Our top picks for show-stopping pours at Washington’s biggest wine event of the year
There aren’t many opportunities to indulge in THE best food and wine the PNW has to offer under one roof – making Taste Washington one of my all-time favorite events of the year! This past weekend over 250 wineries, vineyards, and cideries gathered at the Grand Tasting event from far and wide across the PNW, serving up delightful pours of the latest and greatest wines in our region. While there were no shortage of amazing pours, I’m happy to share my list of some of the wines that really stood out at this year’s event.
Full disclosure: I didn’t even make a dent in tasting half of the pours featured at Taste, and this list is biased (I hate white wine – I’m sorry if you don’t, red is just better. I included a few roses you’ll love though!). My tasting notes are low brow at best, but don’t let that fool you – these pours are off the charts fantastic, and you’ll want to seek them out ASAP.
Structure Cellars – 2015 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
This wine is everything you want from a cab franc – it’s smooth and sultry with hints of deep plum, blackberry, and dare I say caramel? Husband and wife duo Brian and Brandee are exactly what you want in winemakers – incredibly talented, funny, and make you feel right at home in their Sodo winery. Everything they put out is gold, if you haven’t heard of them do yourself a favor and get out there to taste soon.
Latta Wine – 2014 Latta Latta, Red Rhone Blend, Columbia Valley
Latta is another hidden gem among the Sodo tasting rooms, and winemaker Andrew Latta has outdone himself with this phenomenal Rhone style GSM. It’s 58% Grenache 23%, Syrah, and 19% Mourvedre, the perfect blend that hits you with a burst of bright cherry notes and hints of earthy minerals. Lucky for you, Latta is located in the same lot as Structure so you can recreate your own mini Taste experience anytime you want.
Browne Family Vineyards – 2017 Grenache Rose, Columbia Valley
When you think about #roseallday on a sunny Seattle afternoon, you’re dreaming of this one from Walla Walla’s Browne Family Vineyards. I always love Grenache roses, but I can’t sing enough praise for this one. This Rhone-style wine is dry and crisp, light and fruit forward, and delivers the perfect punch of acidity. They now have a Pioneer Square tasting room which will be fun to hit before a Mariner’s game, or convenient to grab a few bottles and take to the nearest rooftop.
Hawkins Cellars – 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
A lot of things were better in 2014, including this cab that is good enough to make you momentarily forget how terrible 2018 is. It’s a powerhouse Bordeaux with hints of black cherry and bell pepper, and smooth through and through with a slightly tannic finish. You’ll have to road trip out to the beautiful Columbia Gorge area near Hood River to find their tasting room, so make a weekend out of it – there are at least 25 others you can hit on the Gorge wine trail.
Sonoris Winery – 2010 Merlot, Columbia Valley
Merlots aren’t usually my first choice, but this 2010 from winemaker Hillary Sjolund was delightful! So aromatic and layered with dark fruit undertones and a long smooth finish. She’s getting things done over in Richland, WA and hinted at a winery opening in the near future. In the meantime, look for their labels featuring old photos of Sjolund’s grandparents circa the 1950’s in wine shops across the Yakima Valley.