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Northwest Wines
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
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June 19  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Smooth Cabernet Franc begins to take center stage
It is likely that you are drinking more Northwest Cabernet Franc.Known as “the third Bordeaux variety,” Cab Franc often has been hidden behind much more well-known Bordeaux grapes as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. But now it is coming out of the shadows and playing more of a starring role.

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June 5  |  Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
For much of the past decade, Riesling has been the top white wine grape in Washington — and vying with Cabernet Sauvignon as the No. 1 wine in the state.A lot of this is because of Chateau Ste. Michelle. The Woodinville winery produces more than 1 million cases of Riesling per year, making it the world’s largest Riesling producer. That’s right: No other single winery in the world makes more.

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May 29  |  
A small family winery that was struck by tragedy more than a decade ago now is one of Washington’s fastest-growing operations.Ryan Patrick was launched in 1999 by Wenatchee’s Terry and Vivian Flanagan, named after their sons, Ryan and Patrick. For the first half-decade, everything was going well, with the wines gaining the attention of critics and consumers alike.

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May 22  |  
In the 11 years since the Horse Heaven Hills became an official American Viticultural Area, it has gained incredible importance for the Washington wine industry.The Horse Heaven Hills is a warm, remote area of Washington wine country, stretching along the state’s southern border east of the Cascades.

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May 15  |  
For many reasons, the community of Prosser is the center of the Washington wine industry.It is where Walter Clore arrived in the late 1930s to work as a scientist and researcher for Washington State University. His tireless efforts led to widespread plantings of wine grapes in Washington, which is now the second-largest wine-producing state in the country.In the heart of the Yakima Valley, the Yakima River flows east, providing life-giving water to agriculture and residents.

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May 8  |  
Washington Syrah still shines
As interest in Syrah (and Shiraz, as it’s called in Australia) has diminished the past few years, Washington Syrah continues to hold steady and even increase.Last fall, Washington winemakers crushed 16,000 tons of Syrah — the most ever. This is up from 8,000 tons just 10 years ago.In fact, this spring marks the 30th anniversary of the first Syrah being planted in Washington, when it went into the soil at Red Willow Vineyard in the western Yakima Valley.

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May 1  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Zesty Tempranillo enjoying a place in Pacific Northwest
Though relatively little Tempranillo is planted in the Pacific Northwest, the red Spanish variety is finding a lot of love with winemakers, grape growers and wine lovers alike.The first Northwest Tempranillo was planted in 1993 in Washington’s Yakima Valley. Two years later, the first serious amount went into the ground at Abacela in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.

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April 24  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Red Mountain adds grapes
While Red Mountain officially gets its name because the ridge’s cheatgrass turns red each spring, in the wine world, it’s because nearly all the grapes grown here are red varieties.A recent study shows that of the 4,040 acres that make up Red Mountain, some 2,046 acres are planted, and all but 52.5 acres are red grapes. Red Mountain is in the eastern Yakima Valley near West Richland and has a history of wine grapes going back to 1975.

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April 17  |  
Maryhill’s gold medal wine efforts It has been quite a run for Maryhill Winery, and it continues for the large, family-owned winery in Washington’s Columbia Gorge.At last month’s fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition, Maryhill earned three double gold medals, two best-of-class awards and five gold medals. This follows up a string of awards the past two years that puts the winery in rare company.

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April 10  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Whites, pinks for warm days 
As the weather warms, it’s time to think more about white and pink wines, and we have several superb examples for you this week.Several Northwest wineries are crafting delicious whites and rosés, as evidenced at the fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition, which took place last month at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore.All of these wines earned gold medals at the competition. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.

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April 3  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Delicious reds rise to the top in Pacific Northwest contest
Northwest winemakers are building reputations as some of the best red wine producers anywhere in the world, as evidenced by numerous publications and competitions around the globe.Their prowess was on display in March at the fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition, which took place at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore. Of the more than 1,000 wines entered, about 70 percent were reds.

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March 27  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Wines that rose to the top in Pacific Northwest contest For the second straight year, a young Walla Walla Valley winemaker has taken home the top prize from the largest judging of Pacific Northwest wines.Palencia Wine Co.’s 2015 Albariño won best of show at the fourth annual Cascadia Wine Competition, which took place March 15-17 at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore.

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March 20  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
For more than two decades, merlot has been a star grape with Washington winemakers, and while cabernet sauvignon has overtaken merlot in acreage and importance with consumers, the supple red wine remains a dominant grape.Wine Press Northwest magazine recently conducted a tasting of 100 Northwest merlots for its spring issue, and the results shows a number of spectacular examples, especially from Washington.

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March 13  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
While it is true that the vast majority of the Oregon wine industry is in the Willamette Valley, a growing and fascinating wine region is developing in Southern Oregon.

Regions such as the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate valleys stretch from just south of Eugene to the California border near Ashland. In these stretches of land, the climate tends to be warmer and more conducive to a wider variety of grapes than the Pinot Noir-centric Willamette Valley to the north.


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March 6  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
15 delicious whites for under $15
Most white wines are meant to be enjoyed rather quickly.When you’re going to age that bottle of Chardonnay in the car on the way home, then chill it and kill it with dinner tonight, there’s not much reason to spend a lot of money.Undoubtedly, there are exceptions. For example, if you decide to drop $1,000 on a bottle of Montrachet Grand Cru, you aren’t likely to open it for a casual Wednesday night meal of roast chicken.

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February 28  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
8 red wines to enjoy for under $15
In the not-too-distant past, wine was seen as a luxury product. In many cases, it still is.But when you get to a price point that’s below $20 per bottle, the red wine can be enjoyed more frequently without worry or guilt. We recently tasted through several red wines that retail for $15 or less per bottle.For the most part, these wines should be readily available in groceries or larger wine stores or contact the wineries directly.

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February 21  |  
Duo making a success of Woodinville winery Avennia Since 2010, Avennia has gained a reputation as one of Washington's most exciting young wineries, and owners Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson continue to raise Avennia's quality and reputation.

The pair met while Taucher was an intern at DeLille Cellars, where Peterson had been a winemaker for several years. Taucher was on his second career after retiring as a Microsoft marketing executive and was taking classes at South Seattle Community College's winemaking program.

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February 7  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
10 delicious examples of sauvignon blanc
One of the unsung white grapes of Washington is sauvignon blanc. This classic wine is a perfect pairing with our region’s seafood and is versatile with many dishes.In 2014, Washington wineries harvested nearly 7,000 tons of sauvignon blanc, the most in the state’s history. This makes sauvignon blanc the No. 4 white wine grape in the state, after riesling, chardonnay and pinot gris.

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January 31  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Oregon remains focused on Pinot Noir It’s been more than a half-century since pinot noir was planted in the Willamette Valley and launched Oregon’s modern wine industry.Some 50 years later, pinot noir remains the grape of choice for the majority of Oregon winemakers. In fact, the suave red grape most commonly associated with France’s Burgundy region dominates the landscape, with more than 60 percent of the state’s acreage dedicated to it.

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January 24  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue, Great Northwest Wine
Northwest Syrah ripe with Old World complexity It's been 30 years since the first Syrah grapes were planted in Washington. Since then, the red grape has become a favorite in the country's second-largest wine-producing state.



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January 17  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
CLOVERDALE, Calif. — On the American wine industry’s biggest stage, Pacific Northwest wines showed just how good they can be.The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition took place the first full week of January in this Sonoma County community. It is the largest judging of U.S. wines, this year drawing 7,162 entries from more than 20 states.

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January 10  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
8 of the best Northwest wines from 2015
During 2015, we tasted a few thousand wines from around the world, though with a heavy focus on the Pacific Northwest.We published about 1,500 reviews of Pacific Northwest wines last year, and in December we distilled all those reviews down to our top 100. We did this by compiling a list that included all the top wines we tasted under blind conditions — meaning we didn’t know who made the wine or what the price was until after the wine was evaluated and rated.

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January 3  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Wine Press Northwest reveals platinum sips In Wine Press Northwest's latest issue (which went to subscribers in time for Christmas), the longtime regional wine magazine released the results of its 16th annual Platinum Judging.

The Platinum Judging is a year-end wine competition that includes only wines that earned gold medals at any of about 40 wine competitions conducted around the world. Only wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho are eligible.

The wines are then tasted blind (the...

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January 3  |  By Andy Perdue Great Northwest Wine
Top wine stories of 2015 about weather, winners It has been a busy year throughout Pacific Northwest wine country, with the top stories often dealing with the historically warm growing seasons in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho.

We look at 10 top stories we wrote about in 2015 in this annual roundup of wine-related news.

10. Deaths: Fred Artz, Jack Jones, Cole Danehower

The Northwest wine industry lost three family members in 2015:

Fred Artz, a longtime...

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