In tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.
Well folks, warmer days lie ahead here in the Pacific Northwest (right?), so it’s time we take a look at some $15 and under summer whites to help ring in the season.
The first two wines this month come from Charles Smith Wines, both hailing from Evergreen Vineyard, which has quickly become one of Washington’s premier white wine vineyards.
Evergreen Vineyard was first planted by the Milbrandt brothers in 1998 on cliffs 1,300 feet above the Columbia River. Since that time the vineyard has expanded rapidly to include numerous nearby locations.
This cool(ish) site, which is littered with caliche deposits, is located in the Ancient Lakes region. This area is currently being reviewed for appellation status. Each of the wines sampled here from Evergreen display the crisp acidity and minerality that the vineyard is known, and Evergreen Vineyard-designated bottles are worth seeking out - although they are often found in a higher price tier.
The Charles Smith Wines Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a continual standout from the winery. The 2011 vintage is as good as any the winery has made to date, full of mineral and citrus flavors. The Charles Smith ViNO Pinot Grigio meanwhile is in its second vintage and is a great summer wine with a medium bodied feel and mouthwatering acidity.
The next wine comes from value stalwart Columbia Crest. Columbia Crest’s wines continually outperform wines at considerably higher price points. The 2010 Chardonnay is made in a rich, full, fruit and barrel driven style and is guaranteed to best similarly styled wines from California at two or three times the price (dare I say even more?). How the winery consistently makes such enjoyable wines at such compelling prices is one of the wine world’s great mysteries.
Riesling is consistently a good place to find value in Washington and the 2010 Milbrandt Vineyards Traditions Riesling is no exception. This wine is also nearly two-thirds from Evergreen Vineyard as well with the balance coming from the Wahluke Slope.
The final wine this month comes from Apex Cellars. Apex is under the umbrella of Precept Wine, which has in a short time become one of the state’s largest wineries. This 2010 Sauvignon Blanc is a thoroughly delicious bottle that only gets better as it opens up.
Here’s to the warmer days ahead!
Charles Smith Wines Kung Fu Girl Riesling Washington State 2011 $12
(Excellent) Pale lemon yellow. An aromatic wine with tangerine, citrus, mineral, and floral notes. The palate is just off-dry with mouthwatering acidity. A very pretty wine. 100% Riesling. Evergreen Vineyard. 12.5% alcohol. TA 92g/100mL. Residual Sugar: 1.8% g/100mL.
Charles Smith Wines ViNO Pinot Grigio Washington State 2011 $12
(Good) Lightly aromatic with pleasing notes of lime zest, yellow apple, and spice. The palate is dry and medium bodied with mouthwatering acidity and a green apple filled finish. 100% Pinot Grigio. Evergreen Vineyard. 13% alcohol. Recommended
Columbia Crest H3 Chardonnay Horse Heaven Hills 2010 $15
(Excellent) Medium lemon yellow. Lightly aromatic with tropical fruit, cream, and spice. The palate is full bodied, rich and fruit forward with tropical flavors and abundant barrel accents. For people looking for a richer style of Chardonnay, this is it at a can’t be beat price.
Milbrandt Traditions Riesling Columbia Valley 2010 $13
(Good) An aromatic wine with white peaches, lime zest, and floral notes. The palate is off-dry with lime and other citrus flavors. 100% Riesling (62% Evergreen, 38% Wahluke Slope). 12.5% alcohol. 1.46% Residual Sugar. TA 0.84. 5,706 cases produced. Recommended
Apex Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley 2010 $13
(Good) A lightly aromatic wine with gooseberry, kiwi, pineapple, and light herbal notes. The palate is medium bodied with a fleshy feel and enough acid to carry it through to a tart finish. Continues to improve as it opens up. 13.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Recommended
Please note, my rating system was revised at the beginning of 2012 as follows. Read additional details here.
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