Kim and Blain Roberts own Westport Winery, a small producer on the Washington coast near Aberdeen. Their son, Dana, is the winemaker. (Andy Perdue / Great Northwest Wine)

Try these deight Bordeaux-style reds made in Pacific Northwest

No doubt you’ve seen this phrase a lot: “Bordeaux-style wine” — and perhaps you’ve wondered what that means.

Simply put, a Bordeaux-style wine is a wine that is made using the traditional grapes of France’s Bordeaux region. On the red side, only six grape varieties are allowed to be grown in Bordeaux. They are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and the rare Carménère. So a wine made with one or more of these varieties would be considered a “Bordeaux-style red wine.” If it has Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo or any other grape varieties, then it is not a Bordeaux-style red.

On the white side, Bordeaux wines use Sauvignon Blanc, Sèmillon and the rare Muscadelle — as well as some truly rare grapes including Colombard and Ugni Blanc.

Here are some examples from the Northwest of wines made from Bordeaux varieties, all tasted blind for the current issue of Wine Press Northwest magazine. Find more reviews at

Westport Winery 2013 Mermaid Merlot, Columbia Valley, $28: Coastal winemaker Dana Roberts is coming into his own, thanks in part to working with some of the best grapes in the state. This delicious Merlot opens with aromas of black licorice, ripe strawberry, Bing cherry and vanilla. On the palate, it offers up flavors of black cherry, black tea and blackberry, all supported by a smooth midpalate and moderate tannins. (12.7% alc.)

Gård Vintners 2013 Lawrence Vineyards Malbec, Columbia Valley, $30: Aryn Morell used grapes from the fascinating Frenchman Hills area near Royal City for this superb Malbec he makes for the Lawrence family. It opens with hints of sweet spice, ripe summer blackberry and a hint of oak, followed by flavors of black currant, blueberry and smoke. (13.7% alc.)

Page Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc, Red Mountain, $29: Woodinville winemaker James Page loves Red Mountain fruit, and it shows in this top-rated Cabernet Franc. Aromas of blackberry cobbler, mint and rose petals lead to flavors of Marionberry and underlying dried herbs. (14.2% alc.)

Saviah Cellars 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $30: Richard Funk is a quiet, understated guy who goes about his business making some of the best wines in Washington. This big Cab is laden with aromas of black cherry, vanilla and mint, followed by flavors of blueberry, black currant and oak. (14.5% alc.)

Convergence Zone Cellars 2013 Downburst Cabernet Franc, Red Mountain, $26: Owner/winemaker Scott Greenberg pulled in grapes from some of Red Mountain’s best vineyards, including Heart of the Hill, Shaw and Scooteney Flats. The result is a complex red with aromas of strawberry, black cherry and spice, followed by approachable flavors of cherry vanilla cola, raspberry freezer jam and plum. (14.4% alc.)

Mercer Canyons 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, $14: Here is a nicely priced Cabernet Sauvignon from the magazine’s reigning Washington Winery of the Year. The Mercers use estate grapes in the remote Horse Heaven Hills to produce aromas of cherry pipe tobacco, spice and huckleberry that lead to flavors of black currant, vanilla and dark chocolate. (13.9% alc.)

Ross Andrew Winery 2014 Huntsman Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $15: Ross Andrew Mickel worked at such luminaries as Betz and DeLille before launching his eponymous winery in Woodinville. He’s since relocated to Walla Walla, where he crafts delicious and affordable wines. (13.8% alc.)

Thurston Wolfe 2013 Petit Verdot, Horse Heaven Hills, $30: We do not see a lot of Petit Verdots as standalone wines, so this is a great example to try. It opens with aromas of pipe tobacco, black currant and hints of tar, followed by opulent flavors of blueberry and huckleberry. (14.5% alc.)

Talk to us

More in Life

A course of traffic-cone slaloms is one way to help teens improve their driving skills. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Her teen is putting pedal to the metal for accident avoidance

She signed the new driver up for an advanced collision avoidance class taught by Defensive Driving School.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, now a symbol of peace and reunification. (Rick Steves’ Europe)
Rick Steves: Today’s Berlin is freedom’s victory dance

Checkpoint Charlie is now a capitalist sideshow. You’ll be sold fake bits of the wall, WWII gas masks and DDR medals.

Snohomish Historical Preservation Commission member Fred Cruger with his dog, Duffy, in Arlington along one of the history walk sections at Centennial Trail. The event will be up through September. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Discover local history as you walk the Centennial Trail

Take a smartphone quiz as you stroll the trail. If you answer every question correctly, you’ll win a prize.

We need to make suicide prevention a public health priority

The pandemic has impacted our mental well-being. Be on the lookout for suicidal behavior.

The Sauk River rushes by near a popular boat launch area close to White Chuck Mountain off the Mountain Loop Highway, just outside of Darrington. (Daniella Beccaria / Herald file)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

The listings include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest updates and REI Lynnwood workshops.

The “Fluffy” arborvitae has the ability to light up a Northwest landscape with its golden needles. (Proven Winners)
Gold tones of ‘Fluffy’ conifers make the landscape sparkle

It’s a new variety of Thuja plicata, native to the Pacific coast, known as western arborvitae.

Blue leadwort is a low-growing perennial that acts as a colorful groundcover for the garden. (Getty Images)
A few perennial gems to help brighten up the fall garden

He can’t help but find new treasures to plant each time he visits the nursery. Here are four he added recently.

The double-flowered autumn crocus has large lavender-pink blooms that resemble waterlilies. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Colchicum ‘Waterlily,’ double-flowered autumn crocus

This bulb features large double lavender-pink blooms that resemble waterlilies in the fall.

This French window bench was in style the last half of the 18th century. Although it was made to use by a window, it is popular with decorators today as a hall bench or a seat at the end of a bed. This bench sold for about $1,600 at an auction. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
French window bench in style the last half of the 18th century

This Provincial Louis XVI fruitwood window seat was sold at a New Orleans auction for $1,625.

Most Read