WASHINGTON State… Varietal Heaven…
Washington produces nearly 70 wine grape varieties - a ratio of about 42% white and 58% red. As the industry matures and experiments, it finds many “old-world” grape varieties that thrive throughout Washington's micro-climates. Grapes like the Italian Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo, French Cab, and Merlot, Spanish Tempranillo, and German Riesling. Part of this is sheer economics. Lower land costs in Washington have given grape growers and winemakers the freedom to experiment with different varietals, winemaking techniques, and growing areas and climates. Let’s take a look into a few of the wines that use variety to build more complex flavors and textures.
Bookwalter, “Readers”, Columbia Valley, 2016, (Chardonnay/Viognier)
A co-fermented blend of Chard and Viognier. Washington state style with ripe, bright flavors supported by balanced acidity. Lean, focused bouquet of pear and citrus aromas. The palate is also focused and lean with flavors of pear, Meyer lemon and minerals.
Kamiak, Rock Lake Red, Columbia Valley, 2013, (Merlot/Cab/Malbec/Syrah/P.Verdot/Tempranillo)
This lovely ruby red wine begins with a blast of blackberry and hints of cinnamon, soy and oak. The wine is of medium body with firm tannins and is dominated with flavors of cherry, anise, pepper and caramel. Hints of spice and cedar linger on the finish.
Raconteur Wine Co., Red Blend, Washington State, 2015 (Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah)
Spice & fruit vie for the leading role with black & white pepper adding a high note to vibrant red raspberry, blueberry & Bing cherry. In the background, smoked & cured meats, herbs de Provence & violets add to the bright upfront fruit.
Sodo Cellars, Wingman GSM, Washington State, 2014 (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre)
Dark garnet in color, the nose creeps out of the glass with black cherry/raspberry, licorice, tar, molasses, & earth. The pallet is lively and focused, tasting just like the nose and coats your mouth with savory dark fruit, great acidity, and fine oak tannins that tastes like a 2010 Cab that’s ready to pop and drink.
Procedo Credente, Columbia Valley, 2012 (Sangiovese/Cab Sauvignon/Merlot)
A Super Tuscan-inspired blend of the Italian Sangiovese grape, along with the traditional French Bordeaux grapes cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. The result is a remarkably plush wine packed with pretty flavors of cherries, raspberries, earth, and dried herbs.