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

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ten Best Washington State Vineyards

Here we go, again! This year's favorites listed as the ten best. There are few if any really new vineyards listed here as they typically aren't old enough to produce really great fruit. Some on this list have been established for years, a few dating back to the early and mid-1970s.

1) Boushay goes way back to the mid- 1970s and produces soft, typical Yakima Valley fruit especially Syrah.

2) Canoe Ridge - Another established vineyard produces excellent Chardonnay grapes.

3) Champoux - One of the best in the state. Source of outstanding grapes for many great wineries such as Andrew Will. Chris Carmada's vineyard designated wines are a great way to get a sense of the "terroir" of Champoux and three or four excelent vineyards.

4) Ciel Du Cheval - The Red Mountain vineyard is probably my favorite and a source of great grapes to several outstanding winemakers including Ben Smith at Cadence Winery

5) Klipsun - Another topnotch source of Red Mountain grapes for some of the best Western Washington wineries such as DeLille.

6) Pepper Bridge -This Walla Walla vineyard is the source of Jean Francois Pellet's grapes for Pepper Bridge winery as well as many other excellent wineries.

7) Seven Hills - Another Walla Walla vineyard sourcing excellent grapes to several Walla Walla wineries.

8) Sheridan - Recently established by Scott Greer in the Yakima Valley and the source of excellent fruit for his Sheridan Vineyard winery.

9) Goose Ridge - Just south of Benton City and the Tri-Cities, this huge vineyard provides many of the grapes for Ch. Ste. Michelle, but in consultation with Charlie Hoppes, owner of Fedelitas winery, Goose Ridge produces a prodigeous number of different wines many at very reasonable prices.

10) Willow Crest - The view of the Yakima Valley from here is awesome. Winemaker Dave Minick produces excellent wines from these grapes and outsources the rest. The reasonably priced Pinot Gris, the Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Syrah are all outstanding.


  • At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you're going to include Seven Hills, which is in Oregon, not Washington, then you certainly should include at least one of the Cayuse vineyards (Coccinelle, Cailloux, Armada, En Cerise, En Chamberlain) on that list. These vineyards routinely produce some of finest wines in the USA - IMHO. Also, what about Leonetti's Upland and Loess vineyards? (which ARE in Washington)

  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger Catie said…

    Gene, you sure have a lot of "anonymous" readers who like to snipe and argue with you. If I didn't know any better I would say they might be some of your wine web or wine educational competitors. And what I don't get is the same anonymous seems to tell you what you should and should not be adding on your personal opinion lists. I notice the last one said, IMHO. Doesn't sound too humble of an opinion to me. Cheers!

  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Hi, Catie. You are right. It's taken me almost two years to elicit "flamemail." "Negative publicity is the new hot hype." Once again, an "anonymous" shows a lack of reasoning skills. Why should Cayuse vineyards be included on my list, just because Walla Walla Seven Hills Vineyard is in Oregon? I think I got someone's goat. Perhaps someone associated with Cayuse or Leonetti? A winemaker, perhaps? Sour grapes? Why would I put a Cayuse vineyard on my best list as a favorite, when I have hardly had any opportunity to taste wines from these vineyards? Take care, Gene

  • At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maybe you should change your title to "10 best vineyards I have tasted from". Obviously, Cayuse's and Leonetti's vineyards would be on anyone's list who has had their wines.

  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Dear anon, in fact, I have tasted wines from Cayuse and Leonetti. IMHO, they are not the best or most interesting wines in the state. They have cachet, because the supply is limited to exclusive mailing lists. Their vineyards may well be great, but they are not on my best list this year. There is also the question of value, i.e., the biggest bang for the buck - look elsewhere!

    You remind me of an Amazon millionaire I know who kept ranting about his Screaming Eagle at a tasting of 1982 First Growth Bordeaux, perhaps because he didn't have any 1982 Bordeaux in his relatively new cellar. He bought wine by the numbers and couldn't stand the fact that someone at the tasting kept talking about Parkerized wines.

    It thrills me that so many of you anons, are agitated about Cayuse et al. Thanks for your comment. Gene

  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Robert said…

    Hi, I'm curious if you've tried anything from Hugh and Kathy Shiels' DuBrul Vineyard? I've found the quality of their grapes to be outstanding!

  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Hi, Robert. Thanks for your comment. I have had wines with some DuBrul Vineyard grapes in them. There are so many great wines, wineries and vineyards in Washington it is absurd to try to reduce them to the ten nest, but people like "Best" list. I try to rotate many of my picks every year so others get a chance instead of setting the list in stone like some sort of Canon. Gene


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