Food & Drink

Northwest Wines: Stock up on inexpensive summer reds

Red wine grapes are mechanically harvested on Washington’s arid Wahluke Slope, one of the largest grape-growing regions in the state.
Red wine grapes are mechanically harvested on Washington’s arid Wahluke Slope, one of the largest grape-growing regions in the state. For The Bellingham Herald

As temperatures begin to rise and we spend more time living outdoors in the Great Northwest, now is the time to begin stocking up on inexpensive red wines.

When you’re spending time on the back deck barbecuing with friends and family, you don’t want to think too much about your wines. In particular, you certainly don’t want to worry about what is going to break your budget.

Fortunately, here in the Northwest, we can still find plenty of red wines that retail for $15 or less. And even better: The prices listed for all of these are the suggested retail price. Because the wine marketplace is so competitive, you’ll usually find these for a dollar or more less.

And if you purchase a case of wine at a time (it can be a mixed case or all the same bottles), you’ll likely merit another 10 to 15 percent discount.

Ask for these at your favorite wine merchant or grocery, or contact the wineries directly.

Sagelands Vineyard 2012 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $10: There’s little oak to get in the way of this presentation of black cherry, black currant and blueberry jam. The structure is quaffable as tamed tannins and easy acidity allow for a finish of cherry juice and earthiness. (13.5 percent alcohol)

Kennedy Shah 2012 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $14: Woodinville winemaker Jean Claude Beck crafted this wine that opens with aromas of sweet purple fruit akin to dusty black cherry and black cherry with cocoa. Inside, it’s filled with dark plum and currants, backed by blueberry skin tannins. The finish of Aussie-style black licorice provides plenty of length. This brand is part of The Woodhouse Wine Estates’ Marketplace tier. (13.8 percent alcohol)

Waterbrook Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $13: This red from one of Walla Walla's oldest wineries rates as one of state’s best yet expressions of Cab from the 2013 vintage. A whiff of alder smoke leads to hints of black currant, black cherry, plums on parchment paper and chocolate shavings. The palate show impeccable balance with ripe, smooth and dark tones of black cherry, plum and dark chocolate. (14.1 percent alcohol)

Hogue Cellars 2012 Genesis Syrah, Columbia Valley, $15: This example of Syrah opens with aromas of blackberry, black cherry and cola with toffee and minerality. Alluring flavors of Marionberry and dark cherry lead into moderate tannins and rich blueberry acidity. (13.5 percent alcohol)

Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2013 The Expedition Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: This is an affordable blend that leads with Merlot. The sweet nose of baked cherry pie, plum, horehound and menthol leads to a profile of ripe purple fruit akin to blueberry and pomegranate with a light to medium structure and smooth flavors. (13.8 percent alcohol)

Seven Falls Cellars 2011 Merlot, Wahluke Slope, $15: This young project by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates uses grapes entirely from the warm Wahluke Slope. Aromas of lightly roasted coffee, chocolate and vanilla with notes of boysenberry and black cherry give way to flavors of red plum, ripe Bing cherry, graham cracker and a pinch of fresh mint. (14 percent alcohol)

Sharecropper's Wine Co. 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $15: There’s not much influence from oak as the nose hints at cherry, president plum and red currant as well as saddle leather and alfalfa. The structure continues to lean toward high-toned red fruit with dashes of pomegranate, cherry candy and currant. It finishes with racy acidity, light-to-medium tannins, a splash of drip coffee and a pinch of oregano. (13 percent alcohol)

Indian Creek Winery 2012 Syrah, Snake River Valley, $15: Winemaker Mike McClure’s work with this Rhône variety offers dark tones of toasted bread, smoky plum and bacon, backed by boysenberry acidity that makes for good length and balance. (13.9 percent alcohol)

Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine. Learn more about wine at