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Break out of your red wine rut

‘Outstanding’ wines were deemed by our judges to have superior characteristics and should be highly sought after. ‘Excellent’ rated wines are top-notch wines with particularly high qualities.

Prices are suggested retail.

OUTSTANDING

Amelia Wynne 2016 Tempranillo $30This wine, made on Bainbridge Island, impressed the judges at the 35th Annual Washington State Wine competition, who awarded it a double gold and best of class. In a recent tasting, this Yakima Valley AVA wine from Art den Hoed Vineyard remains outstanding as it ages. Opening with notes of spicy cedar, cherry and blueberry, then the same fruit on the palate, plus a bit of black olive in its tannins which are just a touch softer than a couple years ago.

Thurston Wolfe 2013 Petite Sirah $20Wade Wolfe seems to bottle magic almost every year with this varietal from his Prosser, Wash. winery. Grown in Zephyr Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, this well aged example shows off white pepper, smoke, oak spice and dark fruit aromas that lead to flavors of blackberry, black cherry, black plum and black currant, with a sumptuous mouth feel from front to back, a long finish and well-managed tannins.

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EXCELLENT

Nicole Reese 2016 Tempranillo $24Winemaker Elisabeth Grunwald used from from Oregon’s Rogue Valley to craft this full-bodied wine with its aromas of spice, dark cherries, caramel and dark cocoa. In the mouth, it reveals more dark cherry, a bit of plum and well-managed tannins and a final kiss of black pepper at the end.

Merry 2014 Mourvèdre $48Idaho winemaker Patrick Merry uses Stillwater Creek Vineyard to source his Mourvèdre and has produced a consistent line of excellent wines with its fruit. This one shows off aromas of cured meat, blackberry, blueberry and herbs, then blackberry, blueberry and dark currant in the mouth, leading to a long, juicy finish.

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