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Browne Family Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $30
There aren’t as many Northwest Chardonnays made in this style, yet longtime Walla Walla winemaker John Freeman continues his balanced approach on behalf of Precept Wine CEO Andrew Browne. It starts with fruit harvested from historic Sagemoor Farms joined by Prosser sites Canyon Vineyard Ranch and Oasis Vineyard, which he then ages on the lees for 11 months amid a program of 68 percent new French oak barrels. The result is a nose of fresh-made caramel corn, light toast, lemon oil, lime peel and lychee. There’s ripe fruit up front with fresh pineapple, melon and Asian pear that leads to a lightly creamy midpalate joined by vanilla. Balance arrives in the finish as lemon oil returns with pleasing minerality. Suggested fare includes grilled chicken, shrimp, roast pork rubbed with wine salt and alder-planked salmon. This is one of five wines made by Freeman — selected via a blind judging by Seattle sommeliers — to be featured in the Washington State Wine Commission’s corporate tent at the 2015 U.S. Open.
Production: 936 cases