Prosser winery wins top honors at Cascadia Wine Competition

Winners also are named for best dessert, white, rose and nongrape wines.

After three days of swirling, sipping and spitting, 22 wine professionals from throughout the Pacific Northwest tasted through 1,040 wines for the seventh annual Cascadia International Wine Competition, held this month in Richland.

The judging panel, which included winemakers, viticulturists, wine buyers, writers and restaurateurs from California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, concluded that the top entry was a delicious red wine from a small producer in Prosser: the 2015 sangiovese by Coyote Canyon Winery, which pulls from owner Mike Andrews’ estate vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills.

Winning best dessert wine was Kiona Vineyards and Winery on Red Mountain, while the top white wine was crafted by Kennewick-based winemaker Victor Palencia for Jones of Washington in Quincy and Wenatchee. Aberdeen’s Westport Winery earned top honors for best nongrape wine, while Oregon icon King Estate took the award for top rose wine.

Here are our reviews of the top five wines from the largest international judging of Northwest wines staged in the Pacific Northwest. Find the complete results of the annual Cascadia competition at

Ask for these wines at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.

Best in Show: Coyote Canyon Winery 2015 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Sangiovese, Horse Heaven Hills, $26: Justin Michaud, winemaker at Coyote Canyon Winery, used a historically hot vintage to create a beautiful sangiovese. In the nose, it offers hints of strawberry, then blackberry and a touch of plum. In the mouth, there are abundant flavors of dark cherry and blackberry, backed by juicy acidity and a dusty finish so often found in wines from the Horse Heaven Hills. Roast pork or rack of lamb would pair nicely.

Best Dessert Wine: Kiona Vineyards & Winery 2018 Chenin Blanc Ice Wine, Red Mountain, $50: This style of dessert wine is rare because the grapes must freeze on the vine for several hours at 17 degrees before they are harvested. The Williams family relies on a pocket of its most historic vineyard for ice wine, providing a rare nectar loaded with aromas of lavender-infused honey, cloves and ripe nectarine. Honeyed flavors of baked orchard fruit are backed by ample acidity to keep all the sweetness in balance.

Best White Wine: Jones of Washington 2017 Reserve Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $30: Victor Palencia, who received Wine Press Northwest magazine’s award for the 2019 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year, helped Jones of Washington earn Washington Winery of the Year honors in 2012. The collaboration continues, and the Jones family has this stunning young reserve chardonnay. There are flashes of oak behind the apple, pineapple and lime in its aromas and flavors. If you’re a chardonnay sipper, it’s perfect for a summer evening on the deck and would pair well with light dishes with a cream sauce such as chicken alfredo or even spaghetti carbonara with slightly crisped and crumbled prosciutto and topped with freshly grated Parmesan.

Best Nongrape Wine: Westport Winery Garden Resort NV Little Wild, Washington, $27: This destination winery on the Washington coast near Aberdeen continues to produce delectable wines, often by infusing them with fruit other than grapes. In this case, it is riesling loaded with marionberry, creating a dessert wine that is nicely sweet and loaded with flavors of dark blue fruit, including marionberry syrup. An ideal pairing would be with vanilla ice cream within view of the beach.

Best Rose: King Estate 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $20: The kings of pinot noir in Oregon ruled the rose portion of the Cascadia with this lovely offering in a pale salmon wardrobe by winemaker Brent Stone. A product of Washington State University, Stone used pinot noir from the King family’s Demeter-USA certified biodynamic estate vineyard near Eugene as well as pinot noir from other organically farmed sites in the Willamette Valley. Strawberry gummy bears, lemonade and river pebbles on the nose extend onto the palate, where the structure is spunky with a long and bright farewell.

Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman operate Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning media company. Learn more about wine at

More in Life

Rockhounds unearth a righteous gemstone near Darrington

It’s the discovery of a lifetime — an 8-ton nephrite jade boulder.

Everett’s biggest little spot for music is Black Lab Gallery

With live shows almost every weekend, it’s become the place to hear up-and-coming local musicians.

Snow days start out grand but quickly cause cabin fever

The recent bout of snowy weather made her family feel all of the emotions. Here’s a day-by-day recap.

Rick Steves on what’s new for travelers in Great Britain

Many travelers are curious about how Brexit is affecting tourists — from his experience, it isn’t.

Interior designer Kelly DuByne shows off Pantone’s Color of the Year, classic blue, with a setting featuring an antique Victrola cabitnet painted with the color and staged with neutral colors and strong white accents. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
This year’s Color of the Year is a timeless hue — classic blue

A Lake Stevens interior designer calls it a “grounded” tone, easily worked into existing color palettes.

Dr. Paul on how to keep your cool when you’ve been triggered

When your body goes into fight-or-flight mode due to stress, follow these steps to calm yourself down.

Here are 5 free days you can visit a national park in 2020

Of the more than 400 parks in the National Park Service, the most popular charge parking and entrance fees.

Great Plant Pick: Erica carnea ‘Vivellii,’ winter heath

This evergreen spreading shrub will provide you with a profusion of pink flowers in the winter.

For the love of orchards: How to grow fruit trees in your yard

Homeowners have lots of space-saving options when it comes to growing apples, cherries, pears and more.

Most Read