Chardonnay and riesling dominate white wine production in Washington and there’s more than a few high quality examples being made. But the state’s winemakers also make a laundry list of wines from other white grapes. In celebration of Washington State Wine Month, we take a look at some of the state’s diverse offering.
Chenin Blanc has some of the oldest plantings in Washington and recently a number of winemakers have shown an increased interest in the variety. The Waitsburg Cellars 2013 Chevray Old Vine Chenin Blanc ($18) drinks off dry with full bodied, rich notes of almond, apricot, and barrel spices.
Gewürztraminer has significant plantings in Washington but most of the wines produced fall into the cheap and cheerful category. Analemma’s 2012 Oak Ridge Columbia Gorge Gewürztraminer ($27) shows that it can create serious, top-quality wines as well. This offering is redolent with notes of rose petal, lychee, and pink grapefruit.
Viognier in Washington can sometimes be oily feeling and over the top. Walla Walla winery Gramercy Cellars pulls through throttle back on its 2013 Antoine Creek Vineyard Lake Chelan Viognier ($25), which has pleasing notes of pear, flowers, and mineral.
L’Ecole No 41 in the Walla Walla Valley has long championed semillon in the state. The winery’s 2012 Columbia Valley Sémillon ($15) is both high quality and well priced with notes of fig and apricot.
Spanish varieties have been making inroads in Washington in recent years. Palencia’s 2013 Columbia Valley Albariño ($18) hits the mark with notes of cantaloupe and pear backed by zippy acidity.
Southern Rhone blends have also been on the rise in Washington. Maison Bleue’s blend of marsanne, grenache blanc, and roussanne in its 2012 Columbia Valley Métis Blanc ($30) is a perfect entry point for learning more about the style. It brings notes of hazelnuts, melon, and apricot.
Numerous retailers and wineries are running promotions and discounts this month making it a perfect time to do some exploration.