At last month’s Great Northwest Wine Competition — the largest judging ever held of wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho — helped highlight some of our region’s top white and rosé wines.
The competition, which took place at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, drew 1,204 entries. The top wine was Palencia Wine Co.’s 2014 Vino La Monarcha Pinot Noir Rosé from Washington’s Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley. The best white wine was the Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2014 Dry Rock Sauvignon Blanc from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. And the Michelle Sparkling Wine Brut Rosé was the top sparkler.
Here is a selection of other white and pink gold medal winners. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
Pacific Rim Winemakers 2013 Hahn Hill Vineyard Chenin Blanc, Yakima Valley, $14: Aromas of honey and pear lead to a bright entry with flavors of Honeycrisp apple, all backed by bright acids that lead to an attractive finish. (12.9 percent alcohol)
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3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris, Snake River Valley, $16: This delicious white reveals aromas of dusty apple and tropical fruit, including pineapple. On the palate, it’s a bright and tart white that provides flavors of Asian pear and Golden Delicious apple. (12.9 percent alcohol)
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Crawford Viognier, Columbia Valley, $20: This luscious Viognier is a classic, with aromas of tropical fruit, orange Creamsicle and sweet lemon. On the palate, it is a delicious wine throughout with a late burst of sweet orange acidity toward the finish. (13.4 percent alcohol)
DeLille Cellars 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc, Columbia Valley, $38: This blend of Sauvignon Blanc (65%) and Semillon is one of the United States’ top examples of wines in the style of white Bordeaux. Starfruit, lemon pepper, seashell and chalkboard dust aromas lead to flavors of gooseberry, Golden Delicious apple and lemon juice. This is much more fruit-forward and complex than most West Coast examples. (13.2 percent alcohol)
L’Ecole No 41 2013 Semillon, Columbia Valley, $15: L’Ecole No. 41 has long championed this underappreciated white Bordeaux variety. This is another great example, with aromas of fresh-cut apple and lemon-lime, followed by a smooth entry with hints of apricot and stone fruit. Beautifully balanced acidity leads to a bright, peachy finish. (14.5 percent alcohol)
Mercer Estates 2014 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: This gorgeous rosé by winemaker Jessica Munnell opens with stunning aromas of strawberry, raspberry, peach and apricot. On the palate, it is loaded with flavors of of pomegranate, peaches and cream and cranberry, all backed by impressive acidity. (13.2 percent alcohol)
Purple Star Wines 2013 Riesling, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $12: Kyle Johnson, owner of this winery in the Yakima Valley, crafted this gorgeous Riesling with aromas of light apple, honey and citrus, followed by flavors of apple backed by stunning acidity. (12.3 percent alcohol)
Zerba Cellars 2013 Cockburn Vineyard Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley, $24: White wines are somewhat rare at Zerba, so this was a delicious surprise. It opens with aromas of baked apple, hominy and a hint of marzipan, followed by juicy flavors of apple and pear, along with light toffee and fresh caramel. (14.4 percent alcohol)
Coyote Canyon Winery 2013 Albariño, Horse Heaven Hills, $22: Justin Michaud crafted this Albariño from estate grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills. It reveals aromas of pear, Golden Delicious apple and kiwi, followed by flavors that are both creamy and taut with just the barest kiss of sweetness. This is a perfect wine for crab. (14.1 percent alcohol)
Huston Vineyards 2013 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley, $24: Aromas of fresh caramel, white peach, baking spice and Golden Delicious apple lead to flavors of pineapple and butterscotch, all backed by a touch of sweetness. (14.1 percent alcohol)