My Favorite Wines in 2024 (So Far)


I have often posted my criticisms of the 100-point method of scoring wines. On numerous occasions I have tried to propose an alternate system, including a radically revised approach to the 100-point methodology (see the first edition of “Washington Wines & Wineries). Big fail. When I left Wine Enthusiast, where scoring wines was mandatory, I set out to develop a blog where no scores at all were published. Another big fail. So as my Substack hits its one year milestone (thank you all for your support!) I’m back in the 100-point trenches, because clearly numbers drive wine sales, boost interest from the trade, and provide the added benefit of allowing consumers to compare the scores from all the major critics on the same wine. How do they line up? Who among all the paid palates best suits your personal preferences?

I’ve been at this since the late 1980s. The photo shows a few of the books I’ve written, co-written or contributed to. When I compare my own scores on current tastings to those of other well-known critics, I am rarely if ever an outlier. I never look at scores from anyone else until I am finished tasting and scoring on my own. Once I’ve done that, checking other scores will not influence me. I usually fall squarely in the middle of the Pack. And by and large the ‘Pack’ is almost always in a condensed range of about a three-point separation from low to high. Someone has posted a 91, I’ve posted a 92 and the high number (hello James Suckling) is up around 93 or 94.

As I’ve written before I taste every wine submitted to me but do not post up reviews for the most ordinary or unexciting bottles. Truly bad bottles are quite rare, but ordinary bottles abound. What I offer you here, filtered through my own palate, are many of the most interesting wines I’ve tasted so far this year.

There are maybe a dozen wineries whose wines scored so well that they could fill the entire list. I’ve chosen just two or three from any single producer so as to make room for other worthy bottles. They are grouped by variety and/or blend – first white and rosé wines, then red wines. Not all will still be available; the intention is to provide a useful list of top producers. And yes, many are expensive. Really excellent cheap wines are rare.


Domaine Divio 2022 Clos Gallia Estate Chardonnay – A multi-clone selection from the estate vineyard, this is a fresh, zesty, textural take on Chardonnay. The 40% new oak flavors sort of sneak up on you, unfolding then enveloping the palate in a gentle wash of caramel cream. As with many of the current Oregon Chardonnays this puts the lie to the notion that it’s a neutral or even dull grape. In the right hands, grown in the right places, it’s as good and complex and complete as far more expensive versions from California or Burgundy. The finish simply resonates, like the overtones on a fine guitar. 180 cases; 13.5%; $65 (Ribbon Ridge) 95/100

Tenor 2021 Chardonnay – This top of the line Washington Chardonnay can compete with such outstanding Oregon brands as Double Zero (00) and Walter Scott. There’s a lush and buttery popcorn flavor that soaks the palate and sets up a rich, full-bodied mid-palate loaded with tree fruits. The acids keep the wine balanced and lively, but the 20 months in almost all new French oak really pushes it over the top. I have no idea how all that oak will impact aging, but for the next five years this wine should be gloriously irresistible. 198 cases; 14.9%; $95 (Columbia Valley) 96/100

Walter Scott 2021 Lucille Chardonnay – This is Freedom Hill vineyard fruit from a small block planted in 1995. Dense, saturated, deliciously juicy and detailed with hints of lemon curd, herbs and barrel toast, this dives down deeply through the palate and rests there gracefully as it trails out. It’s both a wine to contemplate and a wine to gulp down with pleasure. It should age beautifully over another decade and a half. 114 cases; 13%; $125 (Mt. Pisgah) 96/100

Walter Scott 2022 Justice Vineyard Chardonnay – Sharp, peppery, tightly focused and a bit shuttered when first opened. Lime and apple fruit pokes through, and the fermentation in one third new oak has more in common – in terms of flavors – with stainless steel. Once in the mouth a lovely floral note emerges, like tasting a rose petal, along with fresh, clean lemongrass and citrus fruit. This is a truly fascinating wine, quite unique in this splendid Chardonnay portfolio, and should age well for decades. 150 cases; 13%; $80 (Eola-Amity Hills) 96/100

Walter Scott 2022 X Novo Vineyard Chardonnay – Young, steely, tight, tart, vertical, focused and detailed, this is a wine to cellar, yet compelling and quite drinkable in its youth. Though given 80% new oak it isn’t at all oaky, and the layer upon layer of herbal, mineral, citrus and light caramel components unpack slowly with aeration. The wine seems to gain mass and power as it breathes open, suggesting a long life ahead and a promising evolution over the next 15 – 20 years. 425 cases; 13%; $100 (Eola-Amity Hills) 97/100

Sauvignon Blanc

Efesté 2023 Feral Sauvignon Blanc – From the Evergreen Vineyard, one of Washington’s finest sites for high acid white wines, this is a strikingly fresh, bitingly crisp style. Core flavors of citrus flesh and rind are accented with a flinty, chalky, dusty minerality. It’s a Washington take on Sancerre, and a very good one. The focused palate dives deep and holds on, slowly trailing out with touches of herb and wildflowers. It’s polished, beautiful winemaking from a grape that is once again ascending in popularity. 605 cases; 13%; $25 (Ancient Lakes) 95/100

Matthews 2022 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – Much as I loved the regular Matthjews bottling, this reserve takes it further up the ladder with additional richness and concentration. Supple and dense, it’s a winemaker showcase with stone fruits, citrus zest, apples and baking spices. One third of the barrels were new, but the fruit has such concentration that the toast and butter accents are highlights that don’t obscure the core flavors. This trends toward a California style, with ripeness and spice, while bringing the extra zip of Washington acidity to the finish. 440 cases; 14.7%; $75 (Columbia Valley) 95/100

Miscellaneous White Wines

Chehalem 2022 Pinot Gris – This is a splashy Pinot Gris, bright, sassy, tart, lively, fresh, mineral-drenched and absolutely delicious. It penetrates the palate with a mix of citrus lemon, lime, grapefruit and cantaloup, backed with plenty of acid, but nothing sour about it. The length is amazing, and delicious. A sensational value. 4590 cases; 13%; $20 (Willamette Valley) 94/100

Reustle 2023 Cask #2 Schneckenleitner Grüner Veltliner – Schneckenleitner is a brand of Austrian oak casks, one of which was used for the first time for this release. There’s an oaky sweetness (not too much) and a roundness and fullness to the palate that differentiates this wine from Reustle’s other Gruners. It’s quite delicious, penetrating and deep, with more apple than citrus flavors and a lick of caramel. Nothing seems over the top; it’s a fine addition to the lineup. 210 cases; 13.1% (Umpqua Valley) 94-95/100

Rocky Pond 2023 Clos CheValle Vineyard Dry Riesling – This has such juicy, ebullient fruit that some tasters may think it’s a sweet wine. It’s not, but it sure is packed with citrus and tangerine and pineapple and papaya. Underscored with granitic minerality, bolstered with tangy acids, this is the sort of Riesling that could convert an army of ABR wine drinkers. 240 cases; 13.1%; $32 (Lake Chelan) 95/100

WeatherEye 2022 Estate Roussanne – This is the third vintage for these young vines, and each year  brings more concentration, layering of fruit flavors, texture and depth. Wildflowers, citrus, lemon zest, spice and sandalwood contribute to the overall palate. The flavors continue to develop through a long finish, with clover and bee pollen and lemon drop adding their notes to the orchestra. Fermented in 30% new French oak, the rest a mix of amphora and neutral oak, this next spent 10 months in barrel and amphora before moving to stainless steel. It’s impossible to overstate the wealth of flavor and expressive ebullience of this wine. On the third day it was still showing new accents and an impossibly long finish. 62 cases; 14.7%; $85 (Columbia Valley) 98/100

WeatherEye 2022 Estate Marsanne – The blend includes 14% Roussanne, filling out the mid-palate and amping up the floral aromas and feral notes from wild yeasts. The concentrated mid-palate is stacked with citrus, candied pineapple and dried apricot. There’s an appealing dusty character to the mouthfeel, and as it breathes the wine adds a seam of toasted  cashews, caramel and toffee to the flavors. All the WeatherEye whites respond beautifully to breathing time, and expand and explore new flavor territory after being open for up to a full day. 84 cases; 14.8%; $85 (Columbia Valley) 96/100

WeatherEye 2022 L’atomique Estate White Wine – A murky straw/gold, this blend mixes 36% Viognier, 32% Roussanne, 22% Grenache Blanc, 7% Clairette and 3% Marsanne. It’s a splendid wine, deep and packed with flowers, fruits, spices and herbs. There is so much detail in this young wine that picking out specifics is not worth trying – just soak your palate in the magnificent whole. From the first sniff to the last sip this is memorable, innovative and absolutely thrilling. 72 cases; 15.2%; $85 (Columbia Valley) 96/100

Bordeaux Red Blends

Avennia 2021 Valery Red – Boushey vineyard Merlot dominates the blend, with Cabernet Franc from Champoux filling out the final 16%. This is tight, sculpted, compact, focused and penetrating, with mixed red and black berry fruit that plunges deep down the palate into accents of baking spices, espresso and pipe tobacco. The complexity and balance are sophisticated and exceptional – this is a wine that you’ll want to track long after that first sip is swallowed. 215 cases; 14.8%; $60 (Columbia Valley) 95/100

Matthews 2021 Columbia Valley Claret – Matthews now as before specializes in Washington-style Bordeaux blends, and the Claret has long been a winery strength. The percentages here are 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. This type of blending is hard work, and pays off in wines of substance, detail and pedigree. The Claret is almost iconic in the way it captures the black fruits, toasted barrels, ripe tannins, focused mouthfeel and defining length of these grapes in the same way as the very best wines that this state has to offer. 5083 cases; 14.9%; $55 (Columbia Valley) 96/100

Matthews 2021 Reserve Claret – Cabernet Sauvignon is 70% of the blend, Merlot 20% and Cab Franc 10%, sourced from eight different sites scattered across four AVAs. This suggests careful, almost obsessive blending trials, committed to building a tight, focused wine with a pinpoint Washington swagger. Success! It’s big, bold but balanced, firm, tight, compact, layered with black fruits and threads of coffee, tobacco, earth, iron and baking spices. A true pleasure to taste as it unwraps, this is a wine that can cellar for decades. 490 cases; 15.1%; $195 (Columbia Valley) 98/100

Cabernet Sauvignon

Avennia 2021 Sestina Cabernet Sauvignon – The book end to the Right Bank-inspired Valery, this is the Left Bank-inspired wine which blends 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc. Sourced from old vine Bacchus, Dionysus, Red Willow and DuBrul grapes, it’s given the rock star treatment with 21 months in 50% new French oak. I love the flavors of the well-chosen barrels, which match those spicy/toasty notes to fruit with both power and palate presence. Beautifully structured, powerful yet restrained, with ripe black fruits that trail into powdery tannins, this is a special wine with a long life ahead. 388 cases; 14.8%; $75 (Columbia Valley) 97/100

Corliss 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – This is classic Red Mountain Cabernet, dense with blackberry and black cherry fruit, accented with cut tobacco and charred toast. With aeration the fruit blooms into a rich expression of berries and cherries, annotated with dark chocolate. Tannins are ripe, firm and polished. The finish is pure and focused. This exceptional wine should entertain for decades. 865 cases; 14.9%; $105 (Red Mountain) 95/100

Force Majeure 2021 Red Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – The Red Mountain estate Cabernet Sauvignon comes from 15-year-old vines in deep, loamy soils that contain fractured basalt, ash and granite from the Missoula floods. A small amount of Merlot is in the blend. Good grip, compact berry and cherry fruit, and trailing touches of pipe tobacco keep the flavors developing. As with all Todd Alexander wines it is highly recommended that you aerate, decant and enjoy this wine over many hours if not days. Drink now to 2040 and beyond. 600 cases; 14.9%; $150 (Red Mountain) 96/100

From The Sky Down 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon (Heart of the Hill Vineyard) – Packed with black fruits, dried herbs, sagebrush and firm, fine-grained tannins, this is dense and dark through the core flavors, with layers of of char, baking chocolate and espresso grounds. Despite the heft and power, it maintains its balance throughout, from the explosive aromatics to the long, mouth-coating finish. The tannins are ripe, polished, firm and dense – perfectly ready for decades of cellaring. 325 cases; 14.9%; $250 (Red Mountain) 97/100

Kiona 2021 Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon – History in a bottle, 100% Cab from the original vines planted on Red Mountain in 1975. Dense, detailed, dusty and dark, this captures the essence of Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon which in many respects has become the iconic style of wine for the entire state. A wine to sit with and ponder, it’s built with layers of black fruits, black coffee, tobacco, toast and baker’s chocolate. 229 cases; 15%; $85 (Red Mountain) 96/100

Liminal 2021 WeatherEye Vineyard Block 47 Cabernet Sauvignon – This single block Cabernet spent 20 months in 100% new French oak. It’s almost mandatory to cellar this wine, as the compact density cannot be unpacked in a few minutes or even hours. Deeply layered flavors show veins of black fruits, cassis, ground espresso, dark chocolate, black tea, char, graphite and cut tobacco. Given the dense, gritty tannins I’d suggest another five years of bottle age until it hits a sweet spot to begin drinking. This could evolve for decades. 91 cases; 14.5%; $125 (Red Mountain) 97/100

Cabernet Franc

Force Majeure 2021 Red Mountain Estate Cabernet Franc – This stunningly good pure varietal Cab Franc comes from a single block on Red Mountain, fermented in stainless steel and concrete, and aged 22 months in 50-60% new French oak. Gorgeous aromas of fruit and barrel lead into a lush palate loaded with blackberries, figs, black cherries and chocolate. Highlights of clove and graphite add further depth and length. 75 cases; 14.9%; $175 (Red Mountain) 97/100

Leah Jorgensen 2016 Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc – Sourced from the Crater View vineyard it’s rich, thick and juicy, with a smoky filigree putting a wreath around the black fruits. Tannic, supple and powerful, it finishes with notes of coffee, sandalwood and cinnamon. In short, a magnificent Cabernet Franc that can stand beside some of the best from California. 24 cases; 14.5%; $75 (Rogue Valley) 95/100


Force Majeure 2021 Red Mountain Estate Grenache – This is the first vintage for this estate Grenache – pure varietal, one third whole cluster, all concrete ferment followed by 18 months in used French oak. Brilliant work from a truly gifted winemaker. Rich, ripe, juicy, slightly crunchy red berry/cherry fruits are annotated with candied orange peel, touches of baking spices, cocoa powder, coffee grounds and on it goes. 213 cases; 15.2%; $85 (Red Mountain) 98/100

Kevin White 2021 WeatherEye Vineyard Les Terrasses – A fine expression of the unique terroir, blending the flower, fruit, spice and earth components, while keeping the tannins rich but not dominant. This feels as if it’s tip-toeing along the thin wire between tart and full, with sharply-defined flavors framed in acid and tannin. These are very young vines, and every new vintage brings more depth and power. 75 cases; 14.9%;. $65 (Yakima Valley) 95/100

Pášxa 2020 Rockgarden Vineyard Grenache – This puts a pleasing, toasty frame around the core flavors, a lovely mix of cranberry, plum pastry and brown spices. There’s an underlying earthy/leafy character with the lightest suggestion of the so-called “good” funk that characterizes this unique AVA. The finish gracefully tails out leaving touches of caramel and coffee grounds. Fans of Grenache will find this notable for its subtle elegance, length and detail. 60 cases; 13.9%; $85 (Walla Walla Valley) 95/100

Pášxa 2020 River Rock Vineyard Grenache – Only the finest examples of Grenache from anywhere show this potent expression of pure terroir, elegance, length, detail and finishing power, here with highlights of tea, tobacco, earth, blood orange and raspberry liqueur. Despite 60% whole cluster fermentation the savory side is kept proportionate, and 15% new oak adds a subtle focus to the finish. 140 cases; 14.9%; $95 (Walla Walla Valley) 96/100

Tenor 2021 Grenache – Tenor wines are ripened to the max and given extended aging in new French oak. This Grenache pushes close to 16% alcohol. It’s packed with blackberry jam, highlighted with baking spices, and so sweetly fruity it’s like a bite of  brioche slathered with butter and jam, finished with a lush toasty frame. I’d suggest you sip this from small glasses with a fruit-based tart. 132 cases; 15.9%; $128 (Columbia Valley) 95/100

Pinot Noir

Big Table Farm 2022 Pinot Noir – This is the most widely-available Pinot from BTF, and pulls in grapes from all seven vineyards managed by the winery. I love the color – a textbook, plummy Pinot hue – and the sensual aromatics that tie floral, earth and red berry scents together. This is light, almost delicate, and yet compelling, deep and long – it’s everything this ephemeral, flighty grape should be and often isn’t. I can’t recommend this wine highly enough – just give it ample time to breathe. 2139 cases; 13.1%; $50 (Willamette Valley) 95/100

Brittan 2021 Cygnus Block Pinot Noir – Note the low alcohol – proof that great Pinot Noir does not need to pound the palate with jammy fruit. This is sleek, stylish, anchored in flavors of rock and sediment, with wild mountain berries for fruit. I’m a fruit-loving guy, but here I bow to the flavor impact of this special terroir in the hands of a truly great winemaker. This spent 10 months in one quarter new French oak, yet seems to offer a pristine glimpse of the soil in which the grapes were grown. The barrels are light adornments; the rocky soils are the show. 121 cases; 12.8%; $65 (McMinnville) 95/100

Domaine Divio 2022 Toison d’Or Pinot Noir – The name refers to the medieval knights’ Order of the Golden Fleece, and represents the high point of the vintage’s Pinots at this estate. This is all clone 777 fruit, aged two years in 100% new barrels. The color is a plummy garnet, with hints of rose at the perimeter, and the lovely aromatics will reward decanting or plenty of swirling in the glass. Rose petals, cherries, a dusting of chocolate, and hints of root beer, sandalwood incense and baking spices unfold. Due for a November ‘24 release. 47 cases; 13.8%; $125  (Ribbon Ridge) 96/100

Élevée Winegrowers 2021 Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir – From 100% Pommard clone grapes grown on volcanic soils, this expresses the clean minerality particular to this small AVA. The vineyard, planted in 1988 and now certified Biodynamic, captures the cool breezes blowing through the Van Duzer Corridor. The cranberry/cherry fruit has a lightly roasted character, and gathers strength through the mid-palate. It exits with a wash of almond-flecked chocolate. 200 cases; 13%; $70 (McMinnville) 95/100

Harper Voit 2019 Antiquum Vineyard Pinot Noir – This unique vineyard practices a type of viticulture that incorporates elements of organic and biodynamic but goes beyond with its use of farm animals at every stage of the vintage. The result is a wine with extravagant subtlety, that simply must be studied, even meditated upon, or you’ll miss the magic. Myriad accents of herb and earth, compost and mineral, barnyard and underbrush gather around tart cranberry and raspberry fruit. There’s nothing dominant or aggressive here; it’s a subtle and beautifully balanced evocation of Pinot Noir from this unique terroir. 100 cases; 14.3%; $75 (Willamette Valley) 97/100

Lange 2021 Lange Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir – This brings a purity and focus that multi-vineyard blends cannot; both styles make sense, but they offer different strengths. Here there is a delightful verticality to the palate – firm, balanced, dense, packed with blue and black fruits and finished with ripe and polished tannins. Highlights of spice and tea, hints of underbrush, all in all a captivating wine with decades of life ahead. 450 cases; 13.5%; $80 (Dundee Hills) 95/100

Shea 2022 Estate Pinot Noir – All Shea wines are 100% estate grown; most are single block/single clone selections. This blends grapes from the entire estate, offering a unique glimpse of the overall terroir. There is a special excellence that carries into Shea designates made by almost any winery. But in wines made by the estate itself there is a focus and specificity that is exceptional. The block and clone selections are all complete wines in and of themselves, but this estate blend captures the fullness of the whole site with black fruits, expressive oak (one third new), clean earth, barrel spice and exceptional depth. 3170 cases; 13.7%; $50 (Willamette Valley) 96/100

Shea 2022 Block 5 Pinot Noir – Shea’s block selections are clonal selections, here putting the focus on Dijon Clone 777. Tight and layered, this brings compact flavors of prune, fig, soy, tobacco, coffee grounds and more. It’s close to biodynamic in its breathtaking mix of fruit and herb and earth flavors. This level of complexity in such a young wine is always a good sign for its ultimate evolution. The finish shows some butterfat flavors from the barrel aging that are irresistible. A stunningly great wine. 200 cases; 13.8%; $75 (Yamhill-Carlton) 97/100


Corliss 2018 Syrah – Lush and lovely, precise and powerful, this is of a piece with the toasty, dark Corliss portfolio while showcasing a style worth emulating for all Washington (not Rocks District) Syrahs. Good, concentrated black fruits, graphite, wet stone and touches of licorice and tobacco are nicely woven into this wine. Though given extra bottle age it still feels young, with a decade or more of prime drinking ahead. 280 cases; 14.9%; $75 (Columbia Valley) 95/100

Devison 2022 Beneath The Stones Syrah – Pure Syrah from the Stoney Vine vineyard in the Rocks District AVA. Lovely aromatics that accent lighter floral notes along with citrus and peppery spices. The wine gains power on the palate, and the funky imprint of the AVA’s hallmark characteristic is unmistakably present. Rich, ripe and dense blackberry fruit flavors abound, along with dusty baking spices, coffee grounds, chocolate nibs and black licorice. The overall complexity, length and balance are impeccable. 110 cases; 13.2%; $54 (Walla Walla Valley) 96/100

Force Majeure 2021 SJR Vineyard Syrah – SJR is the Rocks District vineyard of the Delmas winery, and the Force Majeure versions of this wine are always exceptional. The fruit is pushed front and center, a lush mix of berries and cherries and plums and golden raisins. The concentration drives the flavors down through the palate while adding layers of breakfast tea, crushed flowers, tapenade and blood sausage. The legendary Rocks District funk seems subdued and the brilliant, expressive fruit remains front and center. 82 cases; 14.6%; $85 (Walla Walla) 98/100

Liminal 2021 Block Highlight Series WeatherEye Vineyard Block 16 Syrah – This is tight, spicy, focused and beautifully defined. Tightly wound with a mix of blackberry, black cherry, figs, tobacco, earth, espresso and more, this captivating wine should be mandatory for anyone who loves Syrah. It’s a definitive take on how Washington can offer a unique and distinctive and truly important style with this global grape. 82 cases; 14.8%; $70 (Columbia Valley) 98/100

Pášxa 2020 Rockgarden Vineyard Syrah – Made from a selection of the best Syrah from this estate vineyard, this was fermented in stainless steel and aged in one quarter new French oak. Without going over the top, and maintaining impeccable balance, it captures the blue and black fruits, the earthy umami, the suggestions of bloody meat and herbal tea and all the things that make this AVA unique and iconic. 375 cases; 14.3%; $85 (Walla Walla Valley) 97/100

Quady North 2019 Mae’s Vineyard Syrah – I’m tempted to call this elegant for Syrah, not generally thought of as an elegant variety. You can find simple or fruity Syrah that lack depth, and heavy, funky Syrahs that challenge food. But Syrahs such as this are rare. It’s a collage of berries, teas, forest floor and floral highlights. The density of this wine gets more and more impressive as it breathes and adds details, while keeping its balance. It’s a wine that deserves your full attention, meaning note how the flavors extend and linger long after you’ve swallowed. 126 cases; 14.2%; $35  (Applegate Valley) 95/100

Rocky Pond 2022 Estate Syrah – Add Rocky Reach to this state’s best Syrah-producing AVAs. This captures pinpoint, varietally-specific flavors of brambly blackberries, composted earth, coffee grounds, sandalwood, chicory, bacon fat, cut tobacco and more. Yes, some of that is from the almost half new oak, but it is so seamlessly applied that it’s difficult to separate the fruit from the barrel, and that’s as it should be. This is a truly delicious Syrah packed with nuanced details. 220 cases; 14.2%; $55 (Rocky Reach) 96/100

Catching Up – highlights from recent tastings

Argyle 2019 Spirit Hill Vineyard Blanc de Blancs – Barrel fermentation brings a well-rounded mouthfeel and a touch of spice to this all-Chardonnay wine, sourced from Argyle’s coolest site. 2019 may ultimately prove to be one of Oregon’s most successful vintages for ageworthy method champenoise wines, and this would be one to tuck away for a decade or longer if that’s your preference. At the moment it’s loaded with fresh cut apple fruit, lightly toasty, quite drinkable and nicely balanced. But I’m guessing the best is yet to come. 400 cases; 12.5%; $60 (Eola-Amity Hills) 93/100

Barking Dog 2022 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir – A young and fruity style, loaded with blueberry fruit flavors, this is a nicely balanced effort with ample acids and restrained tannins. From the estate’s high elevation vineyard, it’s focused and pure, with appealing minerality. Though light, it’s showing impressive complexity and should develop well in bottle over the rest of this decade. 951 cases; 14%; $36 (Chehalem Mountains) 92/100

Barking Dog 2021 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir – This is the first vintage from the winery, released about 18 months ago. It’s drinking well, with plummy fruit that is showing some mature flavors of blueberry and marionberry pastry filling. One quarter of the barrels were new, and they add subtle spice and help to round out the mouthfeel. The wine finishes by lingering on the back palate with hints of sassafras and sandalwood. 831 cases; 14%; $36 (Chehalem Mountains) 92/100

Compton 2023 Garden Series Pinot Gris – This catches the hint of blush that characterizes this grape. It’s in a fine drinking window, with citrus and pear and table grape fruit flavors. Almost fleshy, nicely balanced and textural, it is especially pleasing at this price. 2500 cases; 13%; $20 (Willamette Valley) 92/100

Events & Tastings Coming Up

Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine

July 11 – 13

This three day event, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the certification of the Walla Walla Valley AVA, is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon this year. There are tastings of multiple vintages from winery libraries, collaborative winemaker seminars and dinners, and opportunities to compare and share the wines of the Walla Walla Valley with those from around the world.

Summertime ¡Salud! E-Auction

July 16 – 18

The preview lots for the three-day E-Auction have been posted on the link above. Wineries create one-of-a-kind ¡Salud! Cuvée Pinot Noirs from their very best barrels. Only five cases of each featured wine is produced. ¡Salud! is a benefit for the Hillsboro Medical Center Foundation.

Chardy Party

July 25th 6 to 9pm

Four great wineries – Hazelfernbig table farmHundred Suns, and Walter Scott – will be pouring their marvelous Chardonnays (I’ve already raved about the latest from big table farm and Walter Scott). Chefs Sarah Schafer and Brett Uniss from Humble Spirit + the Ground will be shucking oysters and frying up buckets of chicken. The venue is the Hazelfern Barn – just up the road from The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon. Parking on-site is limited, as are tickets, so don’t delay.

Paul Gregutt
Paul Gregutt
Paul Gregutt has been covering the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest since the mid-1980s. From 2002 to 2012 he wrote a weekly wine column for the Seattle Times and authored two critically-acclaimed editions of ‘Washington Wines & Wineries – The Essential Guide’ (UC Berkeley Press). He served as the Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine from 1998 until 2022. Early on he was an original staff member of both the Seattle Weekly and KZAM-FM. He lives with his wife Karen and his rescue dog Cookie in Waitsburg (pop. 1204), a farm community about 20 miles NE of Walla Walla. When not tasting and writing about wine he writes songs, plays guitar and sings in his band the DavePaul5 ( Follow his writing at PaulG on Wine,, and in the Waitsburg Times.


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