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Northwest Wines: Delicious whites for less than $15 a bottle

These Chardonnay grapes grown in the Yakima Valley are destined for an affordable bottle of wine.
These Chardonnay grapes grown in the Yakima Valley are destined for an affordable bottle of wine. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Most white wines are meant to be enjoyed rather quickly.

When you’re going to age that bottle of Chardonnay in the car on the way home, then chill it and kill it with dinner tonight, there’s not much reason to spend a lot of money.

Undoubtedly, there are exceptions. For example, if you decide to drop $1,000 on a bottle of Montrachet Grand Cru, you aren’t likely to open it for a casual Wednesday night meal of roast chicken.

But that’s rarified air. The rest of us would rather spend $15 or less for a great bottle of white wine to enjoy with pasta, salmon or fish and chips.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of delicious Pacific Northwest whites that cost $15 or less. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or grocery or contact the wineries directly.

Nine Hats 2014 Benches Vineyard Pinot Gris, Horse Heaven Hills, $12: The lovely nose of yellow grapefruit, sweet kiwi and clove spice does not disappoint, leading to a stunning mouth feel of delicious tropical fruit flavors that pick up melon and white peach before a dry finish that pushes lemony acidity. (14.1% alc.)

Waterbrook Winery 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $12: Asian pear, sweet herbs, fresh-cut celery, white pepper and lime peel aromas transition to flavors of Key Lime sherbet, lemongrass, more pear and spearmint. The residual sugar settled deliciously at 0.47%, making it ideal with suggested fare of crab cakes, sushi or pasta and spring vegetables. (13.5% alc.)

Acrobat Winery 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Oregon, $13: This pink wine’s stunningly brilliant wardrobe leads to pretty aromas of strawberry freezer jam, dried raspberry, fresh cranberry, apricot, honeysuckle and a pinch of sweet herbs. The approach is dry yet fruity with strawberry-rhubarb compote and pink raspberry. A burst of cranberry acidity adds zip, while a nip of Rainier cherry skin tannin allows the finish to hang. (14% alc.)

Columbia Crest 2013 Grand Estates Unoaked Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $12: This opens with bright aromas of pineapple, Asian pear, Golden Delicious apple, lemon zest and a mere whiff of yeasty bread from the subtle surlie aging. The drink is quite delicious with flavors focused on Gala apple and lemon, backed by a lush midpalate of pear and melon, then a finish of starfruit and lemon juice. (13.5% alc.)

Rocky Pond Winery 2013 Clos Chevalle Vineyard Glacial Treasure White Wine, Lake Chelan, $13: This aromatic blend of Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Riesling opens with inviting aromas of rosewater, lychee and peaches and grapefruit before taking a deliciously dry angle on the palate. Yellow grapefruit and dried pineapple flavors broaden out across a creamy midpalate, leading to a finish of white peach. (14.2% alc.)

Lone Birch 2014 Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, $12: This is a second label for Airfield Estates in Prosser, Wash., and it is delicious. It opens with aromas of peach pie and apricot with melon and kiwi fruit as lime zest and grassiness in the background offer Sauvignon Blanc-like appeal. There’s a good hit of kiwi fruit and apple on the entry as a combination of Key Lime juice and minerality make for a cleansing, easy-drinking finish. (13.9% alc.)

Mercer Canyons 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13: Aromas of peach, honeydew melon, dried pineapple, marzipan and alyssum lead to tasty flavors of Golden Delicious apple, dried apricot, pineapple and papaya. More than half of the wine was fermented in oak, which helps explain the luscious midpalate and a lingering finish of sweet lemon. (13.9% alc.)

Pacific Rim Winemakers 2014 Spring Creek Vineyard Grüner Veltliner, Yakima Valley, $14: The nose is fruit-forward with hints of tangerine, apricot, pineapple and peach. There’s nice firm acidity up front with grapefruit and lime juice. This is a delicious shellfish wine. (12.5% alc.)

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

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