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WINE PRESS

Vol. 16, No. 4

Winter 2013 / 2014

N O R T H W E S T

DEPARTMENTS

FEATURES

14 More than Wineries Wineries that are more than just wineries attract customers with a variety of food and entertainment.

28 Platinum Results For the 14th year in a row, we put the Northwest’s gold medal winners up against each other to see which wines are the best of the best.

59 Match Maker Alderbrook Resort & Spa Celebrating a centennial

COVER STORY More than wineries On the cover and at right: Jamie Nasario backed by guitarist, Luke Basile, sings at Bookwalter Winery in Richland, Wash. Bookwalter was one of the first wineries in Eastern Washington to also be a nightclub with live music. This page: The pizza oven sizzles at Tagaris Winery’s restaurant, Tagaris Taverna in Richland, Wash. Photos by Jackie Johnston Story starts on page 14.

6 Wine Knows Red Mountain reaches new heights

8 A Distant Perspective Great White North

10 Swirl, Sniff & Sip Blends becoming popular

12 Nom de Vine Result of a Crush

24 10 Things to Do 56 Northwest Wine Events 70 Grapes of Roth Drink it on purpose


WINE PRESS N O R T H W E S T

Wine Press Northwest is for those with an interest in wine — from the novice to the veteran. We focus on Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia’s talented winemakers and the wineries, vintners and restaurants that showcase Northwest wines. We are dedicated to all who savor the fruits of their labor. Editor and Publisher: Gregg McConnell 509-582-1443 gmcconnell@winepressnw.com Contributor: Andy Perdue Contributor: Eric Degerman Tasting panel: Ken Robertson, Dave Seaver, Heather Unwin, Parks Redwine, Kristine Bono, Coke Roth, Dan Berger, Jean Yates Master facilitator: Hank Sauer Page designer: Jackie Johnston Columnists: Jon Bauer, Dan Berger, Ken Robertson, Coke Roth Contributing photographers: Jackie Johnston, Charity Lynne In memoriam: Bob Woehler Advertising sales: Carol Perkins, 509-582-1438 E-mail: cperkins@winepressnw.com To subscribe: Subscriptions cost $20 U.S. per year for four issues. Mail check, money order or credit card number and expiration date to address below or subscribe securely on our web site www.winepressnw.com. Subscriptions and customer service: 800-538-5619 e-mail: info@winepressnw.com Letters to the editor: We encourage your thoughts and comments about our publication and about Northwest wines in general. Write to us at the address below. Free weekly newsletter: Sign up for our free Pacific Northwest Wine of the Week e-mail newsletter at winepressnw.com Address: 333 W. Canal Drive Kennewick, WA 99336 © 2013 Wine Press Northwest A Tri-City Herald publication

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the wine knows BY ANDY PERDUE

Red Mountain reaches new heights

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ed Mountain. Seemingly, it’s on everyone’s lips these days, both from a glass and in the news. In case you haven’t heard, here are the big stories that have come out of Red Mountain, a ridge in Washington’s eastern Yakima Valley: • Harvest: Grapes ripened quickly and beautifully. The entire appellation was harvested pretty much by Oct. 1. • California coming: Duckhorn Vineyards, one of California’s most celebrated wineries, has announced that it will be creating a Washington winery using Red Mountain grapes. It will release its first wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the highly touted 2012 vintage, by Labor Day 2014. • Land grab: In November, the Kennewick Irrigation District auctioned off 670 acres of land in and near Red Mountain that it has owned since the 1940s. The land sold for $8.2 million. The auction became quite dramatic when a mystery buyer outbid all others and purchased all 670 acres. The buyer turned out to be the owner of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team in British Columbia. So why is Red Mountain so hot right now? Let’s take a closer look. Red Mountain is Washington’s smallest American Viticultural Area at just 4,040 acres. Of that, perhaps 1,400 acres are planted to wine grapes. Year after year, it is consistently the warmest region in Washington wine country. Where other areas might struggle with ripening in a cool year — such as 2010 and 2011 — Red Mountain thrives. Though I normally despise comparisons with other regions, Red Mountain can pretty accurately be considered similar to California’s Napa Valley: It’s finite, land prices are high, grapes sell for a premium, and wine from the region can be priced as high as any in the state. Let’s talk about grapes. Is the fruit from Red Mountain better than other regions of Washington? I could argue both ways. • Syrah: Red Mountain Syrah can be pretty special, especially for those looking for a big, ripe style. But the western edge of the Wahluke Slope also can provide similar levels of ripeness and complexity. And Syrah grown in the relatively cooler Yakima and Walla Walla valleys can become wines of amazing character. • Merlot: It’s hard to beat Red Mountain Merlot, but we see some great Merlot out of other areas of the Columbia Valley and Wahluke Slope, too. • Cabernet Sauvignon: Ah, the king of wines and the wine of kings. Red Mountain Cab is pretty spectacular, but the sweet spot in Washington might well be the southern Horse Heaven Hills. Where Red Mountain is gaining an edge is more aggressive use of different clones of Cab. 6

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• Other red varieties: We taste Rhône varieties such as Mourvedré, Grenache and Cinsault from Red Mountain, as well as Italian grapes such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Barbera. To me, this shows Red Mountain doesn't necessarily have a great edge over other areas in any one variety, but as a whole, has the ability to produce higher-quality grapes overall. I’ve been fond of saying over the past decade that someone looking to get into high-end grape growing in Washington could go to the Wahluke Slope and get three to four times as much land with all the water they need vs. Red Mountain, which has suffered from a serious shortage of irrigation. But that is changing, as the Kennewick Irrigation District is bringing water to the mountain next year. Still, prime vineyard land on Red Mountain can sell for as high as $30,000 per acre — before the grapes are planted or a drop of water arrives. Plan to spend double that to get up and running. While that’s only 20 percent of what land in Napa Valley acreage would cost — if you could find any available — it’s pretty high by Washington standards. So what makes Red Mountain so special? It’s that combination of ability to ripen, southwest-facing slopes, perfect soils and scarcity. It also has panache. Longtime vineyards such as Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Kiona and Hedges now mingle with some of the state’s best young plantings, including Quintessence, Heart of the Hill, Scootney Flats and Red Heaven. Some of Washington’s best wineries rely on Red Mountain grapes for their high-end bottlings, including Betz, Quilceda Creek and DeLille. And from an architectural point of view, Red Mountain wineries rival any on the West Coast. Between Hedges, Kiona, Terra Blanca, Col Solare and Fidelitas, tens of millions of dollars have been invested on Red Mountain. At this point, the only things holding back Red Mountain from being a truly world-class wine destination are food and lodging options. Sure, the nearby Tri-Cities helps fill the need, and some vacation rental businesses have popped up to provide an experience. But Red Mountain deserves a 50-room luxury lodge or European-style hotel. That could be coming. Of the 670 acres of land auctioned off in November, more than 150 are not in the appellation and aren’t going to be terrific for growing grapes. They are near the freeway and would be perfect for Red Mountain’s version of the Oakville Grocery, the French Laundry or Calistoga Ranch. It exciting to watch Red Mountain as it develops into one of America's best and most-recognized wine regions. Andy Perdue is a wine journalist, author and judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.

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a distant perspective BY DAN BERGER

The Great White North

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or decades, red wine was considered the best wine in the world. Phrases like “All wine would be red if it could,” and “White wine is what you drink until someone opens a red” were spoken more in truth than jest. Even today, those who rate wines consider that the greatest wines in the world are red. With that sort of disrespect as its legacy, white wines – with very few exceptions – command lower prices, and as a result get less analysis from the wine press. Consumers, seeing the lower prices, make the false assumption that all white wines are mediocre at best. Yet what is most apparent to anyone who has a wine memory longer than two years, the greatest strides in wine quality over the last decade or two has been with white wines. Technology has ramped up in ways no one ever imagined in the late 1960s when jacketed stainless steel tanks first began to upgrade white wines. For one thing, far more sophisticated rootstocks and clones entered the picture, followed by more distinctive yeast strains that yielded interesting flavors and aromas. Add to that trellising systems that were more variety-specific, thus allowing grape varieties to retain their unique characteristics. And then came technology that permitted fine wine to be made from regions that previously were considered too cold to grow grapes. All that was needed then was for the wine making, grape growing and marketing to educate the public that what we were seeing was revolutionary. This effort began in the 1990s, and reached a zenith in the mid-2000s with some people understanding there was greatness in previously disparaged varieties. Until about 2000 or so, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were the two dominant whites in the United States, but by 2003, it was clear, many other whites were entering the fine wine scene. It may well have started with the great 2001 vintage in Germany that gave us spectacular Rieslings, and that helped focus American wine lovers’ attention on this variety as grown elsewhere. Next came the Sauvignon Blanc of New Zealand, the Torrontes of Argentina, the Albariño of Spain, the Gruner Veltliner of Austria, and then really fine examples of Pinot Gris, like those of Oregon and Washington. Even Semillon was carving out a small but vital niche. We recently had a sensational 1999 l’Ecole No. 41 Semillon that was still available at the winery! White wines were getting more mainstream, as evidenced by the fact that retail wine shops had to increase the shelf space allocated for whites, Chardonnay was no longer the de facto “by the glass” house white, and more wine maker dinners were calling for things like white Rhône blends, dry Rieslings, Viogniers, and even Pinot Blancs. Enter Canada. More specifically British Columbia. What is most fascinating about this story is that for the last 15 or more years, BC’s wine industry has grown into one of the world’s finest wine regions, but it has done so mainly with 8

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fabulous white wines, which get no respect. Moreover, BC has done this almost completely under the sonar since the best wines made here are rarely sent to the United States. Since the wines are not sold here, the major wine publications do not feel any need or responsibility for taking the wines as seriously as they do wines from other regions. This chicken-egg situation boils down to the fact that BC wines are nearly completely unknown to Americans, a real-world “out of sight, out of mind” experience that deprives real wine lovers of some of the most fascinating wines in the world. Yes, world. As a wine judge at competitions from New Zealand to Yugoslavia and throughout North America, I can honestly say that the percentage of truly great white wines being made in British Columbia today is far greater than the percentage from nearly any wine region you can name. From sublime Pinot Gris to dramatic Gewurtraminers, from distinctive and age-worthy Rieslings to sparkling wines of real character, BC has made some startling headway in ways that cannot be appreciated until you taste the wines. The main reason for this is that BC wines come from vineyards planted in regions barely warm enough to ripen the fruit every year, but these regions also have very cold nights, notably in the growing season, and the result is high acid levels from which to build the aromatics and structures. Among the best producers in BC today are Michael Dinn’s excellent (if not dramatic) JoieFarm, which has won numerous gold medals and trophies at wine competitions, and Gehringer Bros. Quail’s Gate, Mission Hill, and Sandhill are just three more of the latest to develop high-caliber images over the last decade, and newcomer LaFrenz, which has recently startled consumers with its overall quality across numerous varietals, has leaped into the discussion. This short column can’t really do justice to the great number of exciting wineries who have conquered white wines over the last decade in BC, and the sad fact is that so few people know of this exciting wine development. However, the Canadians are not doing themselves any favors in the recognition department. I completely understand how difficult it is for any emerging wine region to gain the positive image it so deserves. Exporting wine to the United States is not only expensive and risky, but fraught with paperwork headaches and is potentially less financially rewarding than it might appear. But until the rest of the world gets a taste of BC whites, the fame the region so richly deserves will elude it. Fortunately, consumers have a solution. Go there, buy the wines and truck ‘em home. The visit is well worth the effort. Dan Berger is a nationally renowned wine writer who lives in Santa Rosa, Calif. He publishes a weekly column Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences (VintageExperiences.com). W I N E P R E S S N W. C O M


WINE COUNTRY: TRI-CITIES, RED MOUNTAIN & PROSSER

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swirl, sniff & sip BY KEN ROBERTSON

Blends becoming popular “Whenever I visit a winery or walk through a wine shop or grocery store, I’m seeing more and more red blends. What’s behind this trend?”

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ou’re correct in your observation. Without rushing out to try to count red blends, I’ll just offer a little evidence of their quality, popularity and ubiquity from Wine Press Northwest’s recent 2013 Platinum judging and from Great Northwest Wine’s 2013 Invitational Tasting. As usual, Wine Press requested that wineries enter their gold medal-winning wines of the past year, and the competition drew 640 entries. Among them were 111 wines properly categorized as red blends of varying types. In other words, more than one out of six gold medal winners entered were red blends. They included Bordeaux-styled and Rhone-styled blends for the most part, but also a group the industry calls Super Tuscan-style wines and what some have come to call Washington-styled (or perhaps Northwest-styled) blends. Two weeks later at the inaugural GNW’s Invitational Competition, a panel of 12 wine professionals judged in a blind tasting 251 wines, including 43 red blends. All entries had been nominated for the competition by the same 12 people. Again, red blends comprised roughly one sixth of the wines. The two competitions confirm that many of of our red blends are of high quality, though not necessarily high price. While the price of some surpassed $80, others cost as little as $14. Both competitions included a broad array of styles, which are worth some explanation. Bordeaux-styled wines generally are made from a mix that includes at least two of the classic grapes of that region of France — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Rhone-styled generally includes so-called GSM blends — Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre — plus at times one of the classic white wine grapes of the region, Viognier. Super Tuscan is a blending innovation credited to the Tuscany region of Italy, where winemakers who wanted to improve their red wines in the 1970s began adding Cabernet Sauvignon to the region’s predominant grape, Sangiovese. Ultimately, Super Tuscan has come to mean a top-quality, highpriced Italian red, usually a blend although not always, that may be made from one or more of the following: Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. In the Northwest, we discovered the Italians were onto something by not limiting their blending to the red wine grapes of either Rhone or Bordeaux. Syrah, winemakers soon learned, was more than a single-varietal blessing. It admirably filled that embarrassing mid-palate “hole” that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sometimes leave in a red blend. The combination of Syrah with those two grapes, plus perhaps a jot of another red variety or two, fit seamlessly into a complete, supple, complex wine. Blending to create improved wine is probably as old as 10

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winemaking and wines, but when the Northwest wine industry began to find its footing back in the mid-1970s, single-varietal wines were all the rage in California. And the Northwest generally looked to California practices and borrowed many of its early winemakers as our region began to recreate an industry that had been killed by Prohibition. The generally accepted path to quality wine at the time was considered to be turning out the best Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or whatever else a winery planned to produce was by growing or contracting for the best grapes of a single variety and then focusing all efforts on making a wine composed 100 percent of that varietal. For a time, our region’s early red blends tended to be and often were looked upon as inferior wines developed to dispose of wine that wasn’t suited to use in premium-level wines. Gradually that changed as winemakers looked more to France and Italy for ideas, as they began to experiment on their own. And a surprising thing also happened. Those “bargain” blends often turned out to be really quite nice, especially for the price. And winemakers started to step up the quality. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s old Stimson Lane wines produced in 1.5-liter bottles were renowned as bargain-priced and excellent quality. Barnard Griffin Winery created a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend (which now includes Cabernet Franc as well, sometimes as much as 29 percent) and which has become one of the winery’s top-sellers. Its current winery price is $14, but it’s often seen in supermarkets for $10-$11. In addition, there remained a cadre of winemakers who didn’t buy into the concept that single varietal wines were the sole answer to high quality. And in 1988, starting out in the Napa Valley, a group of winemakers frustrated with changing rules over how French wine terms such as Bordeaux and Rhone were being regulated, formed the Meritage Association, which has since become the Meritage Alliance. (Which, by the way, rhymes with heritage.) The aim was to promote creation of high-quality, Bordeaux-style red blends using the traditional grapes of Bordeaux. It has grown to nearly 350 members. Wine Word: Claret For once, the English get credit for a word from the world of wine. Originally, it referred to the red wines of Bordeaux, even though its roots go back to French (clairet) and, even farther back, Latin (clarus) mean clear, shining or bright. That has led some to suggest the term actually was first applied to white wines, but may not be so. An aged red, whether from Bordeaux or elsewhere, drops out its darker colors, becoming brighter and lighter after time in the cellar. In the Northwest, it’s been adopted by several wineries as a name for their red blends. Ken Robertson, has been sipping Northwest wines and writing about them since 1976.

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nom de vine

Nom de vine: Stories behind wine names

Result of a Crush BY JON BAUER

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hat women buy wine more often than men is no longer news, and it’s not hard to find wine that specifically aims to catch the female eye, including Olympic Cellars’ Working Girl wines and Bitner Vineyards’ Menopause Merlot, featured in the last issue of Wine Press Northwest. Nor should it be a surprise that when two sisters working with the family winery in Walla Walla wanted to start their own label, they knew who they’d be selling wine to. “It’s not necessarily intended only for women, but it’s how we think, because we are women,” said Angela Reynvaan Garratt, who with her sister, Amanda Reynvaan, operate the Walla Walla winery, Result of a Crush.

••• Result of a Crush www.resultofacrush.com P.O. Box 3330, Walla Walla, WA 99362 206-910-5712

The winery released its first bottling, a non-vintage red blend in August 2012, (followed shortly after by a rosé, wine made by their brother, Matt Reynvaan). None of the three were complete strangers to winemaking, as all had spent some time helping their parents start and run Reynvaan Family Vineyards at the base of Walla Walla’s Blue Mountains in 2004. And it was at their father’s urging, that “you girls should do this,” that they formed their company, Girls Can Play Too. Still, they’re relative newcomers to the Walla Walla Valley and to winemaking. “We grew up on Bainbridge Island, and we have zero farm background,” Reynvaan Garratt said, who, like her father, left behind a legal career to go into the wine industry.

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Matt Reynvaan may not have been born into a winemaking family, but he put in his time learning vineyard management and winemaking, his sister said, studying at Walla Walla Community College’s Enology and Viticulture program and working at K Vintners in Walla Walla. Matt Reynvaan also spent time in France’s Bordeaux region, working harvest there, Reynvaan Garratt said. Matt Reynvaan splits his time between the family winery and his sisters’ operation. At their father’s prompting, the siblings launched the separate winery, looking to take a slightly different direction. “Reynvaan is a serious label,” Reynvaan Garratt said, “So we decided it would be great to do something not as serious and more approachable on the grocery shelves.” The name would have to be a big part of that. “We knew we wanted something different. We were sitting around the table talking, and my aunt, an elementary school principal, suggested Result of a Crush,” Reynvaan Garratt said. The name was perfect, playing off the early step in winemaking, but also calling on the giddiness that is part of wine and infatuation. “My aunt’s a genius. She gets the credit,” she said, and in appreciation, she also gets some of the wine. The wine label, while definitely appealing to someone shopping for a girls’ night out, also isn’t going to turn off a dude: simple sans serif black lettering for “Result of a Crush,” and a sexy red lipstick “kiss” as an accent. The wine itself, available at Amazon.com for $24.99 a bottle, also

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should win fans, regardless of gender, a Syrah blend with Cabernet Sauvignon as the second-most predominate grape, all sourced from the valley, Reynvaan Garratt said. They are looking for the right white wine to make, “but we’re being pretty picky,” Reynvaan Garratt said. “That’s the next project,” she said, and a necessary step for marketing wine for weddings, bridal showers and other romantic celebrations. While their brother’s work is well defined, the sisters split up management of the business as work needs to be done, although her background in law leaves licensing and other legal issues for Reynvaan Garratt, while Amanda Garratt, with an accounting background, handles those tasks. “This business lends itself to cooperation. People want to be a part of it. It’s romantic, but its a lot of work,” she said. Working with siblings requires a certain closeness. “Absolutely,” Reynvaan Garratt said, and sometimes things are said that wouldn’t be said to anyone but a sibling. “But overall, it’s a great experience being siblings and co-owners,” she said. This August the sisters participated in the Auction of Washington Wines’ Picnic and Barrel Auction on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville. As unseasonable rain sloshed between drizzle and downpour, both sisters carried bottles of their wine, offering pours to participants. “I’m a little more of an extrovert than my sister. But I have to say it is fun to get out there, and she doesn’t mind pouring,” she said. “It’s a fun way to get our name out there.” Jon Bauer is Wine Press Northwest’s Salish Sea correspondent. The longtime newspaperman lives near La Conner, Wash.

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More than a winery BY A N D Y P E R D U E , S P ECIA L TO WINE P RES S NORTHWES T

P HOTOGRA P HS BY J A C K I E J O H N S T O N

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e have reached a golden age, a time when wineries are going to greater lengths to reach out to us, to cater to our needs and to create personal experiences that can never be replicated. They have become the destination. We have become the audience. And it’s only going to get better.

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No longer can a winery simply set up a tasting bar, invite you in and offer samples. The stakes are so much higher now that the Pacific Northwest has reached a critical mass of wineries. What does this mean? Here are some examples:


Mission Hill Winery’s Terrace Restaurant in West Kelowna is one of several food-and-wine experiences available in the Okanagan Valley.

!"Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, Wash., hired one of Washington wine country’s most talented chefs to stage dinners and cooking demos for wine club members. !"Willamette Valley Vineyards in

Turner, Ore., is investing $5.5 million to remake its visitor center from simply being a tasting room to a wineand-food experience. !"Three neighboring wineries in Richland, Wash., — Bookwalter, Barnard Griffin and Tagaris — have

full-time chefs, live music and more that have made them the go-to area of town for locals and visitors alike. !"Several wineries along the shores of Lake Chelan provide food service, including Tsillan Cellars, Lake Chelan Winery, Vin du Lac, Karma WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

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F E AT U R E

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more than wineries

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more than wineries

F E AT U R E

Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Wash., attracts crowds with big name acts, like ZZ Top, in addition to their award-winning wines.

Vineyards and Wapato Point Cellars. !"Desert Wind Winery in Prosser has paired its spacious tasting room with a full-service restaurant and highend guestrooms that overlook the Yakima River and the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center. !"Burrowing Owl Estate Winery near Oliver, British Columbia, features a restaurant and an inn. !"Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Wash., brings in big-name concerts to WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

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more than wineries fill its 4,000-seat amphitheater overlooking the Columbia Gorge. It also has a “Reserve Room” — a special tasting room for wine club members that feature wines only they can purchase. !"Chateau Ste. Michelle, the Northwest’s oldest and largest winery, treats its wine club members so well, it had to cap the club at 10,000 members — and there’s a waiting list to join. !"Since launching in 2008, Westport Winery near Aberdeen, Wash., has created: a restaurant, bakery, sculpture garden, themed gardens, grape maze, 18-hole golf course, dog park, garden nursery, giant chess game and outdoor Scrabble game. Oh, and it’s building a 40-acre arboretum. On top of these examples, hundreds of Northwest wineries offer plenty of perks for their wine club members in an effort to keep their happy customers just that much longer. Willamette Valley Vineyards is turning its old tasting room into a room for its 4,700 wine club members — who are CEO Jim Bernau’s most vital customers. “We need to provide more amenities to our devoted customers,” he said. “Wineries are looking for a wineand-food experience because that’s the best way to experience wine. Look at New Zealand or Italy or the Okanagan Valley, where you find these incredible wine and culinary experiences.” Kim Roberts, who owns Westport Winery with her husband, Blain, could not agree more. “Our winery has to be something for all ages,” she said. “We have to have many areas of interest because people want to travel with their families, they want to travel Westport with their dogs. We have Winery in Aberdeen, to look outside the Wash., has industry at this changing a sculpture Northwest environment. garden for People want to stay closvisitors to er to home and need a meander reason to do that.” through.

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more than wineries

F E AT U R E

Her job, she says, is to give customers that reason to come the first time — and return later. She and Blain learned that when they owned a dive operation in Hawaii. Not wanting to rely on just one revenue stream, they focused on training, charters and retail sales. When they opened Westport, they took the same approach. Roberts is the first to admit that her ideas for keeping fans coming back can get a little out of control. For example, Westport now has 68 points of interest on its property. She finds her inspiration from outside the wine industry, noting places like Tillamook Creamery on the Oregon Coast and the Country Mercantile north of Pasco, Wash., as locations that draw consumers who become customers, customers who become fans and fans who become advocates. “It used to be that people were going to the ocean and happened to see us on the way,” Roberts said. “Now we’re attracting more people who say they’re coming to see us and also will go to the beach.” For Bernau and the rest of Oregon, creating experiences recently became easier, thanks to changes in state law. Until last year, it was against land-use law for wineries to provide any kind of food service, even though King Estate near Eugene had been doing it for years. Once the law changed, Bernau made plans to completely remodel Willamette Valley Vineyards, a winery he launched in the early 1980s with the help of many small investors. Prior to the change in law, some wineries could have kitchens, and some could not, depending on various city and county laws. But with the new law, wineries now can have kitchens with on-staff or catering chefs — but they still cannot have restaurants. “We can’t offer an open menu or open service,” Bernau said. “Under the law, we can use food in the Wineries, like presentation with Tagaris in Richland, Wash., attract the wine.” And Bernau is foodies with their excellent cuisine.

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more than wineries

doing it in a way that will make it center stage. In addition to the new kitchen, he is installing a pairing bar in the middle of his tasting room, where his chef will prepare food while customers observe and salivate. For Bernau, the food aspect of the wine and culinary experience is more important to western Oregon wineries than just about anywhere else. “We grow cool-climate, low-pH

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wines,” he said. “These aren’t backporch quaffers. They are low-yield, high-cost wines. The people we’re attracting are serious wine consumers and foodies. The only way to properly showcase our wines is with food.” Warm-climate wines such as those made from California and Washington grapes can tend to stand on their own, he said. But without food,

Oregon Pinot Noirs are simply out of context. In the Yakima Valley town of Prosser, Susan Bunnell has understood the importance of food and wine for several years. She and her husband, Ron, own Bunnell Family Cellar in the Vintners Village. Inside the winery is their 36-seat restaurant, called Wine O’Clock. They have a fulltime staff and a wood-fired pizza


more than wineries

Chef Frank Magaña oven. The food draws we get them? Which attracts visitors to crowds from as far away wines are yours?’ ” Alexandria Nicole Cellars as the Tri-Cities to the Bunnell enjoys the in Prosser, Wash. with his east and Yakima to the publicity she receives passion for good food that west. from regional and goes well with wine. “It’s a wonderful marnational publications but keting device,” Bunnell laments that positive said. “But it’s also a two-edged sword. press tends to revolve around restauPeople often think of us as a restaurants rather than wineries. rant and not a winery. People will say to “We want the marketing, and we us, ‘These wines are great! Where can want people to be excited,” she said.

F E AT U R E

“But we don’t want them to lose track of what we’re really here for: to provide an incredible experience.” If she could do it all over, Bunnell said she probably would create a bigger area that would have a wine bar feel to it and have less of a restaurant feel. “It would have wine by the glass and food and less of a sit-down formal restaurant feel,” she said.

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F E AT U R E

more than wineries

Wine O’Clock restaurant in Prosser, Wash., is the home of Bunnell Family Cellar.

Down the freeway to the east, that is what Barnard Griffin has been able to accomplish. Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard launched their eponymous winery in 1983 and built the the winery at their current location in the mid-1990s. For more than 15 years, Barnard Griffin was a typical winery, with a tasting room in the front and production in the back. All that changed last year, when the winery went through a stunning transformation. By the time it was done, Barnard Griffin’s tasting room had doubled in size. To one side is a conference room that can easily hold meetings for 30. And to the other side is a gorgeous restaurant with original artwork on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Adjacent to it is a patio that effectively doubles the eatery’s seating for more than six months of the year. And beyond that is the DB Studio, a glass art gallery where Barnard creates artwork and teaches classes. Today, the Barnard Griffin children have entered the family business, with Elise Jackson, 28, working in business and marketing and Megan Hughes, 25, making wine alongside her father. Both women grew up in and around the winery, and they both returned to the family business after graduating from Washington State University. The holy grail for the wine industry has always been to 22

WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

try to appeal to the next generation of wine lovers. That could not be more true today with the elusive millennials who enjoy microbrews, cocktails, craft spirits and wine with equal enthusiasm. The second generation of Barnard Griffins believes this new strategy for the family business just might have cracked the code a bit, partly because it’s the kind of scene they enjoy. “We’re seeing more and more of our age coming in,” Elise Jackson said. “We all have jobs, so they could never make it into the tasting room. But now that we are open after hours, it makes us more accessible to our generation.” Part of Barnard Griffin’s changes undoubtedly had to do with peer pressure. Less than 100 yards to the south, Bookwalter Winery has been evolving from a tasting room to a wine lounge for more than a decade. And just to the north, Tagaris Winery opened a few years ago as a fullsized, sit-down restaurant, complete with a stunning outdoor patio.

Barnard Griffin’s restaurant in Richland, Wash., is decorated with glass artwork made in the adjacent studio.


more than wineries

Lake Chelan Winery is known as much for their BBQ In The Vineyard Restaurant as they are for their wine.

Thanks in large part to the next generation, Barnard Griffin has an altogether different vibe and atmosphere than its neighbors. “With any business, you’re constantly having to look at how you

market yourself, how you better yourself, how you make yourself relevant for the next 30 years,” Jackson said. “The way we chose to do that was to put food with our wine.” That’s the exact atmosphere Jarrod

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and Ali Boyle are trying to create at Alexandria Nicole Cellars. “The marriage between wine and food is a beautiful thing,” said Jarrod, who also runs the estate Destiny Ridge Vineyard and is the head winemaker. “We’re creating an experience, not just selling a product. That’s crucial because there are so many great wines out there.” To accomplish this, the Boyles hired Frank Magaña, who owned Picazo 717 and a successful catering business. The Tacoma native moved across the Cascade Mountains in 2007 because he wanted to be in wine country, where he could work directly with small farmers and spotlight their produce in his cooking. Each month, Magaña builds menus, then creates events around them. Sometimes, they are winemaker dinners for wine club members. Sometimes, they are cooking classes. Any of these can take place in the Prosser tasting room, at wine club members’ homes or even in the vineyard — where Magaña grows fruits, vegetables, peppers and herbs for his dishes. Everyone at Alexandria Nicole understands why this program is so vital to the winery’s success. “It is important to show customers our wine in a culinary context,” said Kristine Bono, winery evangelist. “We want to tell our story in a setting that elevates the wine.” It’s all about creating experiences that cannot really be replicated. When we as wine lovers can participate in an event that we will hold in our minds for years, these wineries have succeeded. That’s good for them — and even better for us. ! A NDY P ERDUE is a wine journalist, author and inter-

national judge. Find out more at www.greatnorthwestwine.com. JACKIE JOHNSTON , a freelance photojournalist, is a regular contributor and the page designer for Wine Press Northwest. Her website is: JackieJohnston.com

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W I N E C O U N T RY

10

activities

great things to do

in Northwest wine country

BY ERIC DEGERMAN

It’s that time of year when we look back, then set our sights ahead. We celebrate the holidays in the company of family and friends with flutes filled with bubbles, then hunker down to stoke the home fires and curl up with a glass of Port as we look forward to 2014 with resolutions to do more and be more. Here are a few suggestions to send you down the path to self-improvement, to self-indulgence or to the company of kindred spirits in the pursuit of both.

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Northstar shines light on blending. David Merfeld knows Merlot in Washington state perhaps better than anyone — and now anyone can gain insight into the Walla Walla winemaker and his team. This fall, Northstar Winery began to offer public blending classes, and each pupil is sent home with a bottle of their own formula. The Northstar Blending Experience gives anyone the chance to spend 90 minutes behind the scenes at the house Ste. Michelle Wine Estates built in 1994 to create some of the world’s top Merlot. “Merf ” took it over in 2005 and is doing just that. Cost is $85 per person or $65 per person for members of the Northstar Wine Club. Considering that a bottle of Northstar 2009 Merlot from the Columbia Valley retails for $41, that seems like a deal — and a gift for your favorite wine lover. Classes are available during the afternoon — starting at 1:30 p.m. — on Thursday through Monday, and they include a tasting through Northstar’s current releases. Follow the light to northstarwinery.com.

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Get crabby at King Estate. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s been said that the best times to go crabbing

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are during months that are spelled with an “R.” Fortunately, only four months fall outside of that, but January seems to be a popular time of year for crab fests. King Estate near Eugene, Ore., continues to set the bar for the rest of the Pacific Northwest when it comes to stewardship of the land, award-winning wines and on-premise dining. And in January, it plays host to its annual Crab & Seafood Fest, which it stages over three weekends. Cost is $85 per person, and the winery has partnered with Eugene’s Valley River Inn to offer a special rate of $89 per night. Think of King Estate Pinot Gris with things from the sea starting Jan. 10 at kingestate.com. UnWined at the Movies. One of the country’s best cities for raising a family is Boise, and the developing wine culture adds to its appeal. Last year, the Idaho Wine Commission created the UnWined at the Movies concept, and the next segment is Jan. 16 at the historic Egyptian Theatre, built in 1927 just blocks away from the state Capitol. As many as 225 winesters will be able to sit in comfort to watch Sideways, sip local wine, enjoy bites from 3 Girls Catering and wonder why Miles loathes Merlot and yet loves Merlot-based Cheval Blanc. Participating wineries include Cinder, Cold Springs, Colter’s Creek, Fraser, Indian Creek, Sawtooth, Ste. Chapelle and Telaya. Each will pour samples as well as sell wine by the glass and the bottle. Entry is $30. Step up to the ticket booth at idahowines.org. Membership has its privileges. Anyone who plays competitive golf — much less tournament golf — needs to establish a handicap with the U.S. Golf Association, if only to help determine who buys the first round at the 19th hole after the match.

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Recently, the Oregon Golf Association, a nonprofit partner of the USGA, teed up a tasty promotion with Willamette Valley Vineyards. Those who present their OGA card receive discounts on wine purchases at the Turner tasting room, tasting fees and entries into special events. An OGA membership also supports junior golf and receives discounted greens fees at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., and nearby Chambers Bay — site of the 2015 U.S. Open. There’s also a free one-year subscription to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, which recently profiled former LPGA star Cindy Rarick, owner of Silvara Vineyards in Leavenworth, Wash., and Bandon Dunes founder Mike Keiser, keynote speaker at the Oregon Wine Symposium. Find your mark at oga.org. Whining for ice cream. Last spring, Gary Gouger transformed a former Clark County fire station into his eponymous winery in Ridgefield, Wash., not far from the Columbia River and just southwest of Mount St. Helens. He’s picked up awards with his wines, including his fortifieds, but he’s also generating interest in his fledgling ice cream business. Gouger rapidly sold through his Merlot ice cream as 20 pints went out the door in two days. Buoyed by that success, he’s doubled production with plans to make the frozen confection with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Muscat and Alicante Bouschet — an old French variety that includes Grenache as part of its pedigree. It’s a red grape with red juice, a rarity in the world of vitis vinifera. “There is not any alcohol in the ice cream, and all the sweetness comes from the grape — no added sugar,” Gouger said. “I only wish I had a video of people’s facial expressions when they

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taste it. I think this might be a huge success.” Get the scoop at gcwinery.com. A cheesy delivery. Few things in life go together as divinely as wine and cheese, so it makes sense that if you belong to a wine club in the Pacific Northwest, why not join a cheese club? Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Ore., got its start during the Great Depression and began making Roquefort-type cheese after World War II. A decade ago, Cary Bryant and David Gremmels bought it from the Vella family and have taken the company to new heights. They also embraced the wine industry, and their website offers pairing ideas for each cheese. Gremmels, who openly applauds the work of other Northwest creameries, proudly serves on the governor’s Oregon Sustainability Board. Rogue Creamery won the state’s Sustainability Tourism Award in 2007 in light of its support for community and agri-tourism. While they’ve earned kudos for their green efforts, it’s their eight varieties of award-winning blue cheese that will hold your interest. Here’s one vote for Caveman Blue. They also offer a cheese club, which three tiers to choose from, starting at $199. Get churning at roguecreamery.com. Seattle’s West Coast wine festival. Just a few blocks from Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project, the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall will play host to the Seattle Wine and Food Experience on Feb. 23. Since its launch in 2009, Jamie Peha’s production has become the Pacific Northwest’s first major food-andwine event of the year — a month before Taste Washington — but this also embraces wineries from Oregon, Idaho and California. That said, Woodinville is the featured region in 2014, making up the majority of the 50+ Northwest wineries scheduled to pour. More than 20 of Seattle’s top chefs will be spotlighted, too, including Match Maker alumnus Geogy Chacko (FarEats), Bobby Moore (Barking Frog) and John Sarich (Chateau Ste. Michelle). Cost is $55, and this year’s beneficiary is Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, which helps provide scholarships for women in the culinary, beverage and hospitality

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WINTER 2013 / 2014 • WINE PRESS NORTHWEST

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industries. Get experienced at seattlewineandfoodexperience.com. An entertaining app on Washington wine. Two years ago, California’s Central Coast Wine Country group created its “Paso Wine Man” marketing campaign, which received a bit of YouTube buzz in wine circles with its first promotion of Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival. This fall, the Washington State Wine Commission gave birth to The Recommendeuer, a humorously pompous wine expert in a plaid suit who advocates for Washington wines via a new educational app. The Recommendeuer is portrayed by actor/comic Greg Proops of Whose Line is It Anyway? and his character is a bit reminiscent of John Cleese were he of Californian descent. One of The Recommendeuer’ s best lines is “Here in Washington state, we believe the butter belongs on your bread, not in your Chardonnay.” The app is marketed to and intended for wine writers, buyers and sommeliers beyond the Northwest, but it’s free to the world via iTunes. At more than 1.1 GB, it’s as big as a Cab from Red Mountain with notes of entertainment and education. Right wine, right time. Portland journalist Katherine Cole, who authored the acclaimed Voodoo Vintners, a 2011 look at biodynamic winemaking in Oregon, is back with a book for the masses. Complete Wine Selector: How to Choose the Right Wine Every Time (Firefly Books, $24.95) helps remove much of the fear and mystery for anyone

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looking to choose a wine at a grocery store, wine shop or restaurant. There are sections on wine styles, storage and gadgets. It also explains why that bottle you just opened is reminiscent of a wet dog sleeping on moldy cardboard in your grandmother’s basement. Cole’s background is fascinating — Harvard grad, product of Columbia University’s acclaimed journalism program, wine columnist for the Oregonian, contributor to Wine Spectator, college instructor, app developer, wife and mother. Her latest book comes across as approachable as she is. To order, go to katherinecole.com.

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Class in session at House of Wine. Kathryn House serves the Idaho wine industry foremost as a winemaking consultant, but she’s also expanding her role in consumer education. Her résumé includes four years as assistant winemaker at renowned Betz Family Cellars in Woodinville, Wash., before marriage led her to Boise, where’s she and her husband started a family. Her business, House of Wine, found a new home at the Urban Winemakers Cooperative in Garden City, which also serves as the production facility and tasting room for Cinder, Coiled and Telaya. There, the Washington State University grad offers her Fundamentals of Wine series for consumers. She refers to the classes as Wine 101, Wine 201 and Wine 301, and the combined cost is $115 for the Thursday night classes. The first class covers basic grape growing, winemaking techniques and tips on wine tasting that involves five grapes varieties in a classroom atmosphere. Her wine education and kiosk at the co-op also are open Friday and Saturday afternoons. Get schooled at thehowofwine.com. Eric Degerman co-owns Great Northwest Wine, a news and information website. (greatnorthwestwine.com).

W I N E P R E S S N W. C O M


Enjoy our authentic Italian Cuisine, friendly atmosphere and extensive wine selection. Visconti’s Ristorante Visconti’s Italian Italiano Restaurant 636 Front St. 1737 N. Wenatchee Ave., Leavenworth, WA Wenatchee, WA

509-548-1213

509-662-5013

www.viscontis.com

W I N E P R E S S N W. C O M

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TA S T I N G R E S U LT S

platinum

Best of the Best

Results of the 2013 Platinum Judging BY ANDY PERDUE PHOTOS BY JACKIE JOHNSTON

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-In the first 13 years of the Platinum Judging, red wines have tended to dominate the top wines. But this year, two white wines — both under $15 — earned the title of “Best of the Best in the Great Northwest.” L’Ecole No. 41’s 2012 Chenin Blanc and Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery’s 2012 Desert Sun white blend finished atop the 634 gold medal winners judged at the 14th Platinum. In fact, amid the top 11 wines, eight of them were white wines, perhaps 28

WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

speaking of the quality of whites the Northwest is enjoying from the stellar 2012 vintage. Here are a few highlights from this year’s competition: !"Gehringer Brothers dominated the judging with 11 Double Platinums and Platinums. This gives the Oliver, British Columbia, winery an astonishing 43 Platinum awards in 14 years. !"La Frenz Winery in Naramata, British Columbia, won six Platinums. !"Dusted Valley Vintners in Walla

Walla, Wash., and Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Wash., each earned five Platinums. !"Alexandria Nicole Cellars, Cave B Estate Winery and Thurston Wolfe each won three Platinums. !"Three college-based wineries — Northwest Wine Academy (South Seattle Community College), College Cellars (Walla Walla Community College) and Yakima Valley Vintners (Yakima Valley Community College) — each won a Platinum. ➤ FOR MORE WINNING WINES ➤ WINEPRESSNW.COM


platinum

W I N E R AT I N G S All wines earned gold medals or the equivalent to get into our judging. Thus, the lowest medal they could earn was a gold. Here’s how wines are rated in our competition:

Superb wines that rise above. They should be highly sought after.

Best of the Best

Gold

These are the top-rated wines in the judging. They should be considered extremely collectible and highly coveted.

Our judges confirmed the gold medals they earned elsewhere. They should not be overlooked.

Double Platinum

Best Buy A red wine that is $15 and under or a white or rosé wine that is $10 and under.

The judges unanimously decided these were Platinums. Again, these should be considered highly coveted. Platinum

Northwest. Double Gold

Prices are suggested retail and should be used as guidelines.

Great wines, among the best in the Great

!"Of the 151 Double Platinums and Platinums, 22 are an affordable $15 or less. The least expensive is an Italian red blend from Eye of the Needle Winery at $11. !"Winemaker Robert Smasne won five Platinums for two different wineries (Smasne Cellars and Skylite

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Cellars). That gives him 13 Platinums in three years. Our judges this year were: Dan Berger, independent wine journalist from Santa Rosa, Calif., who runs the Riverside International and Long Beach Grand Cru competitions and judges around the world; Jean Yates,

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longtime Oregon wine merchant and now owner of Oregon Wine Marketing; Parks Redwine of Atlanta, Ga., who owns and runs the Northwest Wine Summit competition; Heather Unwin, executive director of the Red Mountain AVA Alliance; Kristine Bono, director of evangelism for Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser and Woodinville, Wash.; Ken Robertson, wine columnist for Wine Press Northwest; Dave Seaver, tasting panelist for Great Northwest Wine; and Coke Roth, international wine judge and Wine Press Northwest columnist. Here are the results:

BEST OF THE BEST Best Buy! Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $13 2012 Desert Sun, Okanagan Valley Walter Gehringer, who has made more Platinum-winning wines than any other winemaker in the Pacific Northwest, does it again with this gorgeous and unusual WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

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platinum

white blend of Auxerrois, Chardonnay and Riesling. It reveals aromas of gooseberry, fresh linen, peach and strawberry, followed by flavors of white peach, Bosc pear, dried pineapple and spices. It’s a beautiful, bright white wine. (1,200 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: Indy International Wine Competition (gold). Best Buy! L’Ecole No. 41 $15 2012 Chenin Blanc , Columbia Valley Owner Marty Clubb has been dedicated to this Loire Valley variety for as long as anyone in the Pacific Northwest, and this is a truly great example. It opens with aromas of elderflower, Fuji apple and a hint of citrus, followed by flavors of lime and apple backed by spritzy acidity. The hints of apple peel and spot-on brightness make this a wine worth savoring. (3,850 cases, 13.5% alc.) Awards: Northwest Wine Summit (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

DOUBLE PLATINUM Smasne Cellars $45 2009 Upland Vineyard Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Snipes Mountain

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Every year, Robert Smasne moves up in our blind tastings. The grapes for this Cab come from Snipes Mountain, where some of the oldest vines in the Pacific Northwest were planted. This features aromas of cedar, chocolate and mint, followed by flavors of cherry, blackberry, blueberry and chocolate. It’s a broadshouldered wine with assertive tannins that are matched by the fruit and acidity. (125 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: Savor Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Abacela $18 2012 Albariño, Umpqua Valley Owner Earl Jones was an early adopter of this white Spanish variety, and he and winemaker Andrew Wenzl continue to make the best in the Northwest. This is an explosive white wine with aromas of sweet herbs and citrus, followed by flavors of lime, lemon and yellow grapefruit with hints of minerality. The acidity brushes your teeth while it backs up all the edgy fruit. (1,113 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold). JoieFarm $23 2012 Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley Pinot Blanc is overshadowed by Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and other white varieties, but in the hands of gifted grape

growers and winemakers, it can be a true wonder. And that is what we have with this example from a top Naramata Bench winery. This classic Pinot Blanc reveals aromas and flavors of wildflowers, Meyer lemon, minerality and even a hint of marshmallow. (288 cases, 12.5% alc.) Award: San Francisco International Wine Competition (Double gold/Best Pinot Blanc). Best Buy! Acrobat $15 2012 Pinot Gris, Oregon Nobody makes more Pinot Gris than King Estate, both under its primary brand and this valueminded label. This offers aromas of pineapple, apple and clover, followed by rich flavors of citrus, apple, white carnation and spice. We could drink this all day. (70,000 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Alexandria Nicole Cellars $16 2012 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Riesling, Horse Heaven Hills This is owner/winemaker Jarrod Boyle’s first — of many — Platinum awards. With this wine, he helps reinforce the greatness of Washington Riesling. This begins with floral notes followed by aromas of minerality, spring water and fresh lime. On the palate, this is

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platinum

HOW

W

T H E P L AT I N U M I S C O N D U C T E D

ine Press Northwest created the Platinum Judging in 2000 as a way to determine some of the best wines of the Pacific Northwest. To accomplish this, we chart more than 35 professionally judged wine competitions worldwide to track the gold medals won by fruit from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. In 2013, Northwest wineries were awarded more than 1,600 gold medals at professional judgings.

a delight, with flavors of apple, lemon and slate. This wine cries out for spicy dishes. (574 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). La Frenz Winery $22 NV Tawny, Okanagan Valley This is the third time owner/winemaker Jeff Martin has earned Platinum for this fortified dessert wine (the two prior awards came in 2008 and 2012). It’s gorgeously balanced with aromas and flavors of classic

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The wines are categorized and judged blind over three days by two panels of wine experts, who award wines with Double Platinum, Platinum, Double Gold, Gold and Best Buy. A wine is awarded a medal based on how a majority of the judges voted. In the case when all four judges deem the wine a Platinum, that wine is awarded a unanimous Double Platinum. Based on each judge’s score, we are able to determine which wine or wines end up at the top — the best of the best. The 14th annual Platinum Judging took place Oct. 22-24 at the Clover Island Inn in Kennewick, Wash.

tawny characteristics, including nuttiness, golden raisins and tremendous length. (200 cases, 18.5% alc.) Awards: AllCanadian Wine Championships (gold), Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Maryhill Winery $30 2010 Sugarloaf Vineyard Mourvèdre, Rattlesnake Hills It’s been some kind of year for Maryhill and winemaker Richard Batchelor, winner of approximately 70 gold medals this year throughout the

United States. This wine, part of a new tier called The Vineyards, is the best of the bunch. Mourvèdre is a Rhône red that is coming on strong in Washington, and this is a classic with aromas of vanilla, plum and gaminess, followed by flavors of dark fruit compote, blackberry pie and spice. (360 cases, 13.8% alc.) Awards: Indy International Wine Competition (double gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold).

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platinum

PLATINUM

H

BY THE NUMBERS

ere are a few statistics of interest about the 2013 Platinum Judging:

! Total entries: 634, a record. !"Double Platinums: 26 (4.1%) ! Platinums: 125 (19.7%) !"Double golds: 258 (40.7%) ! Golds: 199 (31.4%) !"Total cases represented in this judging: 1,769,559 !"Average alcohol by volume: 13.74% ! Average price per bottle: $27.85

Cave B Estate Winery $20 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley Winemaker Freddy Arredondo is doing great work for this winery in the Ancient Lakes near George, Wash. This Sauvignon Blanc is a classic version, with pronounced aromas of lemon and mint, followed by flavors of lime, Meyer lemon

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!"What it would cost to buy one bottle of every wine judged: $17,628 !"Appellations represented: 29. They include: Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley (3), Applegate Valley (5), British Columbia (2), Chehalem Mountains (5), Columbia Gorge (1), Columbia Valley (196), Dundee Hills (2), Eola-Amity Hills (2), Horse Heaven Hills (43), Idaho (1), Lake Chelan (9), Naches Heights (3), Okanagan Valley (76), Oregon (13), Puget Sound (1), Rattlesnake Hills (12), Red Mountain (24), Ribbon Ridge (2), Rogue Valley (10), Snake River Valley (8), Snipes Mountain (12), Southern Oregon (12), Umpqua Valley (17), Wahluke Slope (34), Walla Walla Valley (57), Washington (31), Willamette Valley (15), Yakima Valley (35), Yamhill-Carlton (3).

and dried herbs. It’s all backed with beautifully crisp acidity that will pair perfectly with seared scallops. (355 cases, 14.3% alc.) Award: North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold/best white). Lopez Island Vineyard & Winery $25 2012 Siegerrebe, Puget Sound One of the rarest grapes in the Northwest is

Siegerrebe, a white German variety. A bit is planted in the Puget Sound region, where it is able to ripen most years. Owner and winemaker Brent Charnley consistently crafts one of the most delicious examples we’ve seen. This opens with beautiful aromas of spice, apple and white flowers, followed by long, lush flavors of ripe stone fruit, honeysuckle and ➤ FOR MORE WINNING WINES ➤ WINEPRESSNW.COM


platinum

Asian pear. (180 cases, 12% alc.) Award: Long Beach Grand Cru (gold). Smasne Cellars $24 2010 County Line Red, Columbia Valley This Cab-based blend is crafted by prolific and talented Yakima Valley winemaker Robert Smasne. It starts with aromas of spice, chocolate and cherry, then followed by flavors of chocolate, blackberry and blueberry. Enjoy with grilled meats. (500 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Robert Ramsay Cellars $38 2010 Par La Mer Red, Columbia Valley Some of the best blends coming out of Washington wineries are Rhône-style reds. This wine from a Woodinville producer is a great example, as it leads with Mourvèdre and includes Grenache and Cinsault. It opens with aromas of cassis, forest floor and garrigue, followed by brambly flavors of plum, blackberry, black pepper and blueberry. (272 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (double gold). 8th Generation $23 2010 Integrity, Okanagan Valley This gorgeous sparkling wine from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is a blend of

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Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s full and luscious from first whiff to the final sip, presenting notes of peach, apricot, rose petal and apple. It brings the party to your palate and might remind you of a stroll through a summer meadow. (800 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: All-Canadian Wine Championships (gold). Best Buy! Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $15 2012 Classic Ehrenfelser, Okanagan Valley This little-known white variety is a cross of Riesling and Silvaner, developed in Germany in 1929. While just 280 acres are left in Germany, it has a stronghold in British Columbia, where it is turned into world-class wine. This offers aromas of rose petal, white peach and dusty rose, followed by flavors of ripe Elberta peach, along with orange and apricot, all backed with mouthwatering acidity. (3,000 cases, 13.1% alc.) Awards: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (gold), Indy International Wine Competition (gold). La Frenz Winery $20 2012 Alexandria, Okanagan Valley Winemaker Jeff Martin has concocted an unusual but successful blend of Muscat, Schönburger and Siegerrebe for this deli-

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cious white wine. It opens with aromas of elderflower, honeysuckle and blood orange, followed by flavors of white peach and citrus notes throughout. It’s a gorgeous wine with just a touch of sweetness. (800 cases, 12% alc.) Awards: All-Canadian Wine Championships (gold), Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Chehalem Wines $60 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge Founding winemaker Harry PetersonNedry has been crafting Pinot Noirs in Oregon’s Willamette Valley for decades and has been a huge proponent of Ribbon Ridge, the smallest appellation in the Pacific Northwest. This is a classic Oregon Pinot Noir with aromas of cherry, plum and forest floor, followed by sultry, smoldering flavors of Rainier cherry and red plum, all backed by velvety tannins and a finish that keeps giving and giving. (444 cases, 13.1% alc.) Award: Sunset International Wine Competition (gold). Airlie Winery $22 2009 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley This wine from a Monmouth, Ore., winery uses grapes from vines that date to 1978, 1983 and 1991. It offers aromas of restrained oak, vanilla and strawberry, followed by delicate flavors of moist earth, black truf-

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platinum

fle and raspberry. It’s a gentle wine that emphasizes elegance. (1,830 cases, 13.1% alc.) Award: Oregon Wine Awards (gold). Skylite Cellars $47 2008 Reserve, Columbia Valley Prolific winemaker Robert Smasne crafted the wines for this Walla Walla Valley winery, and this high-end blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenérè is a sultry wine. It opens with pleasing aromas of cherry cobbler, followed by flavors of ripe huckleberry and plum, all backed with gentle tannins and bright acidity. (112 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Thurston Wolfe $16 2012 PGV, Washington Longtime Washington winemaker and viticulturist Wade Wolfe has been crafting this fun and delicious white blend for years. He has found terrific balance using Pinot Gris and Viognier, and this example continues to shine. It is loaded with fruit aromas and flavors, including apricot, peach and apple, all backed with bright, beautiful acidity to give it perfect balance for fish tacos. (2,200 cases, 12.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold).

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Best Buy! A to Z Wineworks $15 2012 No Wood Chardonnay , Oregon The revolution of tree-free Chardonnay continues, and this Dundee, Ore., winery has it all dialed in with this gorgeous and affordable example. This offers notes of white peach, lemon oil, Asian pear and even a hint of jicama on the finish. This is what unadorned Chardonnay should taste like. (27,644 cases, 13% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Milbrandt Vineyards $28 2010 Tempranillo, Wahluke Slope Chateau Ste. Michelle alum Joshua Maloney put the final touches on this wine that uses estate grapes from Wahluke Slope and Clifton Hill vineyards. It’s a superb example of this Spanish variety that is making strong headway in the Pacific Northwest. This offers aromas of cherry, cranberry and vanilla, backed by fresh flavors of dark plum, cherry and a slatiness that adds great complexity. (200 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Martin-Scott Winery $24 2009 Raven Ridge Red, Columbia Valley Mike Scott is crafting superb wines

at his operation in East Wenatchee, Wash. This is a delicious and affordable blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah that reveals mature blackberry and plum aromas followed by layers of dark fruit, oak and black licorice. There’s an alluring level of complexity underneath everything. (223 cases, 15.4% alc.) Award: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (gold). Coyote Canyon Winery $25 2011 Tres Cruces, Horse Heaven Hills Mike Andrews owns one of the top vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills and now is crafting some of the region’s top wines at his facility in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser. This is a Syrah-heavy blend that includes a bit of Grenache and Mourvèdre. It showcases complex aromas of smoked meat, coffee, blueberry and minerality, followed by big flavors of dark chocolate, blueberry and blackberry. This is not a shy wine, though the tannins are in perfect harmony with the fruit. (300 cases, 14.1% alc.) Award: Denver International Wine Competition (gold). La Frenz Winery $40 2009 Grand Total Reserve, Okanagan Valley Aussie native Jeff Martin is crafting some of the Northwest’s finest wines, though he is working in relative obscurity

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KING OF THE PLATINUM

ith 11 Platinums this year alone, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery near Oliver, British Columbia, keeps a firm grasp on the title of “King of the Platinum.” Walter and Gordon Gehringer have won Platinum medals every year except 2001 and 2006. Here are the wineries that have won at least 10 Platinums during the competition’s first 14 years:

— at least to Americans — on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. This reserve-level red is a blend that leads with Merlot and includes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. It is gorgeous from first whiff, with notes of spiced plum and ripe cherry, followed by plush, juicy flavors of black currant, dusty cherry and dark chocolate. The tannins are perfectly balanced, and the acidity adds vibrancy. (450 cases, 14% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold).

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!"Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery: 43 !"Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate: 25 !"Chateau Ste. Michelle: 21 !"Barnard Griffin: 19 !"Maryhill Winery: 18 !"La Frenz Winery: 16 !"Wild Goose Vineyards: 15 !"Thurston Wolfe: 13 !"Domaine Ste. Michelle 11 !"Kiona Vineyards & Winery: 11 !"Zerba Cellars: 11

Maryhill Winery $25 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Syrah, Columbia Valley Richard Batchelor hasn’t taken long to dial in on some favorite vineyards since arriving from California in 2009. Most of the grapes for this gorgeous Syrah came from Northridge Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. The nose carries alluring aromas of baked brownie and blueberry, followed by textured flavors of black currant, smoke, spice, plum and orange zest. (401 cases, 14.5% alc.) Awards:

Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold), Dallas Morning News Wine Competition (gold).

PLATINUM Burrowing Owl Estate Winery $33 2010 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley One of the most beautiful and progressive operations on the West Coast is Burrowing Owl — a winery, restaurant, lodge and vineyard on the spectacular

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Black Sage Bench of the southern Okanagan Valley. Cab Franc is a signature wine, and this is among the best we’ve tasted. Aromas of raspberry weave together with cherry and dried herbs, followed by vivacious flavors of red and black fruit and crushed leaf. This is a classic. (1,653 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: New World International Wine Competition (gold/best of variety).

Lakes of Columbia Valley appellation near the towns of George and Quincy. That’s where Saviah’s Richard Funk acquired these grapes. This opens with a gorgeous nose of orchard fruit, followed by a balanced palate of pear and apple. It’s all backed with mouthwatering acidity and a long, complex finish. (1,100 cases, 12.6% alc.) Award: Savor Northwest Wine Competition (gold).

Angel Vine $25 2011 The Sweet One, Columbia Valley Ed Fus owns this winery in Carlton, Ore., and uses grapes primarily from Washington. He headed to StoneTree Vineyard on the warm Wahluke Slope for the fruit to build this fortified dessert wine, which is a blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Its dark cherry nose radiates with notes of raisin and chocolate. The flavors are not overpowering — rather, they are harmonious, rich and refined, giving way to a lengthy finish. (50 cases, 17.2% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

Thurston Wolfe $16 2010 Touriga Naçional Port, Yakima Valley Wade Wolfe, who came to Washington in the 1970s, is making some of the region’s best fortified dessert wines. This is one of six he produces, using a classic Portuguese grape grown in the Yakima Valley. It is a dangerously delicious wine with aromas of raisin, dried cranberry and chocolate, followed by smooth, well-integrated flavors of golden raisin, dried cherry and chocolate. (50 cases, 19% alc.) Awards: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold).

Best Buy! Saviah Cellars $15 2011 The Jack Riesling, Columbia Valley Perhaps the most acclaimed Riesling vineyard in Washington is Evergreen, which is in the new Ancient

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Lang Vineyards $55 2011 Riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley Ice wine is one of the most insanely difficult wines to make because the winemaker needs to wait until tempera-

tures drop to at least minus-9 Celsius before the grapes can be harvested. But when this nectar of the wine gods is this delicious, it’s all worth the effort. This classic example from the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia reveals concentrated flavors of poached pear, fresh-cut apple and honey, followed by intense flavors of pear, apricot and apple. It’s a stunning wine. (350 cases, 9.2% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (best in show). Fraser Vineyard $28 2011 Malbec, Washington Fraser Vineyard is one of Idaho’s top boutique wineries and was Boise’s first winery since the repeal of Prohibition. Fraser often uses grapes from Washington, and this Malbec is a great example of the variety. It shows off complex notes of violet, blueberry and black pepper, all backed by suave tannins. It’s a beautiful wine. (79 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Maryhill Winery $40 2010 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Indira, Rattlesnake Hills Southern Rhône red blends are all the rage in the Pacific Northwest, and this example from Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Wash., takes a different twist, as it uses the some-

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what rare Cinsault and Counoise grapes. It’s a gorgeous wine with exotic spice and sweet cherry aromas, followed by smooth flavors of plum, cherry and leather, making for a beautifully balanced wine. (94 cases, 13.2% alc.) Awards: San Francisco International Wine Competition (double gold/best Rhône blend), Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (double gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Best Buy! Diversion Wine $15 NV Riesling, Washington Diversion is a project by Damian Davis, who owns Rainier Wine in Seattle. He produces this gorgeous Riesling with the folks at Wahluke Wine Co., in Mattawa, Wash. It offers aromas of anise, pineapple and apple, followed by rich flavors of ripe pear, apple and guava. (5,000 cases, 13.5% alc.) Awards: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (double gold) Ginkgo Forest Winery $30 2008 Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope The Wahluke Slope is one of Washington’s largest grape-growing regions, but it is home to few wineries. Ginkgo Forest is one of those that call Mattawa their home, and winemaker Mike Thiede is on a serious roll. This Cab Franc from estate

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grapes unveils aromas of sweet oak followed by cherry and coconut. On the palate, it’s a big, hedonistic wine with loads of chocolate, cherry and spices. (25 cases, 14.3% alc.) Awards: North Central Washington Wine Awards (double gold). Zerba Cellars $30 2010 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley Winemaker Doug Nierman has this Milton-Freewater, Ore., winery running in high gear, and here’s another example of his prowess. This complex, layered Cab Franc reveals aromas of purple fruit, lavender and a hint of leafiness, followed by charming flavors of cherry, plum and spice backed with moderate tannins. It’s great now and only going to further evolve through the next halfdecade. (226 cases, 14.4% alc.) Awards: Savor Northwest Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Walla Walla Vintners $28 2010 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley This longtime Walla Walla Valley winery brought in fruit from no fewer than six vineyards across the vast Columbia Valley to craft this complex Cab Franc. It offers aromas of cherry, cranberry and lime, followed by layers of unadorned red cherry and violet that might remind you of

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Chinon. (800 cases, 14.2% alc.) Award: Savor Northwest Wine Competition double gold/best in class). Westport Winery $26 NV Bog Berry Blush, Washington Coastal winery Westport Winery has crafted a delicious and consumer-friendly wine that is Gewürztraminer with a bit of cranberry juice blended in. It offers dimensions of spice, cranberry and quince up front, while the Gewürztraminer’s tell-tale lychee and citrus flavors linger underneath it all. (279 cases, 11% alc.) Award: Capital Food & Wine Festival Competition (gold/best fruit wine). Chateau Lorane $25 2009 Quail Run Vineyard Carménère, Rogue Valley Dave Gruber works in relative obscurity in the southern Willamette Valley, but he produces several beautiful and distinctive wines. The best example is this Carménère using grapes from the warm Rogue Valley. It provides aromas of red currant and chocolate, followed by beautifully balanced flavors of black pepper, plum and cherry. Beautiful acidity and mild tannins provide all the structure necessary. (100 cases, 13.7% alc.) Award: Oregon Wine Awards (gold).

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Tsillan Cellars $19 2012 Pinot Grigio, Lake Chelan Winemaker Shane Collins has found one of the keys to great Pinot Gris: location. Estate vineyards on the south shore of Lake Chelan are perfectly positioned for producing this sleek white wine. Here’s a stylish, distinctive and highly rewarded example with aromas of Asian pear and spice, followed by flavors of grapefruit and apple. (542 cases, 3.4% alc.) Awards: San Francisco International Wine Competition (double gold), North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold). Best Buy! Domaine Ste. Michelle $12 NV Brut, Columbia Valley Domaine Ste. Michelle — now simply known as “Michelle” — produces some of the best value sparkling wine in the world, and winemaker Rick Casqueiro nails it again with this beautifully dry example. It offers aromas of mineral, apple and toast and flavors of citrus, slate and apple. Its persistent mousse provides plenty of structure and a memorable finish. (191,000 cases, 11.3% alc.) Award: Long Beach Grand Cru (Gold/Best in class).

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Best Buy! Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $15 2012 Classic Dry Riesling, Okanagan Valley This is a stylish wine with aromas and of flowers, herbal tea, white pepper, Granny Smith apple and complex spices. It is totally dry and filled with all kinds of little nuances. (1,000 cases, 13.3% alc.) Awards: Indy International Wine Competition (gold), Los Angeles International Wine Competition (gold), All-Canadian Wine Championships (gold). Alexandria Nicole Cellars $20 2012 Crawford Viognier, Columbia Valley Nearly all of ANC’s wines come from estate grapes in the southern Horse Heaven Hills, but this is the rare wine in which owner/winemaker Jarrod Boyle goes outside Destiny Ridge Vineyard. He uses grapes from Crawford Vineyard, which isn’t far from his tasting room in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser. This stylish Viognier is a classic wine with floral aromas and flavors and hints of citrus and vanilla. (982 cases, 13.4% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Gilbert Cellars $20 2012 Riesling, Columbia Valley Winemaker Justin Neufeld used estate

grapes from the family’s Sunrise Vineyard to craft this superb Riesling. It’s loaded with aromas and flavors of pineapple, peach, honeysuckle and minerality. Just a bit of residual sweetness carries nicely with the gangbuster fruit and elegant minerality. (313 cases, 12.9% alc.) Award: Sunset International Wine Competition (gold/best in class). Martinez & Martinez Winery $30 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills Sergio Martinez has been growing estate grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills for more than 30 years, and his son Andrew crafts the wine for the family’s tasting room in Prosser. This is a classic Horse Heaven Cab with aromas of fresh cedar, dusty red cherry and black pepper, followed by flavors of red currant, red raspberry and a touch of tartness. It’s a lengthy wine that is perfectly structured. (75 cases, 14% alc.) Award: Wine Press Northwest Cabernet Sauvignon judging (Outstanding). Foundry Vineyards $42 2009 Artisan Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley Justin Basel learned his craft at Walla Walla Community College’s vaunted winemaking program before moving on to his family’s Basel Cellars.

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Now he’s crafting wines for this Walla Walla winery. It is an impeccable wine with aromas and flavors of blueberry, plum, olive and red cherry. As great as it is now, it will continue to evolve for another few years. (120 cases, 14.3% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). JoieFarm $28 2011 En Famille Reserve Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley Simply put, this is one of the finest Gewürztraminers you’re likely to encounter. Not only do owners Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn know how to get the most out of their grapes, but they also have the restaurant background to understand Gewürztraminer’s elegance with food. This layered wine reveals elegant aromas and flavors of spice, lychee and grapefruit, backed with just a hint of residual sugar and world-class acidity rarely found elsewhere. (208 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold/Best in class). Gamache Vintners $55 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley Bob and Roger Gamache have been growing wine grapes above the Columbia River for decades, and they teamed up with master wine-

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maker Charlie Hoppes. This high-end Cab blends their estate grapes with Champoux and Ciel du Cheval vineyards, and the results are spectacular. It offers aromas and flavors of cherry, clove and black olive. The restrained use of oak allows the varietal flavors to shine through. (298 cases, 14.9% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Dusted Valley Vintners $42 2010 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley When the results were revealed, this didn’t surprise us, as the boys at this Walla Walla winery have long crafted some of the best Cab Franc in the Pacific Northwest. It offers faint tones of tobacco leaf along with Jolly Rancher cherry candy, pomegranate and raspberry. Its juicy mouth feel gives way to a memorable finish. (240 cases, 14.7% alc.) Award: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (double gold). Best Buy! Northwest Wine Academy $15 2011 Gilbert Orchards Nebbiolo, Columbia Valley Peter Bos and his students at South Seattle Community College have crafted a superb and rare Nebbiolo, the noble grape of northwest Italy. This is an entertaining wine with aromas and flavors of black pepper, red currant, raspber-

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ry and sweet herbs. As delicious as it is now, it will only grow more complex with a few years of patience. (50 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Fraser Vineyard $24 2011 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley This Boise winery is one of the best in the Gem State, and owner Beverly Fraser brought in grapes from Sawtooth and Skyline vineyards for this top-drawer Tempranillo. It offers aromas and flavors of rose petal, coffee, crème brûlée, toasted marshmallow, saddle leather and raspberry jam. Its moderate tannins are beautifully balanced with all the flavors, giving way to a jammy finish. (83 cases, 14% alc.) Award: Idaho Wine Competition (gold). Chateau Lorane $28 2010 Quail Run Vineyard Pinotage, Rogue Valley Pinotage is a grape typically associated with South Africa because that is where it was bred as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This example comes from grapes in Southern Oregon, and it is spectacular with aromas and flavors of cherry, toasted oak, milk chocolate and sweet spices. It’s an easydrinking red with a lengthy finish. (100 cases, 14.3% alc.) Award: Oregon Wine Awards (double gold).

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Best Buy! Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $15 2012 Classic Auxerrois, Okanagan Valley Walter Gehringer has been making wine with the rare Auxerrois grape for ages, and it’s traditionally among the best white wines in the province. This example provides aromas and flavors of citrus, tart apple, lime, white peach and minerality, all backed with mouthwatering acidity. (1,200 cases, 12.9% alc.) Award: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (gold/best in class). La Frenz Winery $22 2012 Rattlesnake Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley Sauv Blancs from the Northwest are not typically like those we see from New Zealand, but this one does show some of those wildly aromatic qualities. This opens with pronounced notes of grass and grapefruit, followed by bright acidity backing flavors of sweet lemon, kiwi, gooseberry and green apple. It’s pretty easy to imagine enjoying this with oysters. (1,000 cases, 12% alc.) Awards: Riverside International Wine Competition (double gold), Northwest Wine Summit (gold).

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Terra Blanca Winery $55 2008 ONYX, Red Mountain Owner/winemaker Keith Pilgrim’s signature wine is a meritage-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc and Malbec. This is a rich, complex wine that reveals aromas and flavors of plum, spices and dark chocolate, all backed with bright acidity that gives way to a lengthy finish. (606 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Woodinville Wine Cellars $45 2009 Indomitable, Columbia Valley Sean Boyd is the head winemaker at this longtime Woodinville winery, and he went to Stillwater Creek and Conner Lee vineyards for this blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc. It shows off red fruit and tobacco aromas, along with flavors of slate, spice, cherry pie and cranberry. This is a complex and intense red wine. (290 cases, 14.8% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Best Buy! Columbia Crest $15 2010 H3 Les Chevaux, Horse Heaven Hills The winemaking team at Washington’s second-largest producer has a winner on its hands with this affordable blend of Merlot, Cab and Syrah. This

offers aromas and flavors of pie cherry, cola nut, earth, clay and pomegranate. Buy this by the case and make it your house blend. (45,000 cases, % alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Chateau Ste. Michelle $57 2009 Artist Series Meritage, Columbia Valley Bob Bertheau oversees winemaking for Washington’s oldest and largest winery, and this is his top-drawer red wine. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot features complex aromas of plum, tobacco and white pepper, followed by flavors of black licorice, dried cherry, moderate tannins and an Americano with cream. (2,210 cases, 15% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Tightrope Winery $19 2012 Rosé, Okanagan Valley Winemaker Lyndsay O’Rourke wasn’t planning to make a rosé until a fall frost hit her estate Pinot Noir and stopped the ripening process. This also includes 10% Riesling, and it is delicious, with aromas of oregano and dusty raspberry, followed by flavors of strawberry, Meyer lemon and minerality, all with a delicate red fruit finish. (122 cases, 12.8% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold).

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Coyote Canyon Winery $22 2012 Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills Mike Andrews’ vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills provides grapes to a lot of wineries, and he holds back a bit to craft his own wine at the Winemakers Loft in Prosser, Wash. This gorgeous Viognier, made by John Gabriel, is a classic with aromas and flavors of pineapple, orange and persimmon, all backed with impressive acidity. (355 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

this high-end Cab using grapes from Upland, Coyote Canyon and Lawrence — three vineyards in distinctly different regions of the vast Columbia Valley. This showcases aromas and flavors of sweet cherry, fresh cedar, tobacco, black currant and dark chocolate. Here’s a delightful Cab that is not driven by oak or tannin but rather provides purity of fruit. (65 cases, 13.9% alc.) Awards: Riverside International Wine Competition (double gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold)

Best Buy! Coyote Canyon Winery $15 2011 Downtown White, Horse Heaven Hills This value label for Coyote Canyon is a tasty blend of Pinot Gris, Viognier and Chardonnay. It is loaded with intense aromas and flavors of white peach, apple and orange, all backed with crisp acidity and an intriguing creaminess on the midpalate. This is a perfect foil for grilled chicken or a variety of seafood choices. (800 cases, 13.9% alc.) Awards: Denver International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

Best Buy! Domaine Ste. Michelle $12 NV Brut Rosé, Columbia Valley This is the sixth time in this 14-year history of the competition that this pink sparkler has earned a Platinum — a remarkable achievement for winemaker Rick Casqueiro. It’s a gorgeous bubbly with aromas and flavors of cherry and strawberry backed with beautiful acidity and a full mouth feel. Cheers! (17,000 cases, 11.3% alc.) Awards: Riverside International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

Smasne Cellars $58 2009 Three Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley Owner/winemaker Robert Smasne crafted

Maryhill Winery $40 2010 Les Collines Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley One of the best Cabs of the year comes from

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winemaker Richard Batchelor, who brought in on these grapes from a top vineyard in the foothill of the Blue Mountains. This presents aromas and flavors of cherry, black olive and dark chocolate with plummy notes in the finish. It is all backed with impressive acidity and moderate tannins. (376 cases, 14.8% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Milbrandt Vineyards $25 2010 The Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope This often-awarded Cab from a winery with a Prosser, Wash., tasting room, is a great wine for the price. It is loaded with aromas and flavors of dark plum, Dr Pepper, dark chocolate and ample cherry notes. It’s a delicious drinknow red. (3,000 cases, 13.5% alc.) Awards: Wine Press Northwest Cabernet Sauvignon judging (Outstanding), North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold), Dallas Morning News Wine Competition (gold), San Francisco International Wine Competition (gold) Ryan Patrick Vineyard $40 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley This longtime Wenatchee-area winery is now owned by Wahluke Wine Co., and winemaker Jeremy Santo has crafted a gorgeous Cab that

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includes 22% Malbec. It’s packed with aromas and flavors of chocolate-covered cherry, Almond Joy and fresh cranberry, making it both beautiful and complex. (300 cases, 14.1% alc.) Awards: North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold), Washington State Wine Competition (best Cabernet Sauvignon). Yakima Valley Vintners $22 2009 Dean’s List Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley The students and instructors at Yakima Valley Community College’s superb viticulture and enology program are crafting delicious wines, and this affordable Cab is among its best. It provides aromas and flavors of cocoa powder, Bing cherry and black pepper. It’s an elegant wine with a rich body. (25 cases, 14.7% alc.) Award: Washington State Wine Competition (gold). Gamache Vintners $27 2010 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley Grape growers Bob and Roger Gamache and winemaker Charlie Hoppes team up to craft a Cab Franc that creates a template for Washington. It comes with aromas and flavors of red cherry, strawberryrhubarb compote, fresh-picked raspberries and underlying dried herbs. Enjoy

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with grilled or braised meats. (294 cases, 14.8% alc.) Awards: Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Church & State Wines $35 2010 Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley Church & State is a high-end winery with stylish tasting rooms both on Vancouver Island and in Oliver near the Black Sage Bench. This gorgeous Cab Franc evokes aromas and flavors of blueberry, Saskatoon berry and cedar. The winery was sensitive to the levels of alcohol and acidity, and one judge suggested this was similar to a young Cheval Blanc. (321 cases, 14.5% alc.) Awards: Pacific Rim International Wine Competition (gold) H/H Estates $38 2010 Reserve GW Smith Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills Owner Mike Andrews names the reserve wines for his Coyote Canyon Wines as a tribute to his ancestors, and this Malbec is a great legacy. It flashes aromas and flavors of blueberry, vanilla, tar, black licorice, black pepper and dark chocolate. This is a young wine that is still evolving and will reward a couple of years of patience. (113 cases, 14.3% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold).

Cave B Estate Winery $38 2010 XXV Merlot, Columbia Valley Freddy Arredondo, a Walla Walla Community College enology grad, crafts the wines for this showcase family operation near the town of George, Wash. This is one of the best Merlots we tasted — and certainly exhibits true varietal character, including herbal characters and black tea. It is a rich, bold and balanced red with delicious cherry notes — a wine crafted with a deft touch. (174 cases, 14.6% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Best Buy! Pacific Rim Winemakers $14 NV Framboise , Washington Winemaker Nicolas Quille and his crew at Pacific Rim near Red Mountain make one of the purest and most delicious fortified fruit wines around. It starts in Washington’s Skagit Valley at Mike and Jean’s Berry Farm, which grows the Morrison variety of raspberry specifically for Quille. The aromas and flavors speak to purity of fruit, with intense, exotic raspberry notes and a hint of leafy herbaceousness on the finish. (2,043 cases, 16.5% alc.) Awards: Great Northwest Wine Competition.

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Airfield Estates Winery $25 2011 Barbera, Yakima Valley Barbera, an Italian red, is a rare variety in Washington, but this Yakima Valley winery with vineyards north of Prosser is crafting a superb example. It opens with aromas of strong blackberry and red currant aromas, followed by flavors of chocolate, vanilla and blackberry. It closes with a wonderfully long finish. (100 cases, 14.7% alc.) Award: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Best of class). Major Creek Cellars $20 2011 Grenache , Columbia Valley Based in the small Columbia Gorge town of White Salmon, Wash., Major Creek is a young producer that is turning heads. This Grenache is a gorgeous red wine with aromas of apricot, dried savory, plum and raspberry, followed by flavors of spice, pipe tobacco and plum. It’s a food-friendly wine driven by acid rather than tannin. (44 cases, 14.8% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold ). Westport Winery $25 2012 Capt. Gray Gewürztraminer, Yakima Valley Dana Roberts, a young Washington State University-trained winemaker, runs the bustling cellar at this coastal winery and has crafted a classic ➤ FOR MORE WINNING WINES ➤ WINEPRESSNW.COM

Gewürztraminer. It is packed with aromas of clove and lychee, followed by flavors of tropical fruit and Royal Anne cherry, as well as hints of cardamom and quince. (77 cases, 12% alc.) Award: Denver International Wine Competition (Gold). Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery $19 2012 Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley This winery in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, is a past winner of our Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year, and the superb consistency of this great Gewürztraminer is one of the many reasons for that honor. Its sublime aromas and flavors remind us of a garden in late summer with notes of stone fruit, white flowers, honeysuckle and delicate spices. (1,200 cases, 13.6% alc.) Award: Intervin (gold). Brandborg Vineyard and Winery $18 2011 Gewürztraminer, Umpqua Valley California escapee Terry Brandborg is consistently crafting one of the best Gewürztraminers on the West Coast, and this vintage reveals his prowess with the variety. It offers aromas and flavors of baked sweet apple, lychee, lime and grapefruit with a complex creaminess on the midpalate yet enough acidity for a memorable farewell. (838 cases, 12.5%

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alc.) Award: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Double gold). Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery $19 2012 Mystic River Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley Winemaker Hagen Kruger relies on this estate vineyard just north of the town of Oliver, British Columbia, for some of his best grapes. This Pinot Blanc is stunning for its aromas of white flowers and tropical fruit and flavors of Meyer lemon and lime zest, all backed with bright acidity. (600 cases, 13.1% alc.) Award: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold/Best in class). Tightrope Winery $19 2012 Pinot Gris , Okanagan Valley Pinot Gris is a great variety for all the major wine regions of Washington, but perhaps it is best suited in the Okanagan Valley, where intense daytime heat and cool nights combine to create a wine such as this. It offers seamless aromas and flavors of ripe pear, pineapple, a whiff of spice and a hint of lychee in the finish. (167 cases, 13% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold). Cummins Road $24 2011 Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton The Yamhill-Carlton AVA is perhaps the most

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interesting in the northern Willamette Valley. Rather than surrounding a landform, it is a horseshoe-shaped appellation with hillsides that surround the towns of Yamhill and Carlton. This classic Pinot Noir is a second label for Merriman Wines provides aromas and flavors of roses, lilacs, strawberry jam, boysenberry and exotic spices. (1,400 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: Dallas Morning News Wine Competition (Gold). Nk’Mip Cellars $30 2009 Qwam Qwmt Meritage, Okanagan Valley North America’s first aboriginal-owned winery just north of the U.S.-Canadian border is crafting some of the province’s top wines with Randy Picton at the helm. This Bordeaux-style red blend offers aromas and flavors of clove, dark cherry, green peppercorn, mocha and Bing cherry, all backed with elegant tannins and understated oak. (761 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold). DeLille Cellars $42 2010 D2, Yakima Valley DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, Wash., has been at the top of its game for 20 years now, thanks to the talents of winemaker Chris Upchurch. This is its famous and popular Bordeaux-

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style blend, which shows off aromas and flavors of cherries, cigar box, moist earthiness and abundant dark fruit. Assertive tannins back up all the fruit but don’t stand in its way. (2,600 cases, 14.7% alc.) Awards: Critics Challenge International Wine Competition (Platinum), Sunset International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Dusted Valley Vintners $53 2010 StoneTree Vineyard BFM, Wahluke Slope The Dusted Valley boys are at it again with this big Merlot-based blend using grapes from what is arguably the best vineyard on the warm Wahluke Slope. This is a sultry wine with aromas and flavors of chocolate, blackberry and cedar with a lengthy finish and structure that’s going to keep this aging well for several years. (240 cases, 15.3% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold). Locati Cellars $20 2009 Innovation, Washington Locati Cellars, a boutique winery in the Walla Walla Valley, has crafted an unusual red blend that speaks of its Italian heritage and its New World style as it combines Barbera, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese. It’s a rich wine with notes of coffee, red

plum, Rainier cherry, cedar and raspberry. (425 cases, 13.89% alc.) Awards: Seattle Wine Awards (gold), Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Hamilton Cellars $28 2009 Bona Vita, Columbia Valley Prolific winemaker Charlie Hoppes crafts the wine for this Richland, Wash., winery that will be moving to its new digs on Red Mountain in the spring. This red blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot offers rich tannins that back flavors of cherry, blueberry compote, blackberry, chocolate and marshmallow. It’s a young wine that’s still evolving. (380 cases, 14.8% alc.) Awards: San Francisco International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Silvara Vineyards $42 2010 Quartette Red, Columbia Valley Gary Seidler is the man behind this winery near Leavenworth, Wash., and this Malbec-based blend is among the best we tasted in 2013. It’s a classic with notes of cherry, black pepper, chocolate and boysenberry. It’s a beautiful wine with wellmanaged tannins and an impressive finish. (390 cases, 14.6% alc.) Awards: North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold/best in show).

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Martinez & Martinez Winery $17 2012 May Mae Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills We tasted this rosé many times throughout the year, and it impressed us each time. Our judges still love the Cabernet Sauvignon-based pink wine, which reveals notes of intense sweet cherry pie, watermelon and fascinating herbal notes on the finish. It shows a bit of sweetness that rounds out all the edges and turns it into a harmonious wine. (350 cases, 11.5% alc.) Award: Wine Press Northwest rosé judging (Outstanding). Knight Hill Winery $25 2010 Syrah, Wahluke Slope Knight Hill, a young winery in the Rattlesnake Hills near Zillah, Wash., has been crafting some superb reds with the help of winemaker Anke Freimuth-Wildman. This Syrah using grapes from the warm Wahluke Slope is a big, ripe wine with aromas and flavors of boysenberry, blueberry and blackberry, all backed by tamed tannins that give way to a lengthy finish. (122 cases, 14.4% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Saviah Cellars $32 2010 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley Richard Funk runs one of the top wineries in the talent-laden Walla Walla Valley, and his ➤ FOR MORE WINNING WINES ➤ WINEPRESSNW.COM

Syrahs rank among the best in the region. This broadcasts aromas and flavors of plum jam, raspberry, violet, lavender and a bit of complex smokiness. It’s a big, pleasing and jammy wine that still manages to be restrained. (294 cases, 14.1% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold). JM Cellars $45 2010 Boushey Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley Longtime Woodinville, Wash., winery JM Cellars dips into one of the top vineyards in the Pacific Northwest, where grape grower Dick Boushey is famous for his Syrahs. This offers aromas of complex blackberry, creamy vanilla and undertones of oak. It’s an intriguing and delightful wine without being overly tannic. (130 cases, 14.9% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Kennedy Shah $42 2008 Reserve Syrah, Rattlesnake Hills Next year, Woodhouse Wine Estates will celebrate its 10th anniversary of crafting superb and distinctive wines. This Syrah from the northern Yakima Valley reveals complex aromas and flavors of black licorice, horehound candy, blueberry and smoke, along with hints of dried cranberry and Rainier cherry. (200 cases, 14.4% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

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Spring Valley Vineyard $50 2010 Nina Lee Syrah, Walla Walla Valley Launched by a historic Walla Walla Valley family, Spring Valley now is part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates family. This luxury-tier Syrah using estate grapes from the northeastern corner of the valley spotlights complex aromas of blueberry, orange oil and rose petal, followed by flavors of red plum and blackberry. It’s a smooth, succulent wine with gentle oak treatment. (1,360 cases, 14.8% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Robert Ramsay Cellars $26 2010 McKinley Springs Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills Using grapes from famed McKinley Springs in the Horse Heaven Hills, owner/winemaker Bob Harris crafts classy wines in the Woodinville Warehouse District. This Syrah is dark, rich and hedonistic with notes of spice, deep red fruit and moist earthiness — a wine that could easily be mistaken for a Côte-Rôtie. (238 cases, 14.1% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Season Cellars $18 2012 Transparency , Southern Oregon One of Southern Oregon’s newest wineries, Season Cellars is run by Scott Henry WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

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IV, whose family has operated Henry Estate for decades. This blend of MüllerThurgau, Muscat and Riesling is a bright, clean and refreshing white wine. It offers aromas and flavors of passionfruit, candied lemon peel, pear and Meyer lemon. This light-bodied wine will pair nicely with oysters or scallops. (199 cases, 10.5% alc.) Awards: Northwest Wine Summit (gold) Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery $19 2012 Autumn Gold, Okanagan Valley This wildly popular blend of Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Riesling carries a bit of residual sweetness that gives it a delicious roundness and makes it an easydrinking white wine. It flashes aromas and flavors of white flowers, banana, tropical fruit and apricot, all backed with mouthwatering acidity. (2,100 cases, 12.1% alc.) Award: BC Wine Awards (gold). Watermill Winery $24 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley Winemaker Andrew Brown used grapes from McClellan, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Kiona vineyards for this Cab that uses a touch of Merlot. It comes with aromas of walnut, black cherry and pomegranate, followed by nicely structured flavors of black cherry and toasted oak. This is still a youthful wine and should age into something

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quite special. (527 cases, 14.9% alc.) Award: Savor Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Dusted Valley Vintners $35 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley Brothers-in-law and co-winemakers Chad Johnson and Corey Braunel have put together a gorgeous Cab that includes a touch of Malbec and Merlot using Walla Walla Valley grapes. This reveals distinctive aromas and flavors of chocolate-covered pomegranate, red cherry and raspberry, all backed with modest tannins and lingering acidity. (638 cases, 14.7% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Alexandria Nicole Cellars $42 2010 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Wild One Cabernet Franc, Horse Heaven Hills Many of owner/winemaker Jarrod Boyle’s wines go directly to his rabid wine club members. This classic and delicious Cab Franc opens with notes of plum, cherry and cranberry, followed by flavors of raspberry and cranberry. This provides a solid structure and a hint of complex smokiness. (117 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Dusted Valley Vintners $35 2009 Late Harvest Syrah , Walla Walla Valley Dusted Valley, with tasting rooms

in Walla Walla and Woodinville, is one of the stars of Washington. The family’s fortified dessert wine focuses on Syrah for a rich, luscious wine with classic aromas and flavors of dark cherry, golden raisin, rich chocolate and brown sugar. It’s a bit like eating crème brûlée. (996 cases, 17% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $47 2012 Signature Riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley Based in the southern Okanagan Valley, just 20 minutes north of the U.S. border, this superb winery crafts some of the province’s top ice wine. Here’s a complex dessert wine with great range and depth, featuring aromas and flavors of citrus and stone fruit with a textured mouth feel and a beautifully expressive finish. (500 cases, 10.1% alc.) Award: Indy International Wine Competition (double gold/best in class). Kitzke Cellars $29 2010 Malbec, Columbia Valley This winery in the heart of Washington wine country near the Tri-Cities has gotten on a serious roll since Charlie Hoppes took over winemaking duties. This Malbec using grapes from Gamache Vineyards is a deep, rich, dark wine with aromas and flavors of chocolate and cherry that carries

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through the impressive finish. (45 cases, 14.3% alc.) Award: Indy International Wine Competition (double gold/best in class). Cave B Estate Winery $25 2010 Merlot, Columbia Valley Using grapes from estate vines next to the Gorge Amphitheater near the town of George, Wash., professional chef turned winemaker Freddy Arredondo has crafted a superb Merlot with aromas and flavors of mint, anise, cherry and raspberry. It is backed with harmonious tannins and already is quite complex for such a relatively young wine. (500 cases, 14.4% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $16 2011 Dry Rock Merlot, Okanagan Valley Winemaker Walter Gehringer is best known for his world-class white wines, but he reveals another level of complexity with this red wine. It provides aromas and flavors of clove, cinnamon, blueberry, cherry pie and Dr Pepper, making it a fun and affordable red wine. (1,500 cases, 13% alc.) Award: AllCanadian Wine Championships (gold). Clearwater Canyon Cellars $28 2011 Phinny Hill Vineyard Carménère, Washington This winery in Lewiston,

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Idaho, brings in grapes from a top vineyard in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills. The result of the husband-and-wife winemaking team is a superb Carménère with classic aromas of black pepper and sweet herbal notes, along with black cherry, blackberry and black licorice. Judicious use of oak allows the fruit to shine. (70 cases, 14% alc.) Award: Idaho Wine Competition (gold). Reininger Winery $48 2009 Seven Hills Vineyard Carménère, Walla Walla Valley Owner/winemaker Chuck Reininger has been working with Carménère for years, and he makes one of the best around. This example uses grapes from famed Seven Hills Vineyard on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley. It is loaded with aromas and flavors of black pepper, sweet herbs, blackberry and Baker’s chocolate. It’s a pretty wine with plenty of finesse. (328 cases, 14.1% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Walla Walla Vintners $22 2011 Dolcetto, Walla Walla Valley Dolcetto is a rare red wine outside of its native Italy — and especially in the Pacific Northwest. If you want to get to know the variety, here’s an example to start with. It is filled with aromas and flavors of subtle

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spice, red currant and pomegranate. It’s an elegantly structured wine that will pair well with pork tenderloin. (191 cases, 14.2% alc.) Award: Wine Press Northwest Italian red judging (Outstanding). Chateau Faire le Pont $30 2009 Mourvèdre, Wahluke Slope Doug Brazil is crafting some of the finest wines in North Central Washington from his winery and restaurant in Wenatchee. He uses grapes from Clifton Hills Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope for this delicious red wine that comes with aromas and flavors of cedar, currant, plum, cranberry and white pepper. (100 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold). Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $16 2012 Dry Rock Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley Gordon and Walter Gehringer planted Dry Rock Vineyards in 1997 and grow grapes for their nonGermanic wines. This sassy Sauvignon Blanc reveals edgy aromas and flavors of gooseberry, pineapple, lychee and sweet herbs, all backed with juicy acidity and a yummy mouth feel. (300 cases, 13.3% alc.) Awards: Indy International Wine Competition (double gold/best in class), AllCanadian Wine Championships (gold).

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Silvara Vineyards $32 2009 Red Blend, Columbia Valley Owner/winemaker Gary Seidler blended Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cab Franc from four vineyards to craft this delicious and complex wine. It provides aromas and flavors of blackberry, cherry, black currant, cedar and tobacco. A deft touch with oak treatment allows the fruit to shine throughout. (240 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Lost River Winery $26 2009 Cedarosa, Columbia Valley Methow Valley winemaker John Morgan’s signature blend is a nearly 50-50 split between Merlot and Cabernet Franc using grapes from Weinbau and Conner Lee vineyards in Washington’s Columbia Valley. The resulting wine casts off aromas and flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry and cherry with hints of chocolate and cola. It’s all backed with elegant tannins and a smooth mouth feel. (300 cases, 14.5% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Thurston Wolfe $20 2010 The Spaniard, Horse Heaven Hills Wade Wolfe, long known for exploring grape varieties outside of the mainstream, has some fun with this blend of Grenache,

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Tempranillo and Syrah. Red cherry notes dominate the nose and palate, along with hints of black currant, bold chocolate and black olive. It’s a richly structured wine that takes the bull by the horns. (198 cases, 14.4% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Maritime Wines $25 2011 Boat Shed Red, Columbia Valley Winemaker Dana Roberts leads this blend from Westport Winery with Petite Sirah (68%) from the Wahluke Slope and Sangiovese from the Yakima Valley. It’s a winning combination that features the classic Petite Sirah qualities, including intensely dark aromas and flavors of blackberry, black licorice and olive. This should get quite interesting with a few years of cellaring. (71 cases, 13% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Best Buy! Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $15 2012 Private Reserve Riesling, Okanagan Valley Walter Gehringer has won an astonishing five Platinums for this Riesling alone (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012). This is a bold white wine with barely perceptible residual sugar and easily accessible aromas and flavors of white

peach, flowers, tangerine and pear. It’s a gorgeous wine at a delicious price. (1,000 cases, 13.3% alc.) Awards: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (gold), AllCanadian Wine Championships (gold). Best Buy! Airfield Estates Winery $15 2012 Ruby Rosé, Yakima Valley This fanciful Sangiovese rosé is produced in part by Airfield’s fans, who gather during a harvest party to foot-stomp the grapes Lucille Ball style. Winemaker Marcus Miller takes it from there. The result is a pink wine with aromas of flowers, watermelon and cantaloupe, followed by flavors of raspberry and cherry backed with refined acidity. (500 cases, 13.4% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Maryhill Winery $17 2010 Sangiovese, Columbia Valley Winemaker Richard Batchelor’s valueminded Sangiovese is a true-to-type red wine with bright aromas and flavors of cherry, heirloom tomato and cranberry, backed with bright acidity and mellow tannins. (473 cases, 14.6% alc.) Awards: Indy International Wine Competition (gold), Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold).

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Northwest Cellars $24 2011 Viognier, Columbia Valley David Moore crafts this wine for Northwest Cellars in Kirkland, Wash. It’s a classic Washington example of the variety with showy aromas and flavors of grapefruit, tropical fruit and floral components, then finished with just a hint of sweetness. (109 cases, 13.9% alc.) Awards: Savor Northwest Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $16 2012 Gewürztraminer-Schönburger, Okanagan Valley Here’s a tongue-twisting wine that includes the obscure Schönburger, a grape developed in Germany in the 1970s. With Gewürztraminer, it results in a wine with aromas of honeysuckle, elderflower and Lemonhead candy, followed by gorgeous flavors of lemon chiffon, citrus and white peach. (500 cases, 13.3% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). La Frenz Winery $28 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Okanagan Valley Winemaker Jeff Martin uses grapes from the warm Rockyfeller Vineyard near Oliver, British Columbia, for this classic cool-climate Cab. It offers restrained aromas and flavors of oregano, mint, red ➤ FOR MORE WINNING WINES ➤ WINEPRESSNW.COM

cherry and cinnamon, with undertones of green peppercorn and black tea. (810 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold/Best in class). Cave B Estate Winery $19 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, Columbia Valley This tree-free Chardonnay from winery long established in the Ancient Lakes area of Washington explodes with fresh, fruit-forward aromas and flavors of apple, pineapple, sweet lime, mint and mango. A creamy midpalate adds a complex dimension to the wine. (670 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold). Best Buy! Desert Wind Winery $15 2010 Chardonnay, Wahluke Slope Mark Chargin pulls double duty by making wine on both sides of the Columbia River. He heads up the winemaking programs at Desert Wind in Prosser, Wash., and Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Ore. This affordable Chardonnay presents restrained notes of melon, lime, quince and minerality for an elegant, understated white wine. (1,159 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: International Wine Channel TV Awards (gold).

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Martin-Scott Winery $28 2010 Malbec, Columbia Valley Washington winemakers are proving that Malbec from this region can stand alongside the best in the world. Winemaker Mike Scott uses grapes from historic Rosebud Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope for this classic example that shows beautiful notes of red and dark fruit, backed with complex spices and a gentle finish. (107 cases, 15.1% alc.) Award: San Diego International Wine Competition (gold). Kitzke Cellars $29 2009 Malbec, Columbia Valley Showing a great deal of consistency at a high level, Kitzke Cellars has earned Platinums this year for two consecutive vintages of the same wine. This is the older of the two, and it presents layered flavors of blueberry, cherry and chocolate, all backed by beautiful structure. (126 cases, 14.5% alc.) Awards: Washington State Wine Competition (gold), Florida State Fair (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Trio Vintners $26 2010 Far Away Vineyard Mourvèdre, Yakima Valley Karen La Bonte took over this Walla Walla winery in 2010 and immediately led it to new heights. Here is a WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

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release from her first vintage as owner, winemaker — and everything else. This gorgeous red unveils aromas and flavors of spice, plum, blackberry and cherry. It’s beautifully balanced with a pleasing finish. (200 cases, 14.4% alc.) Awards: San Francisco International Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold). Best Buy! Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $15 2012 Private Reserve Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley Using grapes from the Golden Mile area of the Okanagan Valley just north of the U.S. border, winemaker Walter Gehringer has crafted a classy, grassy Sauv Blanc with aromas and flavors of gooseberry, lime, kiwi and freshly mown hay for a succulent wine. (2,000 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (gold). Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards $34 2011 Pishon Bloc Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley Stephen Reustle is running an amazing operation in Southern Oregon, growing superb grapes and crafting remarkable wines. This estate Pinot Noir is an elegant and flawless red with aromas and flavors of cherry, cinnamon, forest floor and cranberry, all backed with pleasing structure and a sense of elegance and grace. (635 cases, 13% alc.) Award: Oregon Wine Awards (gold).

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Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery $21 2012 Optimum Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley could turn out to be a real sweet spot for growing Pinot Noir, thanks to a lack of disease pressure or precipitation during harvest, and here’s a great example from one of the province’s top winemakers. This offers aromas and flavors of Rainier cherry, lilac, chocolate and raspberry. Layers of complexity backed with elegant structure make this a stunner. (300 cases, 13.2% alc.) Award: Indy International Wine Competition (gold). La Frenz Winery $32 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley A few years ago, owner Jeff Martin’s Pinot Noir topped one of our blind judgings of Northwest Pinot Noir — remarkable considering the competition. This suave red continues his tradition of greatness. It offers remarkable aromas of spearmint and candied violets followed by flavors of pie cherry and sweet herbs. (420 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: AllCanadian Wine Championships (gold). Nodland Cellars $28 2008 Private Blend, Columbia Valley Tim Nodland crafts some beautiful red wines at his Spokane winery, and this

blend includes all six red Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Carménère. It features aromas and flavors of coffee, smoked bacon, dark fig, plum and leather. It’s an entrancing wine with refined tannins and a splendid finish. (300 cases, 14.5% alc.) Awards: Indy International Wine Competition (gold), Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (gold), Florida State Fair (gold). Smasne Cellars $44 2010 Upland Vineyard Ancient Rocks, Snipes Mountain Talented winemaker Robert Smasne created this southern Rhône blend using grapes from tiny Snipes Mountain, an upthrust in the heart of the Yakima Valley. This leads with Grenache and includes support from Mourvèdre, Syrah and Viognier. It’s a generous red wine with cherry, spice and a trace of violet. (110 cases, 13.9% alc.) Awards: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold), Denver International Wine Competition (gold). Milbrandt Vineyards $28 2010 Clifton Vineyards Mosaic, Wahluke Slope Winemaker Joshua Maloney crafted this southern Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre

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using estate Clifton Vineyards grapes. It’s loaded with wonderful aromas and flavors of cherry, red currant, vanilla and cedar. Perfectly balanced tannins give way to a chocolaty finish. (400 cases, 14.5% alc.) Awards: Great Northwest Wine Competition (double gold), North Central Washington Wine Awards (gold). Wind Rose Cellars $20 2010 Bravo Rosso, Wahluke Slope Bravo to owner/winemaker David Volmut, who crafted this delicious Italian-style blend at his winery in tiny Sequim, Wash. It leads with Barbera and also includes Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a juicy, spicy wine with rich red fruit and hints of vanilla. (120 cases, 13.5% alc.) Award: Savor Northwest Wine Competition (gold). Helix by Reininger $33 2010 StoneTree SoRho, Columbia Valley Southern Rhône blends can take on many components. This superb example is unusual because it leads with Mourvèdre, it also includes the rare Cinsault grape along with Grenache. Redtoned fruit leads with way, with aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry and pomegranate, along with hints of cola and dark chocolate. (233 cases, 14.2% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold).

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Best Buy! Eye of the Needle Winery $11 NV Little Italy Red, Columbia Valley This was one of our top wines in our Italian red judging, and it shows beautifully again in the Platinums. The blend of Barbera, Sangiovese and Dolcetto comes with grand aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry and cranberry. The fruit keeps pushing all the way through, and it’s backed with bright, flavor-lifting tannins. (500 cases, 13.9% alc.) Award: Wine Press Northwest Italian red judging (Outstanding). Kyra Wines $20 2010 Pheasant Vineyard Sangiovese, Wahluke Slope Winery namesake and winemaker Kyra Baerlocher used estate grapes from the arid Wahluke Slope to craft this stunning Italian-style red. It is filled with aromas and flavors of red cherry, raspberry and cranberry, backed with mild oak and food-friendly acidity. Here’s a perfect wine for lasagna. (136 cases, 13.7% alc.) Award: Wine Press Northwest Italian red judging (Outstanding). Helix by Reininger $30 2009 Syrah, Columbia Valley This is no second label for winemaker Chuck Reininger. Rather, it’s a project that allows

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him to explore vineyards outside of the Walla Walla Valley. The grapes for this superb Syrah come from two of the best vineyards in the state: Phinny Hill in the Horse Heaven Hills and StoneTree on the Wahluke Slope. It’s a rich, ripe Syrah with complex spices, blueberry, chocolate and blackberry pie. (343 cases, 14.8% alc.) Awards: Seattle Wine Awards (gold), Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Alexandria Nicole Cellars $24 2012 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Shepherds Mark, Horse Heaven Hills This Rhône-style white blend pays tribute to shepherds who worked the Horse Heaven Hills a century ago. It’s a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier bringing aromas and flavors of pineapple, orange and peach. The balanced acidity lifts all the flavors beautifully. (541 cases, 13.5% alc.) Awards: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Dusted Valley Vintners $35 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley The boys at Dusted Valley make no fewer than three Cabs, and they’re all superb. This relies on grapes exclusively from the Walla Walla Valley, and it presents aromas and flavors of red currant, boysen-

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berry, marshmallow and dried black cherry. Silky tannins give it all the backbone this wine needs. (860 cases, 14.7% alc.) Awards: Wine Press Northwest Cabernet Sauvignon judging (Outstanding). Chehalem Wines $36 2010 Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay, Dundee Hills The father-daughter team of Harry and Wynne Peterson-Nedry use estate grapes from Stoller Vineyards on the Dundee Hills to craft this world-class Chardonnay. It exhibits aromas and flavors of pineapple, mint, minerality, apple and lemon with just a hint of butterscotch on the finish. (391 cases, 13.3% alc.) Award: Sunset International Wine Competition (gold/best in class). Hogue Cellars $30 2010 Reserve Merlot, Columbia Valley Now-departed winemaker Co Dinn crafted this superb Merlot from grapes in the Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills and Columbia Valley. It’s a rich, juicy wine with aromas and flavors of red currants, cherry, leather and cocoa, giving way to a memorable finish. (464 cases, 14.1% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Lookout Point Winery $22 2011 Grenache, Rattlesnake Hills George Petzinger is quietly crafting some of the finest wine in the Rattlesnake Hills. This Grenache caught our attention earlier in this year, and the Platinum judges reward it again. A splendid nose of plum, cherry and mint mingles with flavors of white strawberry and raspberry. Delicate acidity lifts the fruit beautifully. (95 cases, 13.4% alc.) Awards: Washington State Wine Competition (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Burrowing Owl Estate Winery $22 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley This stunning and unusual Sauvignon Blanc is a wine with character, beginning with beautiful aromas of sweet herbs that give way to distinctive flavors of greengage plum and lime. A hint of oak provides an extra layer of character. (430 cases, 14% alc.) Award: San Francisco International Wine Competition (gold). Best Buy! $14 College Cellars 2012 Clarke Vineyard Semillon, Walla Walla Valley The students and faculty at Walla Walla Valley Community College’s vaunted winemaking program collaborated on this enchanting Semillon from estate grapes planted at the nearby airport district. Fig aromas and flavors are the key to this wine, and it also sends out notes of lemon pepper, lemon oil and hominy. It’s a flawless wine with terrific mouth feel.

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(56 cases, 13% alc.) Awards: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold), Denver International Wine Competition (gold). Intrigue Wines $17 2012 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley Roger Wong, a talented winemaker who works in relative obscurity in the central Okanagan Valley, developed this graceful Pinot Gris. It smells and tastes like fruit salad in a glass, with notes of lemon zest, white peach and starfruit, all backed with stunning acidity. (221 cases, 13.3% alc.) Awards: All-Canadian Wine Championship (gold). Artisanal Wine Cellars $34 2010 Dukes Vineyard Pinot Noir, EolaAmity Hills The Eola-Amity Hills is a distinctive landform near the capital city of Salem, Ore., and one of the best regions in Oregon to grow Pinot Noir. Winemaker Tom Feller has crafted a subtle, understated wine with incredible depths of complexity. It offers notes of cherry, mint and chocolate with underlying sweet fruit in the finish. (146 cases, 13% alc.) Awards: Oregon Wine Awards (double gold) Lookout Point Winery $22 NV Two Coyotes, Rattlesnake Hills Winemaker George Petzinger blended 2010 Malbec and 2011 Grenache from Two Coyote Vineyard into this expressive and harmonious red wine. It presents aromas and flavors of lime, currant, blackberry pie and a touch of smoke for an opulent, medium-bodied wine. (100 cases, 13.8% alc.) Awards: Northwest Wine Summit (gold), Seattle Wine Awards (gold) Lumos Wine Co. $20 2012 Chiquita Pinot Noir Rosé, Oregon Among the best rosés coming out of the Pacific Northwest was this lovely effort by winemaker Dai Crisp. It is a delicate wine with notes of apricot, cherry, rose petal and minerality. It’s a beautiful example of a Pinot Noir rosé. (87 cases, 12.5% alc.) Awards: Wine Press Northwest rosé judging (Outstanding), Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (best rosé), Oregon Wine Awards (double gold). Bella Wines $24 2011 Sparkling Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley Jay Drysdale is the renaissance man of the Okanagan Valley — a trained chef, sommelier, wine merchant and now award-winning winemaker. This marks the inaugural vintage of his winery on the Naramata Bench, and it’s divine. A creamy mousse gives way to restrained and classic aromas and flavors of Asian pear, light toast and Granny Smith apple. (115 cases, 12.5% alc.) Award: Great Northwest Wine Competition (best sparkling wine).

Treveri Cellars $18 NV Gewürztraminer Demi-Sec , Columbia Valley Longtime Washington winemaker Juergen Grieb is crafting some of the best bubbly in the state at his Yakima Valley facility. This unusual sparkler reveals delicate aromas of clove and Honeycrisp apple, followed by fruitdriven flavors of grapefruit and Gala apple. It has a bit of residual sweetness that is in perfect balance with the bubbles. (1,500 cases, 12% alc.) Award: Northwest Wine Summit (gold). Gordon Estate $40 2009 Six Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon clone 6 is a version of Cab that was thought to have been imported from Bordeaux to California in the 1880s by the Masson or Wente families. It is gaining favor with Washington winemakers, and this example shows why, starting with a floral nose and tones of dried strawberry, black cherry, red licorice and chocolate. Hints of huckleberry show up in the long, impressive and pleasing finish. (412 cases, 13.8% alc.) Award: Seattle Wine Awards (double gold). Best Buy! Barnard Griffin $12 2012 Rosé of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley For the past decade, Rob Griffin has been making one of the best dry rosés on the West Coast. This example is no different. Its fascinating color is followed by aromas and flavors of cherry, boysenberry, melon and white peach. That profile, its price and the availability make it easy to love. (7,000 cases, 12.6% alc.) Awards: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold/best rosé), Wine Press Northwest rosé judging (Outstanding), Sunset International Wine Competition (gold/best in class). Thurston Wolfe $20 2011 The Teacher Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley This special bottling is one of four Platinums in 2013 for Wade Wolfe, who named it for Stan Clarke, his best friend and longtime colleague who died in 2007. The inviting aromas of sweet cherry, coffee, lilac and lavender are followed by rich, dark flavors of blackberry, black cherry and a hint of chocolate. (440 cases, 13.5% alc.) Awards: Great Northwest Wine Competition (gold), Northwest Wine Summit (gold). ! A NDY P ERDUE is a wine author, journalist and inter-

national judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com. JACKIE JOHNSTON , a freelance photojournalist, is a regular contributor and the page designer for Wine Press Northwest. Her website is-----: JackieJohnston.com

➤ FOR MORE WINNING WINES ➤ WINEPRESSNW.COM


WINE COUNTRY: LAKE CHELAN & LEAVENWORTH

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WINE COUNTRY: WALLA WALLA VALLEY

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WINE COUNTRY: WALLA WALLA VALLEY

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Northwest Wine Events January

February

10-12 and 17-19 Winterfest Wine Walk, Chelan, Wash. The Lake

1 St. Joseph’s Art & Wine, Kennewick, Wash. The 17th annual

Chelan Wine Valley has expanded this to consecutive weekends. Go to lakechelanwinterfest.com.

16 UnWined at the Movies, Boise, Idaho. The historic downtown Egyptian Theatre plays host to a screening of ‘Sideways’ that’s paired with 10 Idaho wineries and local food. Go to idahowines.org.

24-25 First Taste Oregon, Salem.

The former Oregon Wine, Food and Brew Festival is back at the state fairgrounds for the second straight year with 40 wineries, education and a wine competition. Call 866-904-6165 or visit FirstTasteOregon.com.

25 Wenatchee Winter Wine Gala, Wenatchee, Wash. The 11th annual

fundraiser for the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center features regional wineries and chefs. Call 509888-6240 or go to wenatchee.gov.

25 Gifts from the Earth, Seattle.

The South Seattle Community College Foundation showcases its culinary arts and wine program by pairing 15 chefs with 30 Washington wineries. Call 206934-5809 or go to southseattle.edu/foundation.

31-1 Portland Seafood & Wine Festival. This multiple sclerosis

fundraiser brings 50 wineries to the Oregon Convention Center. Go to pdxseafoodandwinefestival.com.

fundraiser for St. Joseph’s Parish and School features regional wines, restaurants, artists and musicians. Cost is $60. Go to stjoesartandwine.com.

5-7 Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers Convention, Kennewick, Wash. Growers, wine-

makers and vendors throughout the Northwest convene at the Three Rivers Convention Center and Toyota Center for the 17th annual meeting and trade show. Call 509-782-8234 or visit wawgg.org.

7-8 Enumclaw Chocolate & Wine Festival. More than 20 wineries return to the Enumclaw Expo Center for the sixth annual event. Call 360-615-5626 or go to enumclawchocolatefestival.com.

8-9 and 15-17 Red Wine & Chocolate Tour, Olympic Peninsula, Wash. Member wineries on the peninsula and islands pour it on over two weekends and Presidents Day. Cost is $30. Call 800-785-5495 or go to olympicpeninsulawineries.org.

15-16 Red Wine and Chocolate, Yakima Valley, Wash. More than 50

wineries in the heart of the Northwest’s oldest grape-growing region pair their wines with chocolate. Reserve ticket is $35. Call 509-965-5201 or go to wineyakimavalley.org.

20-23 Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, Newport, Ore. The 37th

annual event features more than 50 wineries. Call 800-262-7844 or go to seafoodandwine.com.

23 Seattle Wine and Food Experience. Seattle Center plays host

to the sixth annual Northwest event including wines from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, more than 20 chefs and live music. Cost is $49. Go to seattlewineandfoodexperience.com.

24 Walla Walla Mobile Wine Tour, Portland. More than 45 Walla Walla

Valley wineries pour for three hours at Pure Space in support of the Classic Wine Auctions. Go to wallawallawine.com.

25-26 Oregon Wine Industry Symposium, Portland. Enology, viti-

culture and business returns to the Oregon Convention Center for the -second straight year. Go to symposium.oregonwine.org.

March 1 Classic Wines Auction, Portland.

This 30th annual fundraiser for Portland-area children sells out months in advance. It features winemakers and restaurants on both sides of the Columbia. Call 503-972-0194 or go to classicwinesauction.com.

1 Greatest of the Grape, Canyonville, Ore. The oldest wine

event in the Northwest celebrates its 44th anniversary and pairs Southern Oregon wineries with restaurants at Seven Feathers Casino. Cost is $75. Go to umpquavalleywineries.org.

7-9 McMinnville Wine & Food Classic, McMinnville, Ore. This 21-

year-old event lands at the Evergreen Space Museum. Cost is $17. Call 503472-4033 or go to sipclassic.org.

19 Exotic Wines Festival, Seattle.

Teatro ZinZanni plays host to this fourth annual tasting of unusual varieties made in Washington. Cost is $35. Go to zinzanni.org.

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WINE COUNTRY: WILLAMETTE VALLEY & YAMHILL COUNTY

26421 NW Hwy 47, Gaston, OR 97119

503-662-4509 Open by appt. & holiday weekends www.adeawine.com

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WINE COUNTRY: SOUTHERN OREGON

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M AT C H M A K E R S

Celebrating a centennial:

Alderbrook Resort & Spa on Hood Canal B Y E R I C D E G E R M A N P H O T O G R A P H S B Y C H A R I T Y LY N N B U R G G R A A F

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his experience began with a smooth, thumb-sized ebony stone, and it helps explain why Alderbrook Resort & Spa thrives today. In 1913, when the property along Washington’s peaceful Hood Canal first became popular, vacationing families took to skipping stones across the calm waters of this 80-mile-long North American fjord. It was a wholesome activity in simpler times when Alderbrook was accessible only by boat.

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Today, guests will find a “skipper” sitting on a placard inside their suite at this renovated lodge, which is destination more than ever through the devotion of co-owner Tricia Raikes, who developed a longlife bond with Alderbrook starting as child. The Raikes reportedly have spent more than $15 million on the purchase and renovation of the resort. It explains the draw for executive chef Lucas Sautter and anyone else who chooses to live along the south shore of

Hood Canal. “I’m a family man,” Sautter said. “I live in Shelton, 20 minutes away from Hood Canal, and I'll bring the family down and go kayaking on weekend. It’s a wonderful place to be. And when I’m working, you look out the window and that’s what you get to see everyday. It helps you deal with the stress.” Five years ago, Max Messmer left a job in the golf hospitality industry to take over the food and beverage program at

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M AT C H M A K E R S WINE Mosquito Fleet Winery $29 2010 Sophia, Columbia Valley — 250 cases, 15% alcohol When Dr. Brian Petersen isn’t “moving bones,” he focuses his attention and hands on turning grapes from some of Washington’s top vineyards into wines worthy of their heritage. Patience and diligence has paid off. This fall, he and his partners celebrated the fifth crush of Mosquito Fleet Winery, just 200 yards from his chiropractic office in Belfair, at the hook of Hood Canal. “We’ve only been selling wine for not even two years, so we’ve still got a lot to learn,” Petersen said. “When you are green, you are growing. When you are ripe, you rot.” Petersen and wife, Jacquie, partnered with Scott and Jacy Griffin to create a local following as well as shed light on the forgotten history of the “Mosquito Fleet” that shuttled people across the Puget Sound more than a century ago. The nearby Mosquito Fleet Museum previously was home to St. Charles Winery — the state’s first post-Prohibition winery. Much of Petersen’s success at the 1,000case winery stems from the vineyards. There’s Pepper Bridge in the Walla Walla Valley for Merlot. He’s dialed in on renowned Elephant Mountain in the Yakima Valley and Double Canyon — near famed Champoux Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills — for his Sophia. It’s a Syrah-based blend (73%) with Mourvedre (19%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (8%) to add some firmness. “People are loving the Mourvedre in that,” Petersen said. “The Syrah is done surlie with regular battonage, which helps give it that beautiful mouth feel. It’s been a killer wine for us, and people continue to love it.” Aromas of black olive, blackberry, ripe plum and dark chocolate are followed by juicy flavors of Marionberry, vanilla bean and allspice. It comes with the lively acidity that Mourvedre brings, and is backed by chocolaty tannins, a sign of the 22 months in primarily new French oak. It’s named after the SS Sophia, a tugboatturned-ferry built in 1884 that served in the Mosquito Fleet between Tacoma and Henderson Bay. * Mosquito Fleet Winery, 21 N.E. Old Belfair Highway, Belfair, WA 98528, 360-275-9100, mosquitofleetwinery.com.

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Alderbrook. Almost immediately after he arrived, he began turning the wine list into one dominated by famed Northwest producers such as Adelsheim, DeLille, Leonetti and Long Shadows. “People come here for the Northwest experience, and Alderbrook is the quintessential Northwest lodge,” Messmer said. “It’s beautiful. It’s on the water with a great restaurant and great chef. So why not continue that influence with the Northwest wines as we do here?” Alderbrook's dedication to Northwest ingredients makes it a natural setting for regional wines. Dusted Valley Vintners in Walla Walla has become a mainstay both on the wine list and the winemaker dinner series, and the resort provides a welcome respite for co-winemaker Chad Johnson and his wife. “Janet and I look forward to taking our annual trip to Alderbrook,” Johnson said. “We have been going there for five years now. The lodge and the rooms are great with incredible views of the water and the wildlife.” The work environment also helps recruit talented staff to Alderbrook, an hour's drive west of Tacoma. “It’s been an absolute marvelous company to work for,” Messmer said. “The ownership takes care of their staff from entry level to management level, and that’s hard to find these days. I have no desire to move anywhere else.” Raikes, a Washington State University graduate, and her husband, Jeff, a former Microsoft executive, rank as one of the Pacific Northwest’s most philanthropic, community-minded couples. Jeff recently stepped down as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which allows the Raikes to focus more on their own Raikes Foundation. Jeff stepped up in 1992 to help keep the Mariners in Seattle by purchasing a minority share in the foundering baseball club that seemed bound for Tampa, Fla. A decade later, the Raikeses bought Alderbrook. Tricia, who cherished memories of summer vacations spent next door to the old inn, envisioned of transforming the 88 acres into a Pacific Northwest showpiece. They researched top resorts in the region, which explains

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why the property — closed 18 months to prepare for its grand reopening — blends the upscale woodsy feel Willows Lodge in Woodinville with Mount Hood’s historic Timberline Lodge. Their stewardship of the land includes working with state officials to rehabilitate the stream that runs through Alderbrook’s grounds and creating its own water treatment plant. Yet, it’s high-tech with a wired conference center, free Wi-Fi throughout the campus and a gaming room that morphs into a veritable network studio for NFL game coverage on Sundays. There's a well-appointed 3,500-square-foot day spa, reminiscent of The Allison Inn in Newberg, Ore., and a glass-enclosed heated pool and hot tub. Across the ambling Highway 106 is a network of hiking trails that make for a great way to begin the morning. “We usually dedicate one day to doing nothing but the spa and sitting out on the deck reading and sampling some great Washington vino. It’s so peaceful,” Johnson said. “We’ll also spend a day at the golf course and sometimes hiking. I suppose you could do it all in a day, but why?” The latest hiking trail leads uphill to the clubhouse of the golf course, where Messmer recently bought a home. “I can’'t ever imagine moving back to the city, and that's the honest truth,” Messmer said. “I love the lifestyle; I love the pace. I love living two minutes from work. I don’t miss I-5 or 405 in any way, shape or form.” The relaxed, homey and pet-friendly feel of the property can be felt upon entering the lobby, where there’s a gentle fire with Alder or Brook — the resort’s lobby cats — nearby. Whether staying in one of Alderbrook’s 77 guest rooms, 16 cottages or three guest houses, your attention gently gets drawn back to placid waters of Hood Canal, never more a stone’s throw away. Come by boat or seaplane and use the guest moorage. The 54-foot Lady Alderbrook, available for hire, also offers catered cruises. The growing number of award-winning wineries near Hood Canal and around the Olympic Peninsula make for W I N E P R E S S N W. C O M


M AT C H M A K E R S

••• Alderbrook Resort & Spa alderbrookresort.com. 10 E. Alderbrook Drive, Union, WA 98592 360-898-2200

tasty exploration. One of the closest trips, to Mosquito Fleet in Belfair, is just 15 minutes by car. “We have a real appreciation for what Alderbrook is doing for our area with its food and its wine,” said Mosquito Fleet winemaker Brian Petersen. “They’ve been a real big promoter and supporter of ours from the beginning.” There’s been no shortage of culinary talent at Alderbrook since the Raikes took over, and the list includes Chris Schwarz, now corporate executive chef at Tom Douglas Restaurants, and former El Gaucho chef Tristan Holst. Sautter learned from both of them at Alderbrook after arriving from Olympia’s Basilico Ristorante in 2005. “I started cooking in Colorado, where I was born and raised,” Sautter said. “I was a dishwasher at the time, and I saw the chefs with their chef hats and I told the chef, ‘I want one of those hats.’ So he taught me how to cook and it became a passion. It was the one thing in my life that I was good at.” His resume of “everything from Olive Garden to Wendy’s” includes formal training at Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Ariz. He spent several years at Thaifoon and The Tack Room in Tucson before Crystal, whom he met in culinary school, lured him to the Olympic Peninsula. “Chef Sautter does a great job focusing on Northwest fair and local wine pairings, and the staff is extremely accommodating and gracious,” Johnson said. “Simply said, it is one of our favorite getaways in the Pacific Northwest.” For the Match Maker assignment, Sautter first played upon the regional theme for pairing his Crab Trio Pappardelle with the Walter Dacon Wines 2011 Skookum White. “When I tasted the Skookum White, I tasted a lot of sweetness and a nice citrus aspect to it, so I knew it needed to W I N E P R E S S N W. C O M

be with some seafood and it would need some spice,” Sautter said. “There’s a little bit of butter and richness to balance the sweetness. It’s a favorite of a lot of people that come to the restaurant.” Mosquito Fleet’s Syrah-based 2010 Sophia made an ideal foil for Sautter’s Veal Chop with Sauteed Sugar Peas, Sunchoke Farro Hash and Porcini Ragout. “That was a pretty bold wine with a lot of strong flavors up front, so I didn’t want to do anything real heavy like lamb or a regular steak,” Sautter said. “I figured our 14-ounce veal chop from Willamette Valley Farms would be perfect.” Despite the spot-on food pairings one would expect in a four-star, metropolitan restaurant, there’s a unique feel to this dining room surrounded by a yearround resort. “People come down in the pajamas; they come down in their bathrobes because of the spa,” Messmer said with a smile. “And people come down dressed to the nine ready to start their business meeting. We cater to everybody.” It’s also explains why Messmer and his team don’t bother with ties or vests on the floor. “We’ve left it a little more casual than what you would expect at a restaurant that has our wine list and our menu because we don’t want the people who are dressing down to feel uncomfortable,” he said. That suits Alderbrook’s stated goal of “family, food and fun in an unpretentious, high style heavily influenced by nature and its bounty.” And before leaving, stroll to the shoreline and drop one of those Hood Canal skipping stones in your pocket for either a memento or the promise to toss it return it to the water someday. ! E R I C D E G E R M A N is co-owner of Great Northwest Wine,

a news and information website. For more information, go to www.greatnorthwestwine.com. C H A R I T Y LY N N E is a photographer based out of Seattle, Wash. You can find her online at charitylynne.com.

WINE Walter Dacon Wines, $19 2011 Skookum White, Columbia Valley — 500 cases, 13.2% alcohol Hood Canal might not seem to be a natural setting for a winery in Washington state, but Skookum Inlet has turned into a port of call for Syrah devotees — thanks to Lloyd and Ann Anderson of Walter Dacon Wines. This year marked the 10th anniversary of Walter Dacon, named as a tribute to Lloyd’s grandfather. The tasting room south of Shelton opened in 2005 with wines from the 2003 vintage, and Anderson quickly made his mark with red Rhône grape, producing three cuvées that achieved international acclaim. All totaled, Walter Dacon bottles five Syrahs and a Syrah-based red blend to account for the lion’s share of its annual 2,000 case production. “We carry three of their magnificent Syrahs,” said Max Messmer, director of food and beverage at Alderbrook Resort & Spa. However, there’s more behind Walter Dacon than Syrah and the Andersons’ antique tasting bar, a circa World War I circulation desk from the Fremont Library in Seattle. In the past, the Andersons bottled Roussanne and Viognier — two white Rhône varieties. The problematic vintage of 2011 forced them to take a different tack, so Pinot Gris became Walter Dacon’s only white production. They sell it as Skookum White, borrowing the Chinook tribe’s ubiquitous reference for excellence. “We had a lot of support for our Viognier, which we made just a bit off-dry, but we stopped making it after 2010 when our source back then couldn’t get it to ripen in 2011,” Lloyd said. “So we went in a different direction with Pinot Grigio and have had a lot of support for that, too.” They produce it in a slightly off-dry fashion, leaving 1 percent residual sugar, which makes for a “skookum” pairing with delicacies from the Salish Sea. Walter Dacon recently sold through the 2011 and did not produce a 2012 Skookum White, but its 2013 vintage from Two Gun Vineyard in the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley will be released in early 2014. That site is at the core of several award-winning whites from Jones of Washington — Wine Press Northwest’s 2013 Washington Winery of the Year. * Walter Dacon Wines, 50 S.E. Skookum Inlet Road, Shelton, WA 98584, 360-4265913, WalterDaconWines.com

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M AT C H M A K E R S

RECIPES Crab Trio Pappardelle

Oven roasted tomatoes

Serves 4

4 ounces Dungeness crab (pick, clean, then reserve in cold storage) 8 ounces red crab 20 snow crab claws 3 tablespoons butter 3 teaspoons garlic 2 teaspoons shallot ¼ teaspoon chili flakes 1 tablespoon basil 1 tablespoon parsley ½ cup shaved fennel ¼ cup white wine 1 cup oven-roasted tomatoes (recipe below) ½ pound thyme pappardelle (recipe below)

Makes 1 cup

2 pounds ripe tomatoes (stemmed and cored) 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 1. Large dice the tomatoes and toss all ingredients in a large bowl. 2. Place mixture on one or two large baking sheets. 3. Roast at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the skins are loosen. Cool then move to appropriate storage container. Thyme pappardelle Serves 4, Makes ½ pound

2 eggs ½ pound all-purpose flour ½ tablespoon salt ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ½ tablespoon fresh-picked thyme 1. Mix all dry ingredients, then make a well with the flour. 2. Put the eggs in the middle and whisk well with a fork. Add the oil and thyme and fold in the flour. 3. When all incorporated, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Then roll out flat and run through a pasta machine to the No. 5 setting and cut into six wide strips. Final prep

Create the sauce. Put half of the butter into the sauté pan and add the garlic, shallot, fennel and the oven-roasted tomatoes. Sauté for one minute. 2. Add the crab claws and red crab, then pour in the white wine. Follow with the herbs and remaining butter. At the end, add salt and pepper to taste. 3. Boil the pasta. 4. Pour the sauce over the pasta and top with the Dungeness crab meat. 1.

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M AT C H M A K E R S RECIPES Bone-in Veal Rib Chop

Porcini Ragout

Serves 4

Serves 4

4 Willamette Valley veal chops, 16 ounces each 1.

Salt and pepper, then grill to medium Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas Serves 4

2 teaspoons garlic (chopped) 2 teaspoons butter 12 ounces sugar snap peas (stringless and chopped) 1. In a small pan on moderate heat, melt the butter, bloom the garlic and add the snap peas. 2. Sauté for one minute and season to taste

1 teaspoon thyme, picked and chopped 1 teaspoon rosemary, picked chopped ½ cup cipollini onion, small diced 1/8 cup leek, small diced 1 teaspoon garlic 2 tablespoon flour ¼ cup white wine 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup porcini or king trumpets mushrooms 1 dash Worcestershire sauce Salt to taste

1. In a medium-sized pan on moderate heat, sauté vegetables and herbs until soft. 2. Add flour, cook to mix, then add wine. 3. Add chicken stock and cook for another 20 minutes. Add seasoning and Worcestershire. Then taste!

Sunchoke and Farro Hash Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1 1/2 cup farro 1 pound kale, stemmed and chopped to bite-size pieces 1 small red onion (julianned) 4 ounces oyster mushrooms (cut from stem, rough chop) 4 ounces chanterelles (cleaned, torn in half) 4 ounces Mitaki mushrooms 2 ounces brown beach mushrooms 2 ounces white beach mushrooms ¼ cup white wine 1 pound sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichoke (peeled and roasted) 1. Put farro in a pan and cover with three times the amount of water. Bring to boil cook until soft but not mushy, about 25 minutes. 2. Toss the sunchokes in olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast in an oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When cool slice, into coin shape. 3. Put the butter and olive oil in a pan. Start on high heat, then add the red onion, mushrooms, the sunchokes and kale until all are cooked. 4. Add farro, white wine, then salt and pepper to taste.

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WINE COUNTRY: PUGET SOUND AND WESTERN WASHINGTON

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WINE COUNTRY MARKETPLACE

Washington Olympic, Kitsap Peninsula, San Juans COMPASS WINES, 1405 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, WA. 360-293-6500; fax: 360-588-1895. Extensive collection of rare & collectable wines. Wine storage. Only 2 blocks from the marinas. Dockside delivery available. compasswines.com

Oregon Greater Portland Area BRENTWOOD WINE COMPANY — Internet fine wine weekly auctions. The Northwest's largest buyer of fine wine. Outright purchase or Consignment option where you set the price. For free appraisal, email wine list: appraisals@brentwoodwine.com (503) 638-9463 (WINE) www.brentwoodwine.com

Oregon Coast THE CELLAR ON 10TH, Astoria. Corner of 10th & Marine Dr. Finest selection of regional wines. Wine bar; weekly tastings; storage; gifts. (503) 325-6600 • www.thecellaron10th.com E-mail us: thecellaron10th@aol.com

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COLUMN

grapes of roth BY COKE ROTH

Drink it on purpose

T

here are several somewhat believable stories about the first time someone made sparkling wine (on purpose), all amounting to rural legend...no one knows.... so any story that is told has the same zero chance of being 100% accurate. Right or wrong, I have been telling this version for over 35 years because it is the coolest version I could piece together. It was a particularly late harvest in the Champagne region village of Epernay, France one year in the early 1700's. Dom Pierre Perignon, the Benedictine Monk who was ramroding the winemaking operations at the Abbey at Hautvilliers Monastery, was aging and blind by some accounts. Back in that era, bottles were sealed with somewhat loose oil-soaked hemp or wood. Wines that failed to ferment dry in the fall renewed yeast activity in the spring when it warmed up and the stoppers in that day released the fermentation gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), without incident. But, Dom Perignon used tight fitting, cutting edge stoppers; the bark of Quercus suber, the cork oak, so the CO2 was imprisoned in the bottle. The result was explosive . . . literally . . . as bottles started erupting. Summoned to the cellar by his alarmed subordinates, a bottle of this foaming liquid was opened (on purpose), and upon tasting its tingle on the tongue, the blind Grand Potentate of the Monastery proclaimed: “. . . come quickly my brothers, for I am drinking stars . . .”. Don’tcha just love that version? From there, by most accounts, Madame Veuve Clicquot Posardin took the cork and bottle by the horns and developed the process and science that created Methode Champenoise, the way sparkling wines are made to this day. The Readers Digest version of this ten-step process is that wine is refermented in a bottle (on purpose), aged, the sediment is removed, it is filled to the brim and corked, and there are French names for most every step. “Bubble” as I call it, has varying sweetness levels from bone dry (natural/brut), to off dry (extra dry) to pretty sweet (sec, demi sec, doux). The French rightfully had a vache (the French word for “cow”) when the world used the term “champagne” for fizzy wine, and now international mandates prohibit the use of the term “champagne” outside of Champagne... The French have, the Germans “Sekt”, Spaniards “Cava” and we have “Sparkling Wine”....romantic, ain’t it? Redemption: we exclusively have “Rattlesnake Hills” and “Ribbon Ridge”... The base wine for sparkling wine can be any grape, and indeed some of the most intriguing effervescent wines are not the traditional champagne-based Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Muenier. Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer and even Syrah are gangbusters when they bubble. Hopefully Northwest sparkling winemakers show us more non-traditional grape varieties with CO2. In the late 1970's, Bill Preston in Pasco set up a sparkling wine shop. On the first bottle run his novice winemaker set the cork so deep it reached the bottle flare inside (NOT on 70

WINE PRESS NORTHWEST • WINTER 2013 / 2014

purpose), and it took a pair of Vice-Grips to remove it...lawsuit threats were settled, the winemaker taken to the woodshed and the project was scuttled. Other bubble operations at that time also fizzled, however Ste. Michelle (now Domain Ste. Michelle) and Argyle fizzed. Since then, new players like Treveri, Karma, Pacific Rim and Westport from Washington and Soter and Domaine Meriwether in Oregon have blown the bottle wide open with their sparklers. Moreover, those needing relationship help can buy a bottle of “Good in Bed” by Hard Row to Hoe. This is a family publication so I will reserve further comment on its success rate.... Sparkling wines transcend the white/red wine-heavy/light food match thingy better than any other wine . . . they go with almost everything . . . try a Blanc de Noir with a Ribeye. . . counter-intuitively romantic bedfellows. From caviar to cheesecake, from fish to foul, from salad to swine, or with a hot date to the hot tub, the refreshing acidity and relatively low alcohol of sparkling wines enliven your olfactory senses and clean-sweep the mouth to provide the proper forum for every conceivable food and wine marriage, and marriage itself... But the biggest reason to integrate a bottle or 2 (or 3) of sparkling wine per week into your diet is attitude adjustment...necessary realignment of the neurons. Consuming a sparkler as a cocktail freshens and recalibrates the mind. In fact, the Roth household annually repeats its resolution to drink more Bubble every New Year...we prefer easily achievable New Year's Resolutions. Look, you work like hell, then after you die, your brother-inlaw drinks all your good sparkling wine in your honor...drink it now before it’s too late! Celebrating every day like you just won a NASCAR race will be an omission that you will regret when you are in that rockin’ chair examining the mistakes you made while on the roller coaster of life. And, while you can break the bank when drinking Bubble, you don’t have to because there are some delicious products from here and around the world that are just flat delightful and affordable. So, open some Bubble and celebrate the victory of being on the north side of the turf, that you made it through the day, and that the Dung Beetle walked past you without taking a bite . . . ahem. Bubble, to be consumed in moderation, on purpose, much more frequently than you do now..... COKE ROTH is an attorney who lives in Richland, Wash. He is an original member of Wine Press Northwest’s tasting panel. Learn more about him at cokerothlaw.com.

W I N E P R E S S N W. C O M



Wine Press Northwest Winter 2013/2014 issue