Home » Wine Reviews by Denman Moody

Great Values from Washington State and More



Whereas Oregon is producing winning Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Washington State is producing equally great Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon! The following are the best values from tasting through about 50 Washington State wines over the last several months:

  • Charles Smith The Velvet Devil Merlot 2014 $12.99
  • Charles Smith Eve Chardonnay 2014 $12.99
  • Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 $18.99
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle EROICA Riesling Columbia Valley 2015 $20
  • Slight of Hand Cellars The Enchantress Chardonnay Yakima Valley 2014 $28
  • Seven Hills Merlot Walla Walla 2014 $45
  • Spring Valley Cabernet Franc Katherine Corkrum Vineyard Walla Walla 2014 $50
  • Cadence Bel Canto Red Mountain Red 2013 $60
  • Avennia Sestina Columbia Valley Red Wine 2014 $65.


Winning Champagne And
Sparkling Wines:

Jean-Chares Boisset, “King” of northern California wine country, is certainly making a splash in this area. Big, new winners are JCB Brut de Bourgogne $23 and

JCB Brut Rosé de Bourgogne $25;

the Boisset Collection Haute Cou­ture Blanc and Rosé (very, very cool bottle presentation, and available in 750 ml and 187 ml) $29.99 for the 750; and finally, a partnership between his newly restored Buena Vista Winery and the largest privately owned proprietors of vineyards in Champagne, Buena Vista Champagne Brut “La Victoire.” $50. Another excellent California sparkler with French roots is the newly released Louis Pommery California Sparkling Wine. At its price point, it is said to be an “everyday luxury.” $24

Moet & Chandon has just released its Grand Vintage Brut 2008, the 72nd vintage wine since the first was released in 1842. I think they have it right by now!! I was fortunate to taste it alongside the 1998 and 1988. Impressive is an understatement! I would drink one now, cellar one for five years and another for 10 years. Refined elegance. $64


Beautiful, High-End Pinot Noir :

  • MacRostie Pinot Noir Wildcat Mountain Sonoma Coast 2014 $56
  • Sonoma-Loeb Pinot Noir Bateman Vineyard Russian River Valley 2015 $60
  • Lynmar Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 $60
  • Robert Mondavi Reserve Pinot Noir Carneros 2014 $60
  • Benziger de Coelo Pinot Noir, Quintos Sonoma Coast 2014 $75
  • Goldeneye Pinot Noir Ten Degrees Estate Grown Anderson Valley $120


Fabulous, High-End Cabernet
And Merlot:

  • Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012 $55
  • Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2013 $55 (The ’12 is Margaux; the ’13 Pauillac)
  • Ladera Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014 $60
  • Raymond Generations Napa Valley 2013 $60
  • Bella Union Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014 $85 (New release from Far Niente)
  • Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard Napa Valley 2014 $98
  • Venge Cabernet Sauvignon Bone Ash Vineyard Napa Valley 2013 $105
  • Nickel & Niclel Cabernet Sauvignon State Ranch Vineyard Napa Valley 2014 $115
  • Clos du Val Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Hirondelle Vineyard Stags Leap District 2014 $120
  • Pine Ridge Fortis Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013 $170

   Other Great Reds (And 2 Rosés)
Under $50:

  • Gnarly Head Authentic Black Red Wine Blend Lodi 2014 $10
  • Cupcake Rosé California 2016 $11
  • Artezin Zinfandel Mendocino County 2015 $14
  • Callie Collection Fresh Red Blend Central Coast 2014 $15
  • Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel Paso Robles 2014 $16
  • Gabbiano Dark Knight Toscana Red Wine (Cab, Merlot, Sangiovese) 2015 $17
  • Chateau Ste Michelle 50th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington) $20
  • Purple Heart Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014 $22
  • Ruffino Modus Toscana (Sangiovese, Cab, Merlot) 2013 $22
  • Chateau Ste Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot Horse Heaven Hills 2013 $23
  • Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend Central Coast (Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec) 2014 $24
  • Raymond Reserve Merlot Napa Valley 2013 $24
  • Max’s Shiraz Cabernet South Australia 2015 $25
  • Kokomo Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2014 $26
  • Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2015 $26
  • Lynmar Estate Rosé Russian River Valley 2015 $26
  • Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva 2006 (current release) $29
  • Golan Heights Winery YARDEN Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee 2013


About four years ago, I had a lovely al fresco luncheon at a seaside restaurant in Tel Aviv with Victor Shoenfeld, winemaker then and now for YARDEN. I have not had a better wine from Israel at any price. Kudos to Victor! $29.99


  • Diora Pinot Noir La Petite Grace Monterey 2013 $30
  • Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Lot 608 2014 $29, and Lot 601 2014 $32
  • Lohr Highlands Bench Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2014 $35
  • Marchese di Frescobaldi Chianti Ruffina Nipozzano Vecchie Viti 2011 $30
  • Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013 $40
  • Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley 40th Anniversary 2014 $40
  • Kokomo Cabernet Sauvignon Ruth’s Vineyard Alexander Valley 2014 $42
  • J Lohr Cuvée ST. E. Paso Robles 2013 $45


DENMAN MOODY USE DSC_0007Denman Moody was the Editor and Publisher of Moody’s Wine Review for six years and Con­tributing Editor on Rare Wine for International Wine Review in New York for six years.  He has published or had published over 400 articles on wine, including The International Wine and Food Society Journal in London, Revue du Vin de France in Paris and The Robb Report in Malibu.  He is or has been a member of The Inter­national Wine and Food Society, Confrerie Saint-Etienne d’Alsace, The German Wine Society, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Chaine des Rotisseurs, Les Amis d’Escoffier and The Knights of the Vine.

Comments are closed.