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Washington state is best known for its reds, but a recent trip has Charles Antin convinced that some of its best bottlings are white. Here, seven to try now.
Washington state is best-known for its reds, but a recent trip has me convinced that some of its best bottlings are white. These wines are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to give up chilled whites as summer turns to fall; they’ll hold up well during the last few weekends of grilled salmon on the deck. Here, seven Washington state whites to try now.
2013 Avennia Oliane Sauvignon Blanc ($25)
Chris Peterson spent years making wine at DeLille Cellars, but now he’s making wines for himself. The Oliane sees a touch of new French oak that adds a bit of roundness to the zingy lemon and citrus flavors.
2013 Savage Grace Red Willow Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($16)
Michael Savage’s Sauvignon Blanc is a lot like a good Sancerre. Though this wine is made in small quantities, it’s one to seek out for its tangy minerality and refreshingly modest alcohol.
2013 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc ($37)
At 65 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 35 percent Sémillon, Chaleur Estate Blanc approximates the composition of the greatest white Bordeaux in the world, Château Haut-Brion Blanc, at less than a tenth of the price. There’s a persistence to this wine, and though the acidity is good, it also has a rich texture.
2013 Orr Old Vine Chenin Blanc ($22)
Chenin Blanc’s spiritual home is the Vouvray region in France’s Loire Valley, but Erica Orr makes a stellar example in the Columbia Valley. After quitting her job as a lab tech at the University of California, San Francisco, Orr worked in wineries all over the world: Rudd Estate (Napa), Domaine Dujac (Burgundy) and Yering Station (Australia’s Yarra Valley). The aromatics are subtle in this wine and the acidity is racy, just like a good dry Vouvray.
2013 Cadaretta SBS ($22)
The Middleton family has farmed Washington state since the late 19th-century, and they’ve been working with grapes for the past 22 years. Cadaretta began in 2005, and is named after a lumber schooner that used to carry the family’s timber from Washington to California. Grapefruit and green apple flavors dominate this blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
2013 Fidélitas Klipsun Vineyard Sémillon ($25)
This 100 percent Sémillon is an interesting comparison to Washington’s Sauvignon Blanc–based wines. Though this bottling is dry, the Sémillon grape is most famous for providing body to the famous sweet wines of Sauternes. Richer and somewhat higher in alcohol than some of the others on this list, this is one for those who like more full-bodied wines.
W.T. Vintners Grüner Veltliner ($20)
Made by Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen, a somm at the Seattle branch of San Francisco’s Burgundy mecca RN74, this Grüner Veltliner can be a tough one to find. In true somm fashion, Jeff went geeky, growing a primarily Austrian variety in Washington’s Underwood Mountain Vineyard. Stainless steel and then just a hint of neutral oak barrel aging result in a precise and persistent wine with great length. The current vintage is sold out, but get on the mailing list for 2014.