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Washington 2018 reds: top-scoring wines from Royal Slope and other AVAs

After tasting 100 red wines from across Washington State, Dr Owen Bargreen reviews those from the lesser-known AVAs, including the newly-created Royal Slope, and suggests a couple of 2018 red wines to try.

Showing some good promise is the newly created (in 2020) Royal Slope AVA which produces wines from some top vineyards including Stoneridge and Stillwater Creek.

A very large range of varieties can perform well here but Syrah might stand tallest.


Scroll down to see the top-scoring ‘other AVA’ 2018 red wines


At roughly 60,702 hectares, about 90% of the AVA is planted with vines on gentle to somewhat steeply south-facing slopes.

It is slightly warmer than the Ancient Lakes AVA (more known for ripe yet crisp Riesling and Chardonnay) but a touch cooler than the Wahluke Slope AVA (known for Bordeaux varietals).

The Wahluke Slope, with its very dry climate, has 3,754 hectares of vineyards which is nearly 15% of the total wine grape plantings in the state.

In this region reds perform the best, and the appellation sits on a large alluvial fan delta created by repeated flooding, making the soils notably uniform and displaying wind-blown sand topsoil.


Washington 2018 red wines: full report and top-scoring wines

Individual analysis by AVA:

 Columbia Valley | Horse Heaven Hills | Red Mountain | Walla Walla Valley | Yakima Valley

Plus: Top-value Washington 2018 reds – the best to buy



The top-scoring ‘other’ AVA 2018 red wines


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