Jenna’s Washington Wines Part 1: Best Values!!
I’m almost thoroughly recovered from my Washington Wine trip, and it’s time to answer the most popular question since my return: ‘What was the best Washington wine under $20, $30 or $40?’. It’s no surprise that in our current economy, people are searching for value. Let me tell you that one of my major findings while visiting is that Washington’s quality to price ratio is impressive. While in California you’ll find many wines under $10 that are decent, in Washington, there’s a plethora of wines in the $15 – $25 range that are exceptional. Many of which could be priced higher if they had better distribution. However, the trouble is just that – DISTRIBUTION. There were so many Washington wines that I tasted and loved, but because they are not easily available (many are only available in the state of Washington or via their websites), I found it extremely hard to choose the best value – once shipping costs are incorporated, the value declines. It took some time and thought (remember, I tasted over 300 wines that week), but I have finally come up with a list that I am confident about. My decision to choose these particular top 3 wines was based on a combination of taste and distribution (these will probably be the easiest to find in your local wine shop). All are exceptional tasting and, in my opinion, priced well below their worth. Enjoy!!
Best Washington Wine Values:
Canoe Ridge Cabernet ’06 – The winemaker mentioned that his goal isn’t to make wines that are the star of the show, but leading cast members…looks like he achieved his goal, since this is one of my top ‘Best Value’ picks. A big, classic Cabernet, the ’06 vintage is extremely smooth with dark cherry and herbal notes. Canoe Ridge was said to be named after an area that Lewis & Clark believed to resemble an upside down canoe during their explorations.
Where to find it: Now through July 17, find the ’07 vintage at BevMo’s 5-cent sale (2 for $24.99)!!
Desert Wind Ruah ‘08 – ‘Ruah’ means spirit in Hebrew. One of the winemaker’s goals is to make this blend consistent year over year. This wine took Silver medal in the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition and Bronze in the 2010 West Coast Wine Competition. Well-rounded and smooth; extremely versatile and easy to drink.
Chateau St. Michelle Eroica Reisling ’09 – Chateau St. Michelle worked with highly acclaimed Germany Riesling producer, Dr. Loosen Estate to create this masterpiece. The residual sugar is under 2%, classifying this as an off-dry Reisling (not considered a dessert wine). The ‘09 vintage is bursting with floral notes, but is still a bit young. I would buy now, and wait 6 months or so to drink.
Where to find it: Check your local wine shop or Wine.com, $15