20 for the White Wine Lovers

Each of these Washington whites received 90 points in the blind test. We present them here, unranked.

By Sean P. Sullivan August 19, 2011 Published in the September 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Image: Erik Skaar

Cadaretta SBS White Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $23
This sauvignon blanc–semillon blend is a consistent standout from Walla Walla Valley winery Cadaretta.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Late Harvest White Riesling Columbia Valley 2008 $25
White wine is not just for dinner—it’s also for dessert! This is a rich and honeyed late-harvest riesling from the state’s flagship winery.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling Columbia Valley 2009 $20
Chateau Ste. Michelle has spearheaded a riesling revival; this wine, made in collaboration with Germany’s Dr. Loosen, continues to lead the way.

Dowsett Family Winery Gewurztraminer Celilo Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2010 $22
Chris Dowsett’s devotion to gewurztraminer is unparalleled, and here he works the grape’s unique spice and floral notes to perfection.

Efeste Riesling Evergreen Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $16
Evergreen Vineyard has established itself as one of the state’s best white wine sites, and few winemakers can take advantage of the minerality and acidity of the fruit that grows there better than Efeste’s Brennon Leighton.

Forgeron Cellars Vigneron Select Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009 $25
Forgeron’s chardonnay hails from a mixture of warm and cool vineyard sites across Washington and includes 2 percent orange muscat to lift the aromatics.

Guardian Cellars Angel Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2010 $20
Guardian delivers a barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc with a creamy texture and bright acidity.

Hard Row to Hoe Shameless Hussy Viognier Columbia Valley 2010 $18
This delicious white showcases all of the floral and stone fruit flavors for which viognier is so well loved.

Hestia Cellars Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2010 $15
Chenin Blanc has been on the decline in Washington, but this just off-dry bottle shows why it might be poised to make a comeback.

Januik Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009 $25
Winemaker Mike Januik uses Chateau Ste. Michelle’s coveted Cold Creek fruit with winning results. This chard is full of pear and citrus flavors.

Jones of Washington Pinot Gris Estate Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $14
The sugar in this rich, fruity, off-dry pinot gris is balanced by its vibrant acidity.

Long Shadows Poet’s Leap Riesling 2010 $20
Vintage after vintage, Germany’s acclaimed Armin Diel creates a deliciously complex, just off-dry riesling for acclaimed winery Long Shadows.

Maison Bleue Au Contraire Chardonnay French Creek Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $20
Winemaker Jon Martinez says he meant to make chardonnay just as a one-off to showcase the potential of chard in his vineyards, but the resulting wine was so good he ended up making it year after year.

Novelty Hill Roussanne Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2009 $22
One hundred percent roussannes are rare in Washington; if you see this one, grab it.

Sleight of Hand Cellars The Magician White Wine Evergreen Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $17
The Magician blend, made from 85 percent gewurztraminer and 15 percent riesling, shows the best of both varietals with bright aromatics and electric acidity.

Sparkman Cellars Lumière Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009 $25
This delicious Stillwater Creek chardonnay was barrel aged in 50 percent new oak and fermented with native yeast.

Syncline Winery Gruner Veltliner Columbia Gorge 2010 $20
This is Washington’s only gruner veltliner and shows all of the 2010 vintage’s vibrant acidity.

Tranche Cellars Slice of Pape Blanc Columbia Valley 2008 $30
This Southern Rhone–style white blend is a first from the winery and sets the bar high for future vintages.

Waters Winery Prelude White Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $30
This blend of 60 percent roussanne and 40 percent viognier offers a pleasing mixture of stone fruit and floral notes accented by mouthwatering acidity.

William Church Winery Viognier Columbia Valley 2010 $22
Winemaker Rod Balsley says there is no wine that he worries about as much as his viognier. His particular brand of TLC consistently leads to one of the state’s best bottles year after year.

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