Northwest wines dominate Wine Spectator top 100 list

By on November 19, 2013
Marty Clubb is the owner of L'Ecole No. 41 in Washington state's Walla Walla Valley.

Marty Clubb is owner of L’Ecole No. 41. His 2010 Syrah from the Columbia Valley finished in Wine Spectator’s top 100 list this year. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

The world’s most influential wine publication has spotlighted 10 wines from Washington and Oregon on its annual top 100 list.

Wine Spectator released the full list Monday.

Six of the wines came from Washington, and four were from Oregon. Of the six from Washington, four were from Walla Walla Valley wineries.

The Northwest was represented with two wines in the top 10 and five in the top 50.

Here are the wines, with the number representing their places on the list.

3. Domaine Serene 2010 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $65
10. Quilceda Creek Vintners 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $135
11. Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2010 Stonessence Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $70
17. Alexana Winery 2010 Revana Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $42
27. Spring Valley Vineyards 2010 Uriah, Walla Walla Valley, $50
51. Charles Smith 2012 Kung Fu Girl Evergreen Riesling, Columbia Valley, $12
55. A to Z Wineworks 2011 Wineworks Pinot Noir, Oregon, $18
57. L’Ecole No. 41 2010 No. 41 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $25
68. Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills, $15
79. Ken Wright Cellars 2010 Savoya Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $55

Northwest wines make up small percent of global production

Combined, Washington and Oregon make about 10 percent of the wine produced in the United States, and the United States makes 10 percent of the wine in the world, according to The Wine Institute.

Steve Warner, executive director of the Washington State Wine Commission, traveled throughout the Columbia Valley on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, in support of his staff's new marketing campaign titled "The Recommendeuer."

Steve Warner, executive director of the Washington State Wine Commission, sees a bright future for Pacific Northwest wines. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

“When you consider we produce 1 percent of the wine in the world globally, it’s amazing to me that we’re competing on the world stage,” said Steve Warner, executive director of the Washington State Wine Commission in Seattle. “On that stage, (other countries) have been making wine for generations, yet our first AVA was established just 30 years ago. To garner this much global recognition in just 30 years just makes me even more excited about the future.”

Marty Clubb, owner of L’Ecole No. 41, was ecstatic about one of his Syrahs coming in at No. 57.

“I think it’s wonderful that the Syrah made it,” he told Great Northwest Wine. “Syrahs from Washington are getting big recognition, though the marketplace has been a little more sluggish.”

Clubb and his team produced fewer than 2,500 cases of the 2010 Columbia Valley Syrah, and about 1,000 cases were left Monday.

“It will all be gone within the week,” he said.

This is Clubb’s fifth time making the list in the past dozen years. He said that while the recognition is great for quickly selling out a specific wine, the long-term benefits are even greater.

“Within a month, nobody will remember what the wine is,” he said. “But they’ll remember we’re on the list. Those kinds of things help build our long-term brand recognition and reputation.”

4 Walla Walla wines make top 100 list

Duane Wollmuth is the executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

Duane Wollmuth is the executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

The fact that four of the wines on the list were from Walla Walla Valley wineries was not lost on Clubb.

“That’s pretty cool,” he said. “I can’t complain about that. It’s a testament to our growing region. Clearly, we’re producing world-caliber wines that can compete with the best of the Old World.”

Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, concurred.

“It helps everybody,” he said. “Recognition in the Spectator is illustrative of where Walla Walla is. We’ve talked about getting to the next stage nationally and internationally.”

He was also thrilled to see two Syrahs from Walla Walla Valley wineries make the list, calling it perfect timing with Celebrate Walla Walla, a consumer event next June that will focus on Syrah. During the event, Wollmuth hopes to bring together winemakers from Walla Walla, California, Australia and France to take a global look at the variety.

Warner also voiced praise for the four Oregon wines on the list and said the two Northwest states are becoming strong partners in promoting the wines of their region. He mentioned that Oregon and Washington shared a booth at the ProWein Trade Fair in China, which just concluded.

“Collectively, Washington and Oregon are about 1 percent of global wine production,” Warner said. “It doesn’t make sense for us to compete. It makes sense for us to work together.”

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is founding partner of Great Northwest Wine LLC and a longtime wine columnist. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books.

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