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It can now be argued that Washington’s signature wine is cabernet sauvignon, the grape that attracts wine lovers from all corners of the globe to Napa Valley and France’s Bordeaux region. Cab, known as “King Cab” to winemakers, is Washington’s most planted, most expensive and most famous variety.
Most wine lovers seek great wines at affordable prices. Fortunately, the Pacific Northwest is loaded with delicious examples.
Appreciation for Washington chardonnay is on the rise. The Washington State Wine Commission lists the plantings of chardonnay at 7,403 acres. That amounts to about 13% of the state’s 58,000 acres of vineyards.
As recently as a decade ago, merlot still ruled in Washington vineyards. In 2009, merlot was the state’s No. 1 grape at 26,700 tons harvested that fall. In fact, merlot was the grape and the wine that helped put Washington on the world stage. The red variety from France’s Bordeaux region and the round, supple resulting wines brought Washington a measure of fame.
While much of Washington has a reputation for red wine grapes, the Ancient Lakes is best known for having a cooler climate and ideally suited for white varieties such as riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
A decade ago, many Northwest rieslings would be on the sweet side. Thankfully, that is changing, blissfully so because more than any other wine, riesling can show astonishing range depending on where the grapes are grown and how dry the finished wine is left. As a bonus, one that surprises most, riesling can age remarkably – for those who have the patience to tuck them away.
Riesling, the noble grape of Germany, might be the quintessential Pacific Northwest wine. It is crafted in a broad range of styles, from bone dry to sweet nectar, and the resulting wines pair deliciously well with Northwest cuisine, particularly seafood and Asian-influenced dishes.
Yakima Valley today remains an important region with nearly 20,000 acres of wine grape vineyards and more than 60 wineries. While it nests in the expansive Columbia Valley AVA, there are three sub-appellations in Yakima Valley: Rattlesnake Hills, Snipes Mountain and Red Mountain.
Horse Heaven Hills spans more than 570,000 acres, all of which are in the vast Columbia Valley. This area north of the Columbia River and primarily south of Yakima Valley has been well known for agriculture, particularly wheat, carrots, potatoes and other row crops.
A double gold medal indicates that a wine earned a gold medal by unanimous vote, meaning every judge on a panel awarded it a gold medal. At a wine competition, a panel typically consists of three to five judges. Getting that many wine professionals to agree on something should be considered rare.
At 1 p.m. Sunday, Kat Dykes, wine concierge at the Lodge at Columbia Point, will present more than a dozen top wines for ticket holders to judge for themselves at the second-annual Taste of Cascadia in the Richland luxury hotel built by the late Tom Drumheller.
Here are reviews of the top five wines from the largest international judging of Northwest wines staged in the Pacific Northwest.
As we march toward Thanksgiving, it’s time to start gathering wines for the big feast. One bottle you should consider making room for is riesling. The reasons are many. Germany’s noble white grape is versatile and offers crowd-pleasing flavors. Many of examples come loaded with the acidity that will help it pair well with everything on your table. Washington and Oregon both do riesling particularly well, so it’s a good hometown choice.
Idaho’s roots in the Northwest wine industry run deep.
The competition includes wines, ciders, sake and spirits produced in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
As we get into the warmer summer months, pinot gris is a good wine to have on hand, keep a couple of bottles chilling in your fridge to enjoy with salmon, chicken, pasta, crab, oysters or corn on the cob.
Last week, the Wild Goose Vineyards 2017 Pinot Gris took top honors at the sixth annual Cascadia Wine Competition, an international judging in Washington’s Columbia Valley.
Washington has long had a reputation for crafting world-class riesling, with the first plantings as early as 1880, pre-dating statehood. Today, riesling remains a force in Washington, being the No. 4 grape, trailing cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay in total tonnage harvested.
That pain of Tax Day may have a few of us looking to shave expenses and downsize luxury purchases for a while. Fortunately, the Pacific Northwest remains a great region for finding quality red wines at a bargain.
Across America, syrah is a tough sale, thanks primarily to Australia shiraz flooding grocery stores in the past decade. Yet syrah continues to grow in Washington. Last fall, Washington winemakers brought in more than 21,000 tons of syrah, a record level for the state. Syrah certainly plays an important role in Washington red blends, but it stands alone pretty well, too.