Northwest Wine

Best of the best: Winners from the 12th annual Platinum Judging

In November, we conducted our 12th annual Platinum Judging, what we have dubbed "the best of the best in the Great Northwest."

Last week, we shared some of the top wines from British Columbia's Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, which won six Platinums in the 12th competition. This week, we will look at some of the best wines from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, along with brief descriptions.

Wines are eligible to enter the Platinum if they from the Northwest and have won gold medals in any of about 35 professionally judged competitions around the world. We bring in top judges from as far away as Georgia and California (as well as the Northwest) to evaluate the wines under blind conditions, meaning the do not know the producer or the price.

Many of these wines are still available. To purchase, check with your favorite wine merchant or contact the winery directly.


Kiona Vineyards Winery 2008 Lemberger, Red Mountain, $12. A rich red wine with notes of cherries, mint and berries.

Jones of Washington 2010 Estate Viognier, Wahluke Slope, $17. A gorgeous white with aromas and flavors of citrus and tropical fruits.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Harvest Select Riesling, Columbia Valley, $9. Off-dry with ripe fruit aromas and flavors with great complexity.

L'Ecole No. 41 2010 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, $14. Crisp flavors of green apples, quinces and Jolly Rancher candy.

Otis Kenyon Wine 2008 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $30. A classic Syrah with aromas and flavors of black pepper, blackberries and plums.

Steppe Cellars 2008 StoneTree Vineyard Malbec, Wahluke Slope, $25. A wonderfully earthy red with notes of plums, boysenberries and black licorice.

Mount Baker Vineyards & Winery 2008 Proprietor's Limited Release Malbec, Yakima Valley, $20. Dar berries, cola, black pepper and tannin make this a winner.

Covington Cellars 2008 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $35. Delicious aromas and flavors of black cherries, boysenberries, chocolate and even oregano.

Tsillan Cellars 2008 Lakeside Vineyard Bellisima Rossa, Lake Chelan, $28. This shows off notes of black licorice, fresh dates and ripe boysenberries.

Thurston Wolfe 2008 Reserve Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills, $25. Aromas of cocoa powder, boysenberries, mint and graphite lead to flavors of massive dark fruit.

Dusted Valley Vintners 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $28. Red plums, tobacco leaf and toasty oak aromas give way to dark, ripe flavors.

Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley, $22. This mouthwatering wine offers notes of ripe pears and herbs.

Westport Winery 2009 Going Coastal Sparkling Gewürztraminer, Washington, $35. This delicious sparkling wine offers aromas of pears, starfruit and pear butter and flavors of yellow grapefruits.

Barnard Griffin 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $17. This opens with aromas of black currants, blackberries and ripe dark plums, followed by flavors of ripe dark berries


Quady North 2010 Pistoleta, Rogue Valley, $19. This white blend opens with succulent aromas of citrus and tropical fruit, including pineapples, limes and orange zest.

Sokol Blosser 2008 Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $38. Fascinating aromas of sweet herbs, rich earth, wet gravel and black truffles lead to flavors of ripe raspberries, violets and mushrooms.

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2008 Hannah Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $45. Layered aromas of spices, violets, cola and cherries lead to flavors of Dr Pepper and red fruit.

Kramer Vineyards NV Celebrate Muller-Thurgau, Yamhill-Carlton District, $15. This sparkler offers notes of minerals, Spanish almonds and pineapples.


Sawtooth Estate Winery 2009 Riesling, Snake River Valley, $9. Aromas of apricots, limes and apples, followed by balanced flavors of grapefruits, oranges and crisp apples.

Koenig Vineyards 2009 Riesling Ice Wine, Snake River Valley, $20. On the nose, it reminded us of a pineapple upside-down cake, and on the palate, it was resplendent with flavors of caramel and peach crumble.

*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.