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Nov 21, 2017
EACH YEAR, I taste thousands of wines, either as samples that arrive in my office or at competitions in which I participate.
Beginning in January, I taste with this list in mind, seeking out the most interesting offerings from our corner of the wine world. Some of these I tasted early in the year, and they stuck with me as extraordinary, for their clarity, style and purity of fruit.
A few thoughts about this year’s list:
• My Wine of the Year for 2017 is a merlot, the same as last year (though a different producer). Maybe this is a signal that we need to pay attention to this often-maligned grape again.
• I’ve always been cautious about filling this list with high-priced wines. That’s been a consistent complaint, which I addressed this year by adding a list for Top 50 wines $30 and under, which was published last week. There are some bargains there. (If a wine made this Top 50 list, I didn’t consider it for the $30-and-under one.)
• You might look over this list and ask yourself why several obvious top wineries are missing. It’s as simple as this: I base this on the wines I taste under blind conditions, meaning I know neither the producer nor the price during the evaluation process. Some producers choose not to submit their wines and, well, I cannot recommend them if I haven’t tasted them.
Without further ado, here are my Top 50 wines from 2017:
34. Maryhill Winery 2014 Proprietor’s Reserve Grenache, Columbia Valley, $26: Goldendale winemaker Richard Batchelor is developing into one of the state’s top red winemakers, and this delicious grenache is a great example of what’s possible with this red Rhone grape.