Judges select favorites from 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition

By on March 29, 2016
Judging team for the Cascadia Wine Competition

The judging team for the fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition poses in front of the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

HOOD RIVER, Ore. – Not every wine wins a gold medal at wine competitions. In fact, fewer than 20 percent do.

And wine judges do not always agree on everything. We asked our judges at the fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition to give a list of some of their favorite wines, what we call “Judges Selections.”

While some of the wines listed here did win gold medals, most did not. However, our judges kept track of wines they thought were gold medals (or very close).

At the Cascadia Wine Competition, held in the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore., our 22 judges worked in teams to taste through more than 1,000 wines to determine the best. They tasted all wines blind, meaning they didn’t know the producers or the prices of the wines until after the competition was over.

Here are the Judges Selections:

Yashar Shayan

Yashar Shayan is the owner of Impulse Wine, a Seattle-based online wine retailer. He is a certified sommelier who has worked in several Washington restaurants, wine shops and wineries.

  • Indian Creek Winery 2015 Rosé of Syrah, Snake River Valley, $16
  • Elk Cove Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, $19
  • Koenig Vineyards 2014 Late Harvest Riesling Botrytis, Snake River Valley, $30
  • Pacific Rim Winemakers 2014 Hahn Hill Vineyard Chenin Blanc, Yakima Valley, $15
  • Nine Hats Wines 2014 Benches Vineyard Pinot Gris, Horse Heaven Hills, $12
  • Woodward Canyon 2014 Chardonnay, Washington, $44
  • Tenet Wines 2014 The Pundit Syrah, Columbia Valley, $25
  • College Cellars 2014 Carménère, Walla Walla Valley, $20

Stephen Reustle

Stephen Reustle is the owner and winemaker for Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards near Roseburg, Ore.

  • Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 Moscato, Rattlesnake Hills, $15
  • Tesoaria Vineyard & Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Oregon, $35
  • Spangler Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Franc, Southern Oregon, $27
  • Northstar 2012 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $41
  • Burnt Bridge Cellars 2013 Couve Cuvée, Columbia Valley, $25
  • Le Chateau 2012 Castle Red, Columbia Valley, $18
  • Indian Creek Winery 2012 Star Garnet, Snake River Valley, $14
  • Iris Vineyards 2014 Aroha Vineyard Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, $28
  • Moon Curser Vineyards 2013 Contraband Series Petit Verdot, Okanagan Valley, $32

Kristine Bono

Kristine Bono is the tasting room manager for Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery near Richland, Wash. She is a frequent judge throughout the Pacific Northwest and has worked at such wineries as Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Col Solare, both in Washington.

  • Columbia Crest 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $45
  • Basalt Cellars 2010 Malbec, Columbia Valley, $28
  • Locus Wines 2015 Rosé, Yakima Valley, $15
  • Ryan Patrick 2015 Rosé, Columbia Valley, $12
  • Fidelitas 2013 Optu, Red Mountain, $50
  • Pondera Winery 2012 Passion, Columbia Valley, $38
  • College Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, $20

Shelly Fitzgerald

Shelly Fitzgerald is a sommelier and wine educator. She works for Columbia Winery in Woodinville, Wash.

  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2014 Traditions Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13
  • Moon Curser Vineyards 2013 Contraband Series Malbec, Okanagan Valley, $32
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $36
  • Silvara Vineyards 2013 Red Blend, Washington, $32
  • Mt. Hood Winery NV Summit Red, Oregon, $22
  • Goose Ridge Vineyards 2014 GRV Columbia Valley, $25
  • Iris Vineyards 2014 Aroha Vineyard Merlot, Umpqua Valley, $24
  • Palouse Winery 2015 Cloud Nine Riesling, Columbia Valley, $22

Amberleigh Brownson

Amberleigh Brownson is co-owner/sommelier of Eat Restaurant, Bellingham, Wash.

  • Woodward Canyon 2013 Charbonneau Red Wine, Walla Walla County, $89
  • Woodward Canyon 2013 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $99
  • Double Canyon 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $65
  • Van Duzer Vineyards 2015 Rosé, Willamette Valley, $20
  • Et Fille 2013 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $48
  • Westport Winery 2014 Fleur de Lis Pinot Gris, Columbia Gorge, $26
  • 14 Hands Winery 2013 Kentucky Derby Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $12
  • JoieFarm 2015 A Noble Blend, Okanagan Valley, $24
  • Tightrope Winery 2015 Rosé, Okanagan Valley, $22
  • College Cellars 2015 Inland Desert Vineyard Muscat, Yakima Valley, $15
  • Thurston Wolfe 2012 Zephyr Ridge Vineyard Reserve Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills, $30

Coco Umiker

Coco Umiker is the co-owner and winemaker for Clearwater Canyon Cellars in Lewiston, Idaho.

  • Ryan Patrick 2014 Reserve Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $20
  • Zerba Cellars 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $55
  • Double Canyon 2012 Double Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $65
  • Woodward Canyon 2012 Estate Reserve, Walla Walla Valley, $79
  • Nodland Cellars 2012 Private Blend, Walla Walla Valley, $28
  • Chaberton Estate Winery 2014 Riesling, British Columbia, $16
  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Grenache, Umpqua Valley, $27
  • Tightrope Winery 2015 Tip-Toe, Okanagan Valley, $22
  • Amelia Wynn 2013 The Dwelley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $32
  • Et Fille Wines 2013 Heredity Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $34

Richard Larsen

Richard Larsen is the research winemaker for Washington State University. He is at the WSU Wine Science Center in Richland, Wash.

  • Naches Heights Vineyard 2013 Grenache, Yakima Valley, $30
  • Et Fille Wines 2013 Heredity Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $34
  • Saviah Cellars 2013 GSM, Washington, $38
  • Van Duzer Vineyards 2013 WestSide Blocks Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $60
  • Zerba Cellars 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $55
  • Westport Winery 2014 Shorebird, Columbia Valley, $26
  • Lumos Wine Co. 2012 Temperance Hill Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $38
  • Cinder 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Malbec, Snake River Valley, $29
  • Ambassador Wines of Washington 2013 Estate Envoy, Red Mountain, $35
  • DeLille Cellars 2013 D2, Columbia Valley, $45
  • Naches Heights Vineyard 2013 Syrah, Naches Heights, $25
  • Garry Oaks 2014 Zweigelt, Salt Spring Island, $16

Patrick Spangler

Patrick Spangler is the owner and winemaker for Spangler Vineyards near Roseburg, Ore.

  • Bunnell Family Cellar 2010 Discovery Vineyard Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, $44
  • Pacific Rim Winemakers NV White Flowers Sparkling Riesling Brut, Columbia Valley, $19
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Les Collines Vineyard Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $36
  • Malaga Springs Winery 2012 Reserve Zinfandel, Washington, $32
  • Convergence Zone Cellars 2014 Sunbreak Chenin Blanc, Snipes Mountain, $15

Megan Hughes

Megan Hughes is the enologist for Barnard Griffin in Richland, Wash.

  • Martin-Scott Winery 2012 Shaw Vineyard Cabernet, Red Mountain, $28
  • Moon Curser Vineyards 2013 Contraband Series Malbec, Okanagan Valley, $32
  • Firesteed 2014 Pinot Noir, Oregon, $18
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Northridge Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $40
  • Le Chateau 2012 Castle Red, Columbia Valley, $18
  • Tsillan Cellars 2013 Estate Bellissima Rossa, Lake Chelan, $28
  • Eleven Winery 2013 La Ronde, Washington, $33
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $24
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 McKinley Springs Vineyard Mourvèdre, Horse Heaven Hills, $34
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Mourvèdre, Rattlesnake Hills, $45
  • Coiled Wines 2015 Dry Riesling, Snake River Valley, $17
  • Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 Moscato, Rattlesnake Hills, $15
  • Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake Chelan, $22

April Reddout

April Reddout is the wine program director for the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser, Wash.

  • Mercer Estates Winery 2013 Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills, $26
  • Whidbey Island Winery 2014 Malbec, Columbia Valley, $20
  • Newhouse Family Vineyards 2010 Vestige, Snipes Mountain, $48
  • Anelare 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $30
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Proprietor’s Reserve Merlot, Columbia Valley, $34
  • Convergence Zone Cellars 2014 Dewpoint Riesling, Columbia Valley, $14

Gordy Venneri

Gordy Venneri is the co-owner and co-winemaker for Walla Walla Vintners in Walla Walla, Wash.

  • Gamache Vintners 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $30
  • Upchurch Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $68
  • Coach House Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $30
  • Cinder 2014 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley, $18
  • Tsillan Cellars 2013 Estate Syrah, Lake Chelan, $30
  • Barnard Griffin 2014 Reserve Syrah, Columbia Valley, $35
  • Whidbey Island Winery 2015 Rosato, Columbia Valley, $16
  • Desert Wind Winery 2014 Ruah, Wahluke Slope, $20
  • Deer Creek Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, $16
  • Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2013 Coco’s Reserve Malbec, Washington, $38
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20
  • Et Fille Wines 2013 Palmer Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, $48
  • Dobbes Family Estate 2013 Patricia’s Cuvée Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $55

Ilene Dudunake

Ilene Dudunake is the owner of A New Vintage Wine Shop in Meridian, Idaho.

  • Barnard Griffin 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14
  • Burnt Bridge Cellars 2013 Les Collines Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $40
  • Bunnell Family Cellar NV Wine o’Clock Snipes Creek Redd, Columbia Valley, $26
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Les Collines Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $40
  • Kennedy Shah 2013 Reserve Tempranillo, Rattlesnake Hills, $42
  • Plain Cellars 2013 Just Plain Red, Columbia Valley, $28
  • Smasne Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc, Snipes Mountain, $44
  • JoieFarm Winery 2015 Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley, $23
  • Thurston Wolfe 2012 Zephyr Ridge Vineyard Reserve Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills, $30
  • Palencia Winery 2015 Albariño, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $18
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $30

Jean Yates

Jean Yates is the owner of Oregon Wine Marketing. She is a frequent judge throughout the Pacific Northwest.

  • Lumos Wine Co. 2013 Five Blocks Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $25
  • Quady North 2015 Pistoleta, Rogue Valley, $20
  • Schmidt Family Vineyards 2014 Albariño, Applegate Valley, $24
  • Ryan Patrick 2015 Rosé, Columbia Valley, $12
  • Wild Goose Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, $18
  • Willamette Valley Vineyards 2014 Estate PInot Noir, Willamette Valley, $30
  • Et Fille Wines 2012 Deux Vert Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $48
  • Tightrope Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, $35
  • Wy’East Vineyards 2014 Blue Chip Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge, $25
  • Carlton Cellars 2014 Seven Devils Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $25
  • Plaisance Ranch 2013 Carménère, Applegate Valley, $30
  • Plumb Cellars 2012 Estate Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley, $24

Ellen Landis

Ellen Landis is a sommelier and renowned wine judge who recently relocated from California to Washington. She writes at Ellen On Wine.

  • Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013 Winemaker’s Reserve Gruner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley, $29
  • Upchurch Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $68
  • Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2013 Coco’s Reserve Malbec, Washington, $38
  • Cascade Cliffs 2014 Barbera, Columbia Valley, $55
  • Deer Creek Vineyards 2015 Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, $16
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20
  • Winter’s Hill Estate 2014 Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hills, $17
  • Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $55
  • Goose Ridge Vineyards 2014 GRV, Columbia Valley, $25
  • Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Trentenaire, Columbia Valley, $45
  • Hightower Cellars 2013 Estate Red Wine, Red Mountain, $45
  • Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards 2015 Shameless Hussy, Columbia Valley, $18

Don Elsing

Don Elsing, formerly the wine director at Sun Mountain Lodge, is a now the tasting room manager at Fielding Hills Winery in East Wenatchee, Wash.

  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2015 Shepherds Mark, Horse Heaven Hills, $24
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20
  • DeLille Cellars 2013 D2, Columbia Valley, $45
  • Hightower Cellars 2013 Estate Red Wine, Red Mountain, $45
  • L’Ecole No 41 2015 Grenache Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $22
  • Upchurch Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $68

Daniel Carr

Dan Carr is co-owner/executive chef of Visconti’s Restaurant Group in Wenatchee, Wash. Visconti’s was named Restaurant of the Year in 2013 by the Washington State Wine Commission. He also operates Cured by Visconti.

  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2014 Traditions Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13
  • Mercer Estates Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $28
  • Desert Wind Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $18
  • Firesteed 2014 Pinot Noir, Oregon, $18
  • Firesteed 2013 Pinot Noir, Oregon, $18
  • Saviah Cellars 2013 Reserve Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $45
  • Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, $11
  • Robert Karl Cellars 2013 Claret, Horse Heaven Hills, $22
  • Huston Vineyards 2015 Riesling, Snake River Valley, $19
  • Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2015 Moscato, Rattlesnake Hills, $15

Mary Cressler

Mary Cressler is a sommelier/journalist at Vindulge.com, which is part of Vindulge Wine Education & Consulting. She is based in Portland, Ore.

  • Harry & David 2014 Rosé, Oregon, $18
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Clifton Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $40
  • Maryhill Winery 2013 Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $40
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Ethos Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $48
  • Tightrope Winery 2014 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, $35
  • Saviah Cellars 2013 Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, $38
  • Kennedy Shah 2013 Reserve Tempranillo, Rattlesnake Hills, $42
  • Bitner Vineyards 2014 Riesling, Snake River Valley, $17
  • Melrose Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay, Umpqua Valley, $18
  • L’Ecole No 41 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $25
  • Barnard Griffin 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14
  • Jacob Williams Winery 2013 Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge, $30
  • Robert Karl Cellars, 2013, Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, $24

 

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-spam measure * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.