Washington State is located on the West Coast of the USA, stretching from the Canadian border in the north to Idaho in the east and Oregon in the south. The state has a diverse spectrum of climates and grape varieties. With more than 1,000 vineyards, Washington is the second largest premium wine producer in the United States.
European immigrants brought the first grapes to Washington in 1825. The business grew quickly, but was abruptly cut short by Prohibition in 1920. Today, new wineries open their doors each month, offering wine that is exported to 100 international markets.
More than 70 grape varieties thrive throughout the various micro-climates of the state. The Riesling grape was one of the first to be grown and is known for its intensity, which is achieved as a result of the weather conditions linked to a late-harvest. However, the grape that truly manifests the state’s special winemaking character would have to be Chardonnay. Unlike other Chardonnay regions, the Chardonnay grown in Washington State is considered distinctively crisp and delicate. A richer, nuttier wine is produced from the Semillon grape and fruity wines, like Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc, are becoming increasingly popular. However, the Gewürztraminer, with its typical allspice zesty aroma, is the success story within the white grapes of the state.
When it comes to red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is undoubtedly the king of the reds. With its complex, fruity, berry, and chocolate character the wine ages beautifully.
If you prefer a more full-body and moderately tannic taste, Merlot is a great alternative. While the Syrah grape is a newcomer to the Washington, it is gaining attention due to its spicy and rich taste and its aroma of roasted coffee, black currants, and leather.
A Climate to Prosper
Although only five percent of all wines come from Washington State, it is the second largest wine-growing region in the United States. There is no wine grown farther north in the United States. Not to be underestimated, Washington’s vineyards are no less outstanding than those of their world famous neighbors located in the southern state of California.
Beyond the Cascade Mountains, lies a very dry climate with more than 300 days of sun each year and extremely fertile soil, providing the perfect conditions for some of the best U.S. wines. Over the past years, Washington State has managed to step out of California’s shadow. Since there is still plenty of space for creativity in the U.S. wine sector, wine makers have greater freedom to experiment with their wine grapes and try out new things. Wine enthusiasts can explore some of the finest ventures of Primitivo, Sangiovese, and Barbera. This development is growing and worth keeping an eye on. American wine lovers, who previously preferred to drink noble drops from the Old World are suddenly wild about local products.
Washington State’s diverse landscape and microclimates combined with curious and visionary locals make this place ideal and unique for growing world-class wines.
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A Delicious Match Made in Washington
If you happen to be a wine and food lover then Washington State will satisfy your cravings. Whether it’s their fresh coastal seafood, their diverse community of farmers that grow and harvest fresh ingredients, or their Korean inspired take on Teriyaki, Washingtonians have a unique way of combining world-renowned classics with a truly delicious, local touch.
The Dungeness crab is a seasonal dish found on many seafood restaurant menus from December through March. The sweet and mild flavored crab matches perfectly with a glass of local Riesling, which has a lush fresh minerality and impresses with its creamy taste.
If you enjoy eating seafood then the salty, raw and shucked oysters, caught fresh from the Pacific Ocean, will hit the spot. Together with a glass of local Chardonnay, the oysters will be a delightful treat you are not likely to forget.
Of course, not to be forgotten, salmon is king on the Pacific coast. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the tasty fish – one of our favorites being the simple, yet mouth-watering salmon pizzettas.
Looking for a more traditionally cooked salmon? Then the slow cooked wild alaskan king salmon may be the right choice for you.
Along with seafood, the state also offers another popular product: apples. Keep an eye out for an apple pie, especially in the eastern Washington region where many apple orchards are located. Enjoy warm apple pie with a classic, favorite red, the Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you are interested in the wine and food that the Evergreen State has to offer, you have the chance to get an even better taste of Washington’s delicacies at the Taste Washington event on March 2021.