On October 20, we hosted a tasting of wines from all fourteen American Viticultural Areas in the State of Washington. AVAs are geographical wine grape growing regions in the United States. Their boundaries are defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and established at the request o wineries or other petitioners. Washington's AVAs are comprised of the following.
Horse Heaven Hills
Walla Walla Valley
I was able to procure two wines from each AVA with the exception of Naches Heights which was represented by one wine, a Port-style wine from the Wilridge Winery. Here, I won't list all the wines tasted, but these are the most noteworthy ones, with distinctive terroir characteristics.
2016 L'Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay, Ancient Lakes ($35) - This comes from a cooler climate area, producing excellent whites including this one. Reviewed October.
2013 Domaine Pouillon Estate Syrah, Columbia Gorge ($50) - From Alexis and Juliet Pouillons property above Lyle, this was well extracted, with notes of volcanic minerals and charcoal.
2014 Nefarious Cellars Estate Syrah, Lake Chelan, Defiance Vineyard ($35eptember) - From a vineyard situated above the South Shore of Lake Chelan, with glacial soils and minerals. Reviewed October.
2015 Clearwater Canyon Merlot, Lewis-Clark Valley ($25) - This comes from from a winery in Lewiston. The grapes come from both sides of the AVA. Reviewed September.
2016 Lopez Island Vineyards Siegerribe, Puget Sound ($25) - The Puget Sound AVA is best suited to early ripening white hybrids such as Siegeribbe, a crossing of Riesling and Madeline Royale. Reviewed September.
2016 L'Ecole No. 41 Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, Red Mountain, Klipusun Vineyard ($20) - From vines planted in the 1980's, this showed the calcareous minerality of Red Mountain. Reviewed November.
2010 Mark Ryan "Crazy Mary" Mourvèdre, Red Mountain - This was one of the two favorites in the tasting. Rich and savory, It showed what can be done with Mourvèdre on Red Mountain.
2014 Kerloo Cellars Grenache, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($40) - The Upland Vineyard is situated above the Missoula Flood line. Grenache grows beautifully there.
2007 DeLille Cellars Harrison Hill Red Wine, Yakima Valley - This was not labeled as Snipes Mountain although it was from there. It became an AVA in 2009. Deep and complex, this was one of the top wines of the tasting.
2012 Owen Roe Syrah, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard, Chapel Block - Mike Sauer was the first to plant Syrah in Washington State. This one possessed beautiful perfumes and complex flavors.
2012 Betz Family "La Serene" Syrah. Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard - Dick Boushey was the next to plant Syrah in the Yakima Valley.This was a bit beefier than the Red Willow, but also very complex.
2014 K Vintners "The Deal" Syrah, Wahluke Slope, Sundance Vineyard ($40) - The warm Wahluke Slope is especially suited for Syrah. Charles Smith has worked with this vineyard for some years.
2015 L'Ecole No. 41 "GSM" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($36) - This is a new addition to the L'Ecole line up. A blend of 34% Grenache and 33% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, it was rich and tasty, picking up the silty soil of Seven Hills. Being from the Oregon side, this is technically not from a Washington AVA, but generally I include wines from bi-state AVAs in the Review of Washington Wines. Reviewed October.