#17 – 2013 DeLILLE CELLARS “Chaleur Estate” Blanc – Columbia Valley, Washington

Estimated retail: $39

For many wine drinkers, buying wine is an act of remembering stereotypes. Little bits of information crawl in like an earwig, lay some eggs, and end up forming the basic view of the wine world. It’s how we get such massive trends — it’s also how so many become pigeonholed into what they drink. Few areas in the world do just one grape well. It’s like saying the only food to eat in America is burgers because we have so many. Washington wines are amazing right now, but haven’t gotten their deserved attention in large part because they do so many things well.

Part of the blame for the state producing so many insanely high-quality varietals goes to Chris Upchurch of DeLILLE Cellars. He’s been a legendary winemaker for 20 years, but began shaping the state first as a wine merchant and later as a grape broker before finding his true calling. He has helped identify and grow the incredible vineyards throughout the state. While his reds (Cab, Meritage, Syrah) are incredible, this white Bordeaux-style blend is sinfully delicious.

This mix of two-thirds Sauvignon and one third barrel-fermented Semillon is gorgeously textured — dancing between hedonistic fruit and oak with beguiling touches of minerality and winter citrus. It tastes like the world’s most interesting pie, filled with elegantly caramelized pineapple, guava, and heirloom apple all soaked with fresh-picked tarragon and wildflowers and wrapped in a perfectly delicate crust. It would be heavenly with a plate of “shiny meats” and cheeses. ∞

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