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Washington's Columbia Valley
The Perfect Wine Region?
Washington's Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) and its ten sub AVA's encompass over 11,000,000 acres, with 17,000 planted to grapes. In just three decades of commercial production, the region is now being recognized as capable producing truly "World Class" wines on a par with anything produced in Bordeaux or Napa Valley.
Why? Because it might be the closest thing to a perfect wine grape growing region that the planet possesses. The towering Cascade Mountains block the influence of the Pacific ocean on the Columbia Valley and as a result, it is almost entirely high dessert. They receive no more that 6 to 8 inches of rain per year, meaning all vines must be irrigated. That alone gives the growers control over one of the most important variables in grape growing.
Then, add in the facts that... the Valley stretches between the 46th and 47th parallel (the same as Bordeaux) a latitude that gives it two more hours of daylight during the summer growing season than California. The volcanic and sandy soils offer good drainage and are poor in nutrients, perfect for wine grape cultivation. And, the warm days and cool nights during the summer growing season provide ideal growing conditions with up to 40 degree swings between 2 pm and 2 am . That does not mean there can't be problems. Early frost can damage crops and sustained hard freezes can kill vines. But, compared to most of their grape growing brethren, Washington grape growers have the most potential for consistent quality in the world.
Did I mention how affordable they are compared to California and Bordeaux? These are the top scoring Washington wines we currently have in stock.
Andrew Will Sorella Red 2006 $74 - Wine Spectator 95 Points
Chester Kidder Long Shadows Red 2004 $62 - Wine Advocate 93 Points
L'Ecole No. 41 Apogee Red 2006 $44 - Wine Advocate 94 Points
NXNW Cabernet 2007 $25 - Wine Advocate 92 Points
Chat. Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Cabernet 2007 $25 - Wine Advocate 91 Points
Chat. Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cab 2008 $16.99 - Wine Spectator 90 Points
Chat. Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2008 $16.99 - Wine Spectator 90 Points
Novelty Hill Cabernet 2007 $19.99 - Wine Spectator 90 Points
Novelty Stillwater Creek Syrah 2006 $16.99 - Wine Spectator 91 Points
Novelty Stillwater Creek Chardonnay 2007 $17.99 - Wine Spectator 91 Points
Hogue Genesis Syrah 2007 $13.99 - Wine Spectator 90 Points
Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet 2007 $39 - Wine Spectator 92 Points
Columbia Crest Reserve Syrah 2006 $21 - Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Columbia Crest Reserve Chardonnay 2007 $20 - Wine Spectator 91 Points
February 2, 2011