If you're as much a fan of Lost River Winery as I am, you'll know that there's plenty to like about it. Good variety; delicious, well-crafted releases; and a relatively new tasting room in Seattle to complement the original location in Winthrop are just a few of the many positives about this family-run winery.
Winemaker John Morgan has been on a roll the past several years and he continues to impress by sourcing his fruit from many of Washington's top vineyards, including Pepper Bridge, Les Collines, Weinbau, Willow Crest and Conner Lee.
Production for Lost River generally runs about 150 to 500 cases for each varietal, and Morgan's wines are consistent, solid performers in the very reasonable $15- to $27-a-bottle range.
Current releases I've tried as of late include:
2009 Rainshadow (about $15) - This tasty 60/40 semillon/sauvignon blanc blend falls neatly between the slightly plump 2007 and sassy 2008 vintages. Refreshing pineapple and star fruit flavors are capped with a brisk but understated splash of lemon chiffon on the finish.
2008 Merlot (about $24) - Big, beautiful flavors of dark plum and black cherry are framed with supple tannins and hints of espresso, anise and bittersweet chocolate. This is classic Washington merlot, deftly made and enjoyable now and for years to come.
2008 Nebbiolo (about $26) - This small-production red wine returns with a warning: buy it quickly before it disappears again. Strawberry aromas and flavors, along with notes of rhubarb and bright red cherry, highlight this favorite of Lost River Winery groupies.
2008 Côte-Wall Syrah (about $26) - I like to call this a "diamond in the rough" wine, because it provides so many interesting contrasts. Blended with 8 percent viognier, which gives it a gentle peach and floral aroma, it's tightly packed with blueberry and black currant flavors, a dense, meaty texture and then a slightly oaky, earthy finish.
Lost River Wines are well-distributed in the wine section of several Whatcom County grocers and are also available at the flagship Winthrop tasting room; a scenic three-hour drive from Bellingham over the North Cascades.
A closer option is the winery's tasting room in Seattle, one block north of Pike Place Market at 2003 Western Ave. It's open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and is part of a 14-winery Seattle-area consortium. More information: seattleurbanwineries.com.
DAN RADIL is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.