Spring is here, which means longer and warmer days. Spring brings on white wine and rose season as people no longer only push for heavy reds. I have had the chance to sample more than 100 Washington wines in the past few months and I have found the new white wine and rose releases to be really good and better than I had anticipated. White wine releases are typically the 2014 vintage, and some 2013 vintage wines, while Rose wines focus on 2015. A bit about these vintages. Think of these vintages in terms of increasing hotness, like your initial grade school crush to the most beautiful man or woman at your alma mater.
2013 was a hot year, a bit hotter than 2012 and a lot hotter than 2010 and 2011. The vintage has yielded some exceptional red and white wines as winemakers have said that these wines have impressed across the board and rival the best from the exceptional 2012 vintage.
2014 was even hotter than 2013. Heat can become a problem for white wines, but many esteemed Washington winemakers, (including Mike Januik, Christian Sparkman, Bilo Navarene and others) do not seem concerned with brightness or acidity in their white wines for the 2014 vintage. 2015 is the hottest vintage on record for Washington State. There were enormous heat spikes in the summer which threatened the health of the vines. Harvest was also the earliest for wineries on record. Many wineries were picking in August for the first time, which made for some very nervous winemakers. However, many winemakers are excited about the 2015 vintage, especially their red wines. Most have noted that they are slightly less excited about their 2015 white wines, but have mentioned that they were generally pleased with the fruit and acid levels in the wines.
I think that right now Washington is currently producing a tremendous range of quality wines that is unequaled in North America when you factor in price. White wines from the 2013 and 2014 vintages have been showing very nicely thusfar. Look for these value white wines selections at area wine shops, such as Pete’s and Esquin, as well as some grocery stores such as QFC and Safeway or online at the winery websites. Most of my selections are under 20 dollars, which will fit nearly every budget. Here are some recommended value white wines and roses for spring as you can toast to a future gorgeous northwest summer.
2014 Airfield Estates Viognier- This is 90% unoaked and the rest was in neutral barrels. This wine opens with aromas of white peach, banana and pear. There are flavors of lychee, pear and vanilla cream with a full mouthfeel. This has lovely texture and offers tremendous value. Drink 2015-2020-90
2014 Buty White- This Bordeaux style white wine begins with aromas of gardenia, lemongrass and pear. There is a lithe texture and mouthfeel to this smooth blend. This silky wine has flavors of cut grass, Meyer lemon and pear. This delicious blend is hard to resist right now. The structure suggests this will have a long life. Drink 2015-2025- 92
2013 Chandler Reach Chardonnay- The wine has aromas of ripe pear, banana and golden delicious apple. Flavors of Granny Smith apple, green papaya, poached pear and wonderful freshness. Nice minerality and lip smacking acidity to this wonderful summer wine. Drink 2016-2022- 91
2015 Charles and Charles Rose- This value wine begins with lovely feminine aromas of white peach, red raspberry and red cherry. Flavors of guava red cherry and red raspberry. This is an excellent value wine that is tough to put down right now. Drink 2016-2020-88
2014 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Canoe Ridge Vineyard’ Chardonnay- This great Chardonnay bottling begins with bright aromas of pear, starfruit. and cut grass, with Gala apple. There are rich flavors of poached pear, Pazzaz apple and vanilla with a lovely cream finish. very nice. Drink 2016-2022- 92
2014 Chateau St. Michelle 'Eroica' Riesling- This new release wine begins with aromas of golden delicious apple, Petrol and wet stone. Delicious flavors of Pazzaz apple, unripe pear, cantaloupe and lovely minerality. Impressive structure given the heat of the vintage. Very refreshing lemon and lime component. Drink 2016-2022- 92
2014 Chateau St. Michelle ‘Eroica Gold’ Riesling- This semi-sweet, Spatlase style Riesling has bright aromas of golden delicious apple, with white raisin. This leads to medium weight flavors of apricot, golden delicious apple and pear that sit aside racy acidity. Drink 2016-2023- 92
2014 Columbia Crest 'H3' Sauvignon Blanc- This wine begins with aromas of lemongrass, gooseberry and cut grass. There are nice flavors of pear gooseberry and Gala apple. Lovely minerality. Drink 2016-2020-89
2015 Cote Bonneville Rose- Made from 100% Cab Franc from the DuBrul vineyard. The wine opens with aromas of rose petals, cranberry sauce and red cherry with suggestions of cantaloupe. There are flavors of ripe pear, orange rind, red raspberry and a light cream finish. The mouthfeel is rich and has a velvety texture that you might not anticipate. Lovely stuff from this estate. Drink 2016-2020- 92
2014 DeLille Cellars Rousanne- This wine begins with aromas of banana, lychee, cut grass and Gala apple. There are flavors of red delicious apple, Bartlett pear, starfruit and cantaloupe. Rich effort and nice balance. Drink 2016-2023- 93
2014 Goose Ridge Vineyards 'GRV'- The ‘GRV’ is an enticing blend of 50% Viognier, 27% Grenache blanc and 23% Roussanne. The wine begins with medium weight aromas of starfruit, Gala apple, honeydew melon and poached pear. This leads to flavors of red delicious apple, lemongrass, green papaya with a vanilla cream finish. Very solid. Drink 2016-2021- 90
2014 Lauren Ashton Chardonnay- This wine comes from Harker vineyard. This wine begins with aromas of mango, starfruit, brioche and ripe pear. There are flavors of Gala apple, navel orange, pear and starfruit. This has lovely texture and richness. Drink 2016-2023- 92
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 'Stillwater Creek' Semillon- This lithe wine is fat on the palate with lychee, butter and cantaloupe flavors. Delicious wine right out of the bottle. Drink 2015-2020- 91
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay- This wine opens with aromas of green apple, cantaloupe and light oak. There are flavors of oak, cream, red delicious apple and cantaloupe. Ripe and balanced. Drink 2015-2022- 91
2014 Long Shadows 'Poets Leap'- The wine is made famous by German winemaker Armand Diel. There is pear and red delicious apple followed by gravel on the aromatic nose. The wine has a delicious and lovely minerality through the mid-palate. Flavors of green apple, cantaloupe and green papaya persist. Lithe and expressive, this is one of the best made Washington Rieslings out there. This effort eclipses the 2012 and '13. Drink 2015-2020. -93
2013 Mark Ryan Viognier- This is a great bottling by Mark Ryan. The wine begins with bright aromatics of honeysuckle and pear with light spice accents on the nose. The palate is lithe and has pear, red delicious and cantaloupe. Fantastic expression of the varietal, with the balance and poise that you would want. Drink 2016-2021 -91
2015 Revelry Vintners Rose- This is composed of Cabernet Franc and Grenache. The wine begins with aromas of pink bubblegum, red raspberry and rose petals. Flavors of red cherry red raspberry and lovely minerality. Open style Rose with a touch of orange rind that is a great value buy. Drink 2016-2020- 89
2013 Purple Star Sauvignon Blanc- This is a balanced style of Sav Blanc. The wine has aromas of cut grass, pear and Gala apple. This leads to medium bodied flavors of pear, lemongrass, and lychee. Lovely effort from this warmer vintage. Drink 2016-2020 -89
2014 Sparkman ‘Pearl’ Sauvignon Blanc- This wine begins with aromas cut grass, cantalope and lemon oil. This leads to flavors reminiscent of red delicious apple, lemongrass and vanilla cream. The finish lingers. Lovely value bottling. Drink 2016-2020- 90
2013 Tenor Sauvignon Blanc- Sourced from the Stillwater Creek and Lawrence vineyards, the wine was aged for 7 months in 100% new French oak, without fining or filtration. This dense white wine begins with aromas of whipping cream, oak, cut grass and ripe Bartlett pear. There are flavors of Fuji apple, honeydew melon and oak with a long finish. Very impressive, with a rich mouthfeel. Drink 2016-2024- 92
2014 Waitsburg Cellars 'Chevray' Chenin Blanc. This impressive Chenin has aromas of unripe pear, cantalope, red delicious apple. Flavors of poached pear, starfruit, and Meyer lemon zest, persist alongside incredible structure and minerality. This has a real personality. Drink 2016-2025- 92
2013 Woodward Canyon ‘Dry’ Riesling- Vines for this wine are grown by Hugh and Kathy Shiels at their DuBrul Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, north of Sunnyside, Washington. The soil, comprised of sand, silt, and calcium covered fractured basalt rocks. This wine begins with aromas of Meyer lemon, wet stone, and lemongrass. There are flavors of pear, cantaloupe and gooseberry in this impressive bottling. Drink 2015-2025- 90
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