Northwest wine experts pick their dream cases for 2015

By on December 21, 2015
Mike Dunne said wine competitions should evolve.

Our panel of wine experts tasted through thousands of Northwest wines this year. For us, they picked out a dozen of their favorites. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

What would some of the Northwest’s leading wine experts like for Christmas? We asked a dozen of them to pick out their dream cases from all the wines they tasted in 2015.

These 12 wine experts have a broad knowledge of the Pacific Northwest, going back decades. Collectively, they taste thousands of wines per year, figuring out what to stock on their shelves, place on their wine lists and provide to their customers.

We asked each for their dream case. Here’s what they thought.

Doug Charles, Compass Wines

Doug Charles owns Compass Wines in Anacortes, Washington.

Doug Charles, owner of Compass Wines in Anacortes, Wash., pours wine for customers. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Doug Charles is the owner of Compass Wines in Anacortes, Wash. He started his wine career in the late 1970s in the restaurant business, working in Bellevue and later at a restaurant on Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham. In addition to his wine shop, Charles also heads up a couple of wine labels, including ded.reckoning and BBQ Wines. He judges the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Two Vintners 2013 Boushey Vineyard Grenache
  • Woodward Canyon Winery 2012 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Force Majeure 2012 Collaboration V
  • Figgins 2012 Red
  • Ghost Hill Cellars 2012 Bayliss-Bower Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Reynvaan 2013 the Contender
  • Woodinville Wine Cellars 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kelley Fox 2013 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Latta Lawrence Vineyard 2013 Roussanne
  • Lobo Hills 2014 Roth Rock Vineyard Chenin Blanc
  • Golden Ridge 2012 Walla Walla Merlot
  • Ded.reckoning 2013 Red Mountain Reserve

Bonus beer: Fremont Brewing 2015 Dark Star bourbon barrel aged Oatmeal Stout

Yashar Shayan

yashar-featureYashar Shayan is the owner of Impulse Wine, a Seattle-based online wine retailer. He is a certified sommelier who has worked at a number of restaurants and wineries in Western Washington. He is a frequent wine judge throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Carter-Lamour 2012 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
  • Leah Jorgensen Cellars 2014 Loiregon Cabernet Franc
  • Gorman Winery 2013 Old Scratch Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Lawrelin 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Savage Grace 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley
  • Cote Bonneville 2013 Train Station Cabernet Sauvignon, Du Brul Vineyard, Yakima Valley
  • Les Trouves 2013 Red Wine, Columbia Valley
  • Tenet 2013 Pundit Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Passing Time 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Avennia 2013 Sestina Bordeaux Style Red, Columbia Valley
  • Betz 2013 La Côte Patriarche Syrah, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley
  • aMaurice 2011 Anderson Bordeaux Style Red, Columbia Valley

Chris Horn

chris-hornChris Horn is wine director for Seattle-based Heavy Restaurant Group and Purple Café & Wine Bar. H has served in that role for the past nine years. Prior to that, he was assistant wine director at Wild Ginger and The Triple Door. He  judges the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Analemma 2010 Atavus Blanc De Noir Brut, Columbia Gorge
  • Lobo Hills 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley
  • Savage Grace 2014 Underwood Mountain Vineyards Riesling, Columbia Gorge
  • Abeja 2013 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
  • Antica Terra 2013 Angelicall Rosé, Willamette Valley
  • Elemental Cellars 2014 Passe-Tout-Grains, Willamette Valley
  • Kelley Fox Wines 2012 Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir, McMinnville
  • Kerloo 2013 Majestic Grenache, Columbia Valley
  • Reininger 2012 Carménère, Walla Walla Valley
  • Two Vintners 2012 Stoney Vine Vineyard, Some Days Are Stones Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • JB Neufeld 2012 Artz Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Betz Family Winery 2012 Le Parrain Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Mark Takagi

mark-takagiMark Takagi is specialty sales director of the Seattle-based Metropolitan Market group. He judges wines throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Cadence 2011 Tapteil
  • Kevin White 2013 La Fraternite
  • Double Canyon 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • J Christopher 2013 Pinot Noir
  • Poet’s Leap 2014 Riesling
  • Tennet 2013 Syrah “The Pundit”
  • Colene Clemens 2012 Pinot Noir “Margo”
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Merlot
  • Figgins 2012 Red
  • L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Ferguson

Steven Sinkler

Steve Sinkler is a Northwest wine expert.

Steven Sinkler owns The Wine Shack, a wine shop in Cannon Beach, Ore. He also created the Puffin wine brand, which has won numerous awards in 2014. He judges the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Masada Bloc Syrah
  • Elk Cove Vineyards 2014 Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley
  • Sleight of Hand 2012 The Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Bergström 2014 Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir
  • Sokol Blosser 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
  • Puffin 2012 Pinot Noir
  • Angel Vine 2012 Columbia Valley Zinfandel
  • J Scott 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Coe Cellars 2012 Boushey Vineyard Sangiovese
  • Pudding River 2013 Malbec
  • Stoller 2013 Reserve Chardonnay
  • Lujon Cellars 2012 Spofford Station Cabernet Sauvignon

Carrie Wynkoop

carrie-wynkoop-featureCarrie Wynkoop is the founder and owner of Cellar 503, an Oregon wine club. The Northwest native lives in Portland. She tastes through hundreds of wines from throughout Oregon to curate some of the best and most interesting wines for her members.

  • William Rose Wines 2012 Riesling
  • Dion Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay
  • Blizzard Wines 2013 Syrah
  • Matzinger Davies Wines 2013 Gorgeous Savvy Sauvignon Blanc
  • Bradley Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir
  • Jaxon Vineyards 2011 Tradicion
  • Wooldridge Creek Winery 2013 Gewürztraminer
  • LaBrasseur Vineyard 2013 Ethan Cole
  • Eliana Winery 2009 Bordeaux
  • God King Slave Wines 2012 Kinfolk
  • Hood Crest Winery 2012 Super Tesscan
  • Rallison Cellars 2011 Brut Methode Champenoise Oregon Sparkling

Paul Zitarelli

paul-zitarelli-featurePaul Zitarelli is the founder and owner of Full Pull Wines in Seattle. Several times each month, Zitarelli and his crew offer rare and exclusive wines to the Full Pull email list. Zitarelli grew up on the East Coast but made Washington his home after he and his wife made a visit. He’s also the wine writer for Seattle magazine and judges the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Analemma 2011 Blanc de Noir Atavus Vineyard
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard NV Brut, Okanagan Valley
  • Patricia Green Cellars 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Woodward Canyon Winery 2012 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Amavi Cellars 2014 Sèmillon
  • Savage Grace 2014 Riesling Underwood Mountain Vineyard
  • Eyrie Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir Original Vines Reserve
  • Walter Scott 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvee Ruth
  • Avennia 2013  Boushey Vineyard Arnaut Syrah
  • Abeja 2012 Heather Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cadence 2012 Bel Canto
  • La Rata 2012

April Reddout

april-reddout-walter-clore-center-pouringApril Reddout is the wine program director for the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser, Wash. In that role, she evaluates wines to be tasted at the Clore Center tasting room, and she also organizes blind tastings. Reddout is regularly judges in professional wine competitions throughout the Northwest, including the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, the Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging and the Idaho Wine Competition.

  • Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blanc
  • Co Dinn Cellars 2013 Chardonnay
  • Nefarious Cellars 2013 Viognier
  • Martinez & Martinez May Mae Rosé
  • Schooler Nolan Sauvignon Blanc
  • Columbia Crest 2012 Walter Clore Reserve
  • Syncline Wine Cellars 2013 Mourvedre, Red Mountain
  • Maison Bleue 2011 Grenache
  • Native Sun 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Revelry 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kiona Vineyards 2012 Old Block Cab
  • Barnard Griffin 2013 Syrah Port

Ilene Dudunake

ilene-dudanakiIlene Dudunake owns A New Vintage Wine Shop near Boise, Idaho. She is a longtime wine professional and expert in Pacific Northwest wines who judges events such as the Idaho Wine Competition, Great Northwest Wine Competition and Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Amavi Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Russell Creek Tributary Red
  • Telaya Wine Co. French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Hat Ranch Winery Estate Dry Moscato
  • Williamson Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Coiled Wines Dry Riesling
  • Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
  • Michelle Sparkling Wine Brut Rosé
  • Seven Hills Winery Merlot
  • Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris
  • Huston Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay
  • Koenig Vineyards Ice Wine

Mike Dunne

mike-dunne-featureMike Dunne has been the wine columnist for The Sacramento Bee for several decades. He is considered one of the top experts on the wines of the Sierra Foothills of California. He’s also one of the West Coast’s top wine judges.

  • Bergström Wines 2012 Sigrid Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
  • Chehalem Wines 2012 Ridgecrest Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge
  • Beaux Freres 2007 Beaux Freres Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge
  • Quady North 2010  Serenade Vineyard Syrah, Rogue Valley
  • Domaine Drouhin Oregon 2012  Laurene Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
  • Vizcaya Winery 2011 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley
  • Hat Ranch Winery 2014 Estate Dry Moscato, Snake River Valley
  • Bitner Vineyards 2013  Riesling, Snake River Valley
  • Abacela 2013 Estate Albariño, Umpqua Valley
  • Colter’s Creek 2012 Koos-Koos-Kia Red, Idaho
  • Cinder Wines 2012 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley
  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2012 Traditions Merlot, Columbia Valley

Jean Yates

jean-yates-photo-10-2015Jean Yates is the owner of Oregon Wine Marketing. For several years, she was the owner of Avalon Wine, a wine shop in Corvallis, Ore., that revolutionized online wine marketing and sales. She judges the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2012 Masada Block Syrah
  • Walter Scott 2014 Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Bookwalter 2014 Old Vine Chenin Blanc
  • Arterberry Maresh 2014 Maresh Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Rasa 2013 Vox Populi Mourvèdre Monette’s Vineyard
  • Beaux Freres 2012 Upper Terrace Pinot Noir
  • Thomas 2013 Pinot Noir
  • Patricia Green Cellars 2013 Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Brick House 2013 Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir
  • Cameron 2014 Dazzle
  • Bergström 2013 Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Chapter 24 2013 Last Chapter Pinot Noir

Ellen Landis

ellen-landisEllen Landis is one of the top wine judges in the United States and is considered one of the most knowledgeable wine professionals in the United States. This year, she and her husband, Ken, sold their luxury bed and breakfast on California’s Half Moon Bay to move to the Pacific Northwest. They now live in Vancouver, Wash. She judges the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

  • Northstar Winery 2011 Premier Merlot
  • Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Revelation & Sorek Bloc Gruner Veltliner
  • Cayuse Vineyards 2013 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah
  • Domaine Serene 2013 Clos du Lune Chardonnay
  • Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Bernau Block Pinot Noir
  • Abacela 2014 Estate Albariño
  • Sperling Vineyards 2012 Old Vines Riesling
  • Ayoub 2013 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Cathedral Ridge Winery 2013 Bolton Vineyard Reserve Barbera
  • Eight Bells Winery 2012 Red Willow Vineyard 8 Clones Syrah
  • Dunham Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon XVIII
  • Martin-Scott Winery 2013 Needle Rock Vineyard Montepulciano

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

One Comment

  1. Tess

    December 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Wow!! What an honor! Thank you so much!!

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