The Northwest is quickly becoming world famous for high-quality wine. So what are the region's wine experts splashing into their glasses over Memorial Day weekend?
Paul Gregutt, Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, says there will be some heavy pours of old-vine Chenin Blanc in his Waitsburg, Washington, backyard this weekend. He says this grape has gotten a bad rap from its lower-priced saccharin cousins. But top Northwest winemakers are employing gnarly old vines to produce crisp, food-friendly variations.
“I like old vines in particular because they are more nuanced wines," Gregutt said. "And we’re blessed in Washington to still have some Chenin Blanc vines that were planted back in the '60s and '70s.”
Gregutt is biased. He makes his own floral and citrus kickers under the label Waitsburg Cellars. But he says Pacific Rim’s and L’Ecole’s old-vine Chenins rock too.
In Richland, Andy Perdue edits Great Northwest Wine and is a wine columnist for the Seattle Times. Perdue says any great wine is a BBQ wine, but he’ll be tipping back some Zinfandel from Cathedral Ridge Winery in Hood River, Reininger Syrah from Walla Walla and some bubbly from the Yakima Valley.
“Everyday of life is worth celebrating," Perdue said. "I’d probably use something from Treveri Cellars.”
Out of Idaho, he says try the Cabernet-Syrah blend from Bitner Vineyards.