The Perfect Reds and Dazzling Whites of the Pacific Northwest

Whether you get your national weather report each morning from ABC, CBS, ABC, The Weather Channel or some other source, you’re probably never surprised when you hear that it’s going to be stormy in Portland and Seattle.

But not all of Oregon and Washington are rain magnets. In fact, there are numerous parts of each state where the climate is relatively dry, and grapevines dominate the landscapes.

The reds wines of the region — including those in the Perfect Pacific Northwest Reds Collection — garnered lots of deserved attention during the last two decades of the 20th century. In particular, Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington and Pinot Noir from Oregon have become coveted among wine collectors.

The terroir of Washington’s Columbia Valley has proven to be particularly welcoming for Cabernet Sauvignon, as demonstrated by the 2014 Big DeVine Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 Pacific Crest McNary Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

While the two wines are slightly different in their aroma and flavor spectrums, both are exceptional examples of how tasty Washington Cabernet can be.

Likewise, Oregon’s Willamette Valley has emerged as a dependable source of world-class Pinot Noir, challenging the best that Burgundy has to offer. The 2013 Aberrant Cellars Confero Pinot Noir is a true “wine of a place” — a place where the soils and the climate provide the perfect setting for growing Pinot Noir grapes.

The terroir is so diverse and accommodating that it also makes possible the growing of several white varieties, two of which have been brought together in the Dazzling Pacific Northwest Whites Collection.

Generally speaking, these special wines are made in much smaller quantities than the reds, mainly because so much more vineyard land has been devoted to reds. Because they’re true artisanal wines, you’d be hard-pressed to find Chardonnay more enjoyable than the 2015 Matchmaker Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley or the 2015 Pacific Crest “Centennial Trail” Chardonnay from the Columbia Valley.

Likewise, the 2015 Del Rio Vineyards Viognier from Oregon’s Rogue Valley is an outstanding example of the variety — engagingly floral, brimming with fruit flavor and just a little bit nutty.

Before the Dazzling Pacific Northwest Whites came on the scene, one could be perfectly content with the Perfect Pacific Northwest Reds. Now, however, choosing between the two can be a real conundrum.

My advice? Choose both.

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Posted in Wine Region Profiles

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