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Washington

An important winegrowing state increasingly recognized for its high-quality reds and whites...

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An important winegrowing state increasingly recognized for its high-quality reds and whites, Washington ranks second in production in the U.S. after California. Washington wines continue to gain well-deserved popularity as they garner higher and higher praise from critics and consumers alike.

Washington winemakers draw inspiration mainly from Napa Valley, Bordeaux and the Rhône as well as increasingly from other regions like Spain and Italy. Most viticulture takes place on the eastern side of the state—an arid desert in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains. Irrigation is made possible by the Columbia River. Temperatures are extreme, with hot and dry summers and cold winters, during which frost can be a risk.

Washington’s wine industry was initially built on Merlot, which remains an important variety to this day, despite having been overtaken in acreage planted by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Bordeaux blends and Rhône blends are common as well as single varietal bottlings. Washington reds tend to express a real purity of concentrated fruit. The best examples have a bold richness, seamless texture, plush or powdery tannins and flavors such as licorice, herb, forest floor, espresso and dark chocolate.

In terms of white wine, Riesling is the state’s major success story, producing crisp, aromatic examples with plenty of stone fruit that range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc perform nicely here as well, and Viognier is beginning to pick up steam.

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    Mercer Estates Spice Cabinet Vineyard Petit Verdot 2009
    Petit Verdot from Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington
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      Animale Petit Verdot 2009
      Petit Verdot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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        Januik Winery Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Petit Verdot 2009
        Petit Verdot from Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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          Rasa Vineyards Living in the Limelight Petit Verdot 2009
          Petit Verdot from Columbia Valley, Washington
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