Wine trends come and go, and every year there are new "hot" regions to check out. One of the biggest up-and-coming wine-growing areas, Washington state, is relatively in our own backyard (i.e. it's not exactly Mendoza or southern France) and is making waves particularly for the kinds of lush, velvety reds that our customers have always loved.
From just 19 wineries in 1981 to now over 780 wineries, Washington state is now second in the nation, right after California, in wine production. Riesling is still the leading grape, but here at Premier, we've become increasingly more excited over the Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet from the region. Established vintners like Chateau Ste. Michelle produce an amazing range of traditionally-styled wines from their value-oriented Columbia Valley series ($10-15) to their flagship red blend Col Solare ($70), while newcomers like Charles Smith experiment with odd blends, like the Charles & Charles Cab Syrah (which they recommend with curry lamb potpie!).
The climate is generally slightly cooler than most California appellations due to mountain influence and higher elevation, but most Washington wine-growing regions experience lots of sunlight, perfect for ripening. These precipitating factors result in wines that are very well-priced for their quality and drink with amazing complexity and balance.
Wines to check out: