The old adage that "a good bottle of wine gets better with age" can also apply to a number of time-honored Washington wineries.
If you have followed my column on a regular basis, you already know that Lost River Winery, established in 2002, falls easily into this category.
Husband-and-wife John Morgan and Barbara House, along with Barb's son Liam Doyle comprise a team that produces, promotes and distributes a number of wines that just seem to get better every year.
The winery's initial tasting room and production facility in Winthrop makes a welcome stopping point for those heading east on the North Cascades Highway. For a closer-to-home option for Whatcom County residents, a second tasting room in Seattle makes a great diversion if you're in the downtown area near Pike Place Market.
And for those who just don't have the time to make a firsthand visit, Lost River Winery wines are well distributed in local grocers and wine shops ... and at very reasonable prices, I might add.
Here are some current releases I've tried as of late that were an absolute pleasure to taste.
2013 Pinot Gris (about $15) - This particular vintage seemed a bit more herbaceous than those of the past, with pleasant notes of lemongrass to accompany the bright, green apple and citrus flavors. The brisk, clean finish allows it to pair perfectly with oysters on the half-shell.
2013 Rosé (about $15) - This blend of cabernet franc, merlot and syrah is pretty heady stuff and serving it too cold would be like putting it under the cloak of invisibility. Pop this in the refrigerator for no more than an hour and you'll find the flavor complexities of pie cherry, red currant, Red Delicious apple and crabapple really shine through.
Non-Vintage Nooksack Redd (about $20) - Instantly enjoyable dark berry and cherry flavors come to the forefront, while raspberry fruit, a dusting of chalky tannins and some nice earthy finishing notes wrap up the package. This is a very nice red wine blend that over-delivers at this price.
2011 Merlot (about $24) - Dark plum and black currant flavors lead off, with a good splash of acidity and touches of bittersweet chocolate and espresso on the extreme finish. I've tasted my share of merlots from this vintage and this is one of the finest to date. Excellent!
2010 Syrah (about $25) - Gentle aromatics of rose petals fill the glass, while leaner red fruits of pomegranate and red plum initially hit the palate. The finish is underscored with a darker layer of black currant, Ligurian cherry and smoky blackberry. It's bright to start, sultry to finish and overall, a gorgeous syrah.