Washington State has a plethora of wineries, in part due to its wider spans of flat or rolling hills and valleys, and less mountain coverage compared to BC. According to washingtonwine.org there are “…50,000 acres (20,234 hectares) of vines and more than 850 wineries.” In BC, the interior mountain ranges really limit the number of vineyards and wineries that we have; currently at 258 grape-based wineries. With this greater opportunity to plant grapes and produce wine, there is a greater opportunity to try different varieties of vitis vinifera and see which produce wonderful wines in particular terroirs.
I attended the Grand Tasting at Taste Washington recently in Seattle, where over 225 Washington wineries poured their wines and 65 restaurants offered us their sweet and savoury bites to pair with the wines. It is truly an exciting event as food and wine tasted together can be greater than the parts.
I tasted many white and red Washington State wines and have put together my list of favourites for you. Below is my list for my favourite red wines, and as you can see from the headings, I’ve classified them according to where these noble grapes originated in Europe.
Taste Washington Covers Bordeaux Blends
14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013 – Deep ruby colour. Lots of ripe cassis and some capsicum on the nose. Fuller-bodied, with a medium feel feel. Dry. Cassis, vanilla, capsicum and chocolate combined on the palate. Rating
Gordon Estate SIX Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2010 (US$45) – Vanilla, tomato soup and plum on the nose. Full body, dry and round with a mineral streak. Cassis flavour with fine tannins. Rating:
Anelare Winery Weinbau Vineyard Carmenere, Wahluke Slope, 2013 (US$45) – Cedar and dusty dark fruit nose. Medium body, very fruit or off dry. Ripe dark fruit, with a tarry component. Very good. Rating:
Lauren Ashton Cellars Cuvee Arlette Red Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley, 2012 (US$55) – Light milk chocolate and dark fruit aromas. Full body, dry, with a bigger mouth feel. Spicy, with red fruit and a hint of capsicum. Fine tannins. Rating:
Otis Kenyon Wine Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, 2013 (US$32) – Nice light, young red cherry nose. Dry, light-bodied with soft mouth feel. Light nutmeg and red cherry flavours. A very light hand applied to this wine. Rating:
Taste Washington Covers the Rhone Valley
Amelia Wynn Winery Six Prong Vineyard, Aragon Grenache, Horse Heaven Hills, 2013 (US$34) – Funky and fruity, along with flowers and nutmeg aromas. Medium body, dry, with medium acidity. Red fruit complemented by a touch of vanilla and spice. Rating:
Lauren Ashton Cellars Ambassador Vineyard Syrah, Red Mountain, 2012 (US$35) – Ripe cassis nose. Full bodied, dry, with a soft, medium mouth feel. Ripe cassis up front that leads toward pepperiness toward the finish. An elegant wine. Rating:
Gard Vintners Vaucluse Red Rhone Blend, Columbia Valley, 2013 (US$35) – Raspberry, some leafiness, together with ripe plums aromas in the glass. Full body, round, with heavier mouth feel. Lots of red fruit and vanilla, and quite peppery. Rating:
Cotes de Ciel, Ciel du Cheval Syrah, Red Mountain, 2013 (US$41) – Opaque ruby in colour. Deep aromas with apples, dark fruit, and vanilla. Full body, dry with firm tannins. Ripe dark fruit, vanilla, and pepperiness on the palate. Rating:
Eight Bells Winery Red Willow Vineyard, 8 Clones Syrah, Yakima Valley, 2013 (US$35) – Smoky, red fruit nose. Dry with ripe fruit, smokiness and a mix of coffee and cocoa, along with a hint of barnyard. Smooth. Rating:
Fielding Hills Winery Riverbend Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope, 2012 (US$38) – Smoky, dark fruit nose. Flowers, red cherries, and ripe dark fruit together with vanilla on the palate. Dry with smooth, fine tannins. Rating:
Taste Washington Covers the Loire Valley
Amelia Wynn Winery Kiona Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Red Mountain, 2013 (US$34) – Wonderful nose, with silky ripe cherries, cedar and vanilla. Medium plus body, with flavours of red delicious apples, red cherries, olives and vanilla. Rating:
Gamache Vintners Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, 2012 (US$25) – Light vanilla, capsicum and red fruit aromas. Medium body, round with fine tannins. Sour cherries and cedar on the palate. Rating:
Taste Washington Covers Italy (Well at least Piedmont)
Cotes de Ciel, Ciel du Cheval Nebbiolo, Red Mountain, 2012 (US$50) – Ripe purple fruit nose. Medium body with red apples and ripe red fruit, together with a spicy component. Dry and round mouth feel. Really tasty. Rating:
Where are the White Wines?
I posted my white wine review on MyVanCity.ca. The link to my article: Savouring White Wines from Taste Washington.
Tasty Restaurant Bites
I posted a few restaurant bites in the MyVanCity.ca article, but if you love food, here are a few more to fill you up. Enjoy!