Eleganté Cellars 2011 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $35

The Walla Walla airport complex is home to a variety of quality producers, including Doug Simmons’ quaint Eleganté Cellars. He remains committed to Les Collines Vineyard in the Blue Mountain foothills south of town for his Syrah, a low-alcohol, food-friendly drink with distinctive, savory and brambly tones of blueberry, red…

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Balancing Act 2014 Chardonnay, Washington, $12

Best Buy! The Chardonnay portion of this second label for Tamarack Cellars in Walla Walla is unoaked and fruit-forward as it blends Ron Coleman’s grape sourcing and Danny Gordon’s skill with blending. Expressive aromatics instill thoughts of honey, dried pineapple, candied apricot, white peach, canned corn and lemon juice. There’s…

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Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2014 Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $22

Stephen Cary continues to produce superb work with the flagship wine for Yamhill Valley Vineyards, the oldest winery in the McMinnville American Viticultural Area. Selections from Sept. 23 through Oct. 14 were made at 24. 9 Brix, and the vintage allowed for him to hang 3.2 tons per acre. In…

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Lauren Ashton Cellars 2012 Proprietor’s Cuvée Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $65

Kit Singh’s latest version of a Left Bank Bordeaux blend ranks right alongside the best efforts of the Woodinville dentist’s young winemaking career. It began in some of Washington’s top vineyards – Ambassador and Quintessence on Red Mountain, Upland on Snipes Mountain, Dineen in the Rattlesnake Hills and Stillwater Creek…

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TeSòAria Vineyard & Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Oregon, $35

Vegan vintner John Olson bought this Roseburg, Ore., winery in 2008 and opened a Portland tasting room five years later. He crafts a wide variety of wines, and this Sauvignon Blanc is one of his best. Aromas of grass, green herbs and muskiness lead to flavors of crisp Granny Smith…

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L’Ecole No. 41 2015 Old Vines Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, $15

Best Buy! A generation ago, Chenin Blanc was a variety that produced cherished wines along the West Coast. Fortunately, Marty Clubb has remained an ardent champion of this grape native to the Loire Valley, and he continues to secure contracts with four venerable vineyards in the Yakima Valley. Phil Church,…

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Walla Walla’s Jeff Popick retires this week from viticulture program

Jeff Popick is retiring this week after spending six years teaching viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. He plans to move to Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine) WALLA WALLA, Wash. – As much as he wishes this gig could go on for a few more years, this is…

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Jones of Washington 2012 Estate Vineyards Barrel Select Red Wine, Wahluke Slope, $25

The Jones family owns and operates nearly a dozen vineyard sites in Washingt’s Columbia Basin, and eight of those are on the Wahluke Slope. Among those is Big River Vineyard, the source for this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Carméneère (22%) and Syrah. A barrel program involving 18 months in…

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Tightrope Winery 2014 Vertigo Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $40

Naramata Bench winemaker Lyndsay O’Rourke produces brilliant whites and bright reds that earn high marks in U.S. competition, and this latest version of her proprietary blend with a focus on Merlot (58%), Barbera (27%) and Cabernet Franc. All three varieties are grown on their vineyard near Fleet Road, this carries…

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

As part of his second commercial vintage, Naramata Bench sparkling wine producer Jay Drysdale produced 50-case, single-vineyard reserve sparkling Chardonnay lots from two blocks near Oliver, British Columbia – not far from the border crossing at Oroville, Wash. Each lot was developed for a delayed release, and Drysdale chose to…

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