The following article appeared in the December 1st issue of Wine Enthusiast. Image by of Devium Wines’ Keith Johnson by Andrea Johnson (no relation).
In 50 years, Washington has gone from fledgling wine region to player on the world stage. Quality has never been higher, and the wines have gained critical and consumer attention.
Still, there can be a sameness to many of the state’s wines, and these stylistic similarities are not by chance.
“[People use] the same yeast, the same coopers, and by nature of Washington and its evolution, a lot of the same vineyards,” says Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen, co-owner/winemaker at WT Vintners. Winemakers also often blend across large regions to protect against periodic frosts and freezes, and to take advantage of the best each area has to offer.
“The convention was the sum is greater than its parts,” says Lindsay-Thorsen. “You take a little bit of Red Mountain, a little bit of Walla Walla, a little bit of Yakima and bring them all together, and you have something that is delicious.”
They’re delicious, yes, and distinctly Washington but not necessarily distinctive from each other or showing a very specific sense of place.
Recently, some winemakers have begun to chart a different path. They craft unique wines that focus on vineyard designates, with fruit picked earlier and low-intervention winemaking methods. In doing so, they are redefining not just what Washington is, but also what it can be.
Read the entire article here.
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