Pinot Gris has rapidly become a popular grape in the Northwest. Known as Pinot Grigio in Italy, the grape makes a refreshing white with plenty of fruit character. It's named for its characteristic "gris" or grayish color but actually the grapes take on a pink and even purple caste as they ripen. Our Pinot Gris has up front aromas of melon, peach and guava, and the flavors are similar, with loads of ripe apple and peach and a hint of vanilla. The wine has good weight and structure on the palate. The winemakers suggest pairing the Pinot Gris with poached halibut or homemade pizza with garlic, olive oil and Niçoise olives.
Alcohol: 13.5% by volume
The Hogue Cellars Winery
The Hogue Cellars, founded in 1982 by Mike and Gary Hogue, is located in Eastern Washington's Columbia Valley, the premier grape growing region of the state. The climate and soils of the Columbia Valley produce grapes with intense fruit flavors and high natural acidity. The wines have a liveliness and ripe, zesty fruit flavors that make them ideal complements to a wide range of foods.
View all The Hogue Cellars Wines
Washington's first appellation, Yakima Valley has over one third of the state's vineyards. The rolling foothills of the Cascades give the vines a good sun angle, so grapes are well-ripened come harvest time. Merlot dominates the plantings here, creating elegant wines with complex fruit, herbs & structure. Syrah continues to grow in popularity, creating blanced wines with spicy black fruit.
A few smaller, but notable appellations that lie within or just outside of Yakima Valley include:
Rattlesnake Hills, which gained AVA status in 2006, lies in the north with 17 wineries. Horse Heaven Hills, another recent sub-appellation hugs the south end of Yakima and is known for its outstanding vineyard sites that create incredible and collectible red wines. Red Mountain, known for its intense and delicious reds, is located on the eastern side of Yakima Valley.
Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.