Food & Drink

Washington state produces varied, excellent wines

Last week, I ventured outside the state to feature several international wine recommendations for you to consider. Today, we return to Washington with several terrific wines that are equally certain to please.

As I tasted these wines, it struck me how diverse Washington has become in the number of varietals we now produce. The key to all of this is our climate in the eastern half of the state, where nearly all of our wine grapes are grown. Long summer days, abundant sunshine, and cool autumn evenings that allow the grapes to maintain high acidity levels with extended hang times all play a part in why we do wines so well in this part of the world.

For today’s column, there’s no particular regional or varietal theme, just more recommendations that showcase a few of the increasingly varied choices that wine enthusiasts have when considering Washington wines.

L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Semillon (about $15) – This is one of my favorite white varietals, and although it can be difficult to find, winemaker Marty Clubb has, thankfully, been making it for as long as I can remember. The wine’s nicely reserved layer of pineapple and tropical fruit is underscored with stone fruit, lemon chiffon and floral accents. An excellent wine at an incredibly reasonable price.

Otis Kenyon 2013 Riesling (about $18) – Up until a few years ago, this Walla Walla winery only made red wines; but they’ve expanded their current releases to include this refreshing white. Racy, vibrant flavors of lemon and lime zest are capped by a clean, bone-dry finish. It’s quite possibly the perfect wine to pair with oysters on the half-shell.

Foxy Roxy Wines 2008 Vixen Red (about $22) – A gorgeous Bordeaux blend of estate-grown cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and carménerè, this opulent red is brimming with cola, black cherry and blackberry fruit that melt into a plush, lengthy finish. The winery is located in the middle of nowhere between the towns of Royal City and Othello, but the wines, fortunately, can be purchased online.

Rulo Winery 2013 Sundance Chardonnay (about $25) – Honeysuckle, sweet pea and clover aromatics lead to generous flavors of Macintosh apple and green melon. The finish is textured with a slightly crisp trailing note. Another stunning wine from Kurt and Vicki Schlicker, who continue to do a remarkable job at their Walla Walla winery.

Coach House Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $30) – Produced by Bellingham winemakers Scott Whitman and Paxton Rembert, this current release doesn’t have quite the power and depth of their 2010 cab, but it’s still a fine effort. Black plum, roasted coffee, some nice acidity and supple tannins combine in a well-balanced red that can be enjoyed now or cellared three to five years for future enjoyment.