Washington & Oregon Wine Articles and Wine Reviews
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McCrea non Sequitur

Andrew Rich Cuvee d'Etat

Mark Ryan Dissident

Basel Cellars Claret

Gordon Brothers Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon

Ryan Patrick Red

Chinook Red

Owen Roe Sharecroppers Cabernet Sauvignon

Splendor Red

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 quality.

1. McCrea Cellars "Non Sequitur" $20.25/$22.50
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."

1.5 Andrew 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.

2. Mark Ryan "Dissident" Red 04 $22.45/$24.95
New for 2006. Made from all the "dissident" fruit that wouldn't "conform" to Mark's premium red blends.

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 rating
“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 now.”

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+.

4. StoneCap Cabernet Sauvignon 04 $9.45/$10.50
Second label for Goose Ridge Winery, younger vine Estate fruit and nice round, balanced flavors at a simply great price.

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."

6. Chinook Winery Red Yakima VI $10.75/$11.95
Expect smooth, rich flavors suitable for pairing with summer cuisines from thie food-oriented winery. Nice medium bodied blend of Cab, merlot, Cab Franc.

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 after 2007."

8. Velocity 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.

9. Dusted 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 great price.

10. Owen Roe Sharecropper's Cabernet Sauvignon 04 $16.16/$17.95
This is a rich, full bodied, ready to drink wine, filled with fresh fruit flavors, a great value and excellent followup to the wildly popular Sharecropper's Pinot noir.

10.5 "Splendor" Red Wine $15.07/$16.75
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.

Owen Sullivan UlyssesPlus
Big Bruiser
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 made." H.S.

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.

 

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