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By Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill, wine reviewer and columnist

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White Wines
for Seafood

A 5-Part Series
Published Aug & Sept 2016

Pinot Noir with
Copper River Salmon

A 4-Part Series
Published Jun & July 2016

Red Rhone Varietals
& Blends

A 4-Part Series
Published May & Jun 2016

Versatile Chardonnays
for Spring

A 4-Part Series
Published Mar & Apr 2016

Italian Varietals for 2016
A 4-Part Series
Published Jan & Feb 2016

Cabernet Sauvignon
and Blends

A 4-Part Series
Published Nov & Dec 2015

Thanksgiving Wines
Published Nov 16, 2015

Meat My Merlot
A 4-Part Series
Published Oct & Nov 2015


Index to Archived
Wines of the Week
...Earlier Columns


Chuck's Wine Reviews
of other Northwest Wines

Organized by varietal


Book Reviews







































Last Week's Reviews
Published September 15, 2016

White Wines for Seafood  
Part 5 - Variety in Seafood Wines

Part 5 of a 5-Part Series  (Part 1)  (Part 2)  (Part 3)  (Part 4)
By Chuck Hill 

Variety is the spice of life.  This also holds true to enjoying wine with food.  So many wine lovers fall into the trap of buying the same wine each week to serve with many different foods.  If you do this, you are missing a magnificent opportunity to experience the world through a 100 different bottles!   This week, I feature at least nine different grape varieties – some blended together – that are excellent with a wide variety of seafood.  Try something different tonight! 

Montinore Estate
2014 Gewürztraminer
Willamette Valley AVA

Gewürztraminer (spicy Traminer) is an exciting grape variety from Northern Europe that combines the best aspects of Riesling, Muscat and Pinot Grigio.  It can be spicy, tropical or citrusy and often is presented with just a hint of sweetness.  This tasty version from Montinore features pear, melon and grapefruit with spicy ginger and floral notes – great with crab cakes or scallops. 

Lobo Hills
2014 Dry Gewürztraminer
Yakima Valley AVA

Tony Dollar’s enticing Gewürz from Lonesome Springs Vineyard offers aromas and flavors of lychee, gooseberry and a bouquet of floral notes.  It has a note of phenolic astringency (ripe Gewürztraminer grapes are soft and give up tannin easily) that allows pairing with more fatty foods or sauces. 

Pacific Rim
2014 Grüner Veltliner
Yakima Valley AVA

Grüner Veltliner is an Austrian grape that has taken hold in the U.S. for its unique aroma and flavor and its food-friendly palate.  Cool-climate Grüner leans toward a citrus profile with notes of lime, herbs and bright acidity.  In warmer climes, notes of stone fruits surface, and the herbs transform to white pepper and gherkin.  This version offers the cool-climate profile and pairs well with almost any seafood. 


Reustle Vineyards
2014 Grüner Veltliner
Umpqua Valley AVA

Stephen Reustle was among the very first American winemakers to plant Grüner Veltliner, and the variety has succeeded very well in his warm Southern Oregon location.  His wines win top medals in many prestigious competitions.  Look for rich and complex aromas and flavors of lychee, honeysuckle, white pepper, licorice and citrus. 


CdA Cellars
2015 Chenin Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA

Winery owner Kimber Gates selected Old Vine Chenin Blanc to craft a new white-wine style for adventurous wine lovers.  She blended 20% Viognier, adding floral and tropical fruit notes to the mineral and citrus underpinnings.  This very flavorful seafood wine came from grapes harvested at McKinley Springs Vineyard in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills. 

Waitsburg Cellars
2014 Cheninieres
Columbia Valley AVA

Washington wine writer Paul Gregutt made it a mission to revive interest in the Chenin Blanc variety in Washington Stat.  He scouted out Old Vine Chenin Blanc vineyards (this wine is from Upland Vineyard) and went about crafting a duo of complementary Chenins.  This version is dry and crisp with gooseberry and citrus, and notes of jasmine and chalky mineral. 

2015 Dry Viognier
Idaho and Washington

Winemaker Melanie Krause crafts two styles of Viognier from select vineyards in Southern Idaho’s Snake River Valley and Washington’s Columbia Valley.  The grapes were picked two weeks earlier for this Dry Viognier than for their off-dry version.  Look for aromas and flavors of citrus and peach with hints of honeysuckle and melon.  

Spangler Vineyards
2015 Viognier
Southern Oregon

Pat Spangler recommends steamed mussels or Dungeness crab to accompany his tropical and unctuous Viognier.  The wine offers aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and orchard blossom leading to flavors of tangerine, pineapple and ripe nectarine. 

2015 Viognier, Estate
Umpqua Valley AVA

This wine comes from Abacela’s Fault Line Vineyard in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon.  Fermented in stainless steel, the rich wine is bone dry, even though it exudes a cornucopia of tropical fruits: papaya, mango, nectarine and banana.  The palate is complex adding green apple, mineral and orange blossom. 

Coeur d’Alene Cellars
2015 No. 6 White
Columbia Valley AVA

This blend of Viognier (49%), Chenin Blanc (25%) and Chardonnay (26%) is a bright and flavorful wine that pairs well with all types of seafood.  Crisp acidity complements aromas and flavors of pear, peach, honeysuckle and flinty mineral. 

Alexandria Nicole Cellars
2015 Shepherd’s Mark White, Estate
Horse Heaven Hills AVA

This southern Rhone blend of Roussanne (62%), Marsanne (26%) and Viognier (12%) expresses the floral character of the south of France, featuring lavender, Jasmine and lilac. On the palate, spicy Asian pear and crisp apple mingle with citrus to enhance your seafood experience. 

2015 Off-Dry Riesling
Snake River Valley AVA, Idaho

Melanie Krause says it best, “For some reason, great Rieslings remind me of a Norse legend.  Crafted with balance, left with a touch of sweetness, this blonde elixir brings immense flavors and aromas that will ring out in your mouth like the hammer of the gods.”  Look for tropical fruits, vanilla and earthy spice. 

Alexandria Nicole Cellars
2015 Albariño, Affinity
Crawford Vineyard
Columbia Valley AVA

Owner/winemaker Jarrod Boyle stepped aside from his landmark Destiny Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills to procure perfect Albariño grapes from Crawford Vineyard in the Columbia Valley.  The wine’s aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, nectarine, mineral and vanilla pair well with shellfish, finfish and even paella. 


Wines from other areas

Le Charmel
2014 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie
Loire Valley

The only grape permitted by this French AOC is Melon de Bourgogne which makes wines of great finesse and delicacy.  A classic with oysters and other seafoods, the wine features pears and melons with notes of citrus and mineral on the finish. 

Dry Creek Vineyard
2015 Dry Chenin Blanc
Clarksburg, CA

For more than 25 years, grapes for this wine have come from the Wilson Ranch in the Clarksburg appellation of the Sacramento Delta.  A unanimous favorite with fresh oysters and Asian cuisine, the wine offers aromas and flavors of Bosc pear, pineapple, white peach and lively tangerine/citrus.  

Saget Les Perriere
2014 Muscadet Sevre et Maine
Loire Valley

The Saget family has been growing grapes and producing wines in France since 1790, making the firm one of only a few with three centuries of continued operation.  This renowned Loire producer offers this bright seafood wine with delicate aromas of jasmine, pear and nectarine leading to flavors of citrus, tropical fruits and chalky mineral. 

Coppo La Rocca
2013 Gavi
Canelli, Italy

Gavi is made from the Cortese grape, a local variety of the Piedmont region near its border with Liguria.  This wine is fermented 100% in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation in order to preserve Gavi’s textbook freshness and zesty fruitiness.  The wine features delicate aromas and flavors of citrus, herbs and floral perfume. 

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To find contact information for most of the wineries in the above column,
visit our alphabetical list of Northwest States and their Wineries.


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©  September, 2016  Chuck Hill
All rights reserved.  Last revised: 09/27/2016