What Makes the Best Washington State Red Wines?
When it comes to wine, most people only think about Napa Valley in California. Unfortunately, what many people are missing out on are wines from Washington state. Over the past four decades, Washington state has become the second major producer of wine in the country. More and more wine aficionados are recognizing the quality of the best Washington state red wines, and best Washington state wine in general. Its popularity is growing significantly.
Washington state produces both red and white wines offering Americans a beverage with New World opulence of fruit combined with the Old-World structure of tannins and acidity. There are over a thousand wineries in the state and growing. The best Washington state red wines have a distinctive flavor and exceptional taste, but what makes the state a mecca for wine production?
When people think of Washington state, they might very well imagine soggy and damp Seattle, but move eastwards towards the Cascade Mountains, and the climate changes. The rain is substituted for snow in the winter but from spring through autumn, the land is dry and arid. The eastern part of the state is blessed with nearly 300 days of sunshine but despite little rain, this place is ideal for growing grapes for many other reasons besides the moisture.
Like all great wine regions of the world, Washington state’s soil is one key reason for its wine success. There is a wide diversity of soil ranging from fine sandy loam to pure sand, with excellent drainage, which is vital for grape growing. The advantages of this type of soil are that it can bring about the best Washington state red wines.
THE TEMPERATURE AND GROWING SEASON
The best Washington state wine has a short but sunny growing season because of its northern latitude. The grape growth is also aided by the hot daytime temperatures and cool evenings. These swings, along with that warm summer weather and the overall harvest cool-down, help create the state’s distinctive wine style.
In addition, the harvest is pushed into autumn because of the short growing season, and this helps present the color and acidity without erasing the grape flavors.
Since most of the Columbia Valley is dry and arid, irrigation is necessary. And, as it turns out, the location of most farmland for grapes is ideally suited for irrigated viticulture. This mode of irrigation permits just the right amount of water for the roots and the excess is drained away. Further irrigation helps the vintners control the amount of water, allowing regulation over the shoot length, canopy growth, cluster weight, and size of the berry; these are all important features that affect quality. With all producers practicing the same method of irrigation, the quality of grapes is consistent and there are no big variations in attributes.
Finally, one more reason why the best Washington state wines are successful each year is that the winery business in the New World is still relatively “new,” and the winegrowers and producers are still in the process of discovery and learning. They are still trying to determine what creates the best wines. In the Old World, the status quo has set in and the excitement is no longer as alive as it is in the Columbia Valley.
If you want to taste the best Washington state red wines that are affordable, check out our current inventory!
At Pacific Rim and Company, the knowledgeable staff is passionate about wine. We are passionate about sustainability, too, which is one more reason to try our wines today. Check us out online or call 1-503-863-5454 to speak to a representative.