9 Hearty Washington Reds at 90+ Points

New reviews of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Grenache from the Evergreen State

By Tim Fish, Sep 14, 2020

Tasting Highlights’ wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors’ most recent scores and notes to members.

Washington state is blessed with lots of sunshine and the Columbia River’s plentiful waters, allowing its 15 American Viticultural Areas to thrive with a variety of wines. This can be seen in this week’s nine knockout reds, all rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale.

Winemaker Andrew Latta worked in the cellars of Dunham and Charles Smith before starting his namesake brand in 2014. Rhône varieties are his focus, and his Latta Latta GSM is a dynamic red with a core of black cherry and grilled herb flavors.

Former sommelier Chris Sparkman and his winemaker, Seattle’s Linn Scott, take an elegant approach to Washington Grenache with their 2017 Sparkman Wonderland, which offers vibrant raspberry, rose petal and toasted cinnamon notes. The duo harvests grapes from cooler locales in Columbia Valley, including Boushey and Olsen Estates in Yakima Valley as well as Sagemoor Vineyards on the Columbia River. Two of Washington’s best winemakers, Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan and Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand, collaborated on the Cabernet Sauvignon from Underground Wine Project. A small portion of Syrah helps give this red some zesty heft, with rich blackberry, dried sage and stony mineral flavors.

Dunham Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley XXII 2016

Score: 90 | $45

WS review: Open-knit and lively, with layered black raspberry and dusky spice flavors that take on richness and structure toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2027. 2,693 cases made.—T.F.

Dunham Trutina Columbia Valley 2017

Score: 90 | $29

WS review: Supple and elegantly structured, with expressive black cherry, tobacco and dusky spice flavors that build tension toward medium-grained tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2026. 5,500 cases made.—T.F.

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