drinking through 2030.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (June, 2016)
The 2014 Pirouette is a multi-layered wine with aromas and flavors of dark fruits and hints of sweet oak, licorice and cocoa that gain complexity across the palate. Richly textured, with refined tannins and a beautiful mouthfeel that provide a lengthy finish.
27% Merlot, 27% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, 5% Petite Verdot. This is a deep, dark wine that brims with layered aromas of black fruits, crushed rock, violets, earth and black spice. Lush and intricate, each sip reveals more and more of this complex blend. Flavors boom long across the mid-palate, framed by well-integrated oak and ample tannins. The finish is long with hints of black spice, turned earth and mocha.
WA 88

The 2012 Tribute Estate Proprietary Red (from a biodynamically-farmed vineyard) is a blend of Bordeaux varietals. Its deep plum/ruby color is followed by sweet notes of cassis, black cherries and subtle oak, medium body, and good opulence as well as roundness. This consumer-friendly, lush red possesses good purity and character. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
JS 94, WA 93, WE 92

The 2013 Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, sourced from a cool vintage, is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 6% Carménère and 5% Petit Verdot; it fermented in small stainless steel vats and matured in French oak barrels (65% new) for 22 moths. It has a very classical nose, a Bordeaux blend with aromas of blackberries, faint balsamic notes, cedar wood, graphite, cigar box, cracked peppercorns and tobacco leaves. It has a lot less new oak than the vintages of yesteryear. The palate is medium to full-bodied with the telltale Cabernet tannins, juicy fruit, and tension keeping the freshness balancing the sweet fruit. One of the finest versions of Don Maximiano.

- Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)
The Nth Degree label by Wente Vineyards are small-production, handcrafted and terroir-driven wines. Small amounts of Syrah and Cab Franc were added to this wine, adding dark fruit aromas and flavors and acidity. Hints of earthy loam and oak spice frame the wine, which needs a bit of air right now, but is drinking nicely.
WA 92

Carter makes his 2014 Proprietary Red Hossfeld Coliseum, which is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, from a relatively obscure vineyard back on Soda Canyon Road in Southern Napa Valley. This wine is big, chewy, chocolaty and mocha-infused wine with black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, loads of texture, lushness and a heady, chewy finish. It is sexy wine and there are 193 cases of it. Drink it over the next decade.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WE 94, WA 93, WS 92

This beautiful wine includes 9% Cabernet Franc that gives a lift of floral violet and grainy cedar. Classic all around in its etchings of coconut shavings, graphite, spice and dust, the fruit is additionally savory in bright red currant and a crunch of cassis, with an underpinning of soft, succulent blackberry.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
WE 91

Made from a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon with a sizable addition of Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, The Discussion is lovely in spicy black pepper and clove, full bodied and softly integrated in terms of tannin and oak. A brightness of red fruit shines through, along with a distinct taste of fig.

- Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast (Aug, 2016)
WA 95

I only tasted one wine, the 2012 Proprietary Red, a brilliant blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot aged 18 months in 80% new Taransaud barrels. This 640-case cuvée exhibits an opaque purple color, full body, supple tannins, and sweet blueberry and blackberry liqueur notes intermixed with hints of chocolate as well as dusty, earthy, forest floor notes. Drink it over the next 15-20 years. It is one of the finest efforts produced by the Roy Estate to date.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2014)
WA 92-95

As for the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Fay Estate-Grown, this has a similar saturated purple color, terrific presence on the palate, great ripeness, loads of minerality, floral notes and beautifully pure blackcurrant liqueur intermixed with licorice and spice. It is full-bodied and rich with well-integrated tannin and wood. This is another 20- to 25-year wine, but should drink well after its release.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WA 92

The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Mon Chevalier is composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot, all from Knight’s Valley and aged in large oak puncheons. The least expensive of the Morlet Cabernets, the open, round, light 2012 offers sweet white chocolate, blackcurrant and mineral notes in a full-bodied, opulent style. It can be consumed now and over the next 10+ years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2014)
WA 94-96

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 Estate-Grown is a big-time winner with great fruit, terrific texture, full body, sensational purity and plenty of blue and black fruits interwoven. The amazing thing about all of these wines is that no oak shows through whatsoever, although I suspect the percentage of new oak is relatively high. That’s an example of the extravagance and richness of the fruit that the winery is achieving. Again, purity, harmony, complexity and individuality are hallmarks of these wines. Drink this 2014 Cask 23 over the next 25 years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WA 95, WE 92

Celebrating its 40th anniversary vintage, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Stag’s Leap Vineyard (S.L.V.) Estate-Grown may be one of the all-time great offerings from Stag’s Leap Vineyard. It’s not easy to say after 40 years of achievement, but it is certainly a candidate for one of the finest Stags Leap Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons ever made, particularly under this moniker (We have to exclude the Cask 23 and the Fay Vineyard.) Opulent, with fabulous texture, a dense purple color, great blueberry and blackcurrant fruit with spice and flowers, this is sexy Cabernet Sauvignon that should drink beautifully for another 20 years or more. The balance is sensational.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WA 92-95

As for the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Fay Estate-Grown, this has a similar saturated purple color, terrific presence on the palate, great ripeness, loads of minerality, floral notes and beautifully pure blackcurrant liqueur intermixed with licorice and spice. It is full-bodied and rich with well-integrated tannin and wood. This is another 20- to 25-year wine, but should drink well after its release.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WA 94-96

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 Estate-Grown is a big-time winner with great fruit, terrific texture, full body, sensational purity and plenty of blue and black fruits interwoven. The amazing thing about all of these wines is that no oak shows through whatsoever, although I suspect the percentage of new oak is relatively high. That’s an example of the extravagance and richness of the fruit that the winery is achieving. Again, purity, harmony, complexity and individuality are hallmarks of these wines. Drink this 2014 Cask 23 over the next 25 years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)