In the past three months, we've tasted nearly 1,000 new wines from all over the Pacific Northwest. Last week, we looked at some of the top low-priced reds we've tasted. This week, we offer up some of the best bargain whites from the same time period.
All are from the 2009 and 2010 vintages, so they tend to be young, fresh and ready to drink.
While we love bright, crisp wines during hot summer days, we also think they pair beautifully with fall fare, including chowders, bisques, butternut squash, turkey, stews and casseroles. And white wines generally work well with spicier cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Mexican or Chinese. And could there be anything better than a glass of riesling or pinot gris with a steaming bowl of Vietnamese pho?
Most of these wines should not be too difficult to find, so check with your favorite wine merchant or order directly from the winery.
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Gard Vintners 2009 Lawrence Vineyards Freyja, Columbia Valley, $11: This is a stunning white blend that is nearly equal parts roussanne and riesling with a bit of pinot gris added to the mix. It opens with appealing aromas of lemongrass, spearmint and circus peanuts, followed by delightful flavors of apricots, yellow grapefruit, peaches and a touch of honey.
Airfield Estates 2010 Vineyard Salute Flygirl White, Yakima Valley, $12: Not often is roussanne (43 percent) blended with semillon (30 percent) and viognier, but here is a flight plan for others to consider. Citrusy aromas are joined by Golden Delicious apple, orange blossom, gooseberry, cinnamon, corn silk and kettle corn. Then the drink is rich and delicious from stem to stern with more apple, Bartlett pear, pineapple and Mandarin orange, finished by the juice and pith of fresh lime.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $13: There's a dusting of minerality in the nose along with Granny Smith apple, quince, banana and rose water notes. Expect to taste the same fruit, along with crushed banana that hints at some barrel fermentation (20 percent). The even flow of lime acidity continues to energize the palate.
San Juan Vineyard 2010 Les Vignes De Marcoux riesling, Yakima Valley, $15: This superb riesling offers aromas of 7UP, passion fruit, apple and Mandarin orange. On the palate, the flavors remind us of passion fruit, orange bitters and sweet apples, all backed with mouthwatering acidity. It's a bright, beautiful wine with a lingering finish that will pair perfectly with curries, shellfish or Mexican.
Kyra Wines 2010 Evergreen Vineyard chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13: Orchard fruit notes of apple and dusty pear include lemon and pineapple accents. In double-blind conditions, its strong thread of minerality might lead to this being confused with a riesling.
Boomtown 2010 pinot gris, Washington, $13: The fun starts with the aromatics of bubble gum, pear juice, muscat, honeysuckle, jasmine and vanilla ice cream. Mouthwatering acidity lifts the fruit profile of pear, pineapple and nectarine, finished with mint and lemon flavors. Enjoy this delightful sipper with a plate of hard cheeses such as pecorino and manchego.
Waterbrook Winery 2010 Mélange Blanc, Columbia Valley, $13: Walla Walla winemaker John Freeman left some sugar (2 percent) in this tasty and wide-ranging blend of riesling (39 percent), pinot gris (18 percent), gewürztraminer (14 percent), chardonnay (10 percent), sauvignon blanc (10 percent) and viognier. It opens with aromas of Golden and Red Delicious apples, dried pineapple, orange, yellow popcorn and a wisp of diesel. The drink is akin to fruit cocktail, loaded with peaches and apples, and backed by some nice minerality and a finish of Orange Slices candy.
Pend d'Oreille Winery 2009 Chardonnay, Idaho, $15: This opens with inviting aromas of apples, fresh linen and nuanced oak. On the palate, this leads off with flavors of Mandarin oranges, bananas and a hint of cream soda. This is a big, fleshy, full-bodied white wine with a touch of butter both on the entry and through the lengthy finish.
*Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman run Great Northwest Wine, a website that provides news and information about the wines of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho.