12 northwest wines make the wine enthusiast top 100 wines of the year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The final and most-anticipated Wine Enthusiast Top 100 list is out today – the 2013 Best of Year. You can find the full list posted online here, but it’s of particular interest to see how Northwest wineries have fared. And the answer is very, very well. Here they are, with their rank, score and suggested (original) retail pricing.

#86 – 93 Chehalem 2011 Ridgecrest Vineyards Wind Ridge Block Pinot Noir; $50

#83 – 95 Gorman 2009 The Bully Cabernet Sauvignon; $45

#75 – 94 Foundry Vineyards 2011 Stainless Chardonnay; $24

#70 – 94 Dunham 2011 Lewis Estate Vineyard Riesling; $20

#64 – 94 Guardian Cellars 2012 Angel Sauvignon Blanc; $20

#54 – 94 Poet’s Leap 2012 Riesling; $20

#48 – 94 Kevin White 2011 La Fraternité; $20

#43 – 95 Bergström 2010 Sigrid Chardonnay; $80

#39 – 95 Maison Bleue 2010 Boushey Vineyard Le Midi Grenache; $35

#34 – 95 Pacific Rim 2010 Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling; $32

#6 – 98 Cayuse 2010 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah; $80

#4 – 94 Trisaetum 2012 Ribbon Ridge Estate Dry Riesling; $24

Quite a few things stand out here, but first, congratulations to everyone on the list! A dozen wineries – 3.5 from Oregon, 8.5 from Washington (I’m splitting Cayuse down the middle!) – are represented. Solid, especially considering the number of Northwest wines on the previous two lists.

There are four Rieslings, two Chardonnays, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Noir, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Syrah, a Grenache and a red Rhône blend. That’s an impressive spread of quality across varieties.

Now look at the prices. This is not the Top 100 Best Buys – it’s the Top 100 Best Wines. Eight of these wines are priced under $40, and half of those are just $20. Amazing value, unmatched by any other region in the world.

Given that this list, like the others, is drawn from reviews published over the past year, virtually all of these vintages have been or soon will be replaced by the next year’s wine. Nonetheless, this is a great window into who is doing great work, especially among the new, small boutiques, such as Guardian Cellars, Kevin White, Maison Bleue, and Trisaetum. Now is the time to get on their mailing lists, while the opportunity is still there.

One final thank you goes out to fellow blogger Clive Pursehouse, whose Thanksgiving recommendations on the Northwest Wine Anthem website included this terrific write-up for my Waitsburg Cellars 2012 Cheninières:

“To get things started something white or pink is nice, and bubbles will always do the trick. We're going with the 2012 Waitsburg Cellars Cheninières a 100% Chenin Blanc from the Snipes Mountain AVA. Chenin Blanc is unfortunately too rare here in Washington and this is the best one I've ever had. This wine is really aromatically captivating and comes off as a Savennières, its namesake, with lots of wet stone, alongside notes of citrus and a real complexity that wouldn't necessarily have me thinking this was from Washington or anywhere outside of France. Seems like all the new world Chenin I've ever had has emphasized fuller fruit, this is all about the magic of minerality. The palate continues that depth with notes of honey, lime and wet slate. Maybe the best white wine from Washington right now? Could be. Also, it's $17.”

I am most grateful for all the blessings of the year past, and I wish you all a very joyful Thanksgiving, with good friends, good food, and good wine.

NOTE: I will be on vacation for the rest of the week, so look for the next blog posts to start up in December.

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