Cru North: Washington and Oregon

The Pacific Northwest region of the United States has recently emerged as one of the most prolific and diverse wine-growing areas in the world, successfully producing a wide array of varietals that, only decades ago, few thought would thrive there. Interestingly, Oregon and Washington share the same latitudes as Burgundy and Bordeaux, so it should come as no surprise that the former state yields some of the world’s finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and the latter state has established a reputation for outstanding Bordeaux-style blends.

Col Solare 2006 Red Wine Columbia Valley, Washington

Col Solare is co-owned by two luminaries of the wine world, Marchese Piero Antinori and Ted Baseler of Chateau Ste. Michelle. Their joint venture produces one of the most luxurious red blends to come out of Washington thus far, one that utilizes all five Bordeaux varietals—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc—and a measure of Syrah. This vintage marries old-world structure and purity with notes of gravel, sweet kirsch, aged tobacco, and tar. ($75)

Evening Land 2007 La Source Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon

Evening Land, an up-and-coming producer, casts a wide geographic net, making wine from grapes in the Santa Rita Hills and Sonoma Coast regions of California as well as in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This classically styled Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills bursts with flavors of bright, sweet red cherry and plum tempered by subtler essences of wet stone and cola. ($60)

K Vintners 2007 Roma En Chamberlain Walla Walla, Washington

This terrific Cabernet Sauvignon–Syrah blend comes from Charles Smith, an impresario-turned-vintner who roughly a decade ago was managing rock bands in Scandinavia. It reveals chewy tannins and flavors of allspice, black licorice, bitter chocolate, and truffles. ($60)

Leonetti Cellar 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla, Washington

Dark to the rim with complex aromas of cinnamon, red raspberry, clove, nutmeg, and coffee, the 2007 vintage of this reference standard for Washington red wines has great balance, lengthy tannins, and a silky glycerin texture. ($70)

Pursued by Bear 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla, Washington

Unlike his quirky character in Twin Peaks, actor Kyle MacLachlan has passions other than Douglas firs, black coffee, and cherry pie. A longtime oenophile, he has recently introduced his own label, which is named for a famous stage direction in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Rich with mint, currants, and blackberry, this release has a satiny finish that satisfies. ($65)

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