Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, November 19, 2007

2007 Unofficial Classifcation Of Washington State Wines

Harvest is over and wines and winemakers can finally rest after a frenetic two months. This is the second annual Unofficial Classification of Washington State wines, or more accurately, of Washington State wineries. The 2007 Unofficial Classification of Washington State Wines represents my personal, perhaps, idiosyncratic or eccentric, opinions of the quality of Washington State wineries. Out of approximately 500 wineries there are at least a hundred producing great wine. About half of the wine produced in Washington comes from wineries owned by Chateau Ste Michelle, thus the other 490 some odd wineries are mostly small artisanal family enterprises typically producing 2000-3000 cases, in some cases up to 20,000 cases. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. In contrast to other classifications of wine such as the 1855 classification of Bordeaux, the Unofficial Classification of Washington wines is not set in stone and changes every year. Since it is retrospective, it does not necessarily predict future rankings or as they say on Wall Street, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Washington State wine scene continues to be exciting. New wineries are cropping up everywhere and established wineries are moving on to new frontiers. Several top Puget Sound wineries have invested in their own vineyards in Eastern Washington and you can sense the excitement this is generating among winemakers. Exclusion from this classification, in no way represents a commentary on the quality of a winery. In most cases, it simply means that I am not familiar enough with the wines or winemaker to form an opinion. On the other hand , not all Washington wines and wineries are great, so only the best that I am familiar with are listed here. Wineries listed as new are new to me and may have been around for several years.


Premier Grand Cru ( Extraordinary)

Quilceda Creek

Leonetti


Deuxieme Grand Cru (Outstanding)

Betz

Cadence

DeLille

Januik

Long Shadow

Pepper Bridge

Terra Blanca - Onyx

Spring Valley - Uriah



Troisieme Grand Cru ( Exceptional)

Abeja

Amaurice

Amavi

Andrew Will

Beresan

Boudreaux

Brian Carter

Buty

Canon de Sol

Columbia Crest Reserve

Dunham

Fall Line

Hightower

Isenhauer

Lattitude 46 N

McCrea

Northstar

Note Bene

O-S

Palouse

Ross Andrew

Sheridan

Sleight Of Hand

Spring Valley

Terra Blanca

Walla Walla Vineyards

Willis Hall

Woodward Canyon



Quatrieme Grand Cru ( Excellent)

Animale

Agate Field

Apex

Bergevin

Camaraderie

Canoe Ridge

Cougar Crest

Desert Wind

Dusted Valley

Five Star

Forgeron

Gifford Hirlinger

Glacial Lake Missoula

Hedges

Kiona

L'Ecole

Mark Ryan

Masset

McKinley Springs

Mountain Dome

Nicolas Cole

Novelty Hill

Red Sky

Reininger

Saint Laurent

Sandidge

Sandhill

Saviah

Soos Creek

Syncline

Syzygy

Thurston Wolfe

Three Rivers

Two Mountains

Walter Dacon

Whitman

Wineglass

Yellowhawk


Cinqieme Cru ( Very Good)

14 Hands

Balboa

Barnard Griffin

Cascade Cliffs

Chinook

Columbia Crest "Two Vines"

Gordon Bros

Hogue

Red Diamond

Ryan Patrick

Sagelands


New

Adament

Balsamroot

Bloom

Charles Smith

Dama

Hence

Ludmell

Sparkman

Tertulia

Tildio

Trio

Trust

Tsillan



Deferred

Andrake

Cayuse

Chatter Creek

Gorman

K Vintners

Rulo

Seven Hills

Zefina

6 Comments:

  • At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    what do you mean by "deferred"

     
  • At 7:19 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Anon, good question! By deferred I mean that these are wineries that I believe should be in the classification, but I have not tasted enough of their wines recently to place them. For example, I've tasted one Cayuse wine from the barrel that was spectacular, but is that an adequate sample? Gene

     
  • At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What happened to Ross Andrew. "Cult wime quality at a decent price" doesnt make your list anymore?

    Just jabbing at you. Nice list, and I concur with your perspective

     
  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    anon, thanks for your comment. I am flattered that you read my blog so carefully that you noticed this discrepancy. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have noticed that I switched Ross Andrew's name as if it were the names of the winemaker's children which it is not in this case. This has been corrected and you will notice that Ross Andrew is ranked in the "troisieme" class. Perhaps it will rise through the ranks. Not all "cult" wines or aspiring cult wine are extroaordinary. Gene

     
  • At 6:07 PM, Anonymous zeusdog said…

    Is L'ecole not on your list, why?

     
  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Zeusdog, thanks for pointing out this omission! I see that I also omitted Reininger. This will be corrected. Gene

     

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