In 2014, we evaluated more than 5,000 wines, and sorting through our favorites has been a fun task.
We recently unveiled our top 100 list on GreatNorthwestWine.com and decided to share a few of the top wines. All wines were tasted blind, meaning we didn’t know the producer or the price until the evaluation process was complete.
Ask for these wines at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
Maryhill Winery 2011 Hattrup Farms Marvell GSM, Rattlesnake Hills, $40: Our Wine of the Year comes from one of Washington’s largest producers. This is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that provides exotic aromas of red and blue fruit, dark chocolate and hazelnut, followed by plush flavors of ripe fruit that is impeccably balanced. (14.5 percent alcohol)
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L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Semillon, Columbia Valley, $15: Owner Marty Clubb has flown the flag for Semillon for ages, and this luscious effort will make you a fan of the classic white Bordeaux variety. Aromas of pineapple and fresh fig meld with flavors of rich tropical fruit. (14.5 percent alcohol)
Milbrandt Vineyards 2011 Northridge Vineyard Sentinel, Wahluke Slope, $55: Winemaker Joshua Maloney’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot is layered with gorgeous aromas of black currant, lilac and cocoa powder, followed by luscious flavors of black cherry and boysenberry. (13.9 percent alcohol)
San Juan Vineyards 2013 Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, $20: This rare German variety is grown primarily in cool climates, and winemaker Chris Primus’ example is one of the best you’ll ever try, as it earned a remarkable five double gold medals at five different competitions. Aromas of Asian pear, lychee and clove lead to flavors of pear, apple and pineapple. (12 percent alcohol)
DeLille Cellars 2011 Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $65: This blend of Cab from four vineyards — Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, Grand Ciel and Upchurch — is one of the greatest wines produced by this longtime upscale Woodinville winery. Classic aromas of black pepper, black currant and dark chocolate give way to flavors of minerality, blackberry and black olive. (14.2 percent alcohol)
Coiled Wines 2013 Dry Riesling, Snake River Valley, $17: Boise winemaker Leslie Preston continues to craft some of the Northwest’s best dry Riesling. Her latest is wrapped in aromas of Honeycrisp apple, lemon zest and spice, followed by bright, crisp, focused flavors of apple, lychee and Asian pear. (13 percent alcohol)
Saggi 2011 Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $45: Tuscany’s Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari teamed up with Walla Walla’s Long Shadows Vintners to produce this Super Tuscan-style blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It opens with aromas of plum and dark chocolate, followed by sensual flavors of black currant and blackberry. (14.9 percent alcohol)
Palencia Wine Co. 2013 Albariño, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $18: Owner/winemaker Victor Palencia ranks as one of the bright young stars of the Washington wine industry, and his rendition with this Spanish white grape is one of his best efforts to date. Aromas of lemon, pineapple and gooseberry lead to refreshing flavors of citrus that’s backed with a blast of bright acidity. (13 percent alcohol)
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2012 Phinny Hill Vineyard Carménère, Washington, $28: Coco Umiker in Lewiston, Idaho, goes to Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills for these grapes, and it’s worth the trip because this is one of the finest examples of Carménère you’ll find. This lesser-known red Bordeaux variety offers aromas of green peppercorns, black olive and moist earth, along with flavors of black cherry and blueberry. (14.4 percent alcohol)
Thurston Wolfe 2013 PGV, Washington, $16: Prosser vintner Wade Wolfe’s blend of Pinot Gris and Viognier is consistently one of the most delicious and refreshing wines each year. This offers aromas of lime zest, pear and minerality, followed by tropical flavors of pineapple and orange. It’s all backed by remarkable acidity. (13 percent alcohol)
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.