Private Barrel Auction shows off unique Washington wines

Winemaker Mike Januik talks to a potential bidder at last year’s inaugural Private Barrel Auction, which took place at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Wash. (Photo by Richard Duval Images) WOODINVILLE, Wash. – On Friday, the Auction of Washington Wines will play host to its annual Private Barrel Auction, in…

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Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2014 The Explorer Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills, $22

Downtown Walla Walla winemaker Bill Murray pulls from beyond Canoe Ridge Vineyard for this Syrah-dominant blend with Cabernet Franc (27%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), yet he stays within Precept’s other vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills as Wallula and Alder Ridge combine to supply most of the fruit. Nearly 18…

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Gordon Estate 2015 Reserve Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $28

There’s a bit hedonism and a lot of fruit behind this reserve Chardonnay from historic Gordon Estate, but there’s not an overabundance of oak. Harvested on Aug. 27 off Kamiak Vineyard, which overlooks the Snake River, it spent almost exactly one year in a barrel program of 40% new French…

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Winter’s Hill Winery 2015 Reserve Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hills, $29

The Gladhart family’s 35-acre pocket in the higher elevations of the Dundee Hills seems to suit grapes native to Burgundy, and understated Pinot Blanc does deliciously well here. In the warm vintage of 2015, these berries were harvested Oct. 3, and a percentage of the pressed wine made it into…

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Cloudlift Cellars 2015 Lucy Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley, $14

Best Buy! There are more than 20 wineries among the Seattle Urban Wineries group, and furniture craftsman Tom Stangeland beat most of them, setting up shop in Georgetown well in advance of his debut commercial vintage in 2009. Cabernet Franc has been a signature variety for him, and Stangeland continues…

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Cerebella 2014 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $25

Two branches of the military team up for the wines under the banner of Zimmel Unruh Cellars – Robb Zimmel, a former Army medic, and Jon Unruh, a U.S. Marine. This Syrah from their joint project based in West Richland, Wash., is a product of their second commercial vintage, and…

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Airfield Estates 2014 Syrah, Yakima Valley, $18

Of the more than 20 varieties grown across the Miller family’s 800+ acres in the foothills of Washington’s Rattlesnake Mountain, Syrah is among the standouts year-in and year-out, including the 2014 vintage. The 15 months in oak barrels helps account for jammy aromas of blueberry and cherry compote on toast,…

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Barrister Winery NV Rough Justice Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $23

It’s a rather remarkable logistical effort for attorneys Greg Lipsker and Michael White to create the Rough Justice each year at their winery in downtown Spokane’s Entertainment District. However, the sources for their flagship wine help explain the success they achieve year after year. Their latest blend leads with Merlot…

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Northwest vineyards track ahead of cooler vintages

A cluster of Tempranillo grapes enters veraison at Canyon Ranch Vineyard near the town of Prosser in Washington’s Yakima Valley on July 28, 2017. (Photo by Richard Duval Images) JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — Data shared by climate researcher Greg Jones indicates that the growing degree days gained during month of July…

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Merlot, straight up delicious

Merlot grapes wait to be crushed at a Walla Walla Valley winery. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine) It’s been 13 years since the movie Sideways told filmgoers to not drink Merlot. It’s time to get over it. Merlot, especially in the Pacific Northwest, is delicious, one of the best and…

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