Why should you care? Although the overwhelming majority of the best wines I taste from Washington State each year are of the red persuasion, a cool, long growing season like 2010 gave the state’s white wines a chance to shine. Hot summers and compressed harvesting periods can be the kiss of death for white wines wherever they are made, but in 2010 moderate temperatures and a temperate early autumn in Washington’s high desert vineyards allowed for more relaxed picking of white grapes with aromatic complexity, lucid flavors and better-than-normal levels of natural acidity.
What does it taste like? Veteran winemaker Mike Januik, who is at least as well known for his consistently strong cabernets and merlots, crafted an eye-catching 2010 Chardonnay Cold Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley from one of the oldest and most acclaimed sites in the state. Its bright yellow-green color is the first sign of the cooler vintage, and its aromas and flavors of white peach, green apple and exotic flowers are vibrant and perfumed. On the palate, the wine is tactile, juicy, penetrating and long, with impressive clarity and the flavor intensity that was made possible by long “hang time” in vintage 2010. My score: 92 points.
How much does it cost? $30.