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Apr 19, 2015
It is no secret that I like Washington State wines, but it is not a region that gets much recognition in our area, and there is little brand identification. If you go to your local wine shop, you may find sections devoted to French, Italian, and Spanish wines. Maybe you will find a section for Oregon Pinot Noirs or Napa Cabs or even South Africa, Chile or Argentina, but you will not find a section devoted to Washington State wines. The Washington wines will be in the shop, but they will be scattered here and there mixed in with other wines. This is unfortunate because Washington wines have some distinct characteristics, and they represent great values. Most of the wines coming out of this area are high quality, but at a very reasonable price ($20 or less). Some of these wines are as good a value as Portuguese wines, but, of course, they are made from different grape varieties and have a different flavor. These wines are not overpowering or unctuous like Napa reds, but feature clean bright tastes that you will find refreshing.
The Washington State wine market is dominated by some of the big players such as Chateau Ste. Michelle (which owns Columbia Crest and 14 Hands among others) and Milbrandt; these two powerhouses produce huge quantities of wine but they maintain a high level of quality unlike some industrial grade California wines. There is more to Washington State than the big wineries; there is an abundance of small, interesting wineries that make for delightfurl, and inexpensive, vinous explorations.
I don’t have space to cover all the wines coming out of Washington State, but as a general rule, if you get the 2012 vintage, you will not be disappointed. Here are some of my favorites, but I do not have space to cover them all:
Hyatt Vineyards Cabernet . This is one of the best wines I have had from Washington State. It had a deeply rich scent and perfect taste. Crush Fine Wines in New Bedford carried this wine and hopefully they will still have some after they re-open (which should be shortly).
Bombing Range red. One of my favorite small wineries in Washington State is McKinley Springs, the makers of the Bombing Range red and other excellent wines. How can you resist a wine with such a name? I certainly could not so I scrambled around quite a bit until I was able to secure a few bottles of this hard-to-find Washington State wine. This wine got its peculiar name from the history of its vineyard which was used as an airbase for training P-40 (i.e. the Flying Tigers’ planes) pilots in WWII. There is no airbase there now, just ideal grape country; hot and dry in the summer with cool temperatures at night resulting in a rich, complex wine. Not bad for about $18. This wine is hard to find; some friends of ours actually looked for it in Seattle without success, but you can buy directly from their vineyard (http://www.mckinleysprings.com/wines.html).
2012 Mercer Canyons Red Blend. This fine wine feature a big does of oak and bright fruit flavors. The snobby wine writers from NYC will try to tell you that this type of wine is too good, almost sinful, but our tasting group loved this wine. There is nothing subtle about this wine; it is a delicious combination of fruit and oak. I am a sucker for oak and this hedonistic wine delivers.
2012 Reveler Cuvee. This nice wine is produced by Revelry Vintners in Walla Walla. It is a wine that our tasting group loved. It is a clean, beautiful fruit-forward wine with a bit of smokey gravitas. This wine is hard to find locally; right now the best way to purchase Revelry wine is through their web site.
2012 Powers Cab. This wine another wine that was a big hit with our tasting group. We found it delicious and fruity.
Maryhill Winemakers Red. This Cabernet-Merlot blend from Columbia Valley is a very good, solid wine that is an excellent value at $15. It features a well-balanced fragrance and taste that lasted for 4 days after opening.
I should also note that Washington State is producing some excellent Rieslings such as the Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling at $12 , the 2012 Waitsburg Cellars Riesling (Columbia Valley, WA) $16 and Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Reisling at about $14.
- See more at: http://blogs.southcoasttoday.com/wineobserver/2015/04/19/more-washington-state-wines/#sthash.Lmviq9Xk.dpuf