Cold, damp, and overcast, March can be downright glum. Everyone is so ready for spring to start that we trudge right through March with our heads down, clutching our coats tightly to our bodies, with thoughts of spring chicks and Easter bunnies running through our heads. I believe we should slow down a little and stop to enjoy the last days of winter by lighting a fire in the fireplace, queuing up some good music and trying a new bottle of wine. March is Washington Wine Month, and it’s a perfect opportunity to taste through what the second-largest wine growing region in the U.S. has to offer. I am a big fan of Washington wines. The Cabernets are structured with brawny tannins, Rieslings have lush, fresh peach flavors, and the Merlots are world class.
These are my favorite Washington State wines. They’re too good to pass up!
Kung Fu Girl: Riesling
Aromas of peach and apricot with a lush, juicy quality on the palate. Crisp and clean, this Riesling gives a kick of bright acidity to the finish! Great on its own, it is a crowd pleaser for parties with Asian cuisine, finger foods and crudité.
Iconic winemaker Michel Rolland is a believer in letting Merlot ripen longer, letting it become fuller and lusher. But he’s smart. He only does it in Bordeaux and Washington, where the wines will become mouth-filling and elegant—not in California, where late picking can lead to flabbiness. The Pedestal is everything that is good about Merlot—soft, ripe, rich, and round, with black cherry, forest fruits, cocoa and spice. Expect a silky mouth feel and polish, with integrated tannins on the finish.
Double Back: Cabernet Sauvignon
If you’re a star football player and want to score a touchdown in the wine industry, your wine better be darn good to be taken seriously. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe aspired to make wine in his home state and showcase the Walla Walla Valley. It’s easy to score sky-high ratings when Chris Figgins, world-renowned winemaker for Leonetti, is a childhood friend. Drew asked Chris to join his team, and they’ve been making bold, structured, cellar-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon ever since.
Owen Roe’s Ex Umbris Syrah
“Out of the shadows” is an appropriate meaning for Owen Roe’s Ex Umbris Syrah, which began as a one-time release of smoke-dominated Syrah from a wild fire in 2002. The wine was such a hit that Owen Roe has released it every vintage for over a decade now. Naturally smoky, this Syrah is plumy, with blueberry and peppery spice on the finish.
March is holding true by coming in like a ferocious lion, with temperatures in the teens and wicked driving conditions. When you’re safely home, sitting by a warm fire or catching up on your favorite Netflix, I hope you give one of these fabulous Washington wines a try!
What’s your favorite Washington wine? Tweet me @Ninoswineexpert and let me know!