2003 Basel Cellars, Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, $36. A 56/44 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Aromas and flavors of plums, raspberries, cinnamon, and mocha are backed up by silky-smooth tannins. An impressive effort; 90/90.
2003 Basel Cellars, Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, $42. The bouquet is a lovely mix of blueberries and floral notes. Silky tannins introduce the red berry flavors. Expressive and not overstated; 90/90.
2003 Betz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Père de Famille, Columbia Valley, Washington, $50. Most of the fruit comes from Red Mountain, giving the wine clout, as well as generous but supple tannins. Full and lush in the mouth, you’ll find a mélange of flavors, ranging from currants and black cherries to leather and tobacco nuances; 91/91.
2004 Brian Carter Cellars, Oriana, Yakima Valley, Washington, $24, 270 cases. An unusual but pleasant blend of Roussanne, Riesling and Viognier is presented in crisp package with threshold sweetness. Lots of terpenes delight the taste buds; 88/88.
2003 Buty, Rediviva of the Stones, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, $40. Sporting a deep ruby color, this is a very fruit-forward wine. Mixed red and black fruits are backed by silky-smooth tannins and balanced acidity. Prime rib time; 90/90.
2005 Cougar Crest Winery, Viognier, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, $20, 735 cases. You’ll appreciate floral characteristics on the nose and palate, enhanced by generous pear and honeysuckle notes. The acidity level begs for Asian food; 89/90.
2003 DeLille Cellars, Chaleur Estate, Red Mountain, Washington, $68. Massive is the best way to describe this wine. While it is pretty oaky, the deep, lovely fruit more than carries it. The finish is endless; 91/91.
2003 DeLille, Harrison Hill, Yakima Valley, Washington, $68. The fruit for this wine comes from Washington’s second oldest vineyard. Full and juicy in the mouth, the mixed red and black fruit finishes long and lush. Silky tannins add grace; 90/89.
2002 Forgeron, Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington, $30, 700 cases. This is a lush, fruity wine with soft tannins. Nice meaty aromas and flavors are augmented by blackberries and blueberries, finishing seamlessly. Tasted twice with similar notes; 91/91.
2003 McCrea, Syrah, Boushey Grande Côte Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington, $43, 172 cases. Very lush and fruit forward, this one pushes the limits of ripeness without stepping over the line. Fruit, tannins and acids all sing in harmony, finishing with a long, complex aftertaste; 91/91.