Dumas Station Wines 2013 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $32

This bottling marks a first for Walla Walla Valley grower/winemaker Jay DeWitt and Dumas Station – a full-on, 100 percent Merlot – and the results from Birch Creek Vineyard and Minnick Hills Vineyard are superb. His program of 40% new oak creates aromas reminiscent of black raspberry jam, black cherry…

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Tightrope Winery 2015 Tip-Toe, Okanagan Valley, $22

The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia and the Alsace seem to share enough climatic conditions to make them both ideal for Germanic white wines. Tightrope Winery near Penticton exploits that, then draws on traditional French grapes as well, combining Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Viognier and Chardonnay into its 2015 Tip-Toe blend. The…

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Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2014 The Expedition Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $15

Best Buy! Canoe Ridge Vineyard has given “The Expedition” title to its wines, playing off the ridgetop site named by Lewis and Clark after they noted in 1805 that it looked like an overturned canoe. The winery’s 2014 Merlot from the Horse Heaven Hills offers a hint of pepper, then…

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Garry Oaks 2014 Zweigelt, Salt Spring Island, $16

British Columbia’s Salt Spring Island is worth a summer visit via B.C. Ferries simply for its innate beauty. But it’s also home to some capable wineries, chief among them Garry Oaks Estate, which crafts several varieties of wines and consistently makes excellent Zweigelt, an Austrian grape created only in 1922…

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Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Limited Release Chenin Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills, $24

Bob Bertheau and white winemaker David Rosenthal are doing some of Washington state’s top work in spotlighting this Loire Valley grape, and their comparatively small-lot work with Chenin Blanc from their 34-year-old Horse Heaven Vineyard is beautiful. They refer to this as their “melon-style wine,” and it’s brimming with tones…

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Burnt Bridge Cellars 2013 Blend X Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, $40

College Cellars graduate Ben Stuart continues to enjoy his homecoming to the Portland/Vancouver area as the new winemaker for Burnt Bridge Cellars, not far from historic Fort Vancouver. The Walla Walla Community College product recently took over for cancer researcher/winemaker David Smith, and Stuart did an impeccable job blending this…

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Leah Jørgensen Cellars 2014 Tour Rain Vin Rouge, Oregon, $25

Virginia native Leah Jorgensen saw her Loire Valley-inspired red blend from the 2012 vintage finish No. 33 on Great Northwest Wine’s Top 100 Northwest Wines of 2013, and she’s back with her latest graceful expression of Cabernet Franc and Gamay Noir off two sustainably farmed sites. It’s a 55/45 blend…

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Columbia Winery 2013 Tempranillo, Horse Heaven Hills, $35

This big red grape variety from the Iberian Peninsula shines in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s found a home in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills. Columbia winemaker Sean Hails harvested this early ripener in mid-September and his use of both French and American barrels shows a light hand with new oak…

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Seven Falls Cellars 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $20

Grapes from the Wahluke Slope went into this Cabernet Sauvignon from Seven Falls Cellars, one of the many pearls in Chateau Ste. Michelle’s string of wineries. Still primarily a restaurant pour, its stellar consistency in the hands of winemaker Doug Gore has made it highly coveted. Its nose promises deep…

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Cloudlift Cellars 2013 Stratus Petit Verdot, Yakima Valley, $32

Seattle wood craftsmen Tom Stangeland has transformed much of his studio into a winery/tasting room between SoDo and Georgetown. For these two barrels of Petit Verdot, he concentrated his effort on Joel Hattrup’s Elephant Mountain Vineyard – among the highest-elevation sites in the Yakima Valley. The woodworker reached for new…

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