Which Washington wine are you drinking?

Seems like we don’t get enough notes on WA wines and Steve Costigan notes on 2008 roused me to find a bottle to open.

2015 K “The Beautiful” Syrah…co-fermented with a splash of Viognier. Dark fruits, purple flowers, a touch of tinned peach, flavorful without being heavy or ponderous, with a fresh lick of acidity to keep you going back. What WA Syrah should strive to be.



Opened a Cadence Coda 2019 this past week I never posted from the BD case sale. About half Merlot then smaller amounts of Cab, PV, and CF in descending order. Red fruited, with a light savory herbal note, and some bright acidity showing the '19 vintage. No doubt this will round out into an excellent wine, but bury for 5 years.

1 Like

Nice note Kris - Due to space I drink my Coda’s young, but I have buried this vintage deep to see where it goes in that 5 to 10 year window.

Not a note but a purchase, but I just bought 3 x of the 2019 Upchurch Vineyard Cabernets, I really like what Chris is doing with his own operation. The Sav Blanc aged in concrete on its lees is a pretty fun and very tasty white if you are ok with a richer style of SB, I really dig it.

1 Like

This is a terrific idea Kris, thanks for setting it up. Washington deserves its own thread. I’ve been hooked since I first ventured up there to taste back in 2010.


2011 Betz syrah La Cote Patriarche. Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Vly AVA.
I don’t usually keep syrahs this long but I’ve got no regrets with this one’s age. It’s still dark and deep, with plenty of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry. Hints of mineral, olive, pie crust(?) in the nose. Perhaps the fruit has come down a notch from its youth but not by much. Still framed somewhat by tannins and acid but it’s structure tells me it’s best not to keep this too many years longer. 4 (out of 5).

Red Willow vineyard of course saw the first syrah planting in Washington thanks to David Lake, Mike Sauer and others in the 1980s. It’s covered in Comisky’s excellent book “American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed The Way Americans Drink.” It’s proven to be great terroir for syrah although I’ve never found a distinct Red Willow syrah profile other than it seems to make deep and rich wines in every vintage I’ve tried. This seems to be terroir for rich deep fruit base notes and not as much savory aromatics. I’ll take that. I have thought for a long time Washington does syrah better than any other varieties including this AVA and others in the state.

I am probably going to regret posting this, as I have been trying to corner the market on older Owen Roe Chapel Block, which sits within Red Willow Vineyard. A couple weeks ago a local restaurant. Cedarbrook Lodge, had some 2010 Chapel Block on the list that I had been staring at for months…that wine was loaded with dark fruit, chocolate, espresso, a light red basil note, with a touch of smoked meat. Absolutely delicious. That same night we tried some Owen Roe 2012 Riesling, and a 2017 Crawford Beck Pinot Gris that rivals much of the better versions I have had from Alsace.


Well I won’t tell anyone Kris. But since you went public with this, maybe someone will offer you their cases of that Owen Roe. [wink.gif] I don’t doubt it could be great one, if you’re in the mood for that style. It sounds interesting and I’d love to try one. Cheers.



While I drink a decent amount of Coda young, I also take a couple bottles each year and stuff them in the back of the cellar. Ten years later, I check in again. What I’ve learned is that Codas age way, way beyond what one would expect near that price point. Haven’t had one yet that I thought was past its peak yet.


1 Like

Hopefully I didn’t make it sound ponderous, it was fresh, it reminded me of a really great St. Joseph.

I had a magnum of 2004 a few months ago that was delicious with no signs of going over the hill.

I generally tuck them away for 5 years and drink them over the next 5. I think they can definitely go longer than that as well, but I just can’t resist drinking them. Coda is such a great value and always delivers.

Popped on of two bottles of 2015 B. Leighton Syrah Olsen Vineyard last night. Here’s my TN:

  • 2015 B. Leighton Syrah Olsen Brothers Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley (6/5/2022)
    This is about as savory as Syrah comes. Brine, olive tapenade, smoke, and some plum. I just read Tanzer’s note when it was released and he said Leighton was confident the fruit would come out with age, but I doubt it. This complex wine needs food. Not sure it’ll benefit from age. Drink up.

Posted from CellarTracker

I must say, it was more an intellectual bottle because, frankly, I didn’t enjoy it a ton. It was TOO savory and lacked fruit, especially considering the vintage and how young (and fruity) a 2015 was likely to be.

Nice note Brandon. I tip my hat to any winemaker who made very good wines in 2015 as it was such a challenging vintage with the heat. I had one winemaker tell me it was so damn hot that for some lots the sugar was too low, they were looking at 11% abv, because the vines had shut down for so long.

1 Like

Drank the Kobayashi 2019 WeatherEye Vineyard Viognier a few days ago. Simply Stunning!

Popped and poured then let sit in the glass for 30 minutes. Firing on all cylinders from the outset. White peach, flowers, rocks, herbs. Just about the most complex and intellectual domestic viognier one can find. 94pts

1 Like

I had my first and only bottle of this two weeks ago as well. I agree that it’s very good. It’s expensive as WA Viognier goes.

2013 Baer Arctos; Drinking excellent now. The Petit Verdot stood out on the finish.
Plan to open a 2013 Ursa soon.

1 Like

Drank a lot of Ursa back when Lance was still alive, great bottle of wine. Need to find some more recent wines and revisit them.

1 Like

Good idea to highlight Washington wines. Most of my experience with WA wines is through dN, and overall I’ve been pleased.

But this one…not so much.

Nose showed dark ripe fruit (plum, currant), rocky slate, underpinned by subtle mocha aromas. The palate was rich and full bodied. The acid is gentle and uplifts the black fruit, turns it slightly more blue, but still quite dark. The acid also emphasizes some rocky-earthy character, but it is rather subtle. The finish shows the same ripe black fruit, baking spice (cinnamon or nutmeg), and then trails off into oaky flavors. There’s a lot of RS that lingers on a the palate for quite awhile. The tannins are rather supple and easily missed, without contributing much to structure.

A dark-fruited mess. Too much leftover RS, no substantial tannic structure, and too ripe. Bordering on flabby for me. I would blind this as a bad Napa Cab. JD94 is a red flag to his rating system.

Maybe in 2-3 years it will settle down and improve, but I’m not holding my breath. (88 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

I don’t see many notes on Woodward Canyon here, but like Cadence and Andrew Will they greatly benefit from consuming 10 years out from vintage. They are a pretty traditional producer and Rick has always had Cab-based wines that remind me of Margaux, restrained power.

Will have to find a '18 Artist Series as WCs wines have always been reliable and steady…his 90s Merlot’s are still excellent as are his Cabs.

RE: Woodward Canyon. One of my top five all time best cab experiences was tasting a 24 year old WC Old Vines a friend brought as a mystery wine. As good as anything I’ve had and as stunning as the best mature Monte Bello’s I’ve had.

1 Like

Always liked Old Vines, but Rick really hit home runs when he released Special Selection in 1999 and 2005, there were a couple other vintages too prior to 1999.

How does the Special Selection drink as compared to the Old Vines? I’ve never had it. Looks like they have an Estate Reserve offering on their website. Is that different from the Special Selection? Thanks!