Food & Drink

Northwest Wines: Try these affordable whites for your holiday celebrations

As we head into the holiday season, we often find ourselves either attending festive events or putting them on ourselves.

Thus it is always a good idea to have several bottles of wine on hand and, as such, to enjoy good quality at fair prices.

During the past couple of months, we have tasted many wines that qualify as good values, costing $15 or less. Today, we take a look at a few white wines. Next week, we’ll dive into a number of reds.

Most of these wines should be fairly easy to find at your favorite wine merchant. If not, contact the wineries directly.

Barnard Griffin 2013 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $10: A greeting of fruit salad aromas includes lychee, apricot and pineapple, backed by slate and lime. On the palate, the focus is on flavors of lime, pineapple and lemongrass, introduced by a bold blast of acidity that never slows down amid the residual sugar of 1 percent. In the finish are complexities of jasmine and minerality, allowing for suggested pairings with poultry and seafood. (11.8 percent alcohol)

Firesteed Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé, Willamette Valley, $14: Pretty aromas of Rainier cherry, ripe strawberry, rhubarb and peach also come with hints of cotton candy and a dusty country road. It’s presented in a bone-dry style with red raspberry, cherry/rhubarb compote and dried strawberry, all surrounded by refreshing acidity. That makes it remarkably versatile for food applications. (13.1 percent alcohol)

Vino La Monarcha 2013 Pinot Grigio, Columbia Valley, $15: Victor Palencia, raised in the Yakima Valley, is one of Washington’s finest young winemakers. This label for his Palencia Wine Co., in Walla Walla, is as dazzling as it is affordable. It opens with tropical aromas of citrus and cardamom along with apricot, cotton candy, rose petal and spearmint. It’s a fun drink that’s loaded with white peach, tangerine and sweet herbs. (12.3 percent alcohol)

Daven Lore Winery 2013 Dry Riesling, Yakima Valley, $15: This is a glass brimming with aromas of Golden Delicious apple, apricot, lime and slaty. The drink is light and refreshing with Granny Smith apple, Bosc pear and limeade. Pair this with spicy fare along the lines of Thai ginger beef. Mongolian beef also should work well. (13.2 percent alcohol)

Milbrandt Vineyards 2013 Evergreen Vineyard Traditions Riesling, Columbia Valley, $13: This wine launches with a nose of honeydew melon and ambrosia salad with peach, backed by lime, horehound and Aussie black licorice. The entry is crisp with flavors of limeade followed by a rich and broad midpalate with melon, backed by minerality and Mandarin orange acidity in the finish. Its residual sugar of 1.1 percent comes across dry, making for a meandering story to tell and reminiscent of something from Alsace. (11.5 percent alcohol)

Airfield Estates 2012 Viognier, Yakima Valley, $15: Aromas of pink grapefruit, cotton candy, orange Circus Peanut candy and fresh-cut celery lead into a striking structure of Asian pear, quince, honeydew melon and lime. Suggested pairings include pasta, pork, salmon and stir-fry. (14.5 percent alcohol)

Mercer Estates 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $13: The nose is focused on dusty Granny Smith apple, fresh mint and rosewater. On the pour, it’s racy and steely from start to finish with gooseberry, lime juice and wet stone, making for a dry and delicious drink that’s available in more than 40 states. (13.3 percent alcohol)

Ste. Chapelle 2012 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley, $12: A whiff of this delicious wine offers aromas of cotton candy, pear, honeydew melon, ghee and candy corn. On the pour, the oak treatment brings a rich and tropical entry of fresh pineapple, mango and papaya with butter on the midpalate. And yet, refreshing acidity continues to pulse through the wine. Suggested pairings range from grilled seafood, roast chicken, mild cheeses and creamy pasta. (13.9 percent alcohol)

Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at