This Week's Must-Try Wines from Vinous

Welcome to this week's Vinous Top Ten! Each week we compile a list of top ten wines from the Vinous database that you need to add to your wine wish list. With all the various regions, producers, and grapes, no week will be the same! All of the wines listed in this feature are available for purchase on Banquet . This week's must-try wines are from Stephen Tanzer’s article Washington: Neither Smoke Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Frost of Night… . Enjoy an excerpt from his article and his notes for this week's top ten below! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “Since enduring record heat in 2015, Washington’s growers and winemakers have enjoyed an unprecedented string of very good to exceptional vintages. Even 2020, so tricky in Oregon and parts of California owing to massive wildfires up and down the West Coast, appears to have been very successful in Washington. This year’s report features mostly red wines from 2018 and 2017 and whites from 2019 and 2018. All three of these growing seasons were capable of yielding outstanding wines.” --Stephen Tanzer, Washington: Neither Smoke Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Frost of Night…, December 2020 1. Cayuse Vineyards 2017 Syrah Armada Vineyard 2. Cayuse Vineyards 2017 Tempranillo En Chamberlin Vineyard Impulsivo 3. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Riesling Eroica 4. Horsepower 2017 Syrah Sur Echalas Vineyard 5. Horsepower 2017 Grenache Sur Echalas Vineyard 6. Leonetti Cellar 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon 7. Quilceda Creek 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon 8. Sleight of Hand Cellars 2017 Syrah Reserve Levitation 9. Tenet Wines 2017 Syrah The Pundit 10. Woodward Canyon Winery 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines

Woodward Canyon

Old Vines Washington Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Delectable Wine
9.2

Bright ruby-red. Inky aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice, bitter chocolate and graphite. Dense, minerally, sweet and deep, with inky black fruit flavors dominating in the early going. Finishes with broad but surprisingly suave tannins and excellent length. Sweeter than the 2018 version and likely to give pleasure earlier. Here the tannins are plusher and riper but the finish shows a bit of alcoholic warmth (this is the only one of these reds that admits to 15% on the label). (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Quilceda Creek

Washington Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Delectable Wine
9.6

Bright medium ruby to the rim. Very ripe aromas of blackberry, cassis, licorice pastille, bitter chocolate, cocoa powder and minerals, lifted by a note of lavender; just this side of liqueur-like. Dense, sweet, silky and firm, with wonderfully suave, dense flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate and violet dominating. This savory wine finishes with a slowly building whiplash of flavor and the sophisticated seamless tannins to support a long evolution and graceful evolution in bottle. I still give the edge to the 2016 for its energy and lift, but this very deep, youthfully medicinal wine is potentially great as well. Real nobility of texture here (it saturates every square millimeter of the palate) and outstanding palate-staining length. Lots to come! (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen

Eroica Columbia Valley Riesling 2018

Delectable Wine
9.1

Bright, light yellow. Gingery Granny Smith apple, lime and minerals on the nose, plus a whiff of orange blossom. Round on entry, then sappy, supple and intense in the middle palate, showing enticing mineral and spicy lift to its very pure citrus fruit and apple flavors. There's substantial residual sugar (16.9 grams per liter) here but brisk balancing acidity (8.6 g/l). The element of saline minerality carries through on the long aftertaste, titillating the taste buds. This, too, is a steal for the price and pretty irresistible right now. And that's almost a shame, as this Riesling has a track record of gaining in interest with cellaring. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Tenet Wines

The Pundit Columbia Valley Syrah 2017

Delectable Wine
9.0

Full ruby-red. Aromas of kirsch, licorice pastille, espresso and dark chocolate are complemented by a whiff of smoked meat. Almost shockingly fat and ripe on the palate, offering mouthfilling flavors of black fruits, licorice, spices and dried herbs. This plush, sweet Syrah has just enough acidity to maintain its shape. Finishes with ripe, smooth tannins and a note of licorice. An element of savory complexity prevents this almost jammy wine from coming off as heavy. A seriously hedonistic wine that's hard to fault at its gentle price. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Leonetti Cellar

Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Delectable Wine
9.4

Bright, saturated medium ruby. Captivating aromas of cassis, blackberry, graphite, licorice, exotic spices and lavender convey an impression of medicinal reserve. Enters the mouth thick, utterly seamless and suave, displaying alluring sweetness to its dark berry, bitter chocolate and spice flavors. This wonderfully rich yet juicy 2017 Cabernet finishes with broad, refined tannins that are already in balance with the wine's fruit. Just this side of voluptuous, this beauty may not have the sheer verve of the '16 but it will offer earlier fireworks. Very long and vinous on the palate-saturating aftertaste, with the tannins coating the entire palate and front teeth. The wine's spicy complexity should contribute to its early appeal but it would be a shame not to hold this Cabernet for at least a few years. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Cayuse Vineyards

Impulsivo Walla Walla Valley Tempranillo 2017

Delectable Wine
9.4

Bright medium red-ruby. Savory scents of dark raspberry, roasted meat and spices. Thick and savory yet alive on entry, with cherry and red and darker berry flavors framed and lifted by spices and minerals. I find more energy and inner-mouth aromatic lift here than the 2016 showed a year ago but also a seductive plushness in the middle palate. On the full side of medium-bodied but not a bit heavy. I'd love to put this in a blind tasting of top Ribera del Duero wines; it would stand out for its texture and complexity, not to mention its outstanding rising length. Boasts a powerful tannic spine but wonderfully fine-grained and edge-free. A great American Tempranillo with the structure to age: I'd love to revisit this wine in ten years. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Sleight Of Hand Cellars

Levitation Syrah 2017

Delectable Wine
9.3

Full ruby-red. Alluring aromas of blackberry, olive tapenade, bacon fat, sage and black pepper. Concentrated, densely packed and quite suave, communicating a restrained sweetness to its flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, spices, licorice and minerals. This shows more personality--at least today--than Sleight of Hand's Bordeaux blends, as well as the concentration and balance to evolve slowly and gracefully in bottle. Finishes savory, firmly tannic and long, with serious energy and no dryness. An excellent Syrah without any excesses. (made with 10% whole clusters; fermented and aged in concrete tanks and large-format barrels, including 27% new puncheons) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Horsepower Vineyards

Sur Echalas Vineyard Grenache 2017

Delectable Wine
9.3

Moderately saturated medium red. Dark raspberry, flowers, iron, red cherry and smoked meat on the alluring nose. Dense, rich, mouthcoating wine with an attractive balance of red berries, smoked meat and wild herbs. A very savory style: less fruity than the Cayuse version but boasting a thicker, longer, sweeter finish than the No Girls Grenache from the same stable. Possesses strong material to buffer its tannins. Finishes broad and quite long, with a suggestion of nutty richness. (13.5% alcohol) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Horsepower Vineyards

Sur Echalas Vineyard Syrah 2017

Delectable Wine
9.3

Bright dark red. Very pure, varietally accurate aromas of raspberry, smoked meat, black olive tapenade, herbs and minerals. Enters the mouth saline and intense, then strong soil-driven olive tapenade, dark raspberry and smoked meat take over the palate. This concentrated, salty wine boasts impressive thickness but also just enough fresh balancing fruit to leaven its high-pH feel. No shortage of sweetness here. Finishes with a firm dusting of tannins, lingering pepper, meat and smoke notes and no rough edges. (13.6% alcohol) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago

Cayuse Vineyards

Armada Vineyard Syrah 2017

Delectable Wine
9.6

Bright red-ruby. Dark scents of blackberry, black pepper, violet and smoked meat; blacker than the 2016. Intense, penetrating, juicy and tight, offering a faint citrus peel accent to its flavors of dark berries, minerals, violet, pepper and animal fur. Boasts lovely density and concentration without weight, thanks to an impression of harmonious acidity and high notes of violet and minerals. This beauty carries its firm core of dark berry fruit through a firm, rising, suavely tannic, savory back end, saturating the palate without leaving any impression of weight. A superb showing: this Syrah wine can be tasted with great pleasure today but should gain in complexity and pliancy with another four or five years of cellaring. I love the balance of salinity, gaminess, fruit and minerality. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, December 2020) — a year ago