Vineyard Shot


Accolades for Forgeron Cellars

Forgeron a "Washington Winery to Choose"

"Forgeron Cellarstoo few know about these wines. They are very, very good."

Doug Frost, Kansas City Star, August 10 2013

A list of Washington Wineries to consider when choosing next Bottle


"With hundreds of wineries, it has become more challenging to sum up the best of Washington State in a Kansas City Star column.

So I chose to divert you to this site in order to give you a brief listing of those wineries that I think you ought to consider if you want to explore the excellence the state’s vintners can be relied upon to deliver.

The headline might read this: Washington makes better balanced red wines than California. It is better at Rhone varieties, better (in general) at Merlot & Cabernet Franc, & is the only state in the union (thus far) that might be able to excel with Sangiovese, Tempranillo & Nebbiolo.

Take that, California.

Now that’s said, here’s the list of those wineries to consider...

"Forgeron Cellars — too few know about these wines. They are very, very good."

And the rest:

"• Abeja — top wines from a top winemaker.

• aMaurice Cellars — lovely elegant wines, whether reds or whites. Very much worth a look.

• Amavi Cellars — I buy these wines avidly.

• Andrew Will Winery — managing 1 of America’s top wineries, owner Chris Camarda has a magic touch with virtually every red grape the state of Washington grows.

• Apex Cellars — generally trustworthy wines that sometimes represent excellent value.

• Barnard Griffin Winery — 1 of the state’s pioneers, Rob Griffin makes well-balanced wines regardless of variety or vintage.

• Betz Family Winery — winemaker Bob Betz is a master at red wines. These can be powerful & elegant all at once.

• Bookwalter Winery — get ready for a Power Boost: the wines are intense & dense, but very well balanced.

• Brian Carter Cellars — Brian is 1 of the old hands amongst Washington winemakers, regardless of the variety.

• Bunchgrass Winery — I have recently tasted some very pretty white wines under this label.

• Buty — a fascinating Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend & excellent red wines across the board.

• Cadaretta — very good value & an exciting Sauvignon Blanc blend.

• Cadence Wines — winemaker Ben Smith makes lovely, balanced, flawless wines.

• Canoe Ridge Vineyard — you can trust these wines particularly for value.

• Cavatappi — little seen but very reliable producer of Italian varieties in Washington.

• Cayuse — 1 of the top Rhone varietal producers in the United States.

• Charles Smith Wines — if you shop for wines, you’ve seen the stark black & white labels. Every single 1 of them represents good value.

• Chateau Ste Michelle — if you’ve read my scribblings before, you know I am a fan of this large but smart winery. The wines perform far above their weight class.

• Chester Kidder — compact, reliable reds.

• Chinook Wines — I have always chased after their Semillon bottling, but everything is well balanced, with an emphasis upon elegance not power.

• Col Solare — the Italian project within the Chateau Ste Michelle portfolio, Col Solare is worthy of your purchase.

• Columbia Crest — the second label for Chateau Ste Michelle, these are usually excellent values & sometimes even shockingly age-worthy.

• Columbia Winery — once captained by the late, legendary & great David Lake, Columbia Winery continues to offer very solid wines, especially with its vineyard-designated bottlings.

• Cote Bonneville — if you see these wines, give them a try. I think they are excellent.

• DeLille Cellars — I not only enjoy these wines, I buy them avidly.

• Di Stefano Winery — the red wines can be big & bracing; they are trustworthy.

• Domaine Ste Michelle — 1 of America’s top values in sparkling wines. These are not “great wines,” don’t get me wrong, they’re just smart & represent extremely great value.

• Dunham Cellars — Eric Dunham gets good prices for his wines because they are worth it.

• Dusted Valley — a new discovery for me; tasty wines; & I plan to try more of them.

• Eroica — having for years thought this Riesling bottling from Chateau Ste Michelle was 1 of their few over-priced efforts, I have had to eat my words. Very good Riesling.

• Fall Line Winery — this is a new winery for me, but every wine I tasted from this estate is delightful & worthy of your dollars.

• Figgins — the Figgins family are royalty in Washington wine; Leonetti represent an apex. The Figgins label wines are even bigger but sometimes lack the elegance of Leonetti bottlings.

• Forgeron — too few know about these wines. They are very, very good.

• Gramercy Cellars — a smart producer of wines that veer closer to a European notion of balance than most; that’s why I think they’re great.

• Hand of God Wines — a producer whose Washington wines have not yet been released but which has already offered very good wines from other places.

• Hedges Family Estates — among the most reliable wines you can buy from anywhere.

• Hogue Cellars — solid wines that can sometimes be wound too tight: tannin more than flesh. But value is often a good proposition here.

• Januik Winery — Mike Januik is 1 of the smartest & best winemakers in Washington.

• K Vintners — see Charles Smith above.

• Kiona Vineyards — sometimes unusual grapes (Lemberger, anyone?) but always reliable & tasty, & often very good value.

• Leonetti — 1 of the state’s earliest producers of great wines, they continue to operate within those rarefied levels of greatness.

• Long Shadows — a small project from Chateau Ste Michelle. Everything is good here, but look for the Rieslings.

• Maison Bleue Winery — former Kansas Citian Jon Meuret makes delicious Rhone variety wines. A rising star.

• Maryhill Winery — my attitude about this winery is still evolving but every time I taste their wines, I like them.

• McCrea Cellars — 1 of the Rhone variety stars of Washington, Doug McCrea makes fantastic wines across the board.

• Milbrandt Vineyards — reliable red wines.

• Northstar Winery — another Chateau Ste Michelle affiliated project, these are reliable red wines.

• NxNW — very nicely balanced Cabernet blends; very tasty wines.

• O.S. Winery — these are solid, well-balanced red wines. Very trustworthy.

• Owen Roe — I have been consistently pleased with these wines for years.

• Pedestal — part of the Long Shadows project (see above.)

• Pine & Post — these are all about price, so for good value, you should consider them.

• Poet’s Leap — the Riesling portion of the Long Shadows project (see above): excellent.

• Quilceda Creek Vintners — 1 of the few Washington wineries that can legitimately push the price barriers because they have proven themselves against the state’s best.

• Ross Andrew Winery — very lovely & elegant wines.

• Rotie Cellars — a bit big & over the top for me, but some smart tasters like these wines a lot.

• Sagelands Vineyard — these represent good values & good wines.

• Seven Hills Winery — these wines just keep outperforming their compatriots. They are very good values too.

• Snoqualmie — while you will never find great wine in 1 of their bottles, the prices are shockingly reasonable & the wines can be pretty.

• Spring Valley Vineyard — I have been extremely critical of these wines in the past: they often lacked cleanliness. But that seems to be behind them now judging from the most recent releases.

• Syncline — a winery to watch (& with wines to taste).

• Tamarack Cellars — these are the sorts of wines people too often overlook simply because they’re always well made & tasty but never over the top. Very reliable.

• Three Rivers Winery — What I’ve said of Tamarack could be said of Three Rivers, except that this winery is always very well-priced too.

• Va Piano Vineyards — very much a winery to watch; excellent, delightful wines.

• Walla Walla Vintners — as much as I would like to praise individual wines in the portfolio, it might be more honest to say that I have bought as many bottles from this smart winery as any other Washington estate, I think. And I bet I got better value here too.

• Waters Winery — another rising star.

• Wines of Substance — 1 more label to watch.

• Wilridge Winery — they’ve been around long enough to be trusted though they are never amongst the most exciting wines, at least for me.

• Woodward Canyon — 1 of the pioneers of Washington State & a winery that continues to set a regional benchmark. Excellent wines."

Doug Frost, Kansas City Star, August 10 2013

Doug Frost is a Kansas City-based wine & spirits writer & consultant who for decades has happily educated the public about all things drink. He is one of only 3 people in the world to have earned the coveted titles of Master Sommelier & Master of Wine. He contributes a monthly wine column for The Star’s Food section.