Five Award-Winning Wineries in Washington to Sip Your Way Through
By Caroline Davis
If you’re looking for an idyllic wine tasting vacation without the tour buses and high-dollar tasting fees that accompany a trip to Napa Valley–visit Washington wine country. It’s no secret the state of Washington has been producing exceptional wines for decades and the Pacific Northwest wineries are proving to be a worthy summer destination stop. Boutique, family-owned enterprises throughout the state are opening their doors to tourists and locals alike. Some Washington wineries even have summer concert series and festivals to draw music lovers to the region.
Eastern Washington is one of the highest altitude wine regions in the world, and gets about 16 hours of sunlight each day during the summer growing season. 2012 was a perfect growing season for Washington wineries, yielding the best vintages in years. The following five wineries in Washington released 2012-2013 vintages that dominated Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list in 2015 and are definitely worth a visit on your wine tasting vacation.
Five Washington Wineries to Sip Your Way Through
Quilceda Creek winery, located in Snohomish, WA, sources its grapes from vineyards in eastern Washington and regularly produces world-class Cabernet Sauvignons from the Columbia Valley region. In 2015, Wine Spectator’s top 100 ranked this Washington winery’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon #2 in the world. This wine has earned some of the highest reviews and awards of any wine produced in the U.S.
Founded in 2005 by a Master Sommelier and his wife’s dream to produce top quality wine, Gramercy Cellars is located in the Walla Walla Valley region of eastern Washington. The winery was voted 2014 Winemaker of the Year by Seattle Magazine. Their 2012 The Deuce Syrah, Walla Walla Valley was ranked #22 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list. Gramercy Cellar’s philosophy on minimal intervention in the winemaking process, fueled by their passion to produce unique, quality Washington wines, has set them apart in the wine industry.
Woodinville family-owned Baer Winery offers the finest blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Their 2012 Ursa, Columbia Valley ranked #28 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list. A fabulous blend of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc varietals, the 2012 Ursa was released this past November. Founded upon a vision to produce something different, Baer Winery is climbing their way to top of Washington’s exceptional wine makers.
K Vintners, founded by Charles Smith in December 2001, is also located in the Walla Walla Valley, Washington. His 2012 The Creator, Walla Walla Valley landed at No. 31 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100. His specialties include single vineyard Syrah’s and his field blends including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, all of which are handpicked, foot-stomped and fermented with naturally occurring yeast. Seattle Magazine’s 2010 Winemaker of the Year, Charles is a true artisan and pioneer in the wine world.
Tenet Wines’ 2013 The Pundit Syrah, Columbia Valley ranked #34 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list for 2015. The Tenet Wines, produced by Chateau St. Michelle’s head winemaker and Washington team, are a combination of local techniques that have been used for centuries alongside of expert knowledge using modern techniques. The result put their Pundit Syrah on the map. The revolutionary Pundit, a GSM-grenache, syrah and mourvedre blend, expresses finesse and balance, and according to Tenet Wines you will never look at Syrah the same way again.
About the Guest Writer: Caroline Davis is the marketing specialist for Seattle Lockmaster and contributing editor at Carpe Daily. When not working, she enjoys traveling, photography and a good bottle of wine, @davisct_d.