Here are Big Reds rated as "Best Buys" by Wine
Spectator, Wine Press NW, Wine & Spirits, and the Seattle Times.
All are under $30, most are under $22. All offer outstanding value and
1. McCrea Cellars "Non
AVALON EXCLUSIVE Seattle Times Paul Gregutt says: "Here is a one-time-only
gem showing the dazzling winemaking skills of Doug McCrea. Long story short,
he latched onto some Cabernet franc, not your usual Rhone Ranger grape, and
not knowing what else to do with it, tossed in about 1/3 syrah to come up with
this nonvintage red blend that will take the enamel off your teeth
while its dense fruit flavors knock the socks off your ankles."
Rich Coup D'Etat Rhone Red 03 $19.75/$21.95
A classic, and classy, Rhone blend with a northwest twist. Andrew
goes to France every summer to hone his skills and this wine shows
it. Andrew is a master at the grapes of the Rhone (remember he worked
with CA Rhone Ranger Randal Graham of Bonny Doone Winery before moving
to Oregon). A blend of 40% Grenache, 50% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah from
famed Ciel du Cheval Vineyard. Rustic, big, classic "country french"
with a WA twist.
Marcus says: "If juice like this didn't fit into Mark's premium
red blends, you've got to be excited about the 2004 Long Haul, Dead Horse,
and Gun Metal. The Cabernet/Merlot/Syrah blend is as delicious as any
good value I've tasted from Washington in months. Big and rich, yet easy
to get into right away, the Dissident is a perfect bridge between the
sold-out 2003 big reds and the upcoming 2004s. Don't be shy...get a case."
2. Gordon Brothers
Merlot 03 $14.80/$16.45 Wine Spectator 90 points and "Best
Buy" 7/06. "Rich and spicy, with a glowing
core of ripe raspberry, strawberry and red cherry balanced with
juicy acidity and a lavish blanket of creamy oak. It all mingles
well, and the finish lingers. Drink now through 2010." H.S.
Wine Press Northwest
- 2004 Platinum Judging – Platinum
“This was the top Merlot in the Platinum thanks to aromas of baker’s
chocolate and smokey cherries and flavors of blackberries and rich coffee with
a hint of white pepper on the finish. Well-managed tannins give this approachability
3. Basel Cellars
Claret 02 $18.41/$20.45
They reduced the price a lot and this is now one of Walla Walla's best
deals. From a winemaker, Trey Busch, who's one of WA's rising stars,
and most of whom's wines sell for $40+.
5. Ryan Patrick
Rock Island Red 04 $14.80/$16.45 Wine Spectator 88 points and "Best Buy": " Not
a big wine, but remarkably persistent, framing its green olive-scented
blackberry flavors with fine tannins that let the finish linger
enticingly. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink
now through 2010."
7. Gordon Brothers
Cabernet Sauvignon 03 $18.41/$20.45 Wine Spectator 90 points: "Supple and generous,
a lush mouthful of ripe currant, plum and blueberry flavors, shaded
with deft wafts of white pepper and cream as the finish picks up
a hint of a smoky note. Tannins need cellaring to soften. Best
Winery Red Wine 02/03 $26.99/$29.99 Wine Spectator rating 88 points for 02: "Smooth
and polished, with a spicy edge to the harmonious currant and herb
flavors, finishing with grace. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,
Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Drink now through 2009." H.S.
Valley Barrel Thief Red 03 $19.75/$21.95
Ugly monkey on the label, dense color, GREAT nose, smoky black cherry,
hint of vanilla intertwined with smoke in nose and palate. Hearty, dense,
but smooth, chocolate in the finish. Meaty, firm tannins but smooth and
well integrated. Just a lush, big chunk of barbeque red wine for burgers & steaks.
Nothing esoteric or fancy, just rich red wine to drink now at a really
10.5 "Splendor" Red
A soft, approachable blend of Washington State fruit: 11% Sangiovese,
47% Cabernet Franc & Merlot, 42% Cabernet Savignon, fruit from Roas
Mystica Vineyard and Alder Ridge Vineyard. Good value. Nose has sasparilla,
cola, sweet red and black fruit, reiterated in the flavors, which include
lots of toasty cocoa and espresso bean. Unusual, different, fun.
Barrels into Town! O-S (Owen Sullivan)
ULYSSES 04 $45/$50
Wine Spectator rating 90 points: "Earthy,
herbal character wafts through this firm red blend, picking up
red cherry and roasted red pepper notes as the flavors persist
on a well-integrated finish. A serious wine, but you have to
like the herbal end of the flavor spectrum. Merlot, Cabernet
Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2012. 450 cases
We don't get as much
of the "herbal" as
Harvey does (above) but plenty of fresh saddle leather, ripe black
fruit, and super concentrated over-the-top flavors typical of Bill
Owen's style. As with his best wines, this one stops you in your
tracks with its intensity.
From the winery: "Our
wine from Sheridan Vineyard has for the last four vintages shown
the most distinctive qualities of any in our cellar. Dense purple,
black the 2004 Ulysses has aromas of jammy blackfruit, allspice
and anise. The lush silky texture is framed with firm tannins
and acidity that balance the rich blackberry and ripe black plum
fruit yielding a subtly complex and nuanced wine."
Shipping July 2006. Order now to assure availability.