2010 Best Washington Wines: Whites

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More Of Seattle Magazine's Wine Picks
2010 Best Washington Wines
2010 Best Washington Wines: White Blends
2010 Best Washington Wines: Sweet Wines
2010 Best Washington Wines: Red
2010 Best Washington Wines: Red Blends

2010 Best Washington Wines: Malbecs
2010 Best Washington Wines: Directory

Best Chardonnay under $15
Corvidae 2008 Mirth
(columbia Valley, $9.95)

Mirth is somewhat of a phenomenon this year, showing up everywhere, from higher-end restaurant glass-pour lists to the shelves of discount wine shops. Winemaker David O’Reilly, who has made it his mission to create a lineup of excellent wines for less than $20, has done it with this Chardonnay. Light and fresh, with ripe pear, honey and delicate spice, this is a terrific glass to enjoy by itself or with cheeses, salads and fish.

Best Chardonnay over $15
L’Ecole No. 41 2008 Chardonnay
(columbia Valley, $19)

Owner/winemaker Marty Clubb has been making great Chardonnay—among other varieties—since 1991, and has learned how to get things right. This Burgundian-style 100 percent Chardonnay combines fruit from three vineyards: the warmer Bacchus Vineyard and the cooler Schmitt Vineyard in Yakima Valley, and Evergreen Vineyard on the Columbia River near Quincy. According to the judges, this elegant wine is lightly floral with a hint of “creamy vanilla bean”—the result of time spent in 3-year-old French barrels on the lees (a process in which the yeast and grape-skin solids are left in the wine until it is racked and filtered)—and an “intense, rich, white peach” palate.

Best Pinot Gris
Naches Heights Vineyard 2008 Pinot Gris
(columbia valley, $13)

Phil Cline’s family grew apples on the bluffs behind Yakima for decades, and he’s transformed 7.5 acres of this unique 1,700-plus-foot elevation site into vineyards that are producing juicy, balanced Riesling, Syrah, Tempranillo and this winning Pinot Gris. Judges noted the fresh pear and tropical flavors, lush mouthfeel and an off-dry finish that makes this a “classic Pinot Gris.”

Best Riesling under $15
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Dry Riesling
(columbia Valley, $12)

A consistent winner in Seattle magazine’s Washington Wine Awards, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s dry Riesling sets the standard for Washington’s inexpensive, dry style of this wine. In a field of five stellar Rieslings, this one rose to the top, with judges noting its “racy, mineral, elegant” style, “alpine floral aromas” and linalool aromas (spicy, sweet fruit). 

Best Riesling over $15—TIE!
Eroica 2008 Riesling
(columbia Valley, $24)

Our first wine to win (tying with Tsillan Cellars this year) in its category four years in a row, we&rsqu