Charles Smith Wines 2014 The Velvet Devil Merlot, Washington, $13

Best Buy! While it’s Cab and Syrah that generate a lot of the red headlines in Washington, it’s Merlot that remains the state’s workhorse grape. Charles Smith’s team sourced from seven sites, including Art denHoed in the northern reaches of the Yakima Valley, Goose Ridge near Richland and Sundance on…

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Cloudlift Cellars 2014 Panorama Merlot, Columbia Valley, $26

In recent vintages, Tom Stangeland began to focus his Panorama project on Merlot, and his continued relationship with Elephant Mountain and Arianses allows him to take this to the next level. Ripe and alluring aromas of black cherry and blackberry include coffee and chocolate. Inside, it’s lighter and more hedonistic…

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Elk Cove Vineyards 2015 Clay Court Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $60

When this young 15-acre Pinot Noir project devoted to Pommard, Dijon 115 and 777 clones became available in 2009, the Campbell family jumped at it. And it’s become a smashing success – not only for winemaking son, Adam, but also for his tennis-loving parents. A product of a record-hot vintage…

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Luke 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $25

For decades, Thomas Vogele has sold bottles for some of the continent’s highest-profile wineries. In 2012, he began to develop his own brands, starting with Luke. There’s the mystical tale of a man named “Luke” surrounding the label, while what’s inside the bottle features his growing relationship with the Wahluke…

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Cairdeas Winery 2016 Lawrence Vineyard Nellie Mae White Wine, Columbia Valley, $24

Charlie Lybecker remains devoted to Rhône Valley varieties and continues to sharpen his approach by focusing on Lawrence Vineyard in the proposed Royal Slope American Viticultural Area for the blend of Viognier (60%) and Roussanne (40%). There’s no oak involved, which keeps it fruity and lively, starting with aromas of…

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Alder Ridge Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $30

One of the Northwest’s most picturesque vineyards, Alder Ridge is a sweeping site at 800 acres that has supplied prized fruit for a number of producers on both sides of the Columbia River soon after it was established in 1997. The spirit of the late John Farmer, vineyard manager for…

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Abacela 2013 Barrel Select Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, $33

As the maturity of the Fault Line Vineyards settles in, Abacela’s amigos benefit. Founding winemaker Earl Jones describes Tempranillo as akin to a Cabernet Sauvignon in its youth, and here are classic notes of Bing cherry, pomegranate and cherry pipe tobacco with the variety’s magisterial tannins. While it spent less…

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Winter’s Hill Winery 2014 Estate Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $39

The Gladhart family established its vineyard in 1991, and their immediate neighbors along the upper reaches of this southernmost portion of the Dundee Hills include the likes of Domaine Serene and Stoller. A smooth growing season across their Salmon Safe site at 730 feet elevation paved the way for this…

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Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2016 Lolo White Wine, Lewis-Clark Valley, $18

Arnett Vineyard in Clarkston, Wash., and Umiker Vineyard in Lewiston, Idaho, come together for this aromatic blend that continues to features Pinot Gris (25%), Muscat (22%) and Gewurztraminer (17%) but there are also significant contributions of Chardonnay (19%) and Viognier (14%). There’s a tropical theme because of the three varieties…

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Finn Hill Winery 2016 Corfu Crossing Vineyard The Gnome Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20

Woodinville winemaker Rob Entrekin works with the Lawrence family’s Corfu Crossing Vineyard along the Royal Slope, and at 1,675 feet elevation, these clone 12 plantings rank among the highest in Washington. This slightly sweet Riesling presents aromas of peach and poached pear with apricot skins. A touch of spritz leads…

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