As the weather warms, it's time to think more about white and pink wines, and we have several superb examples for you this week.
Several Northwest wineries are crafting delicious whites and rosés, as evidenced at the fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition, which took place last month at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore.
All of these wines earned gold medals at the competition. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, $11: This is a classic Washington Pinot Gris from a longtime Spokane winery. It provides fruit flavors and aromas of crabapple and pear with a touch of honey. Toward the finish, a slice of fresh papaya emerges, then resolves back into green apple and crisp, juicy acidity.
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Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2014 The Expedition Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: Minerality, crisp acidity and assertive apple, pineapple and melon flavors make this Chardonnay from a longtime Walla Walla winery a winner both before and with a meal.
Sol Stone Winery 2014 Sol Sister Viognier, Columbia Valley, $22: Sammamish winemakers Buzz and Karen Buckingham craft a beautiful expression of this white Rhône variety. It's beautifully made with orange blossoms, orange oil, Asian pear and Circus Peanut candy. The mouth feel is exquisite with cantaloupe, orange peel and lemon juice.
Wedge Mountain Winery 2014 Evergreen Vineyard Chardonnay, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $23: This winery near Leavenworth has created a refined, elegant wine. It shows an enticing slip of oak and a delicate flash of fleshy lemon, then the lemon slides into a subtle melon cleavage on the palate.
Cinder 2015 Small Lot Series Gewürztraminer, Snake River Valley, $25: Idaho's Snake River Valley has the benefit of high-altitude vineyards and a big shift between daytime and nighttime temperatures. The result is retention of natural acidity, and that highlights this gorgeous Gewürztraminer. Classic aromas of clove, grapefruit and tropical fruit lead to bright flavors of lychee and apple. It's all backed by impressive acidity.
JM Cellars 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $38: John Bigelow of Woodinville has crafted a lovely example of Chardonnay. It opens with an oak and lemon overlay, underlain by lemon, tart apple and pineapple on the palate and concludes with a tart nip of acidity and a lingering finish.
Coyote Canyon Winery 2015 Life is Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $18: Barbera grapes carry pie cherry aromas and flavors, with 1.2% residual sugar balanced by juicy acidity at the close. It's a perfect summer picnic sipper that's versatile enough to pair with a grilled pork chop dusted with fresh thyme and black pepper.
Waitsburg Cellars 2014 Three White Blend Grenache Blanc-Marsanne-Picpoul, Columbia Valley, $17: Waitsburg Cellars of Walla Walla, Wash., blended three rather exotic whites. The result is aromas of subtle spice, melon, apple, then flavors of honeydew melon, apples and a little tropical fruit element in its finish. Pair it with shellfish or chicken.
Mercer Estates Winery 2015 Spice Cabinet Vineyard Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $15: Made entirely from Grenache, this is a beautiful pink wine that displays pink grapefruit and pomegranate aromas and delicate, elegant flavors of both those fruit, plus a touch of rhubarb. A hint of its vineyard character carries elements of spice.
L’Ecole No 41 2014 Sèmillon, Columbia Valley, $15: Year after year, one of the Pacific Northwest's premier examples of this white Bordeaux variety emerges from the little schoolhouse west of Walla Walla. This offers a delicate touch of oak, fresh fig with an abundance of lemony tones, toast and honeydew melon.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine. Learn more about wine at greatnorthwestwine.com.