Chardonnay thrives throughout Pacific Northwest

By on February 8, 2015
Chardonnay grapes ripen in the Columbia Valley of Washington state.

Chardonnay grapes ripen in the Columbia Valley. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Despite being occasionally vilified as boring, Chardonnay remains America’s favorite wine. This is primarily thanks to the strength of California’s love for the noble grape of Burgundy. But it’s also strong in every corner of the Pacific Northwest.

  • In Washington, Chardonnay is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon in total tonnage, though more acreage of Chardonnay is planted in the state than any other grape.
  • In Oregon, Chardonnay has long played second fiddle to Pinot Gris, but a revival is taking place, thanks to innovation by winemakers dedicated to Chardonnay’s comeback. Both grapes are, of course, far behind Pinot Noir in overall interest and production.
  • As in Oregon, Chardonnay is second to Pinot Gris in British Columbia, though by a narrow margin. In fact, Chardonnay makes up nearly 20 percent of all white wine production.
  • And in Idaho, Chardonnay plays a strong role beside Riesling as a favorite grape.

Thus, it is easy to find Chardonnay of varying styles throughout the Pacific Northwest, including everything from steely acidity and bright fruit to full-blown malolactic fermentation and barrel aging.

Here are a dozen delicious Northwest Chardonnays we’ve tasted in recent weeks.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.


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