1. Sixto Moxee Chardonnay Washington 2013 $55
Charles Smith’s chardonnay-focused label busts the myth that white wines have less cachet in Washington. Sixto’s three single-vineyard chardonnays are sourced from hidden pockets of high-elevation, older vines sussed out by Brennon Leighton and Charles Smith. This one brings elements of almond butter and citrus, plus superb texture and balance.
2. Latta Wines Roussanne Lawrence Vineyards Columbia Valley 2013 $30
Roussanne is a bit player in the world of Washington whites but this wine shows that, in the right site and in the right hands, the Rhone-native grape can excel here. Beeswax and honeysuckle flavors coat the palate and lead to an extended finish that only adds to the enjoyment.
3. Waters Winery Prelude White Wine Columbia Valley 2015 $28
Viognier from the cool-climate Antoine Creek meets roussanne from blazing-hot Alder Ridge Vineyard. These varieties from two vastly different sites marry perfectly—producing a complex wine that brings gravitas to flower, pear, and peach notes.
4. Ashan Cellars Chardonnay Kestrel Vineyard Yakima Valley 2014 $40
Chris Gorman (Gorman Winery) is known for big, bold wines, be they Red Mountain reds or this side project that focuses on single-vineyard chardonnay from across the state. This one comes from some of Washington’s oldest chardonnay plantings and offers aromas of butterscotch and spice and lemony acidity that keeps the interest high.
5. Sixto Frenchman Hills Chardonnay Washington 2013 $55
This sibling to the wine atop our list of superlative whites hails from a site 1,650 feet above sea level, where cooler temperatures slow grapes’ accumulation of sugar (and, by extension, alcohol) and preserve natural acidity. It offers aromas of baking spices, plus broad, yet restrained flavors.
6. Avennia Oliane Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley 2014 $28
It’s 100 percent sauvignon blanc, from two of the state’s top vineyards—Boushey and Red Willow—aged in (largely neutral) French oak, but also in concrete to preserve the wine’s inherent herb and citrus notes, plus mouthwatering acidity.
7. Woodward Canyon Chardonnay Washington 2014 $44
Year after year, count on Woodward Canyon to produce chardonnay both nuanced and profound. The 2014 vintage wine is the latest example from this Old Faithful of Washington winemakers.
8. Novelty Hill Late Harvest Sémillon Columbia Valley 2014 $25
Mike Januik is best known for his portfolio of red wines, but he’s equally adroit at dessert-style whites. As the name implies, these grapes were harvested late, yielding shriveled berries and concentrated, sugar-sweet notes.
9. Co Dinn Cellars Chardonnay Roskamp Vineyard Snipes Mountain 2013 $45
Coman Dinn spent 17 years making large-lot wine for Hogue Cellars before striking out with his own small-lot winery that focuses on vineyard-designated wines. Co Dinn’s inaugural chardonnay offers fresh, appealing aromas of stone fruit, spice, and butter that feel weighty on the palate while retaining a sense of lightness.
10. Gorman Winery The Big Sissy Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2014 $35
Gorman’s white wines are every bit as bold and luxurious as the reds that have become his calling card. An opening volley of bright aromas—tropical fruit, candy corn, butterscotch, apple—lead to full-bodied fruit flavors and a creamy texture.