Washington Wine Month

March kicks off Washington Wine Month and there are a slew of events going on throughout the state during this month. But here is the funny thing; for how much March is touted as Washington Wine Month, August is also known as Washington Wine Month. Kind of weird – I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the official month is, but so far, no resolution. So I suppose our little corner of the winemaking world has enough of a complex to have two ‘months’ to tout its virtues.

In “March,” a lot of wineries are partnering with restaurants (or are a lot of restaurants partnering with wineries?), so it’s a chance to visit and support some local establishments that are putting a proper spotlight on the greatness and potential that wines of Washington produce.

As Washington steps up to the world stage, it’s important that locals discover and embrace the homegrown wines we grow. In fact, the Washington Wine Commission has recently announced the 600th winery to be licensed and a new AVA has been made official in Washington – say hello to the Snipes Mountain AVA! In fact, there may be an 11th AVA as Lake Chelan’s is under review as we speak.

With this support for Washington wines, please go out and support some of the producers throughout the state. Washington produces all sorts of great wines in a number of varietals. World class wines should be quite easy to find, even your next favorite for a Wednesday dinner.

Here are my favorite Washington wines of the moment in the varietals that our state does well (note – I’m just scratching the surface of the good wines from WA, this is only a primer to whet your palate):

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Washington really shines with this red noble grape, so there are great producers everywhere. Some can be really pricey, but the Five Star Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty darn good. Vibrant fruit, with elegant tannins, this is a really nice red.
  • Merlot – This varietal stands out in Washington and I really, really like the Merlot that comes from Otis Kenyon. It’s bold, complex and a standard bearer for how good the Merlot from Washington can be.
  • Syrah – The Syrah’s from Betz Family Winery are amongst the best wines that come from Washington and with good reason. Their Syrah has an opulent body and complexity to match.
  • Riesling – I love Riesling and outside of Alsace, I think some of the best in the world come from our state. There are a ton of great values through WA, but right now I really enjoy the Riesling from Tsillan Cellars. Bright acidity and definite aromatics, this is a nice wine with a ton of different foods – particularly shellfish and Asian foods.