2011 MUST HAVE: The Can’t-Miss Bottles of Wine

Photo: Erik Simkins

You can’t call yourself a wine lover unless you have these in your home collection.

There are almost 700 wineries in Washington state alone, the task of choosing the right wine can be daunting and somewhat overwhelming. Red or white? Red Mountain or Red Willow? Expensive for that special occasion or lower priced for an everyday wine? To ensure you’re always up to speed with your WA vino knowledge, check in with us weekly for the must-have wines — in all categories and for all occasions.

Photo: Erik Simkins

This week, the focus is on varietals — a list of different types of wine to please any palate. No fluffy wine descriptions necessary. Just trust us; we know our wines.

Must-Have Cabernet Sauvignon:

Betz Family 2007 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)

Cooper 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain ($60)

EFESTE 2007 Big Papa Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon ($45)

Fidelitas 2007 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)

Fielding Hills 2008 RiverBend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($42)

Must-Have Syrah:

Cayuse 2007 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah ($65)

Rulo 2007 Syrah ($20)

Dusted Valley 2007 Reserve Syrah ($45)

Must-Have Cabernet Franc:

Fielding Hills 2007 Cab Franc ($30)

Gilbert Cellars 2007 Cabernet Franc Indian Wells ($32)

Hard Roe to Hoe 2007 Cab Franc ($31)

Vin Du Lac 2007 Barrel Select Cab Franc ($40)

Watermill Estate 2007 Cab Franc ($28)

Must-Have Bordeaux Blend:

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2006 Destiny ($45)

Cooper L’inizio 2007 ($40)

Five Star Cellars 2006 Stellar ($48)

L’Ecole 412007 Apogee ($45)

Must-Have Rhone Blend (White and Red):

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2009 Rousanne/Marsanne ($28)

Rotie Cellars 2008 Southern Blend ($35)

Must-Have Merlot:

Northstar 2007 Walla Walla Valley Merlot ($50)

Boudreaux Cellars 2006 Merlot ($40)

Barrage Cellars Trifecta 2007 ($26)

Must-Have Malbec:

The Woodhouse Wine Estates 2008 Hudson Shah Malbec ($19)

William Church Winery 2008 Malbec ($30)

Must-Have Zinfandel and Primitivo:

Forgeron Cellars 2006 Zinfandel ($30) and its European cousin, 2007 Primitivo ($30)

Hard Row to Hoe 2007 Primitivo ($32)

Must-Have Sauvignon Blanc:

EFESTE 2008 Feral ($19)

JM Cellars 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($20)

Must-Have Viognier:

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 Reserve Viognier ($28)

William Church Winery 2009 Viognier ($21)

Must-Have Chardonnay:

Januik 2008 Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay ($25)

Woodward Canyon 2009 Chardonnay ($39)

Must-Have Riesling:

Dunham Cellars 2008 Lewis Vineyard Riesling ($22)

Poet’s Leap 2009 Riesling ($20)