best washington wine buys of the month

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I have been doing a monthly blog entry on the Best NW wines tasted over the past four weeks, but it inevitably focuses on pricier wines. Once in awhile a $20 wine slips in, but the majority of the high scorers are pricey. So I’m inaugurating an occasional Best Buys blog, to focus on the top under $15 wines that I have recently reviewed that combine good to excellent quality with high value pricing.

I taste many thousands of wines (mostly Washington, Oregon and California) each year. Out of them, a small percentage hit the mark for both exceptional quality and low prices. As consumers have been noting (with unconcealed glee), prices for fine wines from everywhere have been dropping. A wine glut, a winery glut, a global surplus of grapes and juice, and the generally gloomy world economy have all contributed. But it hasn't been this easy to find excellent wines at every day prices in at least 20 years.

With that in mind, here are some current Washington releases that really ring the bargain bell. Prices quoted are suggested retail (nothing over $15) and in many instances you may find them selling for less, especially at big box retailers such as Costco. Happy hunting!

Magnificent Wine Company 2010 Fish House Sauvignon Blanc; $11
Bright, herbaceous flavors of melon and citrus, with a lemony snap. The sort of wine that goes well with many types of seafood, from oysters on up to halibut steaks.

Magnificent Wine Company 2009 House Wine Red; $11
Except for a splash of Syrah, this qualifies as a Cabernet-centric Bordeaux style blend. Hard to find a better bottle of blended red wine at the price. This has grip and breed, with tart red fruits, ripe tannins, a wash of herb and tart acidity.

Magnificent Wine Company 2009 Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon; $11
More fruit forward than most Washington Cabs, with blackberry, black cherry, cassis and coffee flavors. Tannins are tight and add just enough depth; more of a Bordeaux than a California style.

Script & Seal 2009 White Blend; $12
All stainless fermented, mostly Chardonnay, clean, crisp, stylish and focused. It brings green apple and melon fruit up against a firm border of skin tannins – citrus rind and such.

Saint Laurent 2009 Riesling; $12
Estate-grown grapes yield a Germanic wine, with 11.7% alcohol and 2.4% residual sugar. Bracing and succulent, it mixes orange and Meyer lemon fruit with an underlying minerality.

Script & Seal 2008 Red Blend; $13
A new label from Dusted Valley Vintners. Primarily syrah, complex and layered, with dark berries, licorice, coffee liqueur, and roasted meat.

Boomtown 2010 Pinot Gris; $13
Bracing fruit mixes apple, melon and cucumber, then fills out in the middle with pretty herb and grass.

Mercer Estates 2009 Riesling; $14
Rather delicate, this well-crafted riesling mingles green apple, pear, lemon zest, grapefruit and melon fruit flavors. Good length and texture, with lemon tea flavors to finish.

Buried Cane 2009 Whiteline No Oak Chardonnay; $14
Cool climate fruit puts the accent on lime and lemon flavors, keeps the alcohol low (13.3%), and makes this a fine match to shellfish, white fish, and light pasta dishes.

Rulo 2008 Syrca Red Wine; $15
Syrca marries a Syrah-dominant nose to a mouthfeel that is lithe and muscular. Flavors mix fruit preserves with harmonious barrel influences –coffee grounds, cocoa and toast.

Jones of Washington 2010 Sauvignon Blanc; $15
Honeysuckle scents and ripe, fresh fruit flavors run from grapefruit on into tropical. Clean and quite delicious.

Crayelle Cellars 2009 Dry Riesling; $15
Tart and racy in an Australian style, with lemon/lime fruit wrapped in dry minerals. Juicy and fragrant.

Brian Carter Cellars 2008 Abracadabra Red; $15
Always a fine value, even better now with a price drop to $15. Ten different grapes are included, yet the wine has focus and style.

1 comment:

Craig Mitrakul said...

Nice list Paul and you're right. There are some amazing values out there right now... especially in WA. Thanks for including a few that I've made.

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