Forsyth Brio 2011 Kiona Vineyard Mourvèdre, Red Mountain, $35

David Forsyth has earn respect throughout his career in the Washington wine industry both in terms of research and winemaking for some of the state’s most important wineries. His own boutique project focuses on small lots – no more than three barrels – from a single vineyard. And they aren’t…

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Henry Estate Winery 2015 Müller-Thurgau, Umpqua Valley, $15

Best Buy! The Henry family continues to produce one of the most consistently delicious examples of Müller-Thurgau grown in the Pacific Northwest. Their work in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley allows them to hang 6 tons per acre and pick it well below 24 Brix, allowing them to develop aromas of…

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Westport Winery Garden Resort 2014 Red Willow Vineyard Maritime Sparkling Riesling, Yakima Valley, $28

One of Washington’s youngest sparkling wine producers has targeted one of the state’s most venerable vineyards for this deliciously effervescent expression with Riesling. Its pretty nose of cardamom, apple and pear includes hints of lemon meringue pie, cotton candy and starfruit. Sweet pears, Honeycrisp apple and cotton candy flavors run…

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Mazzacano Cellars 2013 Sotto Vocce Grenache, Yakima Valley, $45

Longtime Yakima Valley winemaker Flint Nelson offers his own brand – Mazzacano Cellars – in addition to the wines he’s made with Cat Warwick under their nascent Wit Cellars label. That he’s able to purchase Grenache, now one of the state’s most coveted varieties, from Precept’s Canyon Vineyard Ranch near…

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Baer Winery 2013 Ursa Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $43

This storied project in Woodinville continues to produce wines that would have made the late Lance Baer proud, and here’s its flagship bottling – a Right Bank-style blend of Merlot (42%), Cabernet Franc (42%), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%) and Petit Verdot all off Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Frenchman Hills. Erica…

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Elk Cove Vineyards 2014 Mount Richmond Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $60

Adam Campbell and his parents have experienced a number of classic vintages for Oregon Pinot Noir, and they view the early quality of 2014 alongside those from 1988 and 2002. Adam and his wife, Carrie, went in as partners with his folks when they purchased Mount Richmond Vineyard in 1996,…

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Charles Smith reshapes Washington wine industry

Charles Smith sold his Charles Smith Wines brand to Constellation this week. (Photo by Richard Duval/Great Northwest Wine) SEATTLE – When Charles Smith makes a move, the earth moves. On Monday, a big “crack” was heard throughout the Washington wine industry when it was announced that Smith had sold his…

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Westport Winery Garden Resort 2014 Mermaid Merlot, Yakima Valley, $28

Coastal winemaker Dana Roberts collaborates with Two Blondes – the estate vineyard of acclaimed maritime winemaker Chris Camarda of famed Andrew Will – for this swimmingly easy-drinking Merlot. Bing cherries, cocoa powder, mint and brushy aromas lead to a jammy tasting profile of strawberry and raspberry with chocolaty oak. Plush…

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Cabernet Franc a gentler version of Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Franc grapes are grown throughout Washington’s Columbia Valley, where Bordeaux varieties thrive. (Photo by Niranjana Perdue/Great Northwest Wine) Cabernet Franc often is viewed as a kinder, gentler version of Cabernet Sauvignon, kind of like its little brother. More correctly, it’s more of a father figure. DNA testing in 1997…

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Seven of Hearts 2014 Vigna Giovanni Vineyard Riesling, Yamhill-Carlton, $21

Willamette Valley winemaker Byron Dooley takes a complex approach to this age-worthy Riesling, starting with Vigna Giovanni Vineyard – a site southeast of the town of Yamhill and established in 1983. His use of 60% neutral French barrels for the Oct. 11 harvest helps create aromas of baked apple and…

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