Each year, Wine Press Northwest conducts what we call the Platinum Judging, in which we try to determine some of the region's greatest wines.
To do this, we track about 30 regional, national and international wine competitions and invite wineries to submit their gold medal-winning wines. In November, we conducted our 11th annual Platinum Judging, and our eight professional wine judges considered a record 538 wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho.
All wines were tasted blind, meaning the judges knew what kind of wine they were tasting (merlot, riesling, etc.) but not the winery. Out of the 538 entries, the judges awarded 75 Platinums, 10 of which were unanimous (what we deemed Double Platinums).
Here are a few of the highlights from this year's judging:
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-- Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery in Oliver, British Columbia., won five Platinum awards. It has now won 19 Platinums in the competition's 11-year history.
-- Barnard Griffin of Richland, won two Platinums. It has now won 16 Platinums in the competition's history.
-- Vin du Lac of Chelan won two Platinums. It now has won at least one Platinum in each of the past six years.
- Sixteen wines that won Platinums cost $15 or less.
-- Domaine Ste. Michelle won a Platinum for its Brut, a sparkling wine. At 191,540 cases, it was the largest-production Platinum winner.
The new issue of Wine Press Northwest comes out this week, so here is your sneak peek at 38 of the best wines by region. Some of them might be sold out. Check with your favorite wine merchant or contact wineries directly for availability. British Columbia wines are generally available only in Canada.
-- Thurston Wolfe 2007 The Teacher cabernet sauvignon, Washington, $22
-- Buried Cane 2007 syrah, Washington, $15
-- Pacific Rim Winemakers 2008 White Flowers sparkling riesling, Columbia Valley, $16
-- Tsillan Cellars 2008 estate riesling, Lake Chelan, $20
-- Airfield Estates 2009 riesling, Yakima Valley, $12
-- Barnard Griffin 2009 rosé of sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $12
-- Hogue Cellars 2008 Genesis riesling, Columbia Valley, $16
-- Maryhill Winery 2007 sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $18
-- Vin du Lac of Chelan 2007 Barrel Select syrah, Columbia Valley, $28
- Hollywood Hill Vineyards 2008 malbec, Wahluke Slope, $34
-- Walter Dacon Wines 2007 C'est Magnifque syrah, Yakima Valley, $42
-- Mount Baker Vineyards 2009 Proprietor's Limited Release riesling, Yakima Valley, $13
-- Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, Columbia Valley, $12
-- Brian Carter Cellars 2005 Solesce, Columbia Valley, $50
-- Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Ethos cabernet sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $38
-- Whidbey Island Winery 2006 syrah, Yakima Valley, $25
- Dunham Cellars 2006 Lewis Vineyard syrah, Columbia Valley, $74
-- Milbrandt Vineyards 2006 Northridge Sentinel, Wahluke Slope, $55
-- Hyatt Vineyards 2006 merlot, Rattlesnake Hills, $10
-- Chateau Ste. Michelle 2008 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, $24
-- Kiona Vineyards Winery 2004 cab-merlot, Washington, $12
-- Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 2009 Reserve Gruner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley, $26
-- Abacela Vineyards & Winery 2008 Albariño, Umpqua Valley, $18
-- Zerba Cellars 2007 petit verdot, Walla Walla Valley, $38
-- King Estate 2008 Domaine pinot gris, Oregon, $25
-- Melrose Vineyards 2008 viognier, Umpqua Valley, $18
-- Quady North 2008 cabernet franc, Applegate Valley, $35
-- Watermill Winery 2007 Estate cabernet franc, Walla Walla Valley, $28
-- Willamette Valley Vineyards 2007 Hannah Vineyard pinot noir, Willamette Valley, $40
-- Spangler Vineyards 2008 cabernet Franc, Umpqua Valley, $28
-- Troon Vineyards 2008 Reserve zinfandel, Applegate Valley, $60
-- Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2009 Signature riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley, $50
-- Cassini Cellars 2008 Collector's Series syrah, Okanagan Valley, $34
-- Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery 2008 Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley, $15
-- Pentage Wines 2009 Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley, $18
-- La Frenz Winery Tawny, Okanagan Valley, $20
-- Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards 2007 riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley, $52
-- JoieFarm 2009 A Noble Blend, Okanagan Valley, $24
*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.