1. Domaine J. Meuret Clos Pierre Chardonnay White Salmon Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2013 - $45
Domaine J. Meuret is a new project from winemaker Jon Meuret (Maison Bleue) that focuses on chardonnay and pinot noir from the Columbia Gorge. The result is a thrilling wine with notes of chamomile, candle wax, and corn silk, showing great texture, depth, and detail.
2. Sixto Moxee Chardonnay Washington 2012 - $50
This much-anticipated new chardonnay project from Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) focuses on fruit from old vine, higher elevation vineyard sites. It delivers a wine that’s arresting with aromas of wet stone, talc, and stone fruit leading to focused fruit and a hyperextended finish.
3. Efeste Riesling Evergreen Vineyard Ancient Lakes 2013 - $20
The state’s premier riesling site produces a wine that explodes from the glass with notes of stone fruit, pear, and slate. It drinks off dry with electric acidity that draws out the extended finish.
4. Doyenne Roussanne Red Mountain 2013 - $38
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard is best known for its red wines, but this wine shows roussanne can thrive there too. It’s chock-full of sweet apricot, star fruit, and nut oil flavors with a rounded feel and a lingering finish.
5. Côte Bonneville Chardonnay DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2012 - $50
Year after year winemaker Kerry Shiels crafts some of the state’s best white and red wines from this iconic vineyard. Equal parts power and grace, this one has abundant pear, peach, and pineapple and well-balanced oak accents.
6. Sixto Roza Hills Chardonnay Washington 2012 - $50
High in the Rattlesnake Hills region, Roza Hills’ elevation of 1,350 feet provides grapes with a longer hang time to develop fruit notes while preserving natural acidity. Lemon curd, toast, and stone fruit aromas are followed by dazzlingly rich, full-bodied fruit flavors. It’s shockingly good.
7. Woodward Canyon Chardonnay Celilo Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2012 - $66
Positioned in the western part of this dynamic growing region, Celilo Vineyard is known for the nervy acidity of its chardonnays. The site is perfectly captured in this breathtaking bottle that shows richness and vibrancy with notes of apple, peach, and lees.
8. Rasa Vineyards Dream Deferred Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills 2013 - $45
With all of the fruit coming from Wallula Vineyard, this wine brings plenty of nuance and detail with its notes of honeycomb, peach, and tropical fruit along with an elegant, creamy feel. The finish seems near endless.
9. Domaine J. Meuret Chardonnay Le Pacte Jewett Creek Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2014 - $30
All fermented and aged in stainless steel, this serves as a counterpoint to the winery’s chardonnay at the top of the list, which was aged in oak. It offers a complex assortment of lemon curd, almond, and flowers with a textured feel and a drawn-out finish.
10. Savage Grace Riesling Underwood Mountain Columbia Gorge 2013 - $21
Yet another example of winemaker Michael Savage’s knack for producing top-quality riesling. Vibrant aromas of apricot and slate lead to off-dry fruit flavors backed by racy acidity. Pair it with a spicy Thai dish.