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The Wine Advocate Reviews Washington Wines - Maryhill Shines

Jun 30, 2015

The following wines were submitted for the 2015 Washington wine tasting with our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Les Collines earning an astonishing 91+ points!

2012 Cabernet Sauv LC  91+ Young

2012 Marvell  89 Early

2012 Cabernet Sauv AR 88 Early

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 86 Early

2013 Winemaker's Red  86 Early



Jeb Dunnuck's Washington Report:

Coming off the difficult and cool 2011 vintage, Washington was dealt a trio of brilliant vintages in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Looking first at the 2012s, which make up the bulk of this report, this is a truly spectacular vintage that was consistently warm, had no significant heat spikes or rain events, and finished with a long, Indian summer that allowed producers to harvest at will. The wines are reminiscent of the decadent and voluptuous 2007s, yet are slightly more focused, streamlined and shaped by more tannic structure. The top wines have sensational levels of fruit and are already showing beautifully. Yet the surprise is their incredible concentration (2012 has more dry extract than 2010 and 2013) and tannin levels. These are sensational, exuberant and voluptuous wines that will deliver incredible pleasure in a few years, yet also will evolve gracefully. This is certainly the greatest vintage since 2007, and one of the top vintages in the State in the past two decades. Both the Bordeaux and Rhône varieties excelled.

At the end of the day, the biggest problem for 2013 might be that it's sandwiched between the 2012 and 2014 vintages, two vintages that readily express exuberant, fruit-loaded personalities. The 2013vintage was hotter and less even regarding heat accumulation. As a result, the wines have slightly less phenolic ripeness (I think due to the vines shutting down during the heat spikes), lower pHs, higher acidities and more focused, restrained profiles. Nevertheless, make no mistake; these are still big, powerful and structured wines that possess beautiful freshness and purity of fruit. Most don't have the depth or sheer wealth of material found in the top 2012s, yet some certainly come close to rivaling what was accomplished in 2012, 2010 and 2007. Most of the wines are still in barrel, and short-term cellaring will be the name of the game for the top-end wines. One downside to 2013 is the quality of the whites; Chardonnay in particular struggled in this vintage. All in, I continue to be disappointed in the whites and roses from this region.

A record-breaking vintage regarding heat, 2014 was a scorching hot year that some compared to 2009.Yet I think the wines show more freshness and purity, with surprising acid levels coupled with massive amounts of fruit. My sample set is small, but this will certainly be a terrific vintage. I'll delve more into these wines next year.

All the following wines were tasted between March, 2015 and May, 2015, in larger appellation tastings, domaine visits and tastings at my office in Colorado. As is becoming more common, I wasn't able to get all of the wines tasted into the report, but did my best to report on all of the top producers, as well as any up-and-coming winemakers you should have on your radar.

—Jeb Dunnuck