Cairdeas Nellie Mae Viognier 60% Roussanne 40% Columbia Valley 2012 $22
 (Excellent) An aromatic wine with orange peel, pear, and tropical notes. The palate is dry, full bodied, weighty and textured with a lingering finish. 60% Roussanne, 40% Roussanne. Lawrence and Antoine Creek vineyards. Aged in stainless steel. 13% alcohol. 100 cases produced.

Cairdeas Reserve Nellie Mae White Wine Columbia Valley 2012 $26
 (Good/Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with pear, citrus, and abundant barrel notes. The palate is full bodied with sweet fruit flavors and a lot of texture and viscosity. 60% Viognier, 40% Roussanne. Lawrence and Antoine Creek vineyards. Barrel fermented in new French oak and aged in stainless steel. 13.3% alcohol.

2012 marked a return to warmer times in Washington. After two successive cool vintages – which made for some thrilling white wines, especially in 2010 – 2012 tracked close to historical averages in terms of temperature.

One of the notable aspects of the vintage was a 100-day spell with no measurable precipitation from July through mid-October. While large amounts of rainfall are never particularly common in eastern Washington, where most areas receive less than ten inches of precipitation annually, this was unusual and certainly contributed to the resulting wines, white and red.

Washington white wines from 2012 are, generally speaking, considerably richer in style than their 2010 and 2011 vintage counterparts. Many are also higher in alcohol, some considerably so. As I noted here, while many 2010 and 2011 vintage red wines are noted by having listed alcohol levels under 14%, many white wines from the 2012 vintage have alcohol levels over 14%. Some of these wines were able to balance the higher alcohol levels with richer fruit flavors. Others were not.

Below is a summary of 2012 vintage wine reviews from Washington, including wines previously published as well as new reviews. I have also included at the bottom a listing of currently published Wine Enthusiast Washington white wine reviews from the 2012 vintage. You can read the individual tasting notes, which are freely available, by searching for them here. Note that Wine Enthusiast also recently launched an impressive mobile phone application that also makes the reviews accessible on the go. Find it here.

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