2010 Best Washington Wines: Red Blends

Best Rhone-style red blend under $20
Syncline 2008 Subduction Red (columbia Valley, $18)

Syncline Cellars, on the banks of the Columbia River Gorge, continues to amaze us with its excellent Rhone-style wines and their classic aromas and flavors, such as the white pepper, dried herbs, raspberry and black cherry in this Grenache/Syrah blend.

Best Rhone-style red blend over $20
DeLille Cellars Doyenne 2007 Metier
(yakima Valley, $34)

 
This fascinating blend of Grenache (33 percent), Mourvedre (50 percent) and Syrah (17 percent) shows the richness and deep color of Mourvedre with the meat and minerality of Syrah, offset by fresh raspberry and sweet spice flavors of Grenache. Complexity makes us want to keep drinking this wine—especially with grilled meats and roasted poultry.

Best Bordeaux-style red blend under $20
Townshend Cellars NV Vortex
(columbia Valley, $14.95)

 
For almost 20 years, winemaker and owner Don Townshend has been quietly producing solid wines in Colbert, Washington, just north of Spokane, and red blends are his strong suit. Made from wines produced in different years, this non-vintage blend is a balanced wine with excellent value for the price, full of rich, ripe fruit, balanced oak and a bit of lush vanilla and licorice aromas.

Best Bordeaux-style red blend over $20
Chester-Kidder 2005
(columbia Valley, $50)

 
One of the Long Shadows lineup, Chester-Kidder is the one wine that is made by the winery’s own winemaker, Gilles Nicault, rather than one of the globe-trotting guest winemakers who fly in from Australia, France and beyond to create the other Long Shadows wines. Nicault’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah is one of the most balanced of the Long Shadows lineup, with what one judge described as “ripe fruit framed by firm tannins,” with notes of earth, forest floor and tobacco adding complexity.

Best proprietary red blend
under $20
Mannina Cellars 2007 Cali
(walla Walla Valley, $17)

This well-priced little red blend has been popping up on glass-pour menus around town, and our judges agreed that it is a versatile and food-friendly wine. Bursting with juicy dark cherry and cola aromas, this medium-bodied Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese has great acidity with a lushness on the palate that balances the brightness. 

Best proprietary red blend
over $20
Guardian Cellars 2007 Chalk Line
(columbia Valley, $25)

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