Today’s post comes from Andy Hayes of Plum Deluxe
One of my favorite wine producing areas is the state of Washington. The second largest wine producing state (lagging far, far behind California, but growing), Washington has a variety of wines in all manner of styles. One of the most famous wineries in the state is Chateau Ste. Michelle, though at last count there are over 800 wineries now! I also firmly believe Washington wines are better value than their counterparts, with great small-batch qualities.
To help get you in the mood, I’d like to share 5 of my favorite affordable Washington wines for you to sip and sample this winter. Enjoy a glass on your own after a long day, or pop the cork with friends for those festive occasions.
Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé ($18)
Want a wine that makes you feel like a million bucks (and looks like you might have spent big bucks on your purchase)? Then go for the Treveri Cellars pink sparkler. It’s not just pretty – Treveri is one of the top sparkling wine producers in Washington; recently I served this wine at a party and it was the biggest hit of the night. Flavors include berries with a hint of citrus, a very light and crisp sipper. Get an extra bottle, you’ll need it.
Sleight of Hand Cellars 2012 Spellbinder ($20)
Washington has many, what I would call, “quirky” wineries, where the brands are a unique extension of the owner. One of those we always have in our house are wines from Sleight of Hand Cellars (also sold under Renegade Wines). The geeky wine names and labels are fun fodder for conversation, but there’s plenty of winemaking prowess under the hood. Spellbinder is my recommendation; it’s a red blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc with just a splash of Syrah and Grenache. Blends are hard to pull off well, but this one is a keeper – smooth yet earthy & spicy, perfect for dinner parties.
Revelry Vinters 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ($16)
Revelry Vinters is by far one of my favorite wineries in the state, one of the few producers where I would drink pretty much anything they produce. Located in Walla Walla, my first experience with Revelry was sipping their wines in their small tasting room, an old building by the airport that used to house a movie theater! Their Cab Sauv is my go-to, as it’s a lovely blend of grapes from the surrounding growing regions, and aged for balance – you won’t find the flavors of oak and rich berry overpowering your palate nor your pairings.
EFESTE 2012 Evergreen Riesling ($20)
Washington is the Evergreen state, so why honor not honor the title! I love the family-owned EFESTE winery that is active in philanthropy and community efforts, not to mention producing fabulous wines – don’t take my word alone; they’re racking up awards left and right. I don’t normally line up for a Riesling, but this is the exception. Picked from grapes grown at a higher elevation, this fruit-forward white wine exudes lots of tasty pear and apple flavors, and pairs well with food.
Maryhill 2011 Malbec ($22)
The winery with the best view in Washington has to go to Maryhill Winery – it’s located on the banks of the Columbia River Gorge, making it just a hop and a skip from Oregon state. From the deck of their tasting room, you can see Mt. Hood! Maryhill makes a variety of top shelf wines, including their signature 2011 Malbec – An easy-to-drink bold red. Flavors of white pepper, dark cherries, bittersweet chocolate accent this velvety wine.
Andy Hayes is the founder of Plum Deluxe, the website that helps you make moments that matter. For more ideas on wines and entertaining, check out their wine reviews and wine pairing ideas.