As summer transitions into autumn and we gather in a last bit of warmth from the Northwest skies before settling down for cooler weather, we try to spend as much time outdoors as we can.
This also can mean enjoying white wines that go with such late-summer fare as halibut, salmon, prawns, scallops, chicken and picnic dishes.
Despite all the buzz in the past few years that have tended to raise the profile – and prices – of Northwest wines, plenty of bargains can be found on wine merchants’ shelves.
And they run the gamut from Riesling and Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc.
Below are a few value whites we’ve tasted recently that should not be difficult to find.
Prices listed are suggested retail, so they typically can be found for a bit less if you shop around.
Pine & Post Winery 2007 Chardonnay, Washington, $8: Mouthwatering tones of fruit cocktail, McIntosh apple and peach taffy make for an approachable drink with showy oak and a crisp lemony structure that finishes dry.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2009 Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, $9: This food-friendly and sophisticated Riesling is focused on acidity instead of sweetness (0.8 percent residual sugar). Distinctive Riesling qualities show with green apple, peach, petrol and river rock with a squirt of tangerine. Granny Smith apple and tangerine acidity make for a mouthwatering finish and a rapid return. Enjoy with mild cheese, crab or curries.
Lone Canary Winery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $10: This Spokane winery has focused on Sauvignon Blanc since its inception, and this delicious version highlights notes of starfruit, citrus, river rock and fresh-cut grass, while preserving the crisp acidity.
Dusted Valley Vintners 2008 Boomtown Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13: A crack of the cap unloads a snootful of green apple, banana, Bosc pear, cantaloupe, lime and some minerality. Its steely and crisp approach shows more of the apples and lime, along with nectarine and acidity that really gets the juices flowing.
Magnificent Wine Co. 2008 Fish House Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13: Fresh-cut Golden Delicious apples, pineapple and yellow grapefruit aromas show a continuation in the mouth of unsweetened grapefruit. What follows are flavors of Asian pear and pineapple that finish in a flurry of lime sorbet and oak tones.
Kyra Wines 2009 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, $13: There’s an appealing aroma of peaches and canned pear in this wine from a Moses Lake producer, along with varietal character of sugar cane and grassiness. Nice tartness and residual sugar of 2.55 percent add to its yumminess and deck applications.
Anne Amie Vineyards 2009 Cuvee A Estate Muller-Thurgau, Willamette Valley, $14: A legacy of its days under the name Chateau Benoit, these now 30-year-old vines still create arguably the Northwest’s finest Muller-Thurgau. The fresh and inviting nose is loaded with lime, lychee nut, yellow grapefruit, fresh-squeezed orange juice and lilacs. Its clean, linear and fruit-forward approach continues, joined by honeydew melon and lip-smacking kumquat, orange and Granny Smith apple. There’s just a touch of yeastiness, harkening to four months on the lees, yet it’s dry (just 0.6 percent residual sugar) and refreshing.
Vale Wine Co. 2009 Dry Riesling, Snake River Valley, $14: Peach, apples, kumquat show off some classic petrol and tropical notes in a dry fashion that closes with lemon and honeydew.
Canyon’s Edge Winery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills, $14: The aromatics tilt toward juicy pineapple and Golden Delicious apple with citrus notes, grassiness and just a hint of gooseberry, but there’s a supreme production of gooseberry on the palate. It’s backed by fair bit of creamy orange, a snap of celery and a lengthy finish.
Mercer Estates 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $14: Peach and lychee aromas are joined by gooseberry jam and diesel, a combination that continues in pleasing tartness onto the palate. The barrel treatment of the primary lot from famed Sagemoor Vineyard (40 percent) shows only in the finish.
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman are the editors of Wine Press Northwest. For more information, go to www.winepressnw.com.