As temperatures creep toward — even into — triple digits, we think more and more about refreshing wines to enjoy in the Great Northwest. And with summer’s arrival, so too shall we load up with bright white and crisp rosé wines.
Fortunately, the Northwest provides many examples of white, pink and sparkling wines in that affordable price point of $15 or less. Simply put, most white wines don’t stick around the winery’s cellar for long, resulting in a reduced cost burden to the winery. As such, the wines tend to be less expensive.
Here are several affordable white and pink wines we’ve enjoyed recently. Cheers to summer.
Pacific Rim Winemakers 2013 Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, $11: This Washington winery devotes 95 percent of its production to noble Riesling, and a growing amount of its attention is being paid to dry styles. This carries a theme of white peach, dried pineapple and nuttiness, backed by baked Gala apple and Asian pear. (12.5 percent alcohol)
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 A Squared Pinot Gris, Horse Heaven Hills, $14: This is presented in the tropical style often produced in the Columbia Valley. Think of a bowl of ambrosia salad backed by lychee, pineapple, Bartlett pear and marshmallow. It’s finished with Granny Smith apple and yellow grapefruit pith for complexity. (13.2 percent alcohol)
Michelle Sparkling Wine NV Brut Rosé, Columbia Valley, $14: Washington’s largest production of Pinot Noir perennially leads to one of the West Coast’s top sparkling rosés wines year after year. The latest release is beautiful from start to finish with complex aromas of dusty rose petal, raspberry, cranberry and dried strawberry, followed by more raspberry, strawberry, Gala apple and a sense of minerality. Its refined mousse is finished with plenty of acidity to balance the residual sugar of 1 percent. (11.5 percent alcohol)
Union Wine Co. 2014 Underwood Rosé, Oregon, $12: One of Oregon’s fastest-growing brands comes with a different approach for its inaugural rosé, starting with 10 hours of skin contact for its Pinot Gris. Then Pinot Noir and Syrah berries sit on the skins for two days before pressing and going into stainless steel fermentation. The final blend builds tropical aromas with rosewater and lychee, which transitions into a brisk drink of ripe strawberry, red currant, vanilla and baked cherry pie filling. (13 percent alcohol)
Buried Cane 2013 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14: Aromas of light toast, starfruit, white peach and lemon curd transition to crisp flavors of Asian pear and apricot. It’s presented in a dry style with low oak, backed by minerality and Granny Smith apple peel bite. (13.7 percent alcohol)
Kamiak 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $15: Winemaker Tyler Tennyson makes his debut for Gordon Estate with this fresh release under its second label. He captures aromas of marshmallow cream, Bosc pear, starfruit, melon and vanilla. There’s a juicy entry with flavors reminiscent of fresh-cut Asian pear and Granny Smith apple, yet there’s complexity with a pleasing touch of creaminess on the midpalate that leads into a finish of minerality. (12.7 percent alcohol)
Indian Creek Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Snake River Valley, $14: The Snake River Valley’s lofty elevation of 2,500 feet is conducive to growing crisp white wines because the cool nights keep the grape’s natural acidity from falling out. Aromas of lemongrass, dried lime peel and yellow grapefruit expand on the palate, picking up flavors of gooseberry pie and Key lime with a juicy and steely finish. Enjoy with grilled brats and summertime salads. (13.5 percent alcohol)
Purple Star Wines 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $12: Using grapes from Caliche Lake Vineyard near the Gorge Amphitheatre, winemaker Kyle Johnson crafts a delicious wine with aromas of Golden Delicious apple, Asian pear, lime juice and straw, which lead to elegant, bright and luscious flavors of grapefruit, Jonagold apple and more lime. (13.2 percent alcohol)