The following article appears in the March issue of Wine Enthusiast.
In Washington’s earliest days as a grape-growing region, the state was thought too cool to successfully ripen many warm-climate red grape varieties. Subsequently, cool-climate white grapes, especially Riesling, dominated production and brought early acclaim.
But as the industry developed, successful cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and others showed that red wines could also excel. This led to increased plantings, so much so that by 2013, for the first time, the majority of Washington’s grape production tilted from white varieties to red. And now, there have been several points over the past 20 years at which the state’s red wines have seemed to overshadow their white wine counterparts in focus and recognition.
Today, 50 years into the state’s development as a wine producer, white bottlings seem both imperiled and ascendant. Some white varieties are being ripped out, while there are also winegrowers exploring new varieties and locations with impressive results. And the exceptional 2017 vintage illustrates just how good the state’s white wines can be
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