What’s Hot in WA?
Highlights from 8 winery visits in Washington
Another brand in the Precept stable, Apex cellars was originally founded in 1988 with the goal of producing wines that represented the the pinnacle of quality, fulfilling the potential of Washington state. Precept acquired the brand in 2008 and has maintained the philosophy. Wines are made at two locations, the red wines at a facility adjacent to the Alder Ridge vineyard that supplies much of the fruit used here as well as at the tasting room in Proser where white wines are vinified. The lineup at Apex was one of the most consistent I encountered during my visit to Washington both qualitatively and stylistically.
Tobacco, spice, earth, dried flowers, camphor come together on the hard and chiseled nose under ripe blackberry fruit and some fresh leather nuance with a hint of tar. Fairly large scaled in the mouth, this is full of plum and mulberry fruit with tannins are very well managed and bright yet integrated acidity. There’s a lovely mouthfeel here with some briar wood, olive wood nuance on the the palate. Bright flavors of fresh cut fruit are zesty and vaguely astringent on the backend, turning a little drying on the long finish with hints of pomegranate and toasty spice and a little licorice on the finale. This is quite youthful and brimming with freshly crushed berry fruit. 91pts
A little olive and herb layered under big black currant, black cherry fruit and fine cigar box oak greets the nose. This is a big wine, smooth, rich and supple with ripe tannins showing some polish under juicy black plum and really ripe blackcurrant jam flavors flecked with a little tobacco. Long and full in the mouth this is polished, fleshy and showy with lovely lovely tannins driving the long finish which shows palate staining intensity of fruit. This is basically ready to rock today. 91pts
Nice herbal, savory, classic varietally driven aromas on the nose with cool, focused aromas of black currant fruit that are tight and vanilla edged. Opening with great clarity on the palate, the fruit here leads of with savory herb stem and tobacco notes that lend fine complexity and real detail on the palate, rich with black cherry and black currant fruit. The tannins are nicely firm but not imposing with acids that are a touch soft but supportive through the long black fruited finish that shows off a hint of black olive and plenty of wood spice. 92pts
Tight mulberry, dried herb, dusty stone and dried herbs de Provence come together nicely on the nose over a base of blackberry jam. Very bright, clear and tense on entry, this is gorgeous early on the palate with totally refined tannins and bright acids supporting a lovely wild blackberry and malomar jammy edged fruit profile. There's a hint of animale here along with rich dried floral nuance and superbly judged oak. The clean finish is a touch compressed and this might be a bit lighter bodied due to the vintage but it shows excellent purity and varietal character. 92pts
Rich mineral dried herb stem dried plum and cured black olives emerge on the nose along with a little loganberry lurking in the background. Smooth and medium large scaled in the mouth with good acids lending this lovely clarity on the palate. It’s a touch simple and to the fruity side for Mourvedre but juicy and plump. Clean finish, super easy drinking style with a nice hint of savory, slightly beef juicy character emerging on the backend. The nose pickup intensity with just a bit of air while the palate gains balsamic herbal nuance. 89pts
Tight and smoky and rather Syrah driven on the nose with dried thyme and olive notes along with mineral earth, smoke, black currant fruit and pipe tobacco. Bright juicy blackcurrant fruit dominates the plump and smooth palate with just enough fruity to buffer against the slightly austere tannins. A little meatiness and dried fruit graces the midpalate before this wraps up in a short, taut finish with a bit of drying wood tannin clipping it. Air brings out more Cabernet on the nose. lacks a bit of harmony today 87pts
Dark with some autumnal aromas of old wood, a bit of broth and some dried herb on the nose along with a minty character. Fairly smooth but with nice acids keeping this fresh in the mouth. The fruit is rather faceted with hints of blackberries and plums laid over some briary wood, tobacco and dried black fruit while the tannins remain firm if not imposing and help drive the finish which retains a very pretty faceted quality. This does show lovey nuance on the tobacco filled finish. 89pts
Tighten and fairly oaky with plenty of spice and black fruit, black plums on the nose. Smooth and seductive on entry with supple ripe tannins and gorgeous fruit the palate. While not very powerful this is deep with flavors of wild plum, tart black raspberry and cocoa. Gaining some richness and chocolaty detail on the long finish, there's also a little ivy detailing the nose that emerges on the finish as well. A bit small scaled and lacking some intensity, this makes uo for it with its fine balance and harmony in the mouth. 90pts
Tight and focused on the nose with gentle wood tones and spice accents. Nice fruit, bright favors and good ripeness emerges on the palate but this remains restrained and slightly understated in the mouth with lovely plum and spice flavors. The oak is a bit prominent and the tannins stick out a touch but this is showing good length and freshness on the finish with fruit that has a fairly perfumy edge. 89pts
Perfumy, leesy, and floral with apricot fruit and a touch of honeycomb on the nose. Bright, dry and tart with citrusy flavors and a lean, crisp mouthfeel. The backend picks up a little nuance of floral tones, spice and a hint of lanolin before fading on the simple,tart yet refreshing finish. 85pts