© 2001 by Randy Buckner
1998 Columbia, Cabernet Franc, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington, $23, 377 cases. You’ll appreciate black cherry and cedar aromas and flavors. Nicely balanced, the tannins are silky smooth. 84/84.
2000 Eaton Hill, Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley, Washington, $12, 185 cases. This medium-bodied wine is a little atypical for a Franc. Aromas and flavors of very ripe plums, blueberries, and vanilla ride on a acidic backbone. 84/86.
1998 Bella Sera, Cabernet Sauvignon, delle Venezie, Italy, $8, 59,000 cases. This straightforward ruby quaffer offers black fruit and leather aromas and flavors, with soft tannins and acids. 80/82.
1999 Bogle, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, $12. The nose is filled with blueberry, blackberry and olive highlights. Straightforward flavors echo the aromas, with an added touch of dill. Tannins are supple, the acids brisk. 82/84.
1997 Bookwalter, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2nd bottling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $30, 514 cases. Huge plum jam and blueberries aromas besiege the senses, with vanilla and dill spice thrown in for good measure. Tannins are substantial but rounded. 87/86.
1998 Bookwalter, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington, $35, 1263 cases. Plum, blueberry, mixed oak and dill aromas and flavors finish with chewy tannins that are a bit dry. 86/84.
1997 Claar, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington, $18. This medium-bodied wine has blackberry, cassis and French oak aromas and flavors. Chewy tannins dictate more bottle aging. 87/89.
1997 Clos Du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Napa Valley, California, $90, 2,900 cases. Deeply colored, with blackberry, cassis, and French vanilla accents. Elegantly balanced, with layers of black fruit, chocolate and French vanilla. The tannins are sturdy, the acids divine. Give this one some bottle time. 90/86.
1996 Columbia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington, $28, 2,297 cases. With a lovely nose of plum and blueberry, this richly colored wine delivers on the palate as well. Elegant, focused, with layered fruit, a touch of cocoa, and a lingering finish. 89/89.
1998 Covey Run, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barrel Select, Yakima Valley, Washington, $15, 3,564 cases. Inviting aromas of plums and cassis carry over to the palate, enhanced by a touch of spice and supple tannins. Made in an easy drinking style. 85/87.
1998 Dry Creek, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Dry Creek Valley, California, $35, 2,800 cases. This dark ruby wine has ripe black cherry and vanilla aromas and flavors, with a dash of herbs to add interest. Medium-bodied with rounded tannins. 86/85.
1997 Gallo of Sonoma, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barrelli Creek Vineyards, Alexander Valley, California, $28, 24,000 cases. Almost black in the glass, the blackberry, cassis, licorice and American oak aromas proudly declare themselves. Full-bodied with supple tannins. Layers of dense black fruit take the forefront with generous underlying oak flavors. 87/87.
1998 Guenoc, Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, California, $18, 13,000 cases. Pleasing blackberry and floral aromas are repeated on the palate, with underlying herbal notes. Medium-bodied, with modest tannins and a long aftertaste. 86/88.
1997 Hans Fahden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, $20, 1,900 cases. Layers of rich black fruit and enhancing oak please both the nose and the palate. Moderate but silky tannins round out this wine. 88/90.
1997 Hans Fahden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Sonoma County, California, $28, 550 cases. Dark ruby in the glass, mixed black fruits and cedar aromas are evident. Full-bodied with satiny tannins, this wine is slightly more complex than their regular bottling, but also with more obvious oak. 89/90.
1997 Indigo Hills, Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, California, $13, 21,000 cases. Medium-bodied and well-balanced, aromas of cherry, cassis and dill spice dominate. You’ll find similar flavors with moderate supporting tannins. 83/85.
1999 Paul Thomas, Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $8. Designed for early drinking, this wine offers up ripe berry aromas and flavors, an easy hand on the oak and silky tannins. 83/85.
1999 Pedroncelli, Cabernet Sauvignon, Three Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, California, $14.50. This sparkling ruby wine boasts blackberry, blueberry, mint, and American oak aromas and flavors. Well-balanced, medium-bodied, with food-friendly acidity. 86/89.
1998 St. Clement, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, $35, 6,500 cases. The nose is defined by ripe raspberries, bing cherries, and coconut. Similar flavors, a soft mouthfeel and satiny tannins wrap up the package. 86/86.
1999 St. Clement, Red Table Wine, Oroppas, Napa Valley, California, $50, 5,200 cases. A host of aromas and flavors play on the senses. Blackberries, blueberries, cassis, chocolate, French oak, and violets abound. Medium to full-bodied, the balance is impeccable. 91/89.
1999 Viña Tarapacá, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva, Maipo, Chile, $12. Black fruit, olive and cedar aromas and flavors are supported by rounded tannins and brisk acidity. 84/86.
2000 Atlas Peak, Chardonnay, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, California, $16, 3,500 cases. A very perfumed nose of tropical fruit opens on the palate to pear and nectarine fruit, with an easy hand on the oak. Lush, creamy, with a long aftertaste. 87/89.
2000 Bogle, Chardonnay, California, $9. Pineapple and vanilla aromas are evident. Creamy on the entry, pear, apple and spicy American oak flavors prevail on the soft finish. 84/87.
2000 Bookwalter, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $10, 2,620 cases. Fresh apple and pear aromas are also acknowledged on the palate. The wine is very clean and refreshing without an oak burden to hide the fruit. This will make a nice picnic/food wine. 86/88.
2000 Bookwalter, Chardonnay, Vintner’s Select, Columbia Valley, Washington, $25, 107 cases. Full-bodied with creamy, buttery, spicy apple notes on the nose and palate. Pears linger on the long, buttery finish. Nice wine for the style. 88/88.
2000 Callaway, Chardonnay, Coastal, California, $11. This light gold wine is showcased by pineapple and toasty oak aromas. Very crisp on the entry, medium-bodied, with layers of apple, citrus and vanillin flavors. 84/87.
1998 Claar, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $10. Light gold in color, the wine was barrel-fermented and has buttery notes but is not saddled with oak. Lean, clean, with lots of tropical fruit, this is a good value sipper. 86/89.
2000 Corbett Canyon, Chardonnay, Reserve, California, $7. Tropical fruit and American oak aromas and flavors define the wine. Light-bodied and soft on the palate. 0.6% residual sugar. 83/85.
2000 Estancia, Chardonnay, Pinnacles, Monterey, California, $13. Fresh sliced apples, pears, mango, coconut and toasty oak define the aroma and flavor profiles of the light gold wine. Sweet fruit and spice linger on the long aftertaste. 86/88.
2000 Gordon Brothers, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $16, 2,180 cases. This is not the wine for those looking for a buttery, oaky Chardonnay. This wine expresses the citrus and fresh sliced apple spectrum. Very clean and refreshing, this is a food-friendly wine waiting for a plate of Fettuccini Alfredo. 88/90.
2000 Hogue, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington, $10, 75,293 cases. Aromas of pear, apple, vanilla, honey and smoke unfold in the glass. Medium-bodied with easy acidity, the flavors mimic the nose, with a touch of spice on the finish. 84/87.
2000 Valley of the Moon, Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California, $14, 6,200 cases. You’ll find generous French oak aromas and flavors, with apples and spice on a soft, creamy framework. 84/84.
2000 Veramonte, Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile, $10, 50,000 cases. Gold in color, the nose is packed with tropical fruit, with just a touch of wood. Soft, creamy, fruity, spicy, this makes a nice value quaffer. 85/87.
1999 Chateau St. Jean, Merlot, Sonoma County, California, $25. Layers of cherry, chocolate and blackberry aromas intermingle on the nose. The aromas are echoed on the palate, with additional tobacco notes and well-integrated oak. The tannin structure is firm but supple. An easy to like Merlot. 89/89.
1997 Claar, Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington, $18. Anise, black cherries, plums, and minerals delight the nose. Similar flavors are balanced by nice acidity and integrated oak. The finish is long and lush. 87/88.
1997 Claar, Merlot, Reserve, Columbia Valley, Washington, $25. From twenty-year-old vines, earthy black cherry and a streak of smoke highlights the nose. Very focused, with chocolate, tobacco and plum flavors. 88/88.
1999 Clos Du Bois, Merlot, Sonoma Country, California, $18. The soft entry opens to straightforward blueberry fruit and toasty vanilla oak flavors, which also define the nose. 83/83.
1999 Corbett Canyon, Merlot, Reserve, California, $7. Very soft on the entry, with blackberry and black cherry flavors, light tannins, and a sweet fruit finish. 0.7% residual sugar. 83/85.
1998 Gordon Brothers, Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington, $20, 3,189 cases. A nice example of WA Merlot. Lush blueberry and blackberry aromas and flavors have an added black olive undertone, with snappy acidity and easy going tannins. Match with grilled beef. 88/90.
1998 Mirassou, Merlot, Harvest Reserve, Monterey County, California, $18, 5,910 cases. The nose is characterized by black cherry, plum, cedar and coffee notes. Black fruit and cedar flavors prevail, with modest tannins and crisp acidity. 85/85.
1999 Paul Thomas, Merlot, Washington, $8. This garnet colored wine has straightforward cherry and blueberry notes on the nose and palate, with soft tannins and balanced acidity. 83/84.
1999 Viña Tarapacá, Merlot, Reserva, Maipo Valley, Chile, $12. Black cherry and blackberry aromas lead to similar simple but tasty flavors. The sweet fruit finish is soft and crisp. 84/85.
2000 Bookwalter, Chenin Blanc, Ciel du Cheval, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9, 1,240 cases. Sweet, at 4% residual sugar, yet maintains a crisp mouthfeel. Fruity, with pear and melon standing out on the aftertaste. Nice picnic wine or a match for Thai food. 84/86. NV Bookwalter, Red Table Wine #11, Washington, $15, 590 cases. A blend of four wines from three different vintages. Plum, raspberry and olive aromas and flavors finish out with chewy tannins. 85/85.
1999 Covey Run, Cabernet-Merlot, Washington State, $9, 17,735 cases. Lightly styled for early consumption, this wine offers mixed berries, toasty American oak and a hint of green olive. 83/83. 1998 Guenoc, Petite Sirah, North Coast, California, $20, 7,925 cases. Almost opaque in the glass, this deeply colored wine has mixed berry aromas. Full-bodied, you’ll find black fruit, pepper, chocolate, spice and vanilla flavors, along with chewy tannins often typical of the grape. 86/86.
2000 Renwood, Barbera, Sierra Series, California, $13, 5,000 cases. This dark ruby, medium-bodied wine offers black cherry and raspberry jam aromas and flavors, a touch of leather and fresh acidity. 87/89.
2000 Renwood, Viognier, Sierra Series, California, $13, 3,200 cases. Peach and honeysuckle delight the nose. Similar flavors are found in this medium-bodied wine, with a twist of citrus peel and a soft finish. 85/86.
2000 Gallo of Sonoma, Pinot Gris, Sonoma Coast, California, $13, 11,600 cases. Creamy, with friendly acidity, this straw-colored wine offers up tropical fruit and smoky aromas, with a streak of toasty oak and clove. 85/85.
2000 Hogue, Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, Washington, $10, 5,100 cases. Very aromatic, with peaches, pineapple and apples fighting for the forefront. Up-front flavors of melons and tropical fruit linger on the long, snappy finish. 87/89.
1999 Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio, Maso Canali Vineyard, Trentino, Italy, $18, 5,000 cases. Very crisp, clean and focused. Tropical fruit, figs, and nuts intermingle on the nose and palate. 86/85.
2000 Rancho Zabaco, Pinot Gris, Sonoma Coast, California, $16, 5,500 cases. Gold with a peach tinge, the aromas and flavors reveal tangerine, nectarine and floral highlights. 85/84.
1998 King Estate, Pinot Noir, Oregon, $20. This deep garnet wine offers up black cherry, plum and toasty oak aromas. Medium-bodied, the cherry, cedar and vanilla flavors of this well-balanced wine are sure to please. 86/86.
1999 Turning Leaf, Pinot Noir, Coastal Reserve, North Coast, California, $10, 13,400 cases. Honest aromas and flavors of raspberry and strawberry jam are balanced by easy tannins, integrated oak and lively acidity. 83/85.
2000 Bookwalter, Johannisberg Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $8, 4,000 cases. Refreshing, sweet (4.6% RS), not cloying. Characteristic peach and apricot notes are underscored by a touch of tangerine. Match with Chinese dishes. 85/86.
1997 Claar, Riesling, Ice Wine, Botrytisized, Columbia Valley, Washington, $30. Intense botrytis/honey on the nose. Powerfully rich and sweet, with layers of complex peach and apricot flavors. Delightful. 23% RS. 91/90.
2000 Claar, Riesling, Late Harvest, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9. Honeysuckle, peach and banana are noted on the nose and palate. Rich, sweet, refreshing. 6% RS. 88/90.
2000 Claar, Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, $9. A nicely styled wine, with zippy acidity. Very perfumed floral notes and stone fruit aromas combine with peaches and pears on the palate to make a dandy. 88/90.
2000 Covey Run, Riesling, Washington State, $6, 20,700 cases. Aromas and flavors of fresh sliced white peaches. Delicate sweetness at 2.95%, finishing with soft acidity. 82/83.
2000 Mirassou, Riesling, Coastal Selection, Monterey County, California, $8, 19,000 cases. Delicately sweet at 1.35% residual sugar, the aromas are reminiscent of stone fruit and wet stones. Light-bodied, with straightforward peach fruit and soft acidity. 82/84.
1999 Atlas Peak, Sangiovese, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, California, $16, 24,000 cases. Mixed berry fruit dominates the nose. Fresh berries, vanilla and a dash of spice are supported by supple tannins and a crisp finish. While not thought of as a classic match, this wine went well with a steaming bowl of chili. 86/87.
1999 Camellia Cellars, Sangiovese, Merlo Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, California, $28, 225 cases. Engaging aromas of plum and cherry are followed by full flavors of cherry and raspberry, silky tannins and firm acidity. This was a perfect match for a plate of spaghetti with Italian sausage based red sauce. 90/89.
1998 Claar, Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, Washington, $18. You’ll find lots of bright cherry and earthy notes with a light hand on the oak. Chianti-styled, the wine is very crisp, with a long, charming berry aftertaste. Lovely. 90/91.
1999 Columbia, Sangiovese, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington, $27. Made in a light style using neutral barrels, the delicate cherry fruit is allowed to express itself. The wine is supported by modest tannins and zippy acidity, improving over time in the glass. 86/86.
1999 Hogue, Sangiovese, Genesis, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, $16. Packed with juicy fruit, this full-extract wine has a healthy dose of sweet vanilla, brisk acidity, and a long, fruity aftertaste. 85/86.
1999 Pedroncelli, Sangiovese, Alto Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California, $14, 2,143 cases. Cherry and smoky oak aromas are followed by bright cherry fruit and a healthy dollop of oak and drying tannins. Nice acidity throughout. 84/86.
2000 Three Rivers Winery, Sangiovese, Pepper Bridge, Walla Walla Valley , Washington, $35. Very toasty oak aromas prevail with black cherry in the background. On the palate the wine is dominated by sweet oak at the moment with underlying black cherry fruit and nice acidity. It is always difficult to evaluate a wine this young so final ratings are reserved.
1999 Walla Walla Vintners, Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, Washington, $25, 450 cases. Deep ruby in color, this wine exudes rich black fruit aromas and sweet oak. Big, jammy fruit, a touch of black olive and a healthy dose of oak is balanced by very food-friendly acidity. 89/89.
2000 Callaway, Sauvignon Blanc, Coastal, California, $8. Lovely grassy/herbal aromas pleasure the senses. Melon, tangerine and gooseberry flavors are enhanced by balanced acidity. Very good value. 84/88.
2000 Chateau St. Jean, Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County, California, $13. Fresh honeydew melon and citrus aromas emanate from the glass. Similar flavors unfold on the palate, with a soft, creamy finish. 86/87.
2000 Dry Creek, Fume Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, California, $18, 1,200 cases. Gooseberry, tropical fruit and jalapeno aromas are echoed on the palate. There is a streak of citrus oil at mid-palate, with a dry, crisp finish. 85/84.
2000 Hogue, Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington, $10, 43,800 cases. Spicy oak, guava, and a puff of smoke highlight the nose. A host of flavors are displayed to include spice, herbs, citrus fruit and vanilla., finishing crisp and clean. 84/87.
2000 Rancho Zabaco, Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, California, $16, 5,700 cases. This medium-bodied, golden wine extends aromas and flavors of grapefruit, lemongrass, and herbs on a nicely acidic foundation. 84/84.
2000 Simi, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California, $14, 21,500 cases. Straw-colored, with pleasant jalapeno and vanilla aromas, this crisp refresher delivers citrus, lemongrass and light oak flavors. A nice match for steamed shellfish and lemon chicken. 88/90.
2000 St. Clement, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, $13, 2,500 cases. This light gold sipper has grapefruit and toasty oak aromas with a smoky streak. Soft, creamy, with citrus flavors and generous oak. 85/86.
2000 Trinchero, Sauvignon Blanc, Family Selection, California, $12, 4,200 cases. Their first Sauvignon Blanc. Creamy on the entry, this medium-bodied wine has melon, lemongrass and toasty oak aromas and flavors. 85/86.
2000 Eaton Hill, Semillon, Yakima Valley, Washington, $8, 158 cases. Gold with a peach tinge, fig, peach and floral notes tempt the nose. Nice acidity greets the palate, with juicy fruit and vanilla overtones. 85/87.
1998 Napa Ridge, Semillon, Napa Valley, California, $10. Fig, spice and honey accents highlight this golden offering. Creamy, with easy acidity, obvious clove spice reveals itself on the palate along with melons and apples. 83/84.
NV Domaine Ste. Michelle, Blanc De Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11. Light straw in color with delicate apple aromas. Apple, pear and grapefruit flavors are balanced by adequate acidity. 83/84.
NV Domaine Ste. Michelle, Cuvée Brut, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11. Light gold, with straightforward aromas and flavors of green apple and pineapple. Brisk finish. 82/83.
NV Domaine Ste. Michelle, Extra Dry, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11. Simple but tasty, pear and kiwi aromas give way to apricot and pear flavors. Delicately sweet at 2.2% RS. This one has big crowd appeal. 84/85.
1995 Korbel, California Champagne, Reserve, Le Premier, Russian River Valley, California, $22. Medium bubbles shimmer in this limited release. Aromas and flavors of apple and toast with an added streak of berry tang. Nice balance. 87/87.
NV G.H. Mumm, Champagne, Cordon Rouge, France, $35. Lemon curd and apples tempt the nose. Apple and floral notes are braced by firm acidity. 86/86.
1995 Perrier-Jouët, Champagne, Fleur De Champagne, Belle Epoque, Brut, France, $120. An intense bead with a persistent mousse, along with a delicate sense of sweetness. Firmly structured, you’ll find toasty flavors with honey and vanilla notes on the long, very crisp finish. 91/87.
NV Perrier-Jouët, Champagne, Grand Brut, France, $40. Fine bubbles dance about in this light gold non-vintage champagne. The nose is quite elegant with pineapple notes. Harmony of fruit flavors, acidity and toastiness make for a delightful wine. 90/90.
1998 Schramsberg, Blanc De Blancs, California, $29.50, 17,000 cases. Light gold with medium bubbles and a creamy entry. Aromas of apples, pears, and citrus carry over to the palate along with pineapple and leesy notes. 88/88.
1997 Schramsberg, Napa Valley Champagne, Blanc De Noirs, California, $29.50, 8,500 cases. Nutmeg, orange and apple aromas highlight this light gold sparkler. Full-bodied, with gobs of creamy cherry and almond flavors. 88/88.
1998 Domaine De Nizas, Coteaux Du Languedoc, France, $28, 1,200 cases. 95% Syrah. An elegant styled Languedoc with blackberry, herb and cedar notes. Moderate tannins on the finish. 86/84.
1999 Gordon Brothers, Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington, $30, 436 cases. The nose exhibits black fruit, a touch of smoked meat and light vanilla. Lean, focused, with brisk acidity, black cherry fruit and a hint of white pepper, this is a good match for BBQ. 87/86.
1999 Martella, Hammer Syrah, California, $23, 633 cases. Full-bodied, lush, with smooth tannins, this dark ruby beauty offers lovely blackberries, plums and vanilla to please the senses. 90/91.
2000 Renwood, Syrah, Sierra Series, California, $13, 10,000 cases. Very dark in the glass, plums control the aroma profile. Medium-bodied with satiny tannins, plum, black cherry and vanilla flavors dominate, with a long, fruity aftertaste. 87/89.
1999 Clos Du Bois, Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California, $14. Lightly styled, you’ll find aromas and flavors of raspberry, strawberry and black pepper. The finish is soft, fruity and crisp. 83/84.
1998 Gallo of Sonoma, Zinfandel, Frei Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, California, $19, 5,500 cases. Classic Zinfandel aromas pair with jammy raspberry fruit, a kiss of black pepper and mixed oak flavors. Full-bodied, with moderate chewy tannins that need time to soften. 87/87.
1999 Rancho Zabaco, Zinfandel, Heritage Vines, Sonoma County, California, $16, 94,000 cases. Raspberry and vanilla cream are appreciated on the nose and palate. This medium-bodied wine has supple tannins and a long, crisp, fruity finish. Enjoyable now. 87/88.
1999 Renwood, Zinfandel, D’Agostini Bros., Shenandoah Valley, California, $35. This classy ruby red wine is packed with raspberry, blackberry, vanilla and black pepper aromas and flavors. The finish is long and lush. 90/88.
1999 Renwood, Zinfandel, Fiddletown, California, $25. A full, rich nose of strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and vanilla scents leads to intensely fruity mixed berry jam and sweet oak flavors. Great acidity. 89/89.
1999 Renwood, Zinfandel, Grandmère, Amador County, California, $23. Intense berry fruit shines on the nose and palate. A dash of black pepper and vanilla adds interest to this full-bodied wine. The aftertaste is long and refined, the tannins full but rounded. 91/91.
1999 Renwood, Zinfandel, Grandpère, Amador County, California, $35. Richly colored, the aromas of chocolate covered cherries and raspberries are unmistakable. Full-bodied, with healthy tannins that do not dry out the mouth. Intensely fruity, with spicy black pepper and well-integrated oak that lingers on the finish. 92/90.
1999 Renwood, Zinfandel, Jack Rabbit Flat, Amador County, California, $35. Blackberries, plums, cedar and vanilla notes tempt the nose. Deep, lush fruit captivates the palate, with sweet oak undertones. Full-bodied but easy on the palate, the tannins are real but rounded. 91/89.
1999 Renwood, Zinfandel, Old Vine, Amador County, California, $17. You’ll find nice acidity and balance in this garnet colored new release. Jammy strawberry aromas and flavors are enhanced by black pepper and vanilla notes, finishing with smooth tannins. 88/89.