Review Date - October 2017
"Happily, in recent years DeLille’s broad line-up of wines has been among the most exciting in Washington State.
Very few Washington wineries can match DeLille for the way their wines combine sheer fruit intensity and structure. The current releases are wonderfully pliant and accessible, even if the best of them will last splendidly."
From Antonio Galloni Vinous Media: Washington: Various Shades of Hot (Oct 2017) by Stephen Tanzer
2014 Chaleur Estate – 94 Points
Bright medium ruby. Aromas of blueberry, plum, cocoa powder and violet are lifted by sexy spicy oak. Very rich, large-scaled and densely packed, boasting outstanding breadth to its flavors of currant, chocolate, anise and brown spices. Classically dry, very deep wine with an intriguing salinity and outstanding chocolatey length. As with a couple of the other DeLille wines from Bordeaux varieties, this one is complicated by captivating Christmas spices.
2014 Grand Ciel Syrah – 94 Points
(this vineyard is adjacent to Ciel du Cheval; 35% new oak; 3.7 pH): Bright ruby-red. Very ripe aromas of blackberry, blueberry, licorice and menthol verge on porty. Fatter and sweeter than the Signature Syrah; less penetratingly fruity but this chocolatey-rich wine benefits from a captivating note of cardamom and harmonious acidity. The exotic spice character carries through the sweet, very long finish, which features serious but plush tannins. This clone (Entave clone 383) ripens a bit later but retains acidity well, notes Upchurch.
2014 Shaw Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – 94 Points
(from "the Canyons" on the western side of Red Mountain): Bright, full ruby. Pungent thyme and lavender notes accent bright blackberry and blueberry aromas, with Taransaud spices contributing additional sex appeal. Wonderfully dense, generous, sweet and seamless, with its dark berry fruit flavors complicated by a cocoa note and lifted by citrus zest. Very ripe, impeccably balanced Cabernet with outstanding length and no rough edges. And a splendid performance for young vines.
2014 Signature Syrah – 94 Points
(from Ciel du Cheval and Boushey vineyards; vinified with 100% destemmed fruit and aged in 25% new oak): Bright medium ruby. Very ripe aromas of raspberry, violet and game, plus a touch of lead pencil that probably comes from Ciel du Cheval. A plush, generous blueberry and raspberry fruit bomb, perfectly energized by harmonious acidity and high notes of flowers and blood orange. A wonderfully silky, sophisticated Syrah with terrific fruit preservation. Finishes savory and very long, with utterly seamless but firm tannins and uncanny vibrancy.
2016 CHALEUR BLANC – 94 POINTS
(60% new oak; made with a lot of lees contact): Bright, light yellow-gold. Multidimensional nose melds aromas of stone fruits, pineapple and pear with notes of savory spices, honey and lemon grass and a Riesling-like piney quality. Compellingly fine-grained, concentrated and harmonious from the start, with a suggestion of figgy sweetness (the wine is technically bone-dry) perfectly countered by strong acidity. Finishes tactile and very long, with a suggestion of eucalyptus. Most recent vintages of this consistently superb wine have been considerably tighter early on, but this is a knockout nonetheless and has the balance for mid-term aging.
2014 Grand Ciel CABERNET SAUVIGNON – 93+ Points
(all 191 clone, aged entirely in new oak): Dark red-ruby. Cassis, blackberry and licorice aromas are lifted by a violet high note. Plush, fat and sweet, conveying a distinctly chewy quality to its flavors of dark berries and sexy Taransaud spices. This very concentrated wine displays a savory complexity and finishes with a firm tannic spine and outstanding length.
2016 ROUSSANNE – 93 POINTS
(all Ciel du Cheval fruit): Full deep yellow. Intense stone fruits, menthol, lemon grass and flowers on the nose, plus a suggestion of candied fruits. Smooth, generous and impressively concentrated, with its intense stone fruit, pear, lemon and lime zest flavors perfectly framed by fresh acidity. Bone-dry, beautifully restrained wine without any impression of warmth to blur its focus. Finishes firm and very long.
2014 Harrison Hill – 93 Points
(13.9% alcohol; the Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1962): Medium red. Aromas of plum, herbs and licorice. Plush, sweet, smooth wine with noteworthy herbal energy and lift to the flavors of cherry, redcurrant, plum, licorice and olive tapenade. Conveys a creamy old-vines depth of flavor but limited early sweetness. This very broad, dry wine finishes with suave tannins and excellent rising length. The old Cabernet vines here suffers from leaf roll virus, typically producing high-pH fruit with relatively low alcohol (13% in 2014).
2014 Merlot – 93 Points
(from DuBrul, Klipsun, Red Willow and Upchurch vineyards): Bright ruby-red. Inviting scents of cassis, pomegranate, spices, menthol and licorice. Densely packed, plush and ripe but showing less easy sweetness than the Doyenne Red Wine that preceded it in my tasting. A tangy cranberry flavor is accented by a hint of slatey minerality, which combines with the wine's firm but suave tannins to give it a serious spine for aging. Here's a Merlot that needs no Cabernet for structure.
2014 Doyenne – 93 Points
(nearly three-quarters of this fruit came from Red Mountain): Bright, dark medium ruby. Captivating lavender and underbrush complexity to the aroma of blackberry. A ripe, sweet bomb of raspberry and blackberry fruit, lifted by a peppery quality and complicated by a note of olive tapenade. Plush, broad, utterly seamless blend with terrific concentration and persistence.
2015 MÉTIER – 93 POINTS
Bright, dark red. Brambly red berries, crushed cherry, spices and hints of smoked meat and herbs on the nose. Plush, sappy and utterly seamless, conveying a creaminess of texture to the flavors of dried red berries, cherry and tree bark firmed by underlying minerality. Really terrific flavor intensity here without any heaviness or phenolic roughness. The pH is "3.8 at the most," according to winemaker Chris Upchurch, and the very long finish is lifted by a pungent note of pomegranate.
2014 Four Flags CABERNET SAUVIGNON – 92+ Points
Bright ruby-red. Precise aromas of cassis, violet, licorice and wild herbs convey a hint of positive greenness. Plush and sweet, if not with quite the definition of the Shaw Cabernet. In a more savory, less fruity style with lovely spicy, herbal lift and subtle sweetness, but this very youthful, backward wine needs time. Less hedonistic than the Shaw, especially as its tannins build with aeration.
2014 Quintessence Vineyard Malbec Cabernet – 92+
Bright ruby. Alluring high-pitched aromas of black cherry, blackberry, lavender, licorice and sage. Sweet, juicy and concentrated but tightly wound and backward in the context of this collection. The dried berry flavor is accented by spicy oak and supported by a firm spine of dusty tannins. Finishes juicy, firm and long, with a note of vanilla bean. Very Cabernet in its structure, and in need of cellaring.
2014 D2 – 92 POINTS
(this Columbia Valley blend of nearly 20 sources represents 35% of this winery's production; 11,500 cases were made in 2014): Bright ruby. Pungent fruit-driven aromas of cranberry, pomegranate and blackberry. Plush and seamless on the palate, with blackberry and blueberry flavors complicated by a savory dried-berry note that I associate with Red Willow vineyard. Wonderfully pliant from the start, this beauty finishes very long and suave, with utterly smooth tannins. Great fruit here!
2014 Red Willow Vineyard Malbec – 92 Points
(from a vineyard block planted in 1989): Bright, saturated ruby. Knockout nose of blackberry, pomegranate, brown spices and violet complicated by smoke and earth nuances. Plush and fine-grained, showing terrific acid lift to its fruit-driven flavors of blackberry, boysenberry and pomegranate. Lovely generosity of flavor here without any undue sweetness. Finishes deep and long, with noble tannins.
2016 Rosé – 92 Points
(done entirely in stainless steel): Medium salmon-pink. Perfumed scents of raspberry and watermelon lifted by a floral note. Surprisingly rich yet light on its feet, offering smooth flavors of nectarine and flowers. This wine has more texture than your typical rosé but maintains a lovely light touch. Finishes subtle, broad and long, with excellent grip and no rough edges. Terrific rosé.