16th Annual Platinum Judging:

Determining the “Best of the Best” in the Pacific Northwest

December 14, 2015 

  • King of the Platinum

    With another eight Platinums this year, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery south of Oliver, British Columbia, easily retains the title of “King of the Platinum.” Walter and Gordon Gehringer have won at least one Platinum medal every year except 2001 and 2006.

    Here are the wineries that have won at least 10 Platinums during the competition’s first 16 years:

    • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery: 55
    • Maryhill Winery: 31
    • Chateau Ste. Michelle: 25
    • Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate: 25
    • Barnard Griffin: 20
    • Zerba Cellars: 20
    • Wild Goose Vineyards: 19
    • Thurston Wolfe: 16
    • La Frenz Winery: 16
    • Kiona Vineyards & Winery: 13
    • Watermill Winery: 13
    • Dusted Valley Vintners: 12
    • Walla Walla Vintners: 12
    • Michelle Sparkling Wines: 11
    • Jones of Washington: 11
    • Alexandria Nicole Cellars: 10
    • L’Ecole No. 41: 10
    • Tsillan Cellars: 10
    • Willamette Valley Vineyards: 10

The dean of Washington winemakers is perched atop the best wines of the Pacific Northwest.

Rob Griffin arrived in Washington from his native California in 1977 and was head winemaker for Preston Wine Cellars and Hogue Cellars before focusing all of his attention on his own Barnard Griffin in Richland. At the 16th annual Platinum Judging, Griffin’s fortified dessert wine made with Syrah was the No. 1 wine out of a record 698 entries.

It also was Griffin’s 20th Platinum in the competition’s first 16 years, an effort that leaves him tied for fifth best of all time.

The Platinum Judging, conducted by Wine Press Northwest magazine, is a beauty contest. Only wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho that have won gold medals at any of about 40 competitions worldwide in 2015 are eligible to enter.

Here are a few of the highlights from this year’s competition:

•  Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery near Oliver, British Columbia, amassed nine Platinums awards, giving it 56 total and solidifying its position as “King of the Platinum.”

•  Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Wash., won six Platinums, five of which were from its “Vineyards Series” of wines.

•  Winemaker Victor Palencia won five Platinums: three for Jones of Washington and two for his own Palencia Wine Co./Vino La Monarcha. This matches his effort during the 2014 judging.

•  Wineries winning five Platinums each included: Zerba Cellars of Milton-Freewater, Ore.; and Walla Walla Vintners in Walla Walla, Wash.

•  Alexandria Nicole Cellars of Prosser and Woodinville, Wash., won four Platinums.

•  Wineries winning three Platinums included: Thurston Wolfe in Prosser; Jones of Washington in Quincy and Wenatchee, Wash.; Chateau Ste. Michelle of Woodinville; and Beaumont Cellars of Quincy and Woodinville.

•  Of the 143 wines that earned Double Platinum or Platinum, 20 retail for $15 or less.

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; H. Parks Redwine, III of Atlanta, Ga., who owns and operates the NorthWest Wine Summit competition; Heather Unwin, a winery marketing consultant and educator; Ken Robertson, wine columnist for Wine Press Northwest; Coke Roth, international wine judge and Wine Press Northwest columnist; Paul Sinclair of Kennewick, Wash., a member of the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel; Gregg McConnell, editor and publisher of Wine Press Northwest; April Reddout, wine program director at the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser, Wash.; Kristine Bono, tasting room manager for Goose Ridge Estate Winery near Richland, Wash.; and Ellen Landis, an international wine judge who lives in Vancouver, Wash.

The judging was conducted by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue, owners of Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning news and information company.

Here are the results. Prices listed are from the country of origin.

Double Platinum & Best of the Best

Barnard Griffin 2013 Syrah Port, Columbia Valley • $17

Rob Griffin is the dean of Washington winemakers. The proud University of California-Davis grad arrived in the mid-1970s and has been making some of the state’s best wines ever since. His versatility is what makes him legendary, and this fortified dessert wine is consistently one of Griffin’s finest efforts. It opens with aromas of blueberry, Marionberry, dark chocolate and huckleberry. The alcohol is beautifully integrated, and the creamy, silky palate turns this into a sensual, luscious wine. Pair this with blue cheeses while enjoying a warm fire on a winter evening. (1,850 cases; 19.5% alc.) Medals: Wine Press Northwest fortified judging (Outstanding), Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Gold)

Double Platinum

Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley • $38

Owners Gordy Venneri and Myles Anderson have been making some of the top wines in the Walla Walla Valley for two decades, and their efforts have reached greater heights with winemaker William vonMetzger. This gorgeous Cab opens with subtle aromas of oak, dark cherry and spice, followed by flavors of black olive, black tea and dark fruit, all in a classic Bordeaux style. All of this is backed with beautifully handled tannins. (539 cases; 14.4% alc.) Medal: Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition (Double gold/best of show)

Northwest Cellars 2012 Carménère, Columbia Valley • $48

Bob Delf has built quite an operation in Kirkland, Wash., just down the road from Woodinville. His Northwest Cellars began as a custom-label operation — a business that still thrives. Delf teamed up with winemaker Robert Smasne, and together they craft some of the top wines in Washington. This Carménère — a rare red Bordeaux variety — balances the line between classic sweet herbs and opulent purple fruit. Aromas of violet, black pepper and black olive give way to flavors of spice and dark red fruit. (56 cases; 13.9% alc.) Medals: Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Zerba Cellars 2012 Cockburn Vineyard Dolcetto, Walla Walla Valley •  $36

Doug Nierman, the longtime winemaker at this top winery on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley, has crafted many Platinums in his career, and this Italian red ranks as one of his best. It opens with aromas of sandalwood, cranberry sauce and blackberry jam. On the palate, it’s a rich, delicious red with enticing flavors of Christmas spices, blueberry and cherry pipe tobacco. It concludes with a long, lingering finish. (220 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Riverside International Wine Competition (Chairman’s Award/Best of class)

Best Buy!
Jones of Washington 2014 Pinot Gris, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley •  $13

It hasn’t been the easiest year for the Jones clan after patriarch Jack Jones died in March. But the family has moved forward, and thanks to the talents of winemaker Victor Palencia, the wines released in 2015 have been spectacular. This luscious Pinot Gris offers aromas of white flowers and starfruit, followed by flavors of Key Lime pie and hints of pear that are balanced perfectly with bracing acidity. Pair this with grilled halibut, seared scallops or grilled chicken. (2,030 cases; 13.4% alc.) Medals: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold/best of class), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Territorial Vineyards & Wine Co. 2014 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley •  $17

This longtime Eugene, Ore., winery has a reputation for crafting delicious white wines, and this is among its finest efforts yet. Aromas of lemonade, herbal tea and citrus peel lead to flavors of creamy lemon pie and kiwi. This is a classic example of Oregon Pinot Gris, thanks to its bright mouth feel and perfect balance of fruit and acidity. Enjoy this with baked chicken, oysters or grilled halibut with a mango salsa. (600 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Legend Cellars NV Vincitore, Columbia Valley •  $30

This young winery on the north shore of Lake Chelan is making its name with this off-dry vermouth. It is created using Cabernet Franc, botanicals such as citrus and lavender, then fortified with brandy. It opens with aromas and flavors of chai spices, roasted hazelnut, cinnamon and plum. It is an unusual and delicious aperitif or after-dinner delight. (85 cases; 18.2% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold/Best dessert)

Monte Creek Ranch 2013 Hands Up Red, Okanagan Valley • $16

This unusual and affordable blend includes Merlot, Frontenac and Marquette. The latter two grapes are French hybrids bred at the University of Minnesota to withstand cold winters. The result of this blend is a fascinating and charming red with aromas and flavors of orange zest, ripe cherry, red plum and spice, all of which are beautifully balanced and understated. (673 cases; 13.6% alc.) Medal: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold)

Dusted Valley Vintners 2012 Wallywood, Columbia Valley • $42

The Wisconsin boys are at it again, here with a Syrah-based blend that pays homage to their winery’s home in Walla Walla and tasting room in the Hollywood district of Woodinville, Wash. This gorgeous wine is a deep purple with aromas of blackberry, sweet herbs and hints of cured meat. On the palate, it’s a full-throttle red with flavors of plum, spice, minerality and dark coffee. It’s a rich, complex, cellar-worthy wine. (144 cases; 15.2% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Mt. Hood Winery 2014 Dry Riesling, Columbia Gorge • $20

The Columbia Gorge AVA is proving to be one of the most fascinating emerging regions in the Northwest, and this stunning Riesling is an example of the potential this area holds. Aromas of passionfruit, pear, lemon and gardenia lead to flavors of Granny Smith apple and Graham cracker pie crust. It’s all backed with stunning acidity that gives way to a length and viscosity not normally found in Northwest Rieslings. (143 cases; 12.2% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Double gold)

Best Buy!
Ryan Patrick Vineyards 2013 Ryan’s Riesling, Columbia Valley • $12

Yakima Valley native and WSU grad Jeremy Santos oversees the winemaking for this longtime North Central Washington winery now owned by the Milbrandts. This luscious Riesling offers aromas of pear, floral notes and ripe Ginger Gold apple. On the palate, the 2.2% residual sweetness provides plenty of juiciness, yet the bright acidity more than makes up for it. This offers something for new wine drinkers as well as experts. (3,500 cases; 12% alc.) Medals: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold/best of class), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Maryhill Winery 2012 Northridge Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope • $32

Winemaker Richard Batchelor continues his string of hits with this superb Syrah using grapes from one of the state’s top vineyards. Northridge is a warm site on the western Wahluke Slope that is owned and managed by the Milbrandt family. The resulting wine is loaded with aromas and flavors of dark fruit, exotic spices, mocha, well-integrated tannins, milk chocolate and dark cherries. This is an honest and authentic Syrah. (189 cases; 14.8% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Eight Bells Winery 2012 Red Willow Vineyard 8 Clones Syrah, Yakima Valley •  $32

This small Seattle urban producer in the Ravenna neighborhood uses grapes primarily from Red Willow, one of the top vineyards in Washington. This stunning Syrah opens with classic Côte-Rôtie aromas of cured meats, sizzling bacon, licorice and blueberry, followed by complex flavors of black olive, dark chocolate, rich black cherry and barbecue spices. It’s all backed by powerful yet approachable tannins. (220 cases; 14.9% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (gold)

Basel Cellars Estate Winery 2011 Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley • $34

Basel Cellars is south of downtown Walla Walla and is in a former mansion that is available for guests. This Cab Franc has everything in balance, starting with aromas of pencil shavings, mocha, blueberry and dark plum, followed by explosive flavors of dark fruit and chocolate. The structure of this wine is based on acidity rather than tannin, making it a classic Washington Cabernet Franc. (142 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Gold)

Telaya Wine Co. 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley • $35

Boise-area winemaker Earl Sullivan brings in grapes from Idaho and Washington for his growing program, and this sublime Cab uses fruit from Scooteney Flats Vineyard on venerable Red Mountain. Stunning aromas of violet and dusty black fruit greet the nose. On the palate, this plush and complex red is layered with flavors of perfectly ripe berry, black plum, fresh mint and savory spice. Precise tannins and impeccable balance make this a wine to drink now or cellar for a half-decade or more. (250 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medals: Riverside International Wine Competition (Chairman's Award), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Jones of Washington 2012 Estate Vineyards Reserve Malbec, Wahluke Slope • $30

Malbec is little more than an afterthought in its native Bordeaux, playing a small but important blending role. But in Washington, it is developing into an exciting red wine, and this is a superb example with fruit coming from the arid Wahluke Slope. Aromas of ripe blueberry and black pepper lead to powerful yet elegant flavors of boysenberry and pie spice, all with a backbone of firm tannins that give way to a persistent finish. (182 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold/best of class)

Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Golgotha Bloc Malbec, Umpqua Valley • $31

Stephen Reustle is earning a reputation for being Southern Oregon’s most versatile winemaker, as it seems there are no styles of wine he is not great at crafting. This Malbec is the latest example. It opens with appealing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, thyme, savory, violet and mild oak impressions. On the palate, this is loaded with flavors of dark chocolate, spice and black pepper. Smooth tannins give this drink-now approachability. (150 cases; 13.2% alc.) Medals: Savor Northwest (Double gold), Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold)

Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Revelation & Sorek Bloc Grüner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley •  $24

This Austrian grape is quite the darling right now, especially amid influential sommeliers, and Stephen Reustle makes several examples. This luscious version would make Austrians proud, thanks to aromas of minerality and tart apple, followed by flavors of crisp orchard fruit and saltwater taffy. Enjoy with pork chops, seared scallops or even nopalitos con huevos. (670 cases; 13.6% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold)

Bradley Vineyards 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir, Elkton Oregon • $28

John Bradley began planting grapes in the cool Elkton, Ore., region more than 30 years ago, providing his fruit to nearby wineries until launching his winery in 2000. Bradley died in 2014, and this superb effort is a tribute to his pioneering efforts in this area of Southern Oregon. It opens with classic aromas of saddle leather, forest floor, orange zest and cranberry, followed by elegant flavors of Christmas spice, Montmorency cherry and mild oak influence. (46 cases; 15.2% alc.) Medal: Savor Northwest (Double gold)

Sperling Vineyards 2012 Old Vines Riesling, Okanagan Valley • $32

This young winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley uses 35-year-old Riesling vines for this stupendous white wine. It’s a brilliant effort, thanks to aromas of minerality, clementine and nectarine with just the barest hint of classic petrol. On the palate, it provides flavors of orange zest, Asian pear and crisp green apple. It’s all backed with precise balance and startling acidity. This is a remarkable wine. (200 cases; 11.5% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Double gold/best of class)

Season Cellars 2014 Transparency White, Southern Oregon • $18

Scott Henry IV, whose family has a long history of winemaking and viticulture in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, is now producing wine under this label. This is a delicious blend of Müller-Thurgau, Early Muscat and Riesling that opens with aromas of ripe orchard fruit, including Granny Smith apple, and sweet herbs. On the palate, mouth-filling flavors of poached pear and fresh apricot are backed with vibrant acidity that gives way to long and balanced finish. (438 cases; 11% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Experience (Double gold)

Sparkman Cellars 2012 Rainmaker Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley • $62

Sommelier-turned-winemaker Chris Sparkman is crafting some of the most highly sought-after red wines in Woodinville, Wash., and this is one of four Cabernet Sauvignons he produces. It is an outrageously harmonious wine from start to finish, thanks to aromas of pencil shavings and black currant, followed by flavors of ripe dark cherry and underlying hints of cranberry. Elegant tannins work in concert with elegant acidity to provide all the structure one could hope for. (267 cases; 14.3% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Double gold)

JM Cellars 2013 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley •  $38

Longtime Woodinville boutique winemaker John Bigelow brought in grapes from highly considered Conner Lee and Stillwater Creek vineyards for this luscious Chardonnay. Aromas of lemon zest and brioche lead to balanced flavors of citrus and just the barest hint of oak. Not a big lover of Chardonnay? This is multi-faceted example is likely to convert that kind of thinking. (435 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Best Buy!
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Old Vines Auxerrois, Okanagan Valley • $14

Brothers Walter and Gordon Gehringer planted their Auxerrois vines three decades ago along the Golden Mile Bench, and though the Loire Valley white variety has never gained a huge following, the Gehringers have proven they have the perfect climate for it. This is a refreshing and delicate wine with aromas and flavors of lemon zest, lime, tangerine and a bit of peach. This is a real treat that will work well with chicken, pork or seafood. (1,500 cases; 12.9% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Best of show), Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold/best of class), Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Bernau Block Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley •  $55

Winemaker Don Crank used estate grapes to craft this delicious Pinot Noir from one of Oregon’s best and biggest producers. Complex aromas of cherry, spice, cedar and forest floor lead to beautiful flavors of raspberry, fresh cranberry and a hint of cocoa powder. It is a pretty wine that finishes brilliantly. (1,973 cases; 13.9% alc.) Medals: Savor Northwest (Double gold), Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold), Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

Malaga Springs Winery 2014 Viognier, Washington • $16

Located near the Columbia River south of Wenatchee, Wash., this small producer is moving up in quality, thanks to efforts like this Viognier. It is loaded with aromas of apricot, lime zest and vanilla, followed by beautifully textured flavors of sweet orange, peach and cream. Just-right acidity gives this a finish that lingers seemingly forever. ( 50 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold/best of class)

Best Buy!
Three Rivers Winery 2013 River’s Red, Columbia Valley •  $14

No fewer than five red varieties — led by Sangiovese — go into this wine that is as delicious as it is affordable. Aromas of ripe cherry, pipe tobacco, vanilla, spice and a hint of oak give way to plush, approachable flavors of rich dark fruit, including blackberry cobbler, Bing cherry and a hint of dark chocolate shavings. When a wine is this good and and this affordable, it’s time to consider buying by the case. (6,631 cases; 13.7% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Thurston Wolfe 2012 Howling Wolfe Zinfandel, Horse Heaven Hills •  $20

Zin is still a variety rarely found in the Wild West of Washington winemaking, but count on longtime vintner Wade Wolfe to craft one of the best. Aromas of bacon, cola, chocolate and cherry lead to jammy, consumer-friendly flavors of creamy strawberry and red currant, all backed by bright acids and mild tannins. (1,000 cases; 15% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold)

Platinum

Tightrope Winery 2012 Riesling, Okanagan Valley • $23

This small, high-end winery in Penticton, British Columbia, is run by Lyndsay and Graham O’Rourke, who are crafting some of the most delicious wines in the Okanagan Valley. This alluring Riesling reveals aromas of wet stone and nectarine, followed by bright flavors of lime zest and pear with accents of minerality. It is a multidimensional wine with a bright, long finish. (325 cases; 12.6% alc.) Medal: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Eroica Gold, Columbia Valley • $30

The second vintage of this new project under the Eroica label is revealing itself to be superb, based on the number of gold medals it has earned. This is a high-acid (2.93 pH), high sugar (6.64% residual sugar) wine with the spiciness of botrytis. Aromas of honey and lime lead to flavors of crème brûlée and citrus. This is loaded with complexity. (2,250 cases; 11% alc.) Medals: San Francisco International Wine Competition (Double gold), West Coast Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold), Riverside International Wine Competition (Chairman's Award/Best of class), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Best of class)

Beaumont Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley • $28

Pete Beaumont is one of the rising stars in North Central Washington, and he has tasting rooms in Quincy and Woodinville. This delicious Cab Franc opens with aromas of black pepper, leather and blueberry pie, followed by elegant flavors of plum, black currant and spice. It’s all backed by silky tannins through the lengthy finish. (75 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medals: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Dunham Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon XVII, Columbia Valley • $45

Winemaker Daniel Wampfler has been crafting the wines at this top Walla Walla producer for several years, and this is one of his finest efforts, especially considering the challenges that came with the cool 2011 vintage. Intense aromas of fresh tobacco and blackberry lead to flavors of black olive, black cherry, black pepper and spicy oak behind firm, well-structured tannins. (1,900 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Best Buy!
14 Hands Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley •  $12

Leave it to the team at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates to make such an astonishingly delicious Cabernet Sauvignon in such huge amounts for a great price. This European-style red leads with aromas of lavender, sweet herbs and Bing cherry, followed by flavors of blackberry, chocolate, vanilla and black licorice. (500,000 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Tamarack Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope • $30

Ron Coleman and his team at this Walla Walla airport winery are crafting superb Cab Francs, and this is one of their finest efforts to date. Aromas of wild berry and a hint of spice give way to flavors of black cherry, earthy minerality, tobacco leaf and chocolate. The tannins are tightly wound and well structured, which leads to a long-lasting finish. (1,200 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Best Buy!
Columbia Crest 2013 H3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills • $15

One of Washington’s largest wineries has a hit with its H3 series — wines that use grapes from the Horse Heaven Hills. This delicious and affordable Cab is beautifully structured and velvety smooth. The aromas of blackberry and spice are accompanied by flavors of sweet dark berry, roasted bell pepper and cola. (205,000 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medals: San Francisco International Wine Competition (Double gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Best Buy!
Pasek Cellars Winery NV Blackberry Dessert Wine, Washington •  $12

This longtime winery near the Skagit Valley town of Mount Vernon, Wash., is a master with fruit wines. This fortified blackberry dessert wine is laden with aromas and flavors of blackberry cobbler, vanilla, dark chocolate and spices. It’s perfect with a plate of blue cheeses on a dark, wintery night. (250 cases; 16% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Double gold), Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Minus 9 Ehrenfelser Icewine, Okanagan Valley • $42

Named for the Ehrenfels Castle along the Rhine River in Germany, this cross of Riesling and Silvaner has turned out to be a superb grape for producing ice wine in the skilled hands of winemaker Walter Gehringer. This opens with aromas of pear pie and almond, followed by flavors of cooked apricot and apple pie. It’s a complex wine that delivers plenty of balanced flavor. (300 cases; 11.1% alc.) Medal: Indy International Wine Competition (Double gold)

Best Buy!
Airfield Estates 2013 Runway Late Harvest Riesling, Yakima Valley •  $15

Marcus Miller, the winemaker for this family operation in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser, Wash., has crafted a delicious and affordable dessert wine with aromas and flavors of dried pineapple, starfruit, Mandarin orange and toast with butter and honey. Thanks to its rich viscosity, this has the mouth feel of an ice wine yet all the acidity one could hope for. (2,500 cases; 9.6% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Recline RIdge Vineyards and Winery 2013 Kerner, Okanagan Valley • $18

Kerner is a rare grape to find outside of its native Germany (where it was bred in the ‘20s from Riesling and Trollinger) and Italy, but a few acres are in the ground in the Okanagan Valley, where it produces a bright, delicious white wine. This example reveals aromas and flavors of Fuji apple, kiwi and papaya, all backed by restrained sweetness and good balance. (400 cases; 12.8% alc.) Medal: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Lopez Island Vineyards 2012 Estate Madeleine Angevine, Puget Sound • $25

This cool-climate grape from France’s Loire Valley enjoys a bit of a fan base in the cool Puget Sound AVA, and examples such as this are why. Mad Ang, as it’s known, can produce a beautiful white wine that is just about perfect with oysters, clams and scallops. This example from one of the state’s oldest wineries offers aromas and flavors of banana nut bread, lemongrass and ripe pear. (310 cases; 12% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Cassini Cellars 2012 Maximus, Okanagan Valley • $38

Just north of the U.S. border, Cassini Cellars is quietly building a reputation for crafting superb red wines. This Cab-leading blend is a great example of what is happening near Oliver. It opens with aromas of dusty black currant, raisin and spice, followed by flavors of jammy dark fruit and well-integrated tannins that give way to an elegant and sophisticated finish. (700 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medal: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold)

Mercer Estates 2012 Sharp Sisters, Columbia Valley • $24

This nine-grape blend from winemaker Jessica Munnell leads with Merlot, and the diversity of grapes creates layers of complexity for this wine from a leading Yakima Valley producer. Aromas of blueberry, spice box, cola and elegant oak give way to beautifully structured flavors of ripe cherry, blueberry and cedar. It’s all backed with fine-grained tannins. (4,842 cases; 14.1% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Silvara Vineyards 2013 Red Blend, Washington • $32

Vintner Gary Seidler leads the efforts at this winery near the Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth, Wash. This is a blend that leans heavily on Syrah and also includes Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The result is a heady wine with aromas of wild game, dark fruit and dark-roasted coffee, followed by rich flavors of mocha, blueberry, pipe tobacco and spice. (264 cases; 14.1% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold/best red)

Best Buy!
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Private Reserve Dry Riesling, Okanagan Valley • $14

Walter Gehringer learned his winemaking in Germany and is one of the top Riesling producers in the Pacific Northwest. He has won no fewer than 15 Platinums for Riesling alone — and five previous times for the Private Reserve. This is a beautifully sophisticated wine with citrus and floral notes and dramatic acidity. It will pair beautifully with pasta with a cream sauce or crab. (2,000 cases; 13% alc.) Medals: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold), Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Anam Cara Cellars 2012 Nicholas Estate Riesling, Chehalem Mountains •  $22

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has long proven to be a wonderful place to grow Riesling, though conventional wisdom dictates that Pinot Noir be planted first because it will bring more money. This complex and stunning wine reveals what the potential is. Aromas of floral notes and white pepper lead to elegant flavors of crisp apple, bright pear and steely minerality. It is a stunning wine that will only continue to gain depth with some time in the cellar. (200 cases; 10.8% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

Palencia Winery 2013 Syrah, Yakima Valley • $30

Victor Palencia grew up in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser, Wash., working in nearby vineyards and wineries for after-school jobs. He was among the first to attend Walla Walla Community College’s vaunted winemaking program before returning to Prosser. He came back to Walla Walla in 2013 to launch Palencia Winery at the airport, and his wines have been remarkable. This rich Syrah is loaded with aromas and flavors of spices, blackberry, a hint of caramel and black olive. Supple tannins give this youthful approachability. (99 cases; 14.1% alc.) Medal: Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition (Gold)

Kraze Legz Vineyard & Winery 2014 Skaha Vineyard Mystique, Okanagan Valley •  $20

This winery overlooking Skaha Lake south of Penticton, British Columbia, has been on a roll the past couple of years. This blend leads with Pinot Blanc and is rich with aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, including kiwi, guava and melon. In addition, notes of fresh-cut apple, Meyer sweet lemon and fresh herbs lead to a richly textured palate with hints of almond that give way to an enduring finish. (200 cases; 13% alc.) Medal: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold)

Gamache Vintners 2012 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley • $25

Grape grower Roger Gamache teams up with winemaker Charlie Hoppes to produce these estate wines that consistently show well in competitions. Gamache has been growing wine grapes near the Columbia River for going on four decades. This classic Cab Franc reveals aromas and flavors of violet, green tea, boysenberry and a complex mushroom earthiness. Mild tannins and rich acidity give this ample food-pairing opportunities. (335 cases; 12.8% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Watermill Winery 2012 Estate Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley •  $36

This is the second consecutive time — and the fourth in five years — that the folks at Watermill near Milton-Freewater, Ore., have landed a Platinum for their Cab Franc. This opens with intriguing aromas of vanilla bean and black cherry. Lush, savory flavors of blueberry, black currant, cedar and a hint of white pepper lead to polished tannins and a lengthy finish. (85 cases; 14.6% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Oregon Wine Awards (Double gold)

Seven Falls Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope •  $20

This project is led by Doug Gore, who heads up all winery operations for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. At this point, it’s a restaurant-focused brand, but that could change as it continues to grow (just as 14 Hands did). This is a superb wine that fights well above its weight class, thanks to aromas and flavors of ripe cherry, elegant oak, toasted pecan and exotic spice. And one of the most decorated in the competition is backed by gentle, fine-grained tannins. (37,000 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medals: San Francisco International Wine Competition (Double gold), San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold), Savor Northwest (Gold/Best of class), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Gold)

Beaumont Cellars 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain •  $36

Pete Beaumont has quickly developed into one of the top winemakers in North Central Washington, and this Cab from Red Mountain grapes is another great example. Aromas of clove, sandalwood, Bing cherry and spicy oak lead to flavors of balanced dark fruit, a rich mouth feel that leads to a memorable finish. (136 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold/best of class)

Chateau Lorane 2010 Echo West Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley • $25

Using grapes from the Oregon side of the Columbia Valley, this longtime Eugene winery has crafted a Cabernet Sauvignon with elegance and power. Aromas of sweet herbs, Bing cherry and black currant give way to flavors of ripe dark fruit, Baker’s chocolate, black licorice and purple lavender. (140 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Double gold)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Indian Wells Chardonnay, Columbia Valley • $17

Washington’s oldest and largest winery has been building its Chardonnay program for the past several years to the point where it is producing hundreds of thousands of cases. This popular and delicious drink opens with delightful aromas of minerality, tropical fruit and almond extract. On the palate, it reveals clean, ripe flavors of cantaloupe and ripe Golden Delicious apple. (90,000 cases; 14% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Gold)

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Thurston Wolfe 2010 JTW’s Port, Washington • $13

Wade Wolfe has developed into quite the expert in fortified dessert wines, and this is among the best he’s crafted. Aromas of peppercorn, caramel and golden raisin lead to rich, mouth-coating flavors of ripe plum, raisin and rich dark chocolate. It’s all backed with a nice grip of tannins on the finish. Enjoy this with chocolate cake or blue cheese. (250 cases; 19% alc.) Medal: Wine Press Northwest fortified judging (Outstanding)

Watermill Winery 2012 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley •  $24

Winemaker Andrew Brown used grapes from Anna Marie and McClellan vineyards to craft this delicious Merlot. It is ethereal on the palate, with Bordeaux-like aromas of earth, spice and perfectly ripe red fruit. On the palate, this shows beautiful restraint with notes of red cherry and spice. It’s all backed with beautifully handled tannins. (375 cases; 14.3% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Gold)

Martin-Scott Winery 2013 Needlerock Vineyard Montepulciano, Columbia Valley •  $28

Montepulciano — unrelated to the Tuscan hilltown — is one of the most-planted grapes in Italy, yet it is virtually unknown in the New World, particularly in Washington. Owner Mike Scott has crafted this superb example for the past few years at his East Wenatchee Winery. This example opens with aromas of berry and minerally earth that expands on the palate with flavors of cherry, dried herb and wild berry, all backed by finely grained tannins and a beautiful finish. (45 cases; 14% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold)

Girardet Wine Cellars 2012 Bush Vine Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley • $59

Second-generation winemaker Marc Girardet has been at the helm of his family’s winery since the late 1990s, and this Tempranillo is among his best yet. Resplendent aromas of blackberry and damp earth meld with notes of anise. On the palate, flavors of boysenberry cobbler coat the mouth. Brisk acidity and focused fruit combine for pristine balance and a luscious finish. (73 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medal: Savor Northwest (Gold)

Kitzke Cellars 2012 Nebbiolo, Red Mountain • $33

Kitzke Cellars in Richland, Wash., has been on a roll the past three years, thanks to a combination of great fruit sources and the winemaking of Charlie Hoppes. Nebbiolo is considered one of the great red grapes in the world but is rare in the Northwest, so it is heartening to see such a delicious example. Aromas of mountain berry and moist earth lead to flavors of dried cranberry and a touch of citrus. Bright acidity and hearty tannins top off the delicious finish. (119 cases; 14.6% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Yakima Valley Vintners 2012 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Dean's List Primitivo, Columbia Valley • $22

Washington has four educational institutions with winemaking programs, and Yakima Valley Community College in Grandview has been proving its prowess the past few years. This luscious Primitivo opens with aromas of of black cherry and charcuterie, followed by rich flavors of boysenberry. It’s beautifully balanced, giving way to a lengthy finish. (48 cases; 14.4% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Abacela 2014 Estate Albariño, Umpqua Valley •  $21

This winery near Roseburg, Ore., was among the first in the Pacific Northwest to focus on Albariño, a sleek, bright Spanish white variety, and continues to produce one of the best. Aromas of green apple and pineapple lead to flavors Asian pear, lemongrass and citrus. Just a kiss of residual sugar helps amplify the flavors. (1,758 cases; 13.2% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Experience (Gold)

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Eye of the Needle NV 12th Blend Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley • $15

This Woodinville, Wash., winery honors Seattle Seahawks fans everywhere with its “12th Blend” reds and whites. This delicious white wine is all Chenin Blanc, and it’s a beauty. Aromas of lime and white blossoms lead to flavors of tart apple, spice and sweet lemon. It’s heartening to see Chenin Blanc making a mild comeback with wines this delicious. (2,000 cases; 13.6% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Gray Monk Estate Winery 2014 Ehrenfelser, Okanagan Valley • $18

The Heiss family has been running this winery about 20 minutes north of Kelowna for a long time. While the winery name honors the grape Pinot Gris, the Heisses also specialize in other varieties. This rare and delicious Ehrenfelser offers aromas and flavors of sweet lime, orange, white blossoms and white peach. It’s all backed with bright acidity. (965 cases; 11.2% alc.) Medal: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Melrose Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley •  $22

Based in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, this winery has proven through the years to be a producer of consistently high-quality and understated wines. This delicious and affordable Pinot Noir opens with complex aromas of cedar, raspberry and spice, followed by flavors of red cherry and cranberry backed by fruit-lifting acidity. (1,000 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medals: Savor Northwest (Gold), Critics Challenge (Gold), Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

Zerba Cellars 2012 Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley •  $45

Petit Verdot almost never plays anything more than a minor role in its native Bordeaux. Frankly, it’s not an easy grape to grow, partly because it ripens late. But here on the West Coast, ripening usually isn’t an issue and, as such, we are seeing a few delicious examples. This is one, thanks to classic aromas of violets, vanilla, dark fruit and earthiness. On the palate, it’s a big, dark, bold wine with surprisingly tamed tannins and a lengthy finish. (162 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Cuvée, Washington • $32

This Left Bank-style blend is one of the wines that put Walla Walla Vintners on the radar of Washington wine lovers in the late 1990s, and it continues to impress. Aromas and flavors of spice, cocoa powder and black tea meld with notes of dark cherry and blackberry. It’s all perfectly balanced, thanks to solid acidity and tannins with just the right amount of grip. (616 cases; 14.3% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Gold)

Barrister Winery NV Rough Justice, Columbia Valley • $22

This longtime Spokane winery is famous for its Cabernet Franc, along with such wines as Merlot and Malbec. This Merlot-leading blend is a delicious and affordable bottling that is a big hit with its fans. Aromas of cranberry, dark chocolate and light toast give way to persistent flavors of coffee and ripe red fruit. Mild tannins give this smooth approachability. (1,932 cases; 14.8% alc.) Medal: Indy International Wine Competition (Gold)

Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2011 Vixen, Wahluke Slope •  $30

Winemaker Amy Alvarez-Wampfler crafted this delicious and unusual but successful blend of Petit Verdot and Syrah for her Walla Walla winery. Aromas of clove, cinnamon and red currant lead to flavors of dense plum, cinnamon and blackberry. It’s smooth, balanced and approachable with a lingering finish. (300 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Henry Earl Estates 2013 Riesling, Wahluke Slope •  $20

Dick Shaw has become one of the top grape growers in Washington, with plantings on the Wahluke Slope, Red Mountain and other areas. He launched this small winery in Walla Walla, and it already is enjoying strong success. This delicious Riesling offers aromas and flavors of Key Lime pie, minerality and juicy orange. Just a touch of sweetness arrives on the finish to provide a memorable farewell. (500 cases; 13% alc.) Medal: Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold)

Abacela 2014 Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley •  $18

Grenache rosé was one of the first delicious wines when the Northwest began focusing on using European grape varieties in the ‘60s, and this example from Southern Oregon is true to the variety. Aromas and flavors of Rainier cherry, light strawberry and dried cranberry are backed by beautiful spiciness and lingering acidity. A delicious and versatile wine. (878 cases; 13.1% alc.) Medal: Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold)

Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Sangiovese, Columbia Valley • $25

Through the years, the Walla Walla Vintners crew has come to understand that its Sangiovese works best with a bit of Syrah and Malbec. The result with this superb effort is a wine with aromas and flavors of vanilla, chocolate-covered cherry, dusty blueberry and spices. It’s all backed with vibrant acidity that will pair perfectly with rich Italian dishes. (836 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold/best of class), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Gold)

Tre Nova 2010 Banatello Riserva Doebler Vineyard Sangiovese, Wahluke Slope • $55

Longtime Northwest winemaker Gino Cuneo now practices his craft in Walla Walla. This gorgeous Brunello-style Sangiovese uses grapes from the warm, arid Wahluke Slope. It opens with aromas of dark, deep berry and orange liqueur, followed by flavors of black licorice, ripe red fruit and pretty herbs that linger on the finish. (165 cases; 15.5% alc.) Medal: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Gold)

Maryhill Winery 2012 Gunkel Vineyard Syrah, Columbia Valley • $30

Many think of the Gunkel vineyard as being Maryhill’s estate vines because they are adjacent to each other overlooking the dramatic Columbia Gorge. This is a rich and sultry red with aromas and flavors of huckleberry cobbler, ripe plum, minerality, vanilla and exotic spiciness. This is a perfect wine to pair with sweetbreads. (508 cases; 15.1% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Chateau Lorane 2010 Quail Run Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Rogue Valley •  $30

Linde Kestler has been producing wine in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley for nearly a quarter-century, crafting some of the most fascinating non-Pinot Noir wines in the state. This Cab Franc using Southern Oregon fruit exudes aromas and flavors of pomegranate, loganberry, savory spice and black cherry. It’s an engaging drink that is sleek and balanced through the extended finish. (90 cases; 13.3% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Double gold)

Zerba Cellars 2012 Zinfandel, Walla Walla Valley • $45

Make no doubt about it: Zinfandel is California’s grape. But not unlike Petite Sirah, we’re now seeing delicious and credible examples from warm areas of the Pacific Northwest. This example from an Oregon winery will appeal to those who enjoy Zins from Dry Creek and Paso. Aromas of new shoe leather, spices and cola give way to flavors of raspberry, cherry pipe tobacco and a complex whisper of orange zest. (245 cases; 15.1% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold/best of class)

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Crawford Viognier, Columbia Valley •  $20

Nearly all of Jarrod Boyle’s wines come from his estate grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills, but this is an exception, as the relatively cooler lower Yakima Valley is a great location to grow Viognier, as this wine reveals. Aromas of mint and white peach give way to flavors of orange and juicy peach. Hints of lemon zest and mint provide additional complexity on the finish. (1,096 cases; 13.4% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Savor Northwest (Double gold/best of class)

Zerba Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley •  $36

In three of the past four years, this Milton-Freewater, Ore., winery has earned a Platinum for its Cabernet Franc. Assertive aromas of classic sweet herbs and ripe cherry lead to flavors of dried fig, subtle spice and ripe red fruit. It’s all backed by firm yet pliable tannins. (343 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: West Coast Wine Competition (Gold/best of class)

Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Estate Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley • $40

How dark is this wine? It’s Darth Vader in a glass, a glowering, brooding, tantalizing Syrah with incredible depth of complexity. Notes of saddle leather, game meat, lush tannins and lingering licorice. Embrace your dark side. (252 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medals: Savor Northwest (Double gold/best of class), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Best of class)

Maryhill Winery 2012 Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley • $30

Since his arrival in 2009, winemaker Richard Batchelor has been the steady captain of this showpiece winery’s cellar. Of Maryhill’s 25 Platinums leading up to this year, 20 have been crafted by Batchelor. This superior Cab Franc is a graceful red with aromas and flavors of dark cherry, sweet herbs, moist earth. This is a classic and classy wine. (148 cases; 14.4% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Desert Wind Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope • $18

The Fries family has roots firmly planted on both sides of the Columbia River, with some of the largest vineyard holdings in both Washington and Oregon. This luscious Cab comes from estate grapes on the warm Wahluke Slope. Aromas of mint and wild berry give way to a wine with round, full flavors of boysenberry and black cherry. It’s well structured for an enduring finish. (3,555 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold)

Barrister Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley • $31

This is the variety that started everything for this Spokane winery. Stunning early success with Cab Franc at some of the most important national and regional competitions burnished Barrister’s reputation. This delicious example extends the legacy, thanks to complex aromas of spices, sweet herbs, forest floor and dried cherry, followed by elegant flavors of red and dark fruit backed by moderate tannins. (897 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Indy International Wine Competition (Double gold)

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Seven Falls Cellars 2012 Chardonnay, Wahluke Slope •  $15

While the Wahluke Slope is not best known for Chardonnay, this Ste. Michelle label reveals why we should probably pay more attention to the potential for white grapes from here. This is a crisp, restrained and food-friendly example with aromas and flavors of almond extract, melon and ripe apple. It’s all backed with a zippy mouth feel and a refreshing finish. (27,000 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2012 Wild One Cabernet Franc, Horse Heaven Hills •  $42

Best Buy!
Owner/winemaker Jarrod Boyle and wife/marketing maven Ali have a knack for naming their wines, and this Cab Franc is especially appropriate. This red has a wild streak of mint, sweet herbs and lavender underlying aromas and flavors of red currant, Rainier cherry and pomegranate. Tannins build from the midpalate through the finish, providing superb balance and a memorable conclusion. (181 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medals: Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Harry & David Vineyards 2010 Beeson Tempranillo Dessert Wine, Southern Oregon • $20

Harry & David, famous for its luscious Oregon pears, has been branching out into delicious wines. This fortified dessert wine is simply gorgeous, thanks to aromas of cherry preserves and floral notes, followed by decadent flavors of dense blackberry, black cherry and cigar box. It’s beautifully weighted and has a finish that goes on forever. (320 cases; 18.6% alc.) Medal: Wine Press Northwest fortified judging (Outstanding)

Pend d’Oreille Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington • $21

Longtime North Idaho vintner Steve Meyer gets a good percentage of his grapes from nearby Washington and does magical things with them. This gorgeous Cab is rich and deep in the nose, with aromas of vanilla bean, black tea and ripe dark fruit. On the palate, it is suave yet dense, with full-bodied flavors of blackberry, ripe dark cherry and a kiss of mint that adds depth and dimension. (397 cases; 41.1% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold)

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Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Dry Rock Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley • $14

Walk through Walter Gehringer’s cellar and you won’t see an oak barrel in sight. Never have, never will. So it makes perfect sense for him to craft a delicious tree-free Chardonnay that hints at bright Pinot Gris in style. It’s fruity and fabulous, with aromas and flavors of dried apricot, Pink Lady apple, tangerine zest and lemony acidity in the finish. (500 cases; 13.2% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Gold)

Backyard Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Okanagan Valley •  $20

Wineries in the Lower Mainland are somewhat rare, especially compared with the plethora that have sprung up in the Okanagan Valley the past 15 years. But this Fraser Valley producer just north of Lynden, Wash., has been at it for a half-decade crafting delicious wines. This Cab reveals just the slightest hint of oak, followed by a trace of mint and elegant dark and red fruit. The modest tannins are perfectly handled in this pretty, understated red. (330 cases; 13.9% alc.) Medal: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Double gold)

Wedge Mountain Winery NV Crested Butte Tawny, California •  $28

Charlie McKee crafts his wines in the North Central Washington town of Peshastin. For this dessert wine, he brought in traditional Portuguese varieties from California’s Central Valley. The resulting wine is a gorgeous, nutty tawny-style sipper with aromas of savory spice, barbecued brisket and brown sugar. On the palate, it reveals flavors of dried cherry, coffee and Tootsie Roll. (63 cases; 19.5% alc.) Medal: Wine Press Northwest fortified judging (Outstanding)

Finn Hill Winery 2013 Rosebud Vineyard En Fleur Sémillon Ice Wine, Wahluke Slope •  $35

Rob Entrekin started this winery in his Kirkland, Wash., garage, and he has found enough success to jump to nearby Woodinville to expand production to about 1,000 cases using grapes from top vineyards. This luscious dessert wine is loaded with aromas and flavors of white peach, spice, fig and tropical fruit. Most importantly, it is backed with terrific acidity that lifts the fruit and helps it to dance across the palate. (151 cases; 10.6% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Gordon Estate 2012 Block 3 Merlot, Columbia Valley • $30

Jeff Gordon began planting his vineyard overlooking the Snake River north of Pasco, Wash., in the early 1980s and has long produced delicious Merlots. This block-designated red is a beautiful wine with aromas of red cherry, spice and a trace of herbal tea. On the palate, this elegant wine reveals flavors of pomegranate, red currant and Rainier cherry, all backed by well-integrated oak and tannin structure. (126 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Maryhill Winery 2012 McKinley Springs Vineyard Cinsault, Horse Heaven Hills • $30

Cinsault is a rare grape in the New World, though it is an important red variety in southern France and Algeria. New Zealand native Richard Batchelor puts it on rare center stage with this beautiful and fun bottling using grapes from famed McKinley Springs. It’s an easy-going wine with aromas and flavors of red currant, cranberry and a hint of orange zest. (357 cases; 14.6% alc.) Medal: San Francisco International Wine Competition (Double gold)

Thurston Wolfe 2014 Albariño, Yakima Valley •  $18

Longtime Yakima Valley winemaker Wade Wolfe has mastered this bright Spanish white in the past few years, and this is one of his finest efforts to date. Aromas of lime and tropical fruit give way to flavors of guava and mango backed by steely minerality. This is a delicious wine to serve with crab dip, clam chowder or seared scallops. (127 cases; 13% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Intrigue Wines 2014 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley •  $17

Located midway between Kelowna and Vernon on the east side of Okanagan Lake, Intrigue Wines is one of the most northerly wineries in the world. This beautiful Pinot Gris offers enticing aromas of white peach, pear and lime zest. Orchard and citrus fruit are backed by cleansing acidity that balances the flavors and lifts the wine through to a memorable finish. Enjoy with chicken or pasta dishes. (850 cases; 12.7% alc.) Medals: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold), All Canadian Wine Championships (Gold), BC Wine Awards (Gold)

Henry Earl Estates 2010 Homesteader, Red Mountain •  $40

This Cab-leading blend takes advantage of ripe red grapes from estate fruit on Red Mountain. Aromas of floral notes, cherry and cranberry lead to rich, dark flavors of cigar, blackberry, black currant and savory spice. Luscious tannins lovingly wrap themselves around the elegant fruit for a long, delicious farewell. (298 cases; 14.7% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Sunset International Wine Competition (Gold)

Cubanisimo Vineyards 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley •  $40

Mauricio Collada Jr., a native of Havana, Cuba, pays tribute to his homeland with the name of his winery near Salem, Ore. This pretty Pinot Noir reveals elegant and bright aromas and flavors of strawberry, mint, violet and President plum. It’s all backed by succulent acidity and just enough tannin to pair nicely with prime rib or beef stew. (632 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: Savor Northwest (Gold)

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Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Classic Riesling, Okanagan Valley • $15

The King of the Platinums is at it again. This is the fifth Platinum since 2008 for this Riesling by Walter Gehringer. It is a delicate white with aromas and flavors of white blossoms, passionfruit, pear and apple. While Rieslings tend to age quite nicely, this example should become particularly interesting with some time in the cellar. (2,400 cases; 13.3% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold/best of class), Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold), Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Fort Berens Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Noir, British Columbia • $25

One might not think of Lillooet, British Columbia, as the place to grow wine grapes, but this winery on the Fraser River about 100 miles north of Hope is proving to be intriguing indeed. This spicy Pinot Noir exhibits aromas and flavors of cherry cream soda, spice, cranberry and a dusting of cocoa, all backed by mild tannin, tamed acidity and responsible alcohol. (524 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Gold)

Karma Vineyards 2011 Brut, Columbia Valley • $50

Let’s face it: The world is a happier place when a bottle of bubbly has been opened. And that means this winery on the south shore of Lake Chelan should be filled with smiles. Under the direction of winemaker Craig Mitrakul, Karma is crafting some of the best sparkling wine in the Pacific Northwest. This dry sparkler opens with lovely aromas of fresh-baked bread, pear and apple, followed by luscious flavors of Meyer sweet lemon and Asian pear. It’s all backed by bright acidity and a creamy texture. (300 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: Wine Press Northwest sparkling wine judging (Outstanding)

Abiqua Wind Vineyard 2012 Isaac’s Reserve Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley •  $22

Pete Buffington runs this small winery northeast of Salem, Ore., crafting wines of elegance and value. This delicious Pinot Noir from estate grapes opens with aromas of boysenberry, sweet cherry and cranberry. On the palate, it offers bright, stellar flavors of red and blue fruit, all backed by juicy acidity and mild tannins with finesse. (136 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medal: Savor Northwest (Double gold/best of class)

Upper Bench Estate Winery 2013 Riesling, Okanagan Valley •  $22

The dynamic team of Gavin Miller (winemaking) and his wife, Shana (cheesemaker), own this winery west of Penticton on the southern edge of the famed Naramata Bench. This gorgeous Riesling provides aromas of lime zest and pear, followed by flavors of minerality and citrus. This is bone dry with beautiful angles. It’s an intriguing wine that should age beautifully for years to come. (404 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Double gold)

The Pines 1852 2013 Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge • $28

This winery in Hood River, Ore., is famous for its Zinfandel, a wine made from century-old vines. As such, some of its other wines get overlooked, such as this superb Pinot Noir using grapes from the Columbia Gorge. This opens with complex aromas of orange zest, Dr Pepper, and cherries, followed by creamy flavors on the palate that are backed with crisp acidity. A sensational effort. (250 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold/best of class)

Blakeslee Vineyard Estate 2013 Estate Riesling, Willamette Valley •  $28

This winery on the road from Portland to Dundee has been crafting delicious wines under the direction of acclaimed winemaker Robert Brittan, and this Riesling reveals the potential of this noble grape in the cool Willamette Valley. It’s Germanic in style, thanks to aromas and flavors of spice, ripe pear and gravelly minerality. It is a beautiful and distinctive wine. (350 cases; 11.1% alc.) Medals: Savor Northwest (Gold), San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Double gold)

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Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Desert Sun, Okanagan Valley •  $13

This blend of Auxerrois, Chardonnay and Riesling is no stranger to Platinums, having attained the status four other times since 2008. It’s a gorgeous off-dry white with aromas of cling peach, lemon pie and green apple. It’s wonderfully complex with a nice blend of tartness and sweetness. (2,700 cases; 12.9% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Indy International Wine Competition (Double gold/best of class)

Walla Walla Vintners 2012 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley •  $30

Here’s another instant classic from winemaker William vonMetzger at this two-decade-old winery east of downtown Walla Walla. Aromas of violet and blueberry fill the nose, and flavors of juicy plum, blackberry and dark chocolate-covered cherries fill the palate. Gorgeous structure and texture lead to sweet tannins and plenty of length. (588 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medals: Savor Northwest (Gold), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Cave B Estate Winery 2012 Estate Barbera, Columbia Valley • $35

Through great winemaking, Freddy Arredondo has raised the profile of this showpiece winery next to the Gorge Amphitheater in North Central Washington. This Barbera from estate vineyards is a plush, full red with aromas of clove, anise, cedar and cherry jam, followed by beautifully balanced flavors of cherry cola, rich juiciness and boysenberry syrup. (148 cases; 14.1% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold)

Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2013 Carménère, Washington •  $28

For the third consecutive year, this little winery in Lewiston, Idaho, has won a Platinum for this rare red Bordeaux variety. It’s a stylish wine with a sense of succulence to it. Aromas of red and dark fruit lead to rich flavors of red currant and blackberry, all backed with modest oak and elegant tannins. (120 cases; 14.7% alc.) Medal: Idaho Wine Competition (Gold)

Zerba Cellars 2012 Cockburn Vineyard Mourvèdre, Walla Walla Valley • $45

Most often used as a blending grape in the Southern Rhône Valley, this bold red is making a name for itself in the Pacific Northwest. This example opens with penetrating aromas of ripe black fruit and spicy, sensual oak. On the palate, big flavors of dark fruit are backed by modest tannins and ample acidity. This will pair well with grilled meats or rich Italian dishes. (185 cases; 14.6% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

Newhouse Family Vineyards 2013 Upland Vineyard Cottontop Aligoté, Snipes Mountain •  $36

This white grape is common in the Old World, particularly France’s Burgundy, but it is rare on the West Coast and, particularly, in Washington. This delicious example is part of the Newhouse family, which has grown wine grapes on Snipes Mountain in the Yakima Valley since the 1960s. It opens with ample aromas of tropical and orchard fruits, particularly banana and pineapple. A gorgeous mouth feel leads to flavors of citrus and pear, all backed by pretty acidity. (143 cases; 14.4% alc.) Medals: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Double gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Maryhill Winery 2012 McKinley Springs Vineyard Petit Verdot, Horse Heaven Hills • $30

Winemaker Richard Batchelor takes advantage of the superb viticulture conducted by the Andrews family in the Horse Heaven Hills. Aromas of mint, eucalyptus, tobacco and black raspberry lead to flavors of Baker’s chocolate, elegant herbal notes and ripe red and dark fruit. It’s all backed by rich tannins that lead to a lengthy finish. (142 cases; 14.4% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2012 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Quarry Butte, Horse Heaven Hills • $25

Owner/winemaker Jarrod Boyle crafted this juicy red blend that leads with Cabernet Sauvignon using estate grapes from Destiny Ridge, a vineyard that was going to be a rock quarry. Aromas of cherry, vanilla soda and judicious oak lead to flavors of red currant, black cherry and roasted meat. Bright acidity and moderate tannins give this a memorable farewell. (1,193 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2011 Pentatonic, Columbia Valley •  $40

This Right Bank-style red blend leads with Merlot and includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. It’s tightly wound and layered with aromas and flavors of graphite, savory spice, red currant and dark berry. It’s a sophisticated red wine with refined tannins. (350 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medals: Riverside International Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Best Buy!
Anew 2012 Riesling, Columbia Valley • $11

This Riesling-focused label is owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and this is the second consecutive year this particular bottling has earned a Platinum. A small amount of Gewürztraminer and Muscat in the blend gives this aromas of beautiful floral notes that lead to flavors of steely minerality, bright apple and ripe pear. The acidity carries all the fruit, and the finish is simply mouthwatering. (25,000 cases; 11.5% alc.) Medal: Denver Wine Competition (Gold)

Best Buy!
Vino la Monarcha 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley •  $15

Winemaker Victor Palencia had a big hit on his hands with this delicious Pinot Noir rosé using Washington grapes. It quickly sold out after winning best of show at the spring Great Northwest Wine Competition. It’s a classic pink wine with aromas and flavors of watermelon, red cherry and a bit of Jolly Rancher red berry. It’s all backed by bracing acidity. (182 cases; 12.6% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Double gold/Best of show), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Gold)

Ambassador Wines of Washington 2012 Estate Syrah, Red Mountain • $28

This Woodinville, Wash., winery with an estate vineyard on renowned Red Mountain takes advantage of the winemaking prowess of Hedges’ Sarah Goedhart to craft this delicious Syrah. Aromas of sweet herbs, cherry and blueberry lead to flavors of citrus, apple and ripe dark red fruit. This has beautiful balance and plenty of personality. (360 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

CC Jentsch Cellars 2013 Syrah, Okanagan Valley • $30

With just its second release, this winery in the southern Okanagan Valley already is making its mark as one of the top producers in British Columbia. Aromas of smoky bacon, peppercorns and brambly fruit lead to flavors that are both herbaceous and rich, with forward red fruit. This has tremendous range on the palate. (1,200 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medal: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold)

2Hawk Vineyard & Winery 2011 Limited Release Tempranillo, Southern Oregon • $40

Based near Medford, Ore., this winery was purchased in 2014 by Ross and Jennifer Allen. This reserve-level Tempranillo spent extra time aging in oak, with the result a delicious red with aromas of thyme, oregano, saddle leather and red currant. On the palate, flavors of cranberry, boysenberry, sweet mocha and ripe cherry are backed by tannins that are handled with a deft touch. (100 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Gold)

JM Cellars 2012 Margaret's Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley • $50

Owner/winemaker John Bigelow developed this estate vineyard on the southern Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley, and that move is paying dividends with some of the top wines in Washington. This opens with mouthwatering aromas of blackberry and dark chocolate that prime the senses. On the palate, this is rich and full with flavors of black currant, caramel, dark chocolate and minerality. It’s a rich, intense and well-structured red backed by firm tannins. (317 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills • $28

Planted more than two decades ago on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River, Canoe Ridge Estate has turned out to be one of the star vineyards for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. This engaging Cabernet Sauvignon opens with aromas of roasted coffee bean, blackberry and plum. Well-managed oak notes lead to flavors of intense dark fruit accented by Baker’s chocolate. This is a persistent, age-worthy wine. (5,400 cases; 14.5% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2012 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Alderdale Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills • $42

There’s a reason some of the largest plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon in Washington are in and around the tiny community of Alderdale in the southern Horse Heaven Hills: It might just be the sweet spot for the noble red wine in Washington. This example is loaded with aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry, violet, chocolate, black tea and a bouquet of roses. (443 cases; 14.6% alc.) Medal: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (Double gold)

Mission Hill Family Estate 2012 Late Harvest Vidal, Okanagan Valley • $26

Mission Hill not only is one of the province’s oldest wineries, but it’s also one of the most beautiful anywhere. This gorgeous dessert wine is lighter in body than bolder ice wines and reveals a hint of spicy botrytis, along with haunting notes of sweet raspberry, red currant, muskiness and elberta peach syrup. (1,230 cases; 8% alc.) Medal: Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold/best of class)

Maryhill Winery 2012 McKinley Springs Vineyard Mourvèdre, Horse Heaven Hills •  $28

When Maryhill Winery launched its “Vineyards” series of wines, the Goldendale, Wash., producer really boosted its game by crafting new and exciting bottlings from some of the state’s top vineyards. This gorgous Mourvèdre offers aromas and flavors of fresh cherry, exotic spices and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. This would pair perfectly with pork topped with a cherry reduction sauce. (386 cases; 15.3% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Best Buy!
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Ehrenfelser, Okanagan Valley • $14

Ehrenfelser is a rare German hybrid grape named for Burg Ehrenfels, an old castle. It’s an early ripening white grape that works beautifully in marginal areas. This gorgeous example reveals aromas and flavors of minerality, lime zest, Granny Smith apple, jasmine and lingering Key lime. The tingly acidity is a reminder of just how well this will pair with oysters. (4,200 cases; 13% alc.) Medal: Northwest Wine Summit (Gold)

Brian Carter Cellars 2011 Byzance, Columbia Valley •  $34

Brian Carter has been crafting wine in Washington for 35 years and has access to some of the best grapes in the state. This Rhône-style red leads with Grenache and is simply gorgeous. Aromas and flavors of cranberry, red currant and strawberry jam are backed by cleansing acidity and just enough tannin to provide grip through the memorable finish. (539 cases; 14.2% alc.) Medals: Tri-Cities Wine Festival (Best of show), Pacific Rim Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Two Mountain Winery 2014 Riesling, Rattlesnake Hills • $16

The two Rawn brothers with a dream and views of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier have turned into one of the more endearing stories in the northern Yakima Valley. This luscious Riesling opens with aromas of honeysuckle and ripe pineapple, followed by fresh flavors of peach, passion fruit and spice backed by slate and bracing acidity. It’s all so beautifully balanced. (786 cases; 13% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Best Buy!
Mercer Estates 2014 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills • $15

Winemaker Jessica Munnell is coming into her own at Mercer Estates in Prosser, and this luscious pink wine leads with Grenache from the highly regarded Spice Cabinet Vineyard. Beautiful aromas of watermelon and subtle spice give way to pretty, balanced flavors of cranberry, strawberry and pomegranate. (692 cases; 13.2% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Indy International Wine Competition (Double gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Karma Vineyards 2011 Pink Bubbly, Columbia Valley •  $40

Sparkling wine is the happiest of drinks, so we’re thankful that this winery on the south shore of Lake Chelan has chosen to focus on it. This gorgeous pink bubbly is one of the best we’ve run across in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to aromas of cherry, strawberry and fresh-baked bread and complex flavors of floral notes, spice, cranberry and red currant. The lively bubbles back up all the luscious flavors. (300 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Double gold/best sparkling wine)

L’Ecole No. 41 2012 Seven Hills Vineyard Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley •  $37

Owner Marty Clubb and his winemaking team work with some of the best grapes in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to such estate vineyards as Seven Hills. This is a luscious yet precise wine whose purity of fruit is its hallmark. Enticing aromas of cured meat, violets and blueberry give way to flavors of subtle oak, black tea and blackberry jam with a hint of spice backed by plush tannins. (1,040 cases; 15% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Beaumont Cellars 2014 Tempranillo, Wahluke Slope •  $30

Owner/winemaker Pete Beaumont gained his reputation with Syrah, and he now works with many grape varieties, including the Spanish Tempranillo. This beautiful example uses fruit from the warm and arid Wahluke Slope. It’s a luscious red with aromas of smoky cherry, minerality and dark chocolate, followed by dense flavors of ripe pomegranate and Rainier cherry. It shows off youthful accessibility. (47 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold/best of class)

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2013 Signature Series Riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley • $42

This is Walter Gehringer’s fifth Platinum for Riesling ice wine — and fourth since 2010. Let’s just say he has the process down pat. Aromas of ripe apple, pear, lime and agave nectar give way to flavors of poached fruit drizzled with lavender-infused honey. Pair with blue cheeses, cheesecake or fresh tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango and kiwi. (900 cases; 10.4% alc.) Medals: All-Canadian Wine Championships (Gold), Los Angeles International Wine Competition (Gold)

Ledger David Cellars 2012 Tempranillo, Rogue Valley •  $35

This winery and vineyard just north of the California border is gaining a reputation with this robust red Spanish grape, and here’s a classic Southern Oregon example. Aromas of sweet oak and dark fruit lead to flavors of savory spice, boysenberry jam and earthy, loamy notes that are backed by bright acidity and moderate tannins that lead to a lingering finish. (95 cases; 14.8% alc.) Medal: Finger Lakes Wine Competition (Gold)

Patterson Cellars 2013 Late Harvest Roussanne, Columbia Valley • $23

John Patterson learned his winemaking craft at famed Quilceda Creek Vintners before opening his own operation in Woodinville, Wash. This is a remarkable dessert wine with aromas of exotic spices and crème brûlée, followed by flavors of vanilla ice cream and ripe mango. (600 cases; 12.1% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Best Buy!
Camas Prairie Winery 2015 Strawberry Mead, Idaho •  $14

This longtime winery founded in the northern Idaho college town of Moscow has been creating honey-based mead for many years, and this delicious example is infused with strawberry to make a luscious dessert wine. Aromas and flavors of lemon taffy, sweet lychee and strawberry freezer jam are backed by surprising acidity that make this more than a straight sipper. Might we suggest this with pumpkin pie? (48 cases; 12% alc.) Medal: Idaho Wine Competition (Gold)

Aberrant Cellars 2012 Gran Moraine Vineyard Amplus Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton • $49

The Yamhill-Carlton area of the northern Willamette Valley is home to some of the most fascinating Pinot Noirs. They tend to be dark, earthy, wild and intriguing. This example is no exception, thanks to aromas of mint, spice and racy red currant, followed by flavors of cranberry compote and a dusting of cocoa powder. It’s all backed with abundant acidity and modest tannins, leading to a lengthy finish. (382 cases; 13.9% alc.) Medal: Oregon Wine Awards (Double gold)

Reininger Winery 2012 Seven Hills Vineyard Carménère, Walla Walla Valley •  $51

Owner/winemaker Chuck Reininger has been fascinated with Carménère for many years, and as such, he crafts some of the best in the Northwest. This example from a superb vintage and vineyard opens with classic characteristics of cherry, leather and a trace of black pepper. On the palate, it reveals flavors of spicy oak and ample ripe dark fruit, including blackberry and black cherry. Enjoy with lamb or bacon. (336 cases; 14.1% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition (Gold)

Obelisco Estate 2012 Malbec, Red Mountain •  $45

Doug Long’s career in wine began in the early 1970s in Napa Valley, where he gained great acclaim. When retirement to Gig Harbor, Wash., didn’t stick, Long launched Obelisco with an estate vineyard on famed Red Mountain and a winery in 2007. This second act for Long is producing superb wines, with this Malbec one of his best efforts yet. Aromas and flavors of dense blackberry, moist earth and cured meat are backed by powerful, full-bodied and balanced structure that reveals pure expression of fruit. (240 cases; 14.9% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Gold)

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Optimum Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley • $19

Of this winery’s record 55 Platinum medals, only three have been red wines, including this delicious and elegant Pinot Noir. Aromas of cherry cream, raspberry and cardamom lead to flavors of ripe red fruit, including fresh cranberry and juicy boysenberry. A hint of oak influence shows throughout, alongside a touch of minerality. Mild tannins provide all the structure necessary. (300 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medal: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold)

Westport Winery 2013 Swimmer Petite Sirah, Columbia Valley • $30

Few wineries put more miles on their truck during harvest than Westport Winery just eight miles from the Washington coast. Thankfully, the Roberts family makes the efforts or we might be deprived of delicious wines such as this Petite Sirah. Smoky aromas of blackberry compote and oak give way to flavors of intense dark fruit, including boysenberry and plum, all backed by reasonably moderate tannins. It’s a wine that is nicely put together. (154 cases; 14% alc.) Medal: Denver Wine Competition (Gold)

Plain Cellars 2012 Petite Sirah, Yakima Valley • $30

Garrett Grubbs is the winemaker behind this up-and-coming winery near the North Central Washington community of Leavenworth, and he is crafting several superb red wines. This gorgeous Petite Sirah is loaded with aromas and flavors of concentrated dark fruit, black licorice and cherry pipe tobacco. It’s beautifully extracted without being over the top. Enjoy now or tuck in your cellar for a few years. (100 cases; 13.9% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold)

Tsillan Cellars 2014 Estate Viognier, Lake Chelan •  $18

Owner Bob Jankelson and winemaker Shane Collins have teamed up to turn this winery on the southern shore of Lake Chelan into one of the true destination wineries of the Pacific Northwest. And Lake Chelan is proving to be a great place for Viognier, a fickle white grape. This example opens with subtle aromas of floral and stone fruit notes, followed by flavors of orange and ripe orchard fruit. (143 cases; 13.8% alc.) Medal: Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Chateau Faire Le Pont 2011 Confluence, Washington •  $46

Based in Wenatchee, Wash., Chateau Faire Le Pont has established itself as one of the top producers of red blends not only in North Central Washington but also the state. This Cab-leading red reveals aromas and flavors of elegant red fruit, moderate use of oak and red and black currant. It’s a delicious and approachable wine. (250 cases; 13.7% alc.) Medal: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Double gold)

Finn Hill Winery 2013 The Gnome Riesling, Columbia Valley • $18

This luscious Riesling is named for the Finnish mythological creature, which can bring good luck. But winemaker Rob Entrekin needs no luck to craft his delicious wines. This impeccable effort unveils pristine fruit with noticeable floral and spice notes and a broad midpalate loaded with flavors of ripe pear and crisp apple. (137 cases; 12.5% alc.) Medals: Great Northwest Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

CC Jentsch Cellars 2012 Syrah, Okanagan Valley •  $50

This winery just north of the U.S. border is proving its prowess with cool-climate Syrah, and this is the second of two Platinums this year. Aromas of leather, green tea and sweet hay lead to flavors of coffee, toffee, cranberry and ripe raspberry. It’s a delicious and utterly fascinating wine with an elegant palate and a lengthy finish. (600 cases; 13% alc.) Medal: National Wine Awards of Canada (Gold)

Tsillan Cellars 2014 Estate Sempre Amore, Lake Chelan • $16

Winemaker Shane Collins leads with Pinot Gris on this delicious white blend using estate grapes. Aromas of lychee, orange zest and starfruit lead to flavors of kiwi, Mandarin orange, Asian pear and apple. It is a deliciously tart presentation with beautiful balance of mild sweetness and bright acidity. (423 cases; 13.5% alc.) Medals: North Central Washington Wine Awards (Gold), Indy International Wine Competition (Gold), Seattle Wine Awards (Double gold)

Spangler Vineyards 2012 Zinfandel, Alexander Valley • $25

Owner/winemaker Patrick Spangler occasionally heads to California for grapes, and this is one of those examples: a Zin from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. It is an impressive effort with aromas and flavors of strawberry, red currant, raspberry and pomegranate. It’s a delicious, drink-now red. (325 cases; 14.9% alc.) Medal: Tasters Guild International (Gold)

Andy Perdue is editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning news and information company. He’s also the wine columnist for The Seattle Times.

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