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Northwest Wines
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
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December 17  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Woodinville’s Brian Carter excels with Washington blends
When Brian Carter decided to make his way back to the Pacific Northwest, Mount St. Helens had just erupted and there wasn’t much of a wine industry north of the Columbia River.But the Oregon native was determined to make his mark when he came to the Seattle area in 1980, and he has accomplished greatness in the decades since.

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December 10  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
14 Hands a Washington wine phenomenon Think about this: A decade ago, 14 Hands Winery didn't exist.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates created the brand in 2005 as a restaurant-only label. Consumer demand grew to the point that the company made it available for retail sales. Last year, Ste. Michelle converted Snoqualmie Winery's tasting room in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser to 14 Hands.

Today, 14 Hands Winery produces 2 million cases of wine annually, making it Washington's second-largest winery and...

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December 3  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Great value reds for the holiday season As we head into the holiday season, it’s always good to have a few bottles of red wine on hand for festivities, whether they be Christmas parties or New Year’s Eve celebrations.

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November 23  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Good, affordable wines for the holidays
As we head into the holiday season, we often find ourselves either attending festive events or putting them on ourselves.Thus it is always a good idea to have several bottles of wine on hand and, as such, to enjoy good quality at fair prices.During the past couple of months, we have tasted many wines that qualify as good values, costing $15 or less. Today, we take a look at a few white wines. Next week, we’ll dive into a number of reds.

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November 19  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Yakima Valley vineyard’s 100-year history
It’s a funny little vineyard that would barely qualify as a footnote in Washington wine history.But thanks to a friendly nudge from one of Washington’s true wine legends, Harrison Hill Vineyard near the Yakima Valley town of Sunnyside has received the recognition it deserves.Harrison Hill is owned by the Newhouse family, whose history with these 5.5 acres of vines goes back to the early 1970s. But grapes have been grown here for much, much longer.

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November 12  |  Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Columbia Gorge an exciting, dynamic wine region
One of the most excited but least understood Northwest wine regions is the Columbia Gorge.Officially the Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area is a grape-growing region that crosses both sides of the Columbia River, surrounding the city of Hood River, Ore., and such towns as White Salmon and Bingen on the Washington side.But in reality, the region known as “the Gorge” extends from Troutdale, Ore., in the west to Goldendale in the east.

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November 5  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
The best white wines from the Great NW Invite
In early October, we conducted the second annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon. For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been taking a look at the top red wines, and now we will review some of the white wines that earned gold medals.

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October 29  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
The best reds from the Great NW Invitational
Last week, we announced the top wines from the second annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, held in Hood River, Oregon. This week, we take a look at some of the top red wines from the judging.The Invite is the only wine competition in North America in which the judges — 16 influential wine professionals — nominate the wines they want to have entered in the competition.

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October 22  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Best wines from Great Northwest invite
The Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, staged Oct. 8-9 at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon, is the only judging in which wine professionals nominate and then evaluate the entries.For this competition, we gathered 16 influential wine professionals, including restaurateurs, retailers, wholesalers and writers. Each of them nominated up to 100 wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho, and more than 420 wines were entered.

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October 15  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Bombers and bombastic wines in Yakima Valley
What once was a World War II military training base in the Yakima Valley has evolved into a great vineyard site and provides grapes for one of the region’s best wineries.Airfield Estates is part of a four-generation farming family. Don Miller, the family’s second generation in the valley, began planting wine grapes in 1968 on the advice of Walter Clore, a Washington State University researcher known as “the father of Washington wine.”

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October 8  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Idaho is gaining a reputation as a burgeoning wine region Idaho has long been considered an agricultural haven, known for growing crops such as onions, corn, apples, cherries, peaches and, yes, potatoes.

Now, the Gem State is gaining a reputation as a burgeoning wine region.

Grapes have been grown in Idaho for more than a century, but the modern wine industry began in the 1970s with the launch of Ste. Chapelle — still Idaho's largest producer.

Now Idaho is home to more than 50 wineries that stretch...

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October 1  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Yakima’s revered Mercer family making noise in wine industry
One of Washington’s most revered farming families is making its mark in the wine industry.The Mercers arrived in the Yakima Valley in the 1880s and have been working the soil ever since. The Mercer family’s history in the wine industry goes back to 1972, when Don Mercer planted the first wine grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills south of the Yakima Valley. He planted Cabernet Sauvignon and called it Mercer Ranch Vineyards.

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September 24  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Trying to keep up with the Joneses
In the arid Columbia Basin, a winery is crafting beautiful and affordable wines from some of the warmest and coolest regions in Washington wine country.As a result, few are able to keep up with the Joneses.

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September 17  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
Chateau St. Michelle continues to shine Running the Northwest's largest winery is daunting. Simultaneously crafting some of our region's best wines is downright difficult.

That's what Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville manages to do year after year, and its latest releases show no signs of cutting corners in quality as it continues to grow in size.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington's flagship winery. Its roots run deep, going back to the repeal of Prohibition. In 1934, two wineries —...

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September 10  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
North Central Washington wine country thriving North Central Washington is the state's original wine country, and now it is making a strong case for being a significant region once again.In 1874, John Galler opened Washington's first winery in east Wenatchee. It stayed open until 1910. A year later, Philip Miller opened the state's second winery across the Columbia River in Wenatchee.Since Prohibition, however, North Central Washington has focused more on other agricultural pursuits. But in the past 15 years in...

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September 3  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Nine great Washigton white wines for $15 or less Last week, we reviewed several Pacific Northwest red wines priced at $15 or less. This week, we take a look at whites.

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August 27  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Nine affordable reds to enjoy on weeknights
Back-to-school lists aren’t just for children. They’re for wine lovers, too.As Labor Day approaches, we’ll spend the next two weeks reviewing wines that retail for $15 or less, wines you can enjoy guilt-free with barbecues and late summer outings.

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August 20  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
Italy’s most famous grape plays small role in state
It is the most famous of Italian wine grapes, but in the New World, Sangiovese plays only a minor role.Best known as the primary variety in Chianti Classico, Sangiovese also is the main grape in Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano — two hill towns in southern Tuscany. The red grape takes its name from the Latin phrase for “the blood of Jove,” with Jove being the mythical Jupiter, the Roman king of gods.

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August 13  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Forget the sweet swill, try a well-crafted rosé
Back in June, we wrote about a number of rosés that would be perfect for summer sipping. Since then, we have seen an absolute deluge of pink wines coming from Pacific Northwest wineries — so many that we decided we’d better put the spotlight back on this exciting and growing category.

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August 6  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Washington winemakers push the envelope with red blends As red blends have expanded Washington's landscape, talented winemakers continue to explore the boundaries — if any — of this style of wine.

Not so many years ago, we mostly saw Bordeaux-style blends that included primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Now we are noticing not only a lot more using Syrah — which adds a certain richness to red wines — but also with many other varieties, including Sangiovese, Mourvèdre,...

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July 30  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Syrah's popularity remains high in Washington During the past few years, Syrah has been receiving a lot of grief.

It's somewhat inexplicable because the red grape often associated with France's Northern Rhone Valley can make such delicious and approachable wines.

Yet sales have suffered in the past half-decade, particularly with Australian Shiraz (another name for Syrah).

In Washington state, however, Syrah is not slowing down. Last year, Washington grape growers harvested 15,300 tons of Syrah,...

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July 23  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Washington Chardonnay evolves with times, styles
Most of the time, it seems every grape variety except Chardonnay gets headlines — even though it remains America’s favorite wine.In Washington, Chardonnay was surpassed last fall by Cabernet Sauvignon as the top grape in the state, though not by much. In fact, at 40,200 tons harvested, that’s enough for 2.5 million cases of Chardonnay just in Washington.

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July 16  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
Woodinville state’s top wine destination If not for the Washington wine industry, few would be able to find Woodinville on a map, much less visit the community in northeastern King County.

Instead, Woodinville is a major touring region, thanks primarily to Washington's largest and oldest winery. Chateau Ste. Michelle, which dates to 1934, relocated to Woodinville from Seattle in 1976, when its owners finished building a French-style manor that still is the most-visited winery in the Northwest at more than...

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July 9  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
8 great wines from the cradle of Washington’s wine industry It is known as the cradle of the Washington wine industry. After nearly 100 years of viticulture, the Yakima Valley is stronger than ever.Nearly a century ago, William Bridgman began planting wine grapes around Sunnyside, and that sparked what has become one of the state’s strongest industries.

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July 2  |  By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
10 winning wines from Walla Walla competition
One of the Walla Walla Valley’s oldest producers topped the second annual Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition.Walla Walla Vintners’ 2012 Cabernet Franc was the No. 1 pick by judges during the competition. The proceeds for the competition help fund scholarships at Walla Walla Community College’s Center for Enology and Viticulture.Here are some of the top wines. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.

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