Oregon wines and Washington wines are not at all alike. It’s usually a mistake to lump these regions together – but we didn’t think you’d mind, since we’re putting them both on sale today!
Read on to find out why we look to Oregon for elegance – and Washington for fun. If you’re in a hurry, you can head straight to today’s sale!
When it comes to wine, Oregon is the West Coast’s neglected middle child. Bigger, more powerful wines from Washington and California grab most of the attention, while Oregon sits wondering what it has to do to get a little more of the limelight.
If only everyone could see what Oregon has to offer! Like the best Burgundies, Oregon Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays show their terroir proudly with a base of earthy minerals. Oregon Rieslings are complex and well-balanced, while Pinot Gris, in the hands of Oregon’s talented winemakers, is brilliant and fresh.
These are, without question, world-class wines. What Oregon doesn’t have is a world-class publicity machine in place to promote them, as does (for example) California. In addition, given the short history of winemaking in Oregon, its winemakers can’t simply point to the centuries-old pedigrees of their vineyards and expect us to be impressed, as can happen in (for example) Burgundy.
For the consumer, all of this means that Oregon wines are still largely free of hype – something no one wants to pay for.
Now that Washington has happily embraced the fact that its wines are less subtle and more fun than Oregon’s, the state is producing some of the biggest and best wines in the country.
White grapes have thrived in Washington for decades, but lately, the red wines have made huge leaps in both quality and popularity. Merlot is the king of the red grapes here, and Washington produces many delicious Bordeaux-style red blends as well.
Taste enough Washington reds and you’ll notice a recurring theme: the unapologetic use of new oak. The state produces a sea of jubilant, very plush red wines with pronounced flavors of spice and toasty vanilla.
Most Chardonnay made in Washington is barrel-fermented, and aging on the lees is standard; full-bodied Chardonnay is a Washington specialty. Chenin Blanc also does quite well here, in both oaked and unoaked expressions.
There’s quite a bit of experimentation going on in Washington as well. Grape varieties such as Lemberger, Syrah, Riesling, Sémillon, and Viognier have all found perfect Washington microclimates in which to thrive.
If you’re not familiar with the wines of the Pacific Northwest, try a few bottles from our Top 11 list. Whether you like your wines fruity and forward or muted and subtle, you’ll find something to love in today’s sale!