‘Outstanding’ wines were deemed by our judges to have superior characteristics and should be highly sought after. ‘Excellent’ rated wines are top-notch wines with particularly high qualities. ‘Recommended’ wines are delicious well-made wines with true varietal characteristics.
Prices are suggested retail.
Beach Daze White Bubbly Wine $28This wine will make you adjust your expectations for wine that comes in a can. Judged blind at the Savor Northwest competition earlier this year, it won a gold medal. Produced by Lake Chelan Winery and labeled for Lake Chelan Trading Co., it’s a nice bubbly Muscat that comes across as light, fun, bright and just right for a picnic or a day at the beach. It sports generous aromas and flavors of grapefruit and lemon with plenty of bubbly acidity to balance a touch of sweetness. Try it with prosciutto-wrapped melon, bacon-wrapped dates and a hefty dose of well-deserved sunshine after our long winter.
Season Cellars 2016 Transparency White Blend $18Scott Henry IV and Jennifer Henry of Season Cellars outside Roseburg, Ore., have established something of a tradition of gold Medal winners with this white blend, reaching back to 2013. It’s an innovative blend of 50% Muller Thurgau, 32% Muscat and 18% Riesling for 2016 that leads off with aromas of grapefruit, grapefruit zest, citrus and a hint of petrol from its Riesling. In the mouth, there’s an array of citrus and stone fruit flavors, including orange, lime, white peach, apricot and some residual sugar, but it’s still nicely crisp, with lingering grapefruit acidity in the finish. It’s a great patio wine of pair it with ham, spicy Asian food, a cheese plate, baked brie with pear or ambrosia salad. Enjoy!
Sigillo Cellars 2017 Brut $36Made by the traditional methode champenoise, this sparkling Viognier follows the brut formula, but its grapes are not at all traditional. Its Viognier shows a hint of tropical aromatics, along with lemon and lemon zest, then is very crisp and dry on the palate, finishing with a very clean flourish of lime and lime zest. Try it with your favorite accompaniments for dry sparkling wine, such as oysters on the half shell. Sigillo, based in Snoqualmie, Wash., had this bottled by Karma Vineyards of Entiat after sourcing the grapes from the Columbia Valley AVA. It won gold at the Savor Northwest competition earlier this year in Cannon Beach.
Cooper Ridge Blanc de Blanc NV Sparkling Riesling $25The folks at Cooper Ridge in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley outside Roseburg used estate grapes to produce this fine sparkler, which won double gold at the Savor Northwest wine competition in Cannon Beach. It sports a creamy mouth feel from its abundant bubbles and crisp acidity, with aromatics of citrus that resolve into grapefruit, lime and a bit of mandarin orange on the palate. It’s a great fit for Asian fare, oysters on the half shell or finger foods of almost any kind and also well suited to most any salad. It’s one of the Northwest’s best examples of sparkling Riesling.
Kramer Vineyards 2017 Celebrate! Müller-Thurgau $24Kramer has long been known for making excellent sparkling wines from its grapes grown near Gaston, Ore., and this Müller-Thurgau continues that tradition. Voted “Best of Category” by the judges at the Savor Northwest wine competition in Cannon Beach, it’s a surprisingly complex rendition of the German grape. Just off-dry, it literally sparkles with flavors and aromas of citrus, especially lime and orange, plus peach, apricot, starfruit and spice. It would be perfect for a brunch or lazy afternoon on the deck or as an accompaniment for ambrosia salad, a cheese and charcuterie plate or spicy fare. It’s perfect for that day when you feel like celebrating but not breaking the bank.
Nicole Reese 2016 Chardonnay $22This fine oaked Chardonnay from Oregon’s Rogue Valley shows off aromas of caramel, butter, pineapple and coconut, then in the mouth holds a small party with lime, apple and pineapple, a great mouth feel and crisp acidity. Pair it with lobster of grilled swordfish with beurre blanc.
Rainstorm 2017 Pinot Gris $14Made by Pacific Rim Winery, which is now owned by Banfi, from grapes grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this delightful sipper shows off a bit of spritz, then crisp limey acidity, green pear, a hint of orange and melon in its aromas and flavors. Finishing with some length.
Rocky Pond 2017 Rosé of Grenache $24Made from grapes grown southwest of Lake Chelan this bright pink wine appeals with aromas of strawberry Jolly Rancher and pomegranate, then moves in the mouth to more strawberry, lingonberry and crisp acidity in its long finish.
Jones Cellars 2017 Rosé of Syrah $14Light strawberry aromas with a hint of berry lead to nice acidity and flavors of strawberry, cherry and light red plum. There’s a bit of residual sugar that makes this a versatile patio sipper that can handle a charcuterie and cheese board.
Pacific Rim 2016 Chenin Blanc $15Pacific Rim Winery in West Richland uses Hahn Hill Vineyard fruit grown on vines planted in 1968 for this fine example of Washington Chenin Blanc. On the nose, it shows of green apple, white florals and a hint of white peach, Then on the palate, more apple flavor, a bit of apple peel bite and a touch of honey toward the end, finishing with a bit of lime acidity.
College Cellars 2017 Viognier $20The student winemakers at College Cellars in Walla Walla did yeoman’s work with this one, crafting a rather lush wine with honeysuckle, citrus zest and a hint of herbs, then flavors of passionfruit, lime and white peach yielding to a soft, plush finish that carries a tropical note.