Northwest White Wines Tasting Notes Page

Tasting Notes Digest
White Wine Page
Updated 09/09/2016

 

Chardonnay

See Chuck's current series of Chardonnay reviews.

Fumé Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc

J. Christopher
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Willamette Valley AVA
$20.00

Jay Somers is a remarkable winemaker in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, crafting crisp and food-friendly white wines as well as several award-winning Pinot Noirs.  His refreshing Sauvignon Blanc offers citrus, mineral and herbal notes to pair superbly with half shell oysters – scores high with the “bliss factor.” 

Columbia Crest Winery
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, H3
Horse Heaven Hills AVA
$15.00

Columbia Crest winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca crafts this tempting wine from grapes grown near the winery in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA.  The wine offers moderate alcohol and crisp acidity with aromas and flavors of spicy grapefruit, flinty mineral and flavors of pear, grassy herb and gooseberry. 

Savage Grace Wines
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Yakima Valley AVA
$20.00

Michael Savage established his winery in 2011, naming after his surname (representing the struggle of the grape) and his wife’s first name Grace (symbolizing the finished wine’s balance and expression). His Sauvignon Blanc comes from Red Willow Vineyard in the western Yakima Valley and is a blend of several clones of the variety.  Aromas of pear, citrus and wet stone lead to a crisp palate of clean citrus and mineral with refreshing acidity. 

Palencia Winery
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Ancient Lakes AVA, Columbia Valley
$18.00

Victor Palencia crafted his Sauvignon Blanc from grapes grown in the new Ancient Lakes AVA (also known as the Quincy Basin) along the eastern side of the Columbia River north of Vantage, Washington. This Sauvignon Blanc offers the taster a complex mix of flavors with both citrus and mineral components offset by notes of melon, pear and honeysuckle. The wine pairs superbly with steamed mussels, but is just a bit too fruity for half shell oysters. 

Purple Star Wines
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Ancient Lakes AVA, Columbia Valley
$12.00

This wine comes from the same AVA as the selection above, but offers a much different aroma and flavor profile (hint: it is from a different vintage!).  A nose of Columbia Valley grassy herb, lime zest and mineral leads to a palate that gives a hint of gooseberry to pair with the herbs and wet stone – very tasty with oysters. 

14 Hands
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, The Reserve
Horse Heaven Hills AVA
$22.00

This wine displays the fresh and tropical side of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA while also showing the effects of barrel fermentation and aging on the Sauvignon Blanc varietal.  Grapes were harvested from a warm summer vintage, allowing picking to take place in ideal temperature conditions.  Selected barrels of the wine were designated for The Reserve which offers aromas of passion fruit and grapefruit with notes of gooseberry and honeyed pear. The palate is rich with tropical flavors, making it a fine pairing for steamed mussels and full-flavored half shell oysters (Virginicas and Pacifics). 

Upland Estates
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Snipes Mountain AVA
$18.00

Todd Newhouse is the proprietor of Upland Vineyard and Upland Estate Winery in the center of Washington’s Yakima Valley.  His family has owned the vineyard since 1972, selling most of the grapes to other Washington wineries.  Upland Estates winery was begun in 2006.  The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is soft and approachable with pear and white peach yielding to citrus and mineral flavors on the finish – a tasty accompaniment to mussels. 

Willow Crest
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Yakima Valley AVA
$14.00

From the warm 2014 vintage this Sauvignon Blanc from the mid-Yakima Valley offers ripe aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, sweet herbs and crisp citrus notes on the finish.  The soft palate suggests pairing with mussels, but there is ample acidity to also accompany fresh oysters on the half shell. 

Januik Winery
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Sagemoor Vineyards
Columbia Valley AVA
$20.00

This wine is made with Sauvignon Blanc from Bacchus Vineyard as well as Semillon (22%) from Dionysus Vineyard, two of the three properties that collectively make up the group known as Sagemoor Vineyards (north of Pasco, Washington).  The wine is the perfect balance of intense varietal character (grapefruit, herb, spicy pear) with complex citrus, mineral and acidity on the palate to match with either oysters or mussels.  

Merry Cellars
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA
$20.00

Patrick Merry arrived in Pullman, Washington to pursue his Ph.D. in Computer Science, having just completed his Masters at Gonzaga University in Spokane.  His winemaking hobby soon became more substantial and he launched Merry Cellars in 2004.  He crafts a wide range of red and white wines including this barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc - which is a fine pairing for mussels - with aromas and flavors of ripe stone fruits, barrel spice and hints of caramel and orchard blossom. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA
$11.00

“Bliss Factor” mentor Jon Rowley would really like this crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.  Coming from an ultra-warm vintage, but restrained by cool, stainless steel fermentation, the wine exemplifies the “less is more” strategy in producing successful oyster wines.  Bright aromas and flavors of melon, herbs and citrus beckon the taster to slurp another bivalve a la Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast

College Cellars
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA
$14.00

College Cellars of Walla Walla wines are made by the students at the Walla Walla Community College Center for Enology and Viticulture as part of their study of the science of winemaking.  A refreshing wine offering aromas of fresh-cut hay and citrus that lead to a crisp palate of grapefruit, wet stone and spicy pear – a good pairing with half-shell oysters. 

Maryhill Winery
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA
$15.00

I’m writing about wines and dreaming of the wine country!  Take a trip up the Columbia Gorge to visit Maryhill Winery’s grand facility with fabulous views and delicious tastings.  Wear your sunscreen so you can play bocce outside or just walk along the terrace and enjoy the view.  Bring home some Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy later with half-shell oysters on your own patio!  Aromas and flavors of pear, lychee, grapefruit and herbs will pair perfectly. 

Hogue Cellars
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA
$10.00

Hogue Cellars has been quenching the thirst of shellfish lovers throughout the world for decades with their popularly priced Sauvignon Blanc.  The wine is clean and crisp with citrus and melon flavors and refreshing acidity on the finish – a hit with lovers of half-shell oysters. 

Mercer Estates
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Yakima Valley AVA
$14.00

This wine was crafted by winemaker Jessica Munnell from grapes grown at the Spring Creek vineyard north of Prosser, Washington.  This vineyard typically has bright, racy acidity, with citrus and mineral notes.  Look for grapefruit, melon and herbs on the nose with a palate that adds gooseberry and flinty mineral – a great pairing for oysters.  

Arbor Crest
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia Valley AVA
$14.00

If you are anywhere near Spokane this summer you owe yourself a visit to Arbor Crest Cliff House at the east end of town. This remarkable cliff-top historic landmark is much more than a tasting room and the views are FABULOUS! (Due to the cliff side location, no one under 21 is allowed on the site.) While there, enjoy this oyster-friendly Sauvignon Blanc from the Bacchus Vineyard featuring aromas and flavors of grapefruit, dried herbs, spicy pear and mineral. 

 

Gewürztraminer

No current reviews

Semillon

L’Ecole No 41
2013 Semillon
Columbia Valley AVA
$14.00

This pioneer winery in the Walla Walla Valley has produced superb Semillon wines for almost 30 years. Fruit for this bottling was sourced from standout vineyards in the Walla Walla, Yakima and Columbia Valleys, and the grapes were whole-cluster pressed before fermentation.  Fifty percent of the wine was aged sur lie for several months.  Look for aromas and flavors of earthy pear, dried herbs and fig with hints of tropical citrus and barrel toast. 

Agate Ridge Vineyard
2012 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc
Rogue Valley AVA
$17.00

Fruit for this wine came from the Agate Ridge Estate Vineyard near Eagle Point, Oregon in the Rogue Valley AVA.   Aromas and flavors of grassy herbs, mineral and dried fruits are perfect accompaniments to our steamed mussels.  If you are in southern Oregon this summer, visit the winery for their Friday night Rockin’ at the Ridge concerts. 

Viognier

No current reviews


 

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Last revised:   09/09/2016