Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging, Part 1

Tasting Notes

The Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging rewards the Best of the Best wines from the Northwest.  Judges revel in participating at this unique competition, considering it a truly golden opportunity.  Each wine entered has earned a Gold or higher award in previous wine competitions held across North America within the past year. Here, wines can earn Gold, Platinum, or Double Platinum (unanimous Platinum votes from all judges on the panel) honors.

White wines earning top scores from my panel at the recent 2018 judging included:

Bradley Vineyards 2016 Riesling; Elkton, Oregon:  The classic wet stone aroma rocks, clearly speaking Riesling!    On the palate, flinty notes join citrus-flecked white peaches, grapefruit, lemon verbena, and minerality.  Immaculately balanced and finely structured, with a lime tinged finish.  Delicious now, and age worthy too.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $16

Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2016 Riesling; Willamette Valley, Oregon:  Gorgeous aromatic engages the senses.  Nectarine, peach skin, lime zest, underlying crushed herbs and minerality expand vivaciously on the palate.  Beautifully balanced, with a perfect level of acidity keeping it vibrant through the long and refreshing finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $18

Tsillan Cellars 2016 Estate Riesling; Lake Chelan, Washington:  The mouthwatering aroma is compelling.  Well defined layers of Key lime and sun-ripened stone fruit, touch of fresh earth, Ginger Gold apple and minerality. Immaculately balanced, it flows elegantly on the palate, with lovely citrus elements on the persistent finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $20

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2017 Private Reserve Dry Riesling; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  An alluring stone fruit aroma engages the senses.  Peach and nectarine fruit mingle with sweet herbs, minerality and a touch of lemon-lime, exhilarating the palate.  Crisp acidity offers perfect balance, and the scintillating finish persists long after the last sip.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $13.29

Nine Hats Wines 2017 Riesling; Columbia Valley, Washington:  Engaging white floral notes on the nose lead to juicy tropical fruit on entry.  Edelweiss flowers, sweet tea, perfectly ripe pineapple, white peach and honeycomb entwine with ideal balancing acidity on the palate. Clean, lively and oh so refreshing.  Platinum, SRP:  $14

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2017 Classic Riesling; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  Broadcasts a classic Riesling aroma of river rock and stone fruit.   Glorious on the palate, with fresh summer peaches, nectarines, hints of jasmine, crushed herbs, and a solid thread of minerality.  Zesty and precise, with a kick of lime zest on the forever finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $13.29

Mt. Hood Winery Estate Bottled Riesling, Columbia Gorge, Oregon:  Sweet fruit scents rise from the glass.  Asian pear, ripe apricots, and Ginger Gold apple interplay with dusty earthiness and a touch of minerality.   Easy to quaff, nicely balanced, and juicy through the lively finish.  Platinum, $20

Lagana Cellars 2016 Cockburn Ranch Vineyard Chardonnay; Walla Walla Valley, Washington:  Tree fruits and hints of oak greet the nose.  Bosch pear, citrus-splashed Granny Smith apple, lemon-filled pastry, and fresh herb highlights flow seamlessly across the palate.  Snappy and fresh with nice oak tones in the background, and a vivid and lengthy close. Platinum, SRP:   $22

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2016 Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  The breathtaking aroma leads the way for this bright and buoyant, sleek beauty.  Crisp Granny Smith apples, lime zest, fresh crushed herbs and minerality create a brilliant display of flavors decorating the palate.  Pure and streamlined with fine balance and well-integrated oak, and the long finish is simply dazzling.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $20.99

Stave & Stone Wine Estates 2016 Chardonnay; Columbia Gorge, Oregon:   A highly fragranced aroma gets the juices flowing at first whiff.  Citrus blossom, crisp green apples, juicy ripe pears, subtle toasty notes, honeysuckle and creamy lemon curd meet up with vivacious acids creating wonderful lift on the palate.  Energetic, zesty and memorable.  Platinum, SRP:  $28

Palencia Wine Company 2017 Albariño; Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, Washington:  Enticing tropical fruit, citrus and wet stone notes on the nose.   Well defined layers of guava, juicy mango, crisp pear, a touch of fresh herbs, lemon sorbet, and hints of earth entwine, invigorating the palate.  Zippy acids provide ideal balance, and a solid thread of minerality holds through the vibrant, mesmerizing finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $20

Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard 2017 Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  The river rock and fresh tree fruit aroma captures your attention.  Steely and straight forward on the palate as flavors of ripe peach, Golden Delicious apple, lemon zest, guava, and sweet clementine unwind, and a subtle grapefruit pith note adds dimension.  Nicely texture and well balanced.  Platinum, SRP:  $22

Scott Cellars 2017 Albariño; Washington: Citrusy aromas really get the juices flowing with this precisely balanced Albariño. Deliciously fruity and lively with layers of apricot, fresh squeezed Meyer lemon, pear, mango, kiwi, and a pinch of lemon basil melding with lovely minerality and bracing acidity.  Zesty and mouthwatering through the never-ending finish.   Double Platinum, SRP:  $20

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2017 Gewürztraminer/Schönburger; Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  The gloriously fragrant lychee and rose petal aroma leads your thoughts to Gewürztraminer!  This sassy blend of Gewürz and Schönburger offers up lychee and passion fruit, lemon curd and fresh chopped herbs that unwind seamlessly onto the palate.  The mouthfeel is silky smooth, and a vibrant kick of acidity pops brightly on the finish.  Platinum; SRP:  $14.99

Tsillan Cellars 2017 Estate Sempre Amore White Wine; Lake Chelan, Washington:  Aromas of fresh apples and white flowers rise at first swirl of this delectable Pinot Grigio, Gewürz and Chardonnay blend.  Delicate and energetic with flavors of Honeycrisp apple, lemon zest, and fresh sliced pineapple, lemon zest, Asian pear and a drop of sesame oil flowing onto the palate with ease. Balanced and refreshing through the lemon spiked finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $24

La Frenz Winery 2016 One Hundred Series Vivant Reserve; Naramata Bench, British Columbia, Canada:  Pretty aroma of peaches and cream welcome you into the glass of this well-crafted blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Chardonnay. Round and velvety on the palate with flavors of fresh peach pie, nutmeg, a papaya smoothie, and pinch of dried tarragon.  A nice level of acidity complements the lush fruit, and the wine remains spirited through the close.  Platinum, SRP:  $29

Spoiled Dog Winery 2017 Escape Blanc; Washington:   Scents of a white floral bouquet and wet stone notes perk you right up as this gem (a blend of 85% Riesling and 15% Siegerrebe) hits your lips.  Sleek and minerally with succulent pear, peach and nectarine fruit, and accents of clove and fresh honey creating a colorful blast of flavors on the palate.   Brisk acidity keeps it vivacious, and a refreshing kick of lime zest enlivens the finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $17

Rocky Pond Winery 2017 ClosChevalle Vineyard Gewürztraminer; Lake Chelan, Washington:  A pleasing jasmine aroma opens to notes of rose water, sweet mandarin oranges, exotic dragon fruit, loquats, clove and nutmeg accents filling the palate.  Nicely balanced and expressive with a satin smooth texture.  A bright lift of orange zest enhances the long aftertaste.  Platinum, SRP:  $20

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014 Estate Winemaker’s Reserve  Gruner Veltliner; Umpqua Valley, Oregon:  Wow, white pepper and fresh herbs on the nose shout out Gruner Veltliner with remarkable transparency.  Fanning out on the palate are layers of Granny Smith apple, chamomile, star fruit, minerality, fresh sugar snap peas and lemon-lime citrusy notes.  Elegant, spirited and pure all the way through.   Platinum, SRP:  $29

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2015 Revelation & Sorek Bloc Estate Grüner Veltliner; Umpqua Valley, Oregon: The expressive fresh squeezed lime and peach aromas are heavenly.  Citrus blossom, white peach, earthy tones, Meyer lemon, pear, guava, lime zest, a pinch of white pepper, and minerality flow effortlessly onto the palate.  Meticulously balanced with a finish that never ends, and this stellar wine is age worthy too.  Double Platinum; SRP:  $24

Larch Hills Winery 2015 North Okanagan Siegerrebe; British Columbia, Canada:  Striking aromatics show off jasmine and citrus fruit.  Glorious in the mouth with layers of pink grapefruit, gingersnaps, fresh pineapple, Ginger Gold apples, hints of slate, and juicy apricots, and fresh chopped lemongrass highlights.  Perfectly balanced with brilliant acidity, and a fragrant note of gardenia on the vitalizing finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $15.54

Lake Breeze Vineyards 2016 Naramata Bench Ehrenfelser; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  Gorgeous orange blossom and stone fruit aromas perk up the senses.  Focused flavors maintain the stone fruit theme as layers of fresh sun-kissed apricots and juicy freestone peaches fill the mouth, with accents of stony minerality and a zippy level of acidity. Platinum, SRP:  $19

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2017 Ehrenfelser; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  Intensely aromatic with honeydew melon and apricot on the nose.  Lively on the palate, with crisp pear, a splash of lime, dried apricot, clover honey and blanched almonds unfolding delectably.  Clean and refreshing with a tinge of anise on the long finish.  Platinum, SRP:  $13.99

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2017 Old Vines Auxerrois; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada:  Delightfully floral on the nose with a suggestion of tropical fruit peeking through.  Beautifying the palate are delicate layers of crisp Aurora Golden Gala apples, herbal tea, dried pineapple, lemon verbena, and white peach.  Lovely acids keep it bright and dynamic through the invigorating finish.  Double Platinum, SRP:  $14.29

Stave & Stone Wine Estates 2017 Broken Boulder Vineyards Pinot Noir Blanc; Columbia Gorge, Oregon:  A basketful of mixed fruits on the nose paves the way to a yummy spiced fruit entry.  Rainier cherry, cranberry apple juice, sweet naval orange and a dash of white pepper perk up the taste buds.  Crisp acidity and subtle chalky tannins balance the bright fruit and the finish lingers.  Platinum, SRP:  $32

Callan Cellars 2017 Boushey Vineyards Picpoul; Yakima Valley, Washington:  Fresh and mouthwateringly delicious beginning with the fragrant floral and stony aroma.  On the palate, crisp pear, white peach, Meyer lemon and a hint of Juicy Fruit gum accented by underlying minerality explode with flavor.  Shimmering, pure and expressive with a spine-tingling finish.  Double Platinum SRP:  $25

Lang Vineyards 2012 Riesling Ice Wine:  The exquisite honeyed, stone fruit aroma is provocative.  Decadent and pure on the palate with racy acidity creating fine balance.  Layers of lemon gelato, raw clover honey, dried pears, sugar-dusted grilled peaches, nectarines, honeysuckle nectar and roasted almonds intertwine, and the divine lengthy finish will put you in dreamland.    Platinum, SRP:  $54.99

Stay tuned for part two, with details about the stunning red wines upon which our panel bestowed top scores!