The Big Wines of Washington State

by Nicole Linares 2/20/19

When we think of Washington State, we picture humid weather and mostly sunless days. Unlike its damp and mild weathered Western counterpart, Eastern Washington is a completely different world. Just over the Cascade Mountains, with a latitude between Bordeaux and Burgundy, lies a vast desert screened from the marine air. This is the perfect environment for production of supple and bold varietals with ripe flavor, crisp acidity and elevated alcohol. Favorites coming out of this region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux Blends. Here are a few phenomenal wines that express how varied and delicious this area can product wines:

Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – Red Mountain AVA

Red Mountain AVA is a sub-region of the Columbia Valley, the warmest in Washington State, that has a reputation for producing supple Cabs with longevity, the ’15 Col Solare is one of the finest examples of this.

Tasting notes: This Cab presents jammy blue and black fruits with well-integrated, smooth tannins. Bold but approachable, over ripe fruit notes and a soft mouthfeel make this wine both a food wine or one to drink alone.

Chateau Saint Michelle Merlot ‘Canoe Ridge Estate’ 2013 – Horse Haven Hills AVA

Washington’s founding winery, Chateau Saint Michelle, has roots dating back to the Repeal of Prohibition. The Canoe Ridge Estate has optimum growing conditions, thanks to the ancient lava deposits, mostly sunny days and strong winds. Red wines produced here are elegant and polished, and quite often receive high honors.

Tasting notes: Dusty cocoa powder and lush red fruits like cherries and raspberries create this graceful representation of Washington State Merlot. A strong and bold tannic profile contrast against the touch of smoke as it opens up. Smooth with a velvet-like, lingering finish on the palate.

Intrinsic Red Blend 2017 – Columbia Valley AVA

Columbia valley is Washington State’s largest and most diverse AVA. Columbia valley produces wines that are rich and lushious since it is actually warmer than any AVA in California despite being much further north. Intrinsic shows this diveristy and inventiveness by blending art and craft. Artist ZIMER creates the Lady in Red, a vibrant woman dancing on the label. Winemaker Juan Muniz-Oca wanted to produce a shareable wine that held a personality all on it’s own.

Tasting notes: Almost equal parts Cabernet Franc and Malbec play nicely in this seductive blend. The palate will experience notes of tart cherries with contrasting herbs like mint and oregano. Silky tannins and a low acid profile along with warm baking spices create a wine that is meant to be enjoyed, savored and shared with friends. Pair with BBQ or smoked meats.

Try these wines today at El Carajo!