Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Food & Wine Magazine - Terrific Washington State Reds

The March issue of Food & Wine Magazine has an article named,Terrific Washington State Reds and following up with their Twenty Top Bottles. Senior Wine Editor, Ray Isle tasted a total of 105 red wines from Washington State. And in that total included Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Syrahs and Blends. Obviously to choose only 20 wines was a difficult task and as the article states, "one of the most difficult selections he’s (Isle) ever had to make" And to quote Food & Wine, "Across the board, quality was remarkably high—a testimony to how exciting Washington state wines are right now."

Duh - last year after Long Shadows of Walla Walla won Food & Wine award for Winery of the Year, Lettie Teague, Food & Wine’s executive wine editor said "...she has admired the incredible ambition of this project...to prove the potential of Washington wines." The potential? Ya think? Like I commented last time. Where've ya been Lettie? Washington's wines have long passed the "potential." They are here and making quite a statement!

The article also mentions that Washington state is no doubt the best source in the US for Merlot, in spite of the negative publicity the Merlot grape has been given. The comment about Merlot makes me happy to read. For the last eight years I have been up against a group of peers from San Francisco who flamed me to burnt embers everytime I mentioned a fabulous Merlot from WA state. Comments were made like, "And did you pair your Merlot with tater tots? Why are you drinking wine that is only meant for blending?" Hmmph...they must not have thought highly of their California Merlot. But lately I have noticed when I mention drinking a great Merlot from WA, I don’t hear a peep...perhaps they are now eating their crow with a great Washington State Merlot?

Here is a small list of the Twenty Top Bottles as I will just list those from Walla Walla, but please check out the remainder of the list. It's quite a price range from $75 - $15, again showing quality doesn’t always have to lighten the purse:

Reininger Walla Walla Merlot - 2003
Pepper Bridge Walla Walla Merlot - 2005
Amavi Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 2005
Fort Walla Walla Cellars Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 2005
Gramercy Cellars Walla Walla Valley Syrah - 2005
Waterbrook Mélange Red - 2005

And listing the star selections (drum roll):

Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Merlot - 2005
Woodward Canyon Old Vines Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - 2004

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