House Wine 2013 Mountain Merlot, American, $10

Best Buy! Precept’s Original House Wine project, founded by Washington iconoclast Charles Smith, goes a bit beyond the state for its Mountain Merlot. Complex aromas of warm blackberry cobbler and plum include red bell pepper, cinnamon bark, vanilla extract and chalkboard dust. There’s also a pinch of oregano, a sign…

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L’Ecole No. 41 2015, Alder Ridge Vineyard Grenache Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $22

The little schoolhouse in the Walla Walla Valley has three tiers within its “family of wines,” and Mike Sharon’s rosé from the Horse Heaven Hills is among the nine amid his exclusive bottlings. He’s been making pink from Grenache off Alder Ridge going back to 2010, and it’s telling to…

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Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $24

Precept Wine operates the 181-acre Canoe Ridge Vineyard, one of the earliest plantings in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills. Since established in 1989, it’s developed into an important fruit source for the Seattle company, and former Napa winemaker Bill Murray now spearheads the wine production in Walla Walla. His reserve bottling…

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Buried Cane 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $16

The Middleton family first made its mark in Walla Walla with its high-end Cadaretta tier, but its entry-level Buried Cane program is worthy of following, too. Kendall Mix is the latest high-profile winemaker employed by the Middletons, and his work with this Cab is exemplary. Classic aromas of black currant,…

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Plain Cellars 2014 Chardonnay, Snipes Mountain, $26

Bob Sage launched his Wenatchee Valley winery in 2005, and young winemaker Garrett Grubbs helped bring continued success to Plain Cellars since his arrival in 2012. There’s a perception of light oak behind the abundant fresh pineapple and Okanagan Dried Apple Chips in the nose. Its crisp entry of citrus…

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L’Ecole No. 41 2014 Seven Hills Vineyard Estate Luminesce, Walla Walla Valley, $22

The previous vintage for this white Bordeaux blend leaned more toward Sèmillon, but winemaker Mike Sharon’s latest offering is 50/50 with Sauvignon Blanc. All of it comes off one of the Northwest’s premier plantings, the 230-acre Seven Hills Vineyard, planted in 1981 and partially owned by Marty Clubb. A four-month…

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AniChe Cellars banks on future in downtown Hood River

Rachael Horn, owner and head winemaker for AniChe Cellars in the Columbia Gorge town of Underwood, Wash., opens the doors to her satellite tasting room inside the historic Butler Banking Co. building on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine) HOOD RIVER, Ore. – Washington winemaker Rachael…

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Bella Wines 2012 Oliver Westside Reserve Brut Natural, Okanagan Valley, $55

Naramata Bench sparkling wine producer Jay Drysdale used Chardonnay from Secrest Mountain Vineyards on the west bench north of Oliver, British Columbia, for the other half of his small-lot reserve project. The fruit from near McIntyre Bluff allows for classic aromas of light toast, brioche, Gala apple and dried pear.…

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Dunham Cellars 2013 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $35

Dunham Cellars longtime winemaker Daniel Wampfler created this classic Washington Syrah within the vintage that saw founder Mike Dunham pass away as a result of cancer. It’s a product of Lewis Estate Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, Kenny Hill Estate Vineyard and XL Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley and…

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Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Winemaker’s Reserve Syrah, Umpqua Valley, $29

Last fall, Stephen Reustle received the Six Nations Wine Challenge award in Australia for best Syrah and he remains on the mark with this reserve bottling, one of the four expressions of this Rhône variety that he grows near Roseburg, Ore. (The invite-only judging Down Under gave best of class…

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