Northwest wineries shine on Wine Spectator bargain list

By on April 8, 2017

Vineyard manager Juan Uribe, left, and Juan Muñoz Oca, head winemaker at Columbia Crest in Paterson, Wash., collaborate on some of the best value wines made in the United States, according to Wine Spectator magazine. (Photo courtesy of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates)

Wine Spectator, the world’s leading wine publication, pays tribute to some of the Pacific Northwest’s top wines on a regular basis.

The year-end 2009 issue goes down as one of the most important milestones in the region’s history when the Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was selected as Wine Spectator’s No. 1 wine of the year.

This spring, Spectator shows its appreciation for the Northwest industry’s ability to produce wines of value within its April 30 issue. The cover featuring Italian vintner Marilisa Allegrini includes the headline “Special Report: Best Bottles at $15 or Less.”

The spread begins on page 93, spans six pages and lists 89 domestic wines. Fifty are from producers in either Washington state or Oregon.

Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2014 Syrah stands atop

Once again, Columbia Crest, the giant in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills, stands atop the list with its 2014 Grand Estates Syrah at $12.

Keith Newton, senior copy editor, pulled from reviews written by editor-at-large Harvey Steiman and senior editors Tim Fish, James Laube, James Molesworth and Maryann Worobiec on a project titled, “Extreme Values: Top Bargain Bottles from Across the U.S.”

It is so dominated by Northwest producers that one may feel compelled to take a moment to see if the report is sponsored content – an advertisement.

The project worked with a price ceiling of $15, and Washington state and Oregon dominated the results in the red, white and rosé categories. Fish recently took over Wine Spectator’s coverage of Washington and Oregon from Steiman.

Of the top 10 reds, eight were from Washington state. This list runs 42 deep, and 25 hail from either Oregon or Washington producers.

Columbia Crest 2014 Grand Estates Syrah, Washington, $12
14 Hands 2013 Kentucky Derby Red Blend Limited Release, Columbia Valley, $15
Goose Ridge Vineyards 2014 G3 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley $15
Ross Andrew 2013 Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $15
Cooper Mountain 2014 Cooper Hill Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $15
14 Hands 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $12
House Wine 2014 Mountain Merlot, America, $11
Sagelands Vineyard 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $10
Waterbrook Winery 2014 Melange Founder’s Red, Columbia Valley, $13

And while red wines by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Precept Wine are prominent players on this list, other producers represented are Barnard Griffin, Charles Smith Wines, Diversion (Division Wine Co.), Lone Birch (Airfield Estates), North by Northwest (King Estate), Sokol Blosser and Three Rivers Winery.

Oregon’s A to Z, Canoe Ridge shines with white, rosé

A to Z Wineworks, Oregon’s largest wine company, holds the pole position for whites. Again, the list spans 42 wines with a score of 86 points or greater. Exactly half come from the Pacific Northwest.

A to Z Wineworks 2015 Pinot Gris, Oregon, $15
Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2015 The Expedition Pinot Gris, Horse Heaven Hills, $15
Columbia Crest 2014 H3 Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, $15
Hogue Cellars 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $10
A to Z Wineworks 2015 Riesling, Oregon, $15

Among the whites, there’s more diversity with brands such as Acrobat (King Estate), Columbia (Gallo), Erath (Ste. Michelle), Firesteed, L’Ecole No. 41, Pike Road (Elk Cove Vineyards), Skyfall (a Precept/Deutsch partnership), Snoqualmie (Ste. Michelle) and Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Wine Spectator’s Extra Values report closes with the rosé category. Just five were listed, but four of those five were made in the Northwest, paced by the Canoe Ridge Vineyard 2015 The Expedition Rosé from the Columbia Valley ($15).

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About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region’s longest-running golf publication.

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