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HERE IN SEATTLE, we can’t get enough of wines from Washington and Oregon; they just taste like home. Yet these days oenophiles the world over are falling for our cabs and our merlots, our pinots and our chardonnays. To create a list of the best Pacific Northwest wines currently in release, Seattle Met enlisted wine critic Condé Cox, a current candidate for the prestigious master of wine certification, who braved serious palate fatigue from tasting over 1,000 different bottles. We start with the very best and make our way through 100 bottles, along the way encountering surprising varietals like Nebbiolo, an Italian grape that, a few years back, no Northwest vintner would have dreamed of planting. Pour any of them at a party tonight and your guests will ask when you got so serious about wine. Some, however, we’ve suggested you save—these are the wines that, like the region that bore them, will only improve as the years go by.

Our Methods, Uncorked

Our Methods, Uncorked
How we chose the top 100 wines.
With 943 wineries in Oregon and Washington, how did Seattle Metpick the best 100 bottles? We enlisted Jacksonville, Oregon–based wine expert Condé Cox, who visited wineries from Willamette Valley to Woodinville, and teamed up with Washington vino expert Jay Miller—the Northwest nose for famed wine journalist Robert Parker—to sip and spit his way through hundreds of the best Washington bottles. Cox modified the five-factor system used by the Institute of Masters of Wine to rate each sample based on balance, complexity, intensity of flavors, varietal character, and palate persistence. For more on his credentials visit Cox’s Web site, PlaceInTheGlass.com.

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1. 2005 Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, $79
Columbia Valley, Washington
We often think of ourselves as California’s wine-growing baby brother, but this cab—made with fruit from 36-year-old Champoux vineyard—proves we’re no longer the new kid in town. 
Taste Flavors of anise, black cherry, and cassis.
Sip tip Drink on your birthday in 2020, and enjoy flavors and scents that have emerged in both you and the wine.
Cellar life 15+

2. 2004 Eyrie Reserve Pinot Noir, $60
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Eyrie’s David “Papa Pinot” Lett was Oregon’s first grower to plant notoriously finicky pinot noir grapes. 
Taste Layer upon layer of light spices and ripe red cherries. 
Sip tip Uncork it in nine years, to toast 50 years of Oregon-grown pinots.
Cellar life 10+

3. 2004 Cristom Vineyards Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir, $100
Willamette Valley, Oregon
The Signature Cuvée spends two years on oak yet still expresses pinot’s ethereal delicacy in the glass. Taste Berry flavors, firm acidity, and light, near-feminine tannins. 
Sip tip When your preteen son comes of age, use this wine to teach him what a varietally correct pinot tastes like. 
Cellar life10+

4. 2006 Leonetti Cellars Merlot, $65
Columbia Valley, Washington
Leonetti makes the case for Washington merlots with this thoroughly modern bottle. 
Taste Rich tannins, firm acidity, pure essence of herbs and plum, and perfectly integrated oak flavors. 
Sip tip By your 10th wedding anniversary in 2018, this blend will have grown as complex as your relationship.
Cellar life 10+

5. 2005 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Cabernet Sauvignon–Merlot, $72
Yakima Valley, Washington
Here’s a wine that gives Bordeaux’s best bottles a run for their money. 
Taste Plush textures, concentrated ripe black cherry flavors, lurking layers of complexity, and fine-grained tannins. 
Sip tip In two, maybe three decades, uncork this bottle to christen your new summerhouse on the moon (we can’t guarantee it will survive the trip).
Cellar life 15+

6. 2006 Brick House Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir, $49
Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
Brick House owner Doug Tunnell left a job as a CBS foreign correspondent in the Middle East for a more relaxing existence along Ribbon Ridge, where he grows some of the Northwest’s best organic and biodynamic grapes. 
Taste Multiple layers of rich, red raspberry flavors.
Sip tip While this wine will mature with age, its flavors already linger much longer than most Oregon pinots.
Cellar life 10+

7. 2005 Leonetti Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon–Petit Verdot–Merlot, $125
Walla Walla, Washington
In the 1980s, founder Gary Figgins made Leonetti one of the best Northwest wineries, and it has only gotten better since son Chris took the reins. 
Taste Ripe fruit flavors: plums, blackberries, and blueberries.
Sip tip Pour Dad a glass on Father’s Day 2015; this wine will age nicely in the cellar.
Cellar life 10+

8. 2006 St. Innocent White Rose Vineyard Pinot Noir, $48
Dundee Hills, Oregon
It takes a skilled winemaker like St. Innocent’s Mark Vlossak (not to mention the perfect amount of oak and very ripe fruit) to create a bottle as stunning as this one.
Taste Red berries and floral scents. 
Sip tip Open when you’re cooking up a rich dish, like mushroom lasagna or lamb chops.
Cellar life 10+

9. 2005 Betz Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon–Merlot-Malbec–Petit Verdot, $55
Columbia Valley, Washington
The “père” in question is vintner Bob Betz, whose disciplined approach to raising and fermenting grapes is reflected in every sip. Taste Concentrated flavors of lightly spiced black currant, soft rich tannins, and that penetrating plushness that defines Washington reds.
Sip tip Take a tip from ever-patient Bob Betz and hold off a few years. This wine was built for the cellar.
Cellar life 15+

10. 2006 Argyle Spirithouse Pinot Noir, $70
Dundee Hills, Oregon
Insiders call former Texan Rollin Soles “Oregon’s hardest-working winemaker”—taste the fruits of his labor in this extremely light-colored pinot. 
TasteFull, long flavors; heavy palate.
Sip tip Stick to drinking low-calorie red wines and you won’t gain nearly as much weight as this pinot’s palate will over the next four to five years.
Cellar life15+

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11. 2005 Domaine Serene Grace Vineyard Pinot Noir, $125
Willamette Valley, Oregon
This Domaine Serene pinot hails from Dundee Hills, the heart of Oregon wine country.
Taste Broad shouldered, slightly spicy, bright carnation scents, and rich berry flavors.
Sip tip To fully reveal herself, the 2005 Grace needs six or seven years in the cellar.
Cellar life 10+

12. 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, $115
Columbia Valley, Washington
Quilceda Creek cabs are the only Washington wines to receive 100 points from premier wine writer Robert Parker (he of the insured nose). 
Taste Elevated alcohol, and a rich concentration of fruit. 
Sip tip In 2013 pop it open after your own overachiever’s valedictorian speech.
Cellar life 5+

13. 2005 Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen Eroica Single Berry Select Riesling, $200
Columbia Valley, Washington
This riesling is sold by the half bottle and has 40 percent residual sugar. 
Taste Typical butterscotch scents of “noble rot” botrytis; an enticing unctuous texture.
Sip tip It’s delicious with sweets and will last at least 20 years, so save it for cake on your next big birthday.
Cellar life10+ 

14. 2006 Dobbes Family Estate Meyer Vineyard Pinot Noir, $65
Dundee Hills, Oregon
The fruit grows at a site owned by Lemelson Vineyards, whose earth-friendly methods are certified by Oregon Tilth. 
Taste Bright red fruit and plenty of refreshing acidity. 
Sip tip Impress green pals at your next dinner party with a glass of Meyer and a free-range roasted bird.
Cellar life 5+

15. 2006 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc Sauvignon Blanc–Sémillon Blend, $32
Columbia Valley, Washington
A Woodinville wine that recalls the famous dry whites from Pessac-Léognan in Bordeaux, France.
Taste Expansive, creamy; varietally typical crisp celery and ripe fig flavors; vanilla character. 
Sip tip In 2012, when President ______ wraps up his term, Chaleur Estate’s flavors will have fully intensified.
Cellar life 5+

16. 2005 Ash Hollow Estate Syrah, $32
Walla Walla, Washington
Reminiscent of Syrahs from the Cornas region of France’s Rhône Valley, this wine reads about as American as John Kerry in his spandex bicycle gear.
Taste Smoked meats, overlaid with the faint smell of (ahem) ashtray. 
Sip tip It’ll mature over the next five years, but can you wait that long to try an ashtray-scented wine?
Cellar life 5+

17. 2005 DeLille Cellars D2 Merlot–Cabernet Sauvignon, $38
Columbia Valley, Washington
D2 is named after Bordeaux’s most famous highway, which passes by some of the world’s best wineries. 
Taste Plush plum flavors; tastes of new French oak barrels. 
Sip tip Carnivores will love the way this wine holds its own against a meaty ragù.
Cellar life 10+

18. 2005 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Laurène Pinot Noir, $65
Dundee Hills, Oregon
The family that makes this rich pinot also owns the famous Maison Joseph Drouhin label in Burgundy, France. 
Taste Berry character; judicious use of new, toasty French oak barrels. 
Sip tip When your Napa buddy challenges Oregon’s place as home to the best pinots in the States, hand them a glass of this.
Cellar life 10+

19. 2006 Archery Summit Arcus Estate Pinot Noir, $100
Dundee Hills, Oregon
Made with fruit grown on some of the oldest vines in the Central Willamette Valley, this wine is somewhere in between the light, ethereal version of Oregon pinot noir and the dark, extracted one. 
Taste Typical Dundee Hills red fruit flavors and carnation floral scents; well-integrated vanilla notes developed from the use of oak barrels; good palate persistence.
Sip tip If you’re going to pay three-digit prices, wait it out a decade or so. You’ll be richly rewarded.
Cellar life 10+

20. 2005 Basel Cellars Inspired Merlot–Cabernet Franc, $40
Columbia Valley, Washington
A wine of near-perfect balance, Inspired is equal parts merlot and cab franc, like Chateau Cheval Blanc, the most highly ranked of such blends.
Taste Spicy, rich; currant, pepper, and cedar notes. 
Sip tip Serve to your friends who banned merlot after watching Sideways
Cellar life10+

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21. 2006 Betz La Côte Rousse Syrah, $55
Red Mountain, Washington
This is one of the biggest wines that Betz makes, and it’s rich and intensely concentrated, with the signature flavors of northern Rhône Syrahs.
Taste A fine palate length concentrated with flavors of bacon fat, blackberry, and soft leather. 
Sip tip Over the next six to eight years, the flavors will transform into a treasure trove of exotic spices. 
Cellar life 10+

22. 2006 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, $50
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Now in its 14th leaf, Cristom-owned Jessie Vineyard is maturing into one of the best pinot noir sources in North America.
Taste Complex, red berry fruit; hints of spice. 
Sip tip We suggest buying a case and checking in every couple of years to see how the flavors are developing.
Cellar life 10+

23. 2006 St. Innocent Justice Vineyard Pinot Noir, $48
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Another perfectly balanced wine from Mark Vlossak, who trained at the prestigious Wine Lab in Napa Valley before founding St. Innocent in 1988.
Taste Rich berry flavors; layer upon layer of complexity.
Sip tip Cool out with the smooth soother after an afternoon of rock climbing at Icicle Creek Canyon.
Cellar life 10+

24. 1998 Argyle Extended Tirage Brut Sparkling Chardonnay–Pinot Noir, $50
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Some very influential wine critics have called Argyle’s sparkling wine the best in America. 
Taste Lees and dead yeast left behind for 10 years during the second in-bottle fermentation help create an exceptionally rich-textured sparkler.
Sip tip Forgot to buy a wedding gift? Send this bottle to the honeymoon suite.
Cellar life 5+

25. 2005 Guardian Cellars Gun Metal Conner Lee Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon–Merlot–Cabernet Franc, $35
Columbia Valley, Washington
Once you absorb this wine’s intensity and minerality, you’ll see how it came by the name Gun Metal.
Taste A reserved cab blend with less fruit-forwardness than most New World wines.
Sip tip Pull the trigger now or wait five years, when Gun Metal will have accumulated power and intensity.
Cellar life 10+

26. 2006 Olsen Estate Rouge des Côteaux Cinsaut-Mourvèdre-Grenache-Syrah, $37
Columbia Valley, Washington
Olsen Estate has blended the same grape varieties that make up Châteauneuf-du-Pape, always a fave among Francophiles.
Taste Rich, dark texture and a happy marriage of red and black fruit.
Sip tip A harmonious wine to help ward off drama and discord; serve it at a family reunion or wedding rehearsal dinner. 
Cellar life 5+

27. 2006 St. Innocent Temperance Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, $32
Willamette Valley, Oregon
The St. Innocent winemakers stuff this pinot with grapes from their oldest vines, adding a dimension that is unachievable with younger fruit. 
Taste Complex, long, perfectly balanced.
Sip tip A bargain at $32, it’s an end-of-the-workweek treat.
Cellar life 10+

28. 2006 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, $50
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Cristom vintner Steve Doerner uses native yeasts from a densely planted, east-facing site to create an honest wine with crisp acidity and woody tannins.
Taste Similar to the Jessie Vineyard pinot (number 22), but without the spice. 
Sip tip The flavors taste terrific now, but will mature over the next few years.
Cellar life 5+

29. 2006 Argyle Nuthouse Chardonnay, $35
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Made from cool-climate “Dijon clone” grapes, this Willamette chard recalls the white Burgundies from Meursault. 
Taste Subtle but long, neutral but complex, and soft but intense. 
Sip tip If your tongue curls at in-your-face chards, try this one for a new perspective on the varietal.
Cellar life 5+

30. 2006 Erath Prince Hill Pinot Noir, $40
Dundee Hills, Oregon
One of Oregon’s oldest wineries, Erath is now owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle. This is the best bottle from its 2006 vintage. 
TasteDelicate color and palate weight.
Sip tip Let it sit in the glass for a while. Like most pinots, Prince Hill needs time to breathe.
Cellar life5+

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31. 2005 Otis Kenyon Syrah, $30
Walla Walla, Washington
Stephen Kenyon and Deborah Dunbar have named their wine after Stephen’s grandfather—a legendary figure in Walla Walla lore. 
Taste Scents of lavender; complex mineral flavors. 
Sip tip There’s a bit of the cowboy in this wine. Serve with rib eye. 
Cellar life 10+

32. 2005 Pirouette Cabernet Sauvignon–Syrah-Merlot-Malbec–Cabernet Franc, $55
Columbia Valley, Washington
Pirouette is a collaboration between two celebrated California winemakers, Philippe Melka and Agustin Huneeus. 
Taste Soft but fully ripe tannins. 
Sip tip Drink any time you’re celebrating happy unions.
Cellar life 10+

33. 2005 Reininger Ash Hollow Vineyard Syrah, $41
Walla Walla, Washington
The most well-balanced wine among the many outstanding current releases from this winery. 
Taste Ripe plush tannins; scent of bacon fat.
Sip tip Currently a little shy, this wine will start showing off its considerable complexity after about five years.
Cellar life 10+

34. 2006 Lemelson Wascher Vineyard Pinot Noir, $48
Dundee Hills, Oregon
Famous for their plum-flavored wines, Lemelson charted new territory this time, creating a tightly wound wine with exceptionally good grip.
Taste Enhanced acidity, excellent length, finely grained red berry flavors.
Sip tip Though exciting right now, this pinot will improve and soften in the bottle for the next five to seven years. 
Cellar life 10+

35. 2005 Guardian Cellars Syrah, $35
Red Mountain, Washington
Made from Red Mountain grapes, this bottle manages—perhaps thanks to its 2 percent viognier content—to walk the fine line between power and finesse.
Taste Scent is mildly reminiscent of bacon fat.
Sip tip This rich wine will really show its stuff alongside a meaty dinner; we suggest braised beef.
Cellar life 10+

36. 2006 Archery Summit Renegade Ridge Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, $85
Dundee Hills, Oregon
The steep slopes of the Renegade Ridge vineyard make for tricky farming, but help produce notably intense fruit flavors.
Taste Some dark cherry fruit.
Sip tip Picture this wine locked away in your cellar, reading self-help books and doing sit-ups. Its body will be much improved after three to five years inside.
Cellar life10+

37. 2006 Panther Creek Temperance Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, $40
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Fruit grown at Temperance Hill—a vineyard at an exceptionally high elevation—is turning out some real stunners, and this 2006 pinot is no exception. 
Taste Black and red cherry flavors.
Sip tip This brooding, wintery wine would cozy up well to whole-grain bread and a bowl of stew.
Cellar life10+

38. 2006 Bethel Heights Southeast Block Pinot Noir, $50
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Bethel Heights has made first-rate, estate-grown pinots for 24 years, and the 2006 vintage—including this muscular Southeast Block bottle—does not disappoint.
Taste Juicy; classic Eola-Amity ripe red cherry flavors.
Sip tip With its hints of cola, this wine would pair well with a bison burger for a highbrow take on a classic fast-food combo.
Cellar life 5+

39. 2006 Lemelson Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir, $38
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Named for vintner Eric Lemelson’s mother, Thea’s Selection is typical of his style, with plenty of color and length 
on the palate.
Taste Black cherries and boysenberries; a plumlike texture.
Sip tip Take your own mom on a picnic lunch in the park with a bottle of Thea’s. 
Cellar life 5+

40. 2005 Gamache Vintners Estate Syrah, $28
Columbia Valley, Washington
Brothers Bob and Roger Gamache have been toiling in the Columbia Basin for years, but only recently started their own label. You can taste the old vines in every glass.
Taste Scents of bacon fat, leather, and black cherries.
Sip tip Uncork while grilling and accompany with blackened portobellos.
Cellar life10+

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41. 2006 Betz Bésoleil Grenache-Mourvèdre-Syrah, $55
Columbia Valley, Washington
Bésoleil is the Northwest’s version of wine from the Vacqueyras village in the Rhône.
Taste Plush, with a brooding darkness brought on by mourvèdre. 
Sip tip Given its elevated alcohol, this is a good wine to drink when you’re not driving. 
Cellar life 5+

42. 2005 Amavi Cellars Syrah, $26
Walla Walla, Washington
French oak barrels helped soften this syrah for a year and a half before it was bottled. 
Taste A near perfect balance of acidity, tannin, and toasty oak. 
Sip tip Versatile, top-quality syrahs such as this make a welcome contribution to a potluck.
Cellar life 10+

43. 2005 Cougar Crest Estate Syrah, $35
Walla Walla, Washington
Former pharmacist Deborah Hansen creates exacting wines with intense concentration. To this syrah she adds just 3 percent viognier to achieve a mild but lovely floral scent. 
Taste Viscous, with an earthy finish. 
Sip tip A hearty red to savor alongside stewed meats.
Cellar life 10+ 

44. 2006 Brick House Boulder Block Pinot Noir, $45
Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
No chemical pesticides touch the skins of biodynamically grown Boulder Block grapes. The pure approach comes out 
in the glass. 
Taste Complex layers of fruit and herbs.
Sip tip Save it for at least eight years. This wine’s future is so bright, you’ll want to wear sunglasses when you open it.
Cellar life 10+

45. 2006 Domaine Drouhin Arthur Chardonnay, $30
Dundee Hills, Oregon
This chard’s made from grapes grown exclusively on the Domaine Drouhin estate.
Taste Excellent balance of well-integrated oak-barrel-vanilla textures and apple-pear flavors. 
Sip tip Drink this one on your last sail of the season.
Cellar life 5+

46. 2005 DeLille Cellars Doyenne Aix Cabernet Sauvignon–Syrah, $38
Red Mountain, Washington
If you have a chance, stop by DeLille Cellars, the gorgeous Woodinville property where this juicy blend is produced. 
Taste Intense, oaky; with black cherry flavors. 
Sip tip “Doyenne” usually refers to the most mature woman in a group, but we say let ’er age about five years.
Cellar life 5+

47. 2005 Woodward Canyon Artists Series Cabernet Sauvignon, $44
Columbia Valley, Washington
Artists Series had a lot to live up to after the widely lauded 2003 vintage, and the 2005 did not disappoint. 
Taste Softer on the palate than Old Vines (our number-one wine); extremely plush.
Sip tip It will benefit from a few years’ bottle aging, but is approachable right now.
Cellar life 5+

48. 2005 Betz Clos de Betz Merlot–Cabernet Sauvignon–Cabernet Franc–Petit Verdot, $40
Columbia Valley, Washington
It’s another outstanding wine from Bob Betz.
Taste Think of a bowl of dark cherries and ripe plums, all mashed together with some spring herbs. 
Sip tip This wine will improve for the next couple of years in the bottle.
Cellar life 5+

49. 2005 Reininger Seven Hills Vineyard Carmenère, $45
Walla Walla, Washington
The carmenère grape has proven to be well suited to the hills and sandy soil of Eastern Washington.
Taste Dark and tannic, a scent and taste of licorice; deep, smoky flavors. 
Sip tip Carmenère’s naturally soft tannins make it a good wine to drink young.
Cellar life 5+

50. 2006 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir, $30
Willamette Valley, Oregon
This earthy pinot may inspire you to road trip it to Cristom’s winery on the southeast-facing slopes of the Eola Hills, where you can catch views of Mount Jefferson, the second—highest peak in Oregon.
Taste Elegant, complex, light in color.
Sip tip Toss a bottle in your pack next time you hit the trails. It is a wine inspired by a mountain, after all.
Cellar life5+

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51. 2004 Brian Carter Solesce Cabernet Sauvignon–Merlot–Petit Verdot–Cabernet Franc–Malbec, $58
Columbia Valley, Washington
Brian Carter makes elegant wines in a restrained, Old World style.
Taste Plum and black currant flavors; very soft tannins for a wine so young.
Sip tip Stow for a year or three to see what happens.
Cellar life 5+

52. 2006 Walter Dacon C’est Syrah Belle Syrah, $30
Columbia Valley, Washington
Truly the belle of the Northwest wine ball, C’est Syrah Belle is one of the region’s most elegant bottles. 
Taste Good complexity; lots of spice.
Sip tip When you’re feeling bored by Seattle’s T-shirt culture, break out the crystal and pour yourself a glass of this pretty lady.
Cellar life 5+

53. 2006 Lemelson Dry Riesling, $20
Dundee Hills, Oregon
Cold-weather tolerant with an affinity for summer sunshine, riesling grapes grow happily in the Northwest climate. 
Taste Nice balance, with typical petrol scents; excellent palate persistence.
Sip tip Rieslings go global in style with almost any spicy Thai dish.
Cellar life5+ 

54. 2006 Holloran Le Pavillon Vineyard Riesling, $21
Dundee Hills, Oregon
Riesling was one of the first wines grown in Oregon, planted in the 1960s by vintner Richard Sommer. 
Taste Dense concentration of apple flavors.
Sip tip Convert sugar-fearing riesling haters with this bone-dry bottle.
Cellar life 5+

55. 2006 Gard Vintners Lawrence Vineyards Dry Riesling, $22
Columbia Valley, Washington
Robert Smasne’s riesling is high in alcohol but otherwise true to the varietal. 
Taste Scent of stone fruits marinating in a light, petrol-mineral oil.
Sip tip Serve with a rich seafood dish like salmon beurre blanc.
Cellar life 0

56. 2005 DeLille Cellars Doyenne Métier Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre Blend, $34
Red Mountain, Washington
Low acid and mild tannins help make grenache—the dominant grape of the Rhône—a very cooperative blender. 
Taste Classic grenache black pepper and cherry flavors; plenty of alcohol.
Sip tip If you decide to hold onto a bottle, take Robert Parker employee and Washington wine expert Jay Miller’s advice and wait no more than six to eight years before opening. 
Cellar life 5+

57. 2006 Panther Creek Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, $40
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Out of a former city power supply plant in McMinnville, the Panther Creek crew produces darker, more extracted pinot noirs. 
Taste Darkly colored; fruity and aromatic.
Sip tip Its aromas are impressive for a wine so young, and promise to develop nicely in the cellar.
Cellar life 10+

58. 2006 Syncline Cuvée Elena Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre-Cinsault, $35
Columbia Valley, Washington
Savor the quality of Syncline’s best grapes in the excellent concentration of this blend.
Taste Rich grenache cherry flavors. 
Sip tip Try this one with grilled grass-fed lamb.
Cellar life 5+

59. 2005 De Ponte Cellars Pinot Noir, $38
Dundee Hills, Oregon
De Ponte Cellars concentrates on two varietals: pinot noir and melon de Bourgogne, the grape behind the popular muscadet wine from France’s western Loire Valley. 
Taste Roses, carnations, raspberry, cinnamon, and oak flavors.
Sip tip The “Mr. Right Now” of wines. It might not make the menu at your last meal, but it’s perfect for tonight.
Cellar life 5+

60. 2003 EdenVale Tempranillo, $35
Rogue Valley, Oregon
The Rogue Valley’s weather—which swings from hot afternoons to cool evenings—is well suited to tempranillo, Spain’s noble wine grape.
Taste Strong varietal scent of sweet tea leaves.
Sip tip This is the quintessential tapas wine: Serve with olives and jamón.
Cellar life 5+

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61. 2004 Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard Sol Duc Meritage Cabernet Sauvigon–Merlot–Malbec, $50
Columbia Valley, Washington
Made from vines first planted by the late Dr. Walter Clore, “the father of Washington wine,” who first convinced Eastern Washington farmers that there was money to be made in grapes. 
Taste Supple texture, with soft, toasty vanilla flavors.
Sip tip Buy it when you see it—this one sells out fast.
Cellar life 5+

62. 2006 Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden Syrah, $32
Applegate Valley, Oregon
The name refers to the biodynamic practice of stuffing a cowhorn with animal dung and burying it on winery property during winter, then digging it up, adding water, and spraying the vines with the mixture.
Taste Blueberry flavors set it apart from the syrah pack.
Sip tip Another wine to wow your enviro pals, this all-natural syrah is a welcome guest at any vegan feast.
Cellar life 5+

63. 2006 Lemelson Jerome Reserve Pinot Noir, $58
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Named for Eric Lemelson’s late father, it’s a pinot made for the wine lover who cares more about power than elegance.
Taste Heavily extracted wine with flavors of black plums.
Sip tip Another wine for celebrating fatherhood, give it to your brother at the birth of his first child.
Cellar life 10+

64. 2004 Gamache Vintners Reserve Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, $40
Columbia Valley, Washington
This bottle from Gamache is yet another top wine that features fruit from the terroir-ific Champoux Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills.
Taste Spicy, intense black currant flavors.
Sip tip A universally well-regarded cab that’s a no-brainer holiday gift for anyone on your list.
Cellar life 10+

65. 2006 Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards Tempranillo Reserve, $36
Umpqua Valley, Oregon
One of a dozen wineries in the valley carved out by the Umpqua River, Reustle-Prayer Rock grows varieties uncommon to Oregon, like tempranillo and grüner veltliner. 
Taste Intense midpalate tannic textures; varietally correct flavors of slightly floral-scented tea leaves.
Sip tip “Tempranillo” comes from temprano, the Spanish word for “early” (the grape ripens early in the season). Drink just before your siesta.
Cellar life 10+

66. 2004 Chester-Kidder Red Wine Blend, $50
Columbia Valley, Washington
In Chester-Kidder, grower Gilles Nicault has produced a rich, heady blend.
Taste Like a walk through a garden of lavender, rosemary, and marjoram. 
Sip tip Go beyond decadence by pairing Chester-Kidder with a braised Mangalitsa pork belly.
Cellar life 10+

67. 2006 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Estate Pinot Noir, $45
Willamette Valley, Oregon
While studying for an advanced enology degree, winemaker Veronique Drouhin wrote her dissertation on pinot. Talk about well qualified. 
Taste Bright red cherry fruit; minimal oak. 
Sip tip It’s an intellectual wine that’s perfect for celebrating academic victories.
Cellar life 5+

68. 2005 Brian Carter Byzance Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre, $30
Columbia Valley, Washington
Brian Carter’s blend of southern Rhône grape varieties is one of the best midpriced wines in Washington. 
Taste Licorice and spice flavors. 
Sip tip Pair with herb-encrusted pork tenderloin.
Cellar life 5+

69 • 2004 Willis Hall Syrah, $26
Columbia Valley, Washington
John Bell was a Boeing engineer for 31 years before he sunk his savings into Willis Hall. This wine, from his second vintage, is a remarkable achievement. 
Taste An exacting integration between the oak of the barrel and the textures and flavors.
Sip tip A lamb dish would love to meet this one.
Cellar life 5+

70. 2006 Cooper Mountain Mountain Terroir Pinot Noir, $50
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Biodynamically grown grapes are harvested from three vineyards to create Mountain Terroir.
Taste The old vine flavors (some of the fruit comes from 30-year-old plants) hit midpalate.
Sip tip A wine made with the utmost attention, it makes a generous gift for the people in your life who take care of you, like secretaries, Pilates instructors, and parents.
Cellar life5+

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71. 2005 Waving Tree Winery Nebbiolo, $40
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
The world’s best Nebbiolos come from Piedmont in Italy, and Waving Tree has created an inspiring replica of those wines with this 2005 bottle.
Taste Scents of roses and tar.
Sip tip Surprise the Italian-wine lover in your life, who probably doesn’t know that nebbiolo can grow in the Northwest.
Cellar life 5+

72. 2004 Glen Fiona Basket Press Reserve Syrah, $30
Columbia Valley, Washington
Using a basket press, a 1,000-year-old grape-crushing device, Glen Fiona has created a delicious medium-full syrah with a long finish. 
Taste Viognier grapes lend a hint of honeysuckle to the smoked-meat and leather flavors typical of syrah.
Sip tip We like it with garlicky spinach or sautéed black chanterelles.
Cellar life 5+

73. 2006 Nefarious Cellars Estate Rocky Mother Vineyard Syrah, $38
Columbia Valley, Washington
Dean and Heather Neff are the couple behind Nefarious Cellars, and the division of labor 
is simple: He makes the reds (this broodingly dark syrah included), she makes the whites. 
Taste Superconcentrated, lurking flavors.
Sip tip Currently this wine has very little bouquet, but give it five years and it will turn heads.

74. 2005 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, $30
Washington
The label says syrah, but 25 percent of the fruit are grenache grapes grown at the Stone Tree Vineyard in Grant County, Washington. 
Taste Scents of leather and cherries.
Sip tip Why not schedule a tasting at Nota Bene headquarters in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood?
Cellar life 5+

75. 2006 Scott Paul La Paulée Pinot Noir, $40
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Owners Scott and Martha Wright make delightful wines like this light-colored pinot, and moonlight as importers of bottles from Burgundy.
Taste Long on flavor, with red raspberry fruits of the Dundee Hills and black cherry fruit of Ribbon Ridge.
Sip tip Named for a traditional autumn harvest celebration in France’s Burgundy region, the homeland of pinot noir, this wine has never met a turkey dinner it didn’t like.
Cellar life 5+

76. 2006 William Church Jennifer’s Syrah, $28
Yakima Valley, Washington
Erstwhile computer geek Rod Balsley’s tiny Woodinville winery opened just three years ago. This intense syrah proves what a quick learner the ex-techie really is. 
Taste A texture and scent of soft plush leather with overtones of wild game.
Sip tip Drink while sitting on the porch in fall with a blanket over your knees, watching the leaves change color.
Cellar life 10+

77. 2006 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Chardonnay, $18
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
This chard’s flavors coalesce beautifully around food, but it also thrives on its own.
Taste Well-integrated oak; full midpalate flavor and excellent length.
Sip tip On a prearranged visit to the winery, quaff samples at the winemaker’s home.
Cellar life 5+ 

78. 2007 Trium Gold Vineyard Viognier, $20
Rogue Valley, Oregon
Viognier has a bright future in Southern Oregon, especially when tended by a careful grower like Randy Gold.
Taste An oily texture; apricot and honeysuckle flavors and fine palate persistence. 
Sip tip This is our favorite varietal to drink while cracking into freshly caught Dungeness crab.
Cellar life 0

79. 2007 Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards Grüner Veltliner, $22
Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Winemaker Stephen Reustle hits the spicy-refreshing mark with this grüner veltliner, an Austrian varietal made for moderately cool climates.
Taste Concentrated flavors of dill, cucumber, and ground white pepper. 
Sip tip It’s delicious with a salad or white pizza generously sprinkled with goat cheese.
Cellar life 0

80. 2005 Arlington Road Cellars Monolith Cabernet Sauvignon–Merlot–Cabernet Franc–Malbec, $40
Columbia Valley, Washington
Arlington Road’s restrained blend is a dead ringer for a Bordeaux-grown wine.
Taste Excellent balance of tannins, acidity, and alcohol.
Sip tip Monolith will age well, but already has an elegance uncommon in a wine so young.
Cellar life10+

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81. 2006 Archery Summit Looney Vineyard Pinot Noir, $85
Ribbon Ridge, Oregon
A pinot typical of Ribbon Ridge, a tiny AVA in the Northern Willamette Valley where sedimentary soils emphasize black fruit flavors.
Taste Black cherry fruit flavors; nice concentration and length.
Sip tip Looney is made for the cellar and will only improve with age.
Cellar life 10+

82. 2005 Fall Line Winery Red Blend Merlot–Cabernet Franc–Cabernet Sauvignon, $32
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
Made entirely from grapes grown at the Aldercreek/Windy Ridge Vineyards, Fall Line filled just 430 cases with this intense merlot blend. 
Taste Good length and nicely integrated new French oak–vanilla flavors and scents.
Sip tip After a long day skiing the slopes at Stevens Pass, warm up by drinking this wine in front of a crackling fire.
Cellar life 10+

83. 2006 Bethel Heights Justice Vineyard Pinot Noir, $50
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Bethel Heights is run by the Casteel brothers and their highly educated spouses—there are more PhDs on this vineyard than perhaps any other in the United States. Let this pinot linger in the glass before you drink so you can fully appreciate the Casteels’ refined style.
Taste Toasty oak; plenty of dark cherry fruit.
Sip tip The rich cuisine of Burgundy—coq au vin, beef Bourguignonne—plays well with pinot noir.*
Cellar life10+ 

84. 2005–06 Wy’East Blue Chip Blend Pinot Noir, $22
Columbia Gorge, Oregon
Grown at an elevation of 700 feet by straightforward winemaker Alexis Pouillon, this is a light and lovely pinot with no pretensions. Taste Delicate; transparent to the eye but not the palate. 
Sip tip Try the Blue Chip Blend while visiting Wy’East’s charming tasting room, five and a half miles from Hood River, Oregon.
Cellar life 5+

85. 2006 J. Albin Reserve Laurel Vineyard Pinot Noir, $48
Chehalem Mountains, Oregon
John Albin is a busy man, making wine for Oregon giant King Estate, as well as this, his personal label.
Taste Dark cherry fruit.
Sip tip A fine wine to drink on an evening when, like Albin, you just feel like treating yourself.
Cellar life 10+

86. 2006 Tsillan Cellars Reserve Gewürztraminer, $22
Columbia Valley, Washington
Gewürz is the term for “spice” in German, and this wine gives you the intense-yet-pleasant sensation of a clove moving from your palate up into your nasal cavity. 
Taste Well balanced, with enough acidity to offset the sugar. 
Sip tip Drink it today and buy it today, too: Tsillan made only 205 cases of this German-style wine. It’s guaranteed to sell out quickly. 
Cellar life 0

87. 2007 DePonte DFBEstate Melon de Bourgogne, $24
Dundee Hills, Oregon
This is it, folks: the best oyster wine made in the United States.
Taste Crisp, dry; with a remarkably refreshing finish that puts it on par with some of the best muscadets from France’s Loire Valley. 
Sip tip A bottle of DePonte DFB Estate Melon and a dozen briny suckers from Hood Canal, and some good company, and you have yourself a delightful afternoon.
Cellar life 0

88. 2006 Buty Sémillion–Sauvignon Blanc, $25
Columbia Valley, Washington
Caleb Foster, former assistant winemaker to Rick Small at Woodward Canyon, has launched his own label and named it for his wife, Nina Buty Foster. This blend is a bottle deserving of her good name.
Taste To achieve his balanced blend Foster played with malolactic fermentation, preserving the sauvignon’s acid-green apple crispness and creating a rich, buttery creaminess in the sémillion.
Sip tip A great “gab” wine to bring along on a weekend getaway to the Olympic Peninsula with friends.
Cellar life 5+

89. 2005 Zerba Syrah, $28
Columbia Valley, Oregon
On the Oregon side of Walla Walla, Zerba is combining some of the best grapes from both states—with fabulous results. This syrah stands out especially for its very good concentration of fruit. 
Taste Scents of fresh mint and toasty oak.
Sip tip Warm up with some Zerba and a bowl of hearty beef stew on a wet winter evening—in 2013.
Cellar life 5+

90. 2006 ADEAAnn Sigrid Pinot Noir, $30
Willamette Valley, Oregon
This funky little winery in the Northern Willamette Valley makes outstanding pinots and very good chardonnays.
Taste Light; red berry fruit flavors. 
Sip tip Try alongside a risotto with foraged mushrooms from the Washington wild.
Cellar life 5+

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91. 2005 Holloran Le Pavillon Vineyard Pinot Noir, $42
Dundee Hills, Oregon
This pinot noir is made from fruit grown at Le Pavillon, a premier vineyard in the Dundee Hills. 
Taste A concentrated, well-balanced, light pinot. 
Sip tip Stored properly, this wine will improve in the bottle for several years.
Cellar life 5+

92. 2005 Brian Carter Cellars Tuttorosso Sangiovese–Cabernet Sauvignon–Syrah, $30
Yakima Valley, Oregon
Washington’s own version of a super Tuscan—a high-quality Tuscan wine made outside of sanctioned blending traditions—this highly balanced crowd-pleaser shows off Brian Carter’s considerable talents. 
Taste Bing cherry flavors; high acidity.
Sip tip If it has a tomato-based sauce, it’ll marry well with this wine.
Cellar life 5+

93. 2006 Spangler Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $48
Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Former Chicago commodities trader Pat Spangler harvested the fruit for this wine from an old, deep-rooted, nonirrigated vineyard.
Taste Concentrated; plush, ripe, and long.
Sip tip It’s a wine that tastes of luxury made by an erstwhile money man: Keep it in the cellar until your next windfall.
Cellar life10+

94. 2007 Ponzi Vineyards Arneis, $20
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Arneis grapes are grown almost exclusively in Piedmont, Italy, but this bottle suggests Willamette Valley may become its home away from home. 
Taste Multiple layers of intense almond flavors; extended palate persistence.
Sip tip It’s a fun gift for Italophile pals and a delectable addition to an Italian-themed dinner.
Cellar life 0

95. 2006 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir, $20
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Most of this wine’s fruit from comes from Temperance Hill, an Eola Hills winery renowned for its excellent terroir.
Taste Red fruit flavors; lots of complexity for the price.
Sip tip Pack it in the picnic basket you bring to the opening concert at next year’s Olympic Music Festival.
Cellar life 5+

96. 2005 Hudson Shah Viognier, $37
Rattlesnake Hills, Washington
Employed by Woodinville-based Woodhouse Family Cellars, winemaker Tom Campbell makes three whites under the Hudson Shah label, including this rich-textured viognier.
Taste Flavors of ripe apricots marinated in oak-vanilla-infused oils; a varietally correct viscous texture. 
Sip tip A glazed chicken will stand up and cluck when you taste it alongside the oaky flavors of this sassy white wine.
Cellar life 0

97. 2006 St. Innocent Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir, $39
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Mark Vlossak, the son of a serious wine enthusiast and a French cuisine fanatic, makes bottles that really shine alongside a fine meal. This open, forward pinot will taste delectable alongside all kinds of autumnal bounty.
Taste Excellent balance, good length.
Sip tip Bring out this open, forward wine to break the ice at casual get-togethers.
Cellar life 5+

98. 2006 Lachini Family Estate Pinot Noir, $45
Chehalem Mountains, Oregon
This estate pinot noir from the Lachini Family may be a little too fruity for serious collectors, but it sure is delicious.
Taste Delicate red fruit flavors wrapped in mouth-filling textures.
Sip tip A kick back and hang out kind of wine that’s also a treat, it’s perfect for rewarding friends after they help paint the kitchen or clean out the garage.
Cellar life 5+

99. 2007 Ponzi Pinot Gris, $18
Willamette Valley, Oregon
New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov calls Oregon pinot gris “one of the least-talked-about, best-value wines.” One swallow of this gris and you’ll agree. 
Taste Spicy, complex pear-apple flavors.
Sip tip To really taste those flavors, let the wine sit in the glass for at least 15 minutes before drinking.
Cellar life 0

100. 2003 DiStefano Syrah R, $25
Columbia Valley, Washington
Like some of our favorite Northwesterners, this wine manages to be simultaneously rustic and elegant.
Taste Good palate persistence.
Sip tip Try it with grilled lamb chops and sautéed Swiss chard—in five years.
Cellar life 5+

This article appeared in the September 2008 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.