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Northwest Wines
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
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March 21  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
In his 35 years in the Washington wine industry, Rob Griffin has gained a deep understanding of the vast Columbia Valley, and he uses his knowledge to craft wines that are routinely among the best in the Pacific Northwest.

Now, Griffin, 58, is beginning to pass his insights along to his two daughters, who one day will take over the 65,000-case winery in the heart of Washington wine country.

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March 13  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Wine Press Northwest magazine
Sangiovese, the most-planted grape in Italy and particularly famous in Tuscany, is little more than a niche wine in the Pacific Northwest. Yet many Northwest wineries are making delicious wines from the red grape, and it is gaining a following with wine lovers.

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March 7  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
It speaks volumes about Darcy Pendergrass that she has worked for the iconic Myron Redford for more than a decade at his Amity, Ore., winery.

Redford, owner and founding winemaker of Amity Vineyards, which he started in 1976, remains one of the most outspoken personalities in the Pacific Northwest wine industry.

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February 29  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
It makes perfect sense that pinot gris has exploded in popularity in the Pacific Northwest in the past decade.

The grape has blown past Chardonnay as the most important white wine in Oregon, and it has outdistanced sauvignon blanc as the No. 3 white wine in Washington, behind riesling and chardonnay.

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February 22  |  
Tom Stangeland used the art of cooking to work his way through the University of Washington, and he's made his livelihood creating artisan furniture.

Five years ago, he decided to put some of his creative juices toward another longtime fascination -- winemaking. However, Stangeland views the debut release of Cloudlift Cellars "not as a profession, but a compulsion."

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February 15  |  
As a grape variety, Cabernet Franc has neither the pedigree nor the adoration of cabernet sauvignon.

In fact, it's often hidden away in blends both in its native France as well as on the West Coast. Yet in the past half-decade, more vintners are allowing this important red grape to play a central role in their winemaking by bottling cabernet franc on its own.

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February 8  |  
Fans of California red wines no doubt have run across a Petite Sirah or two, but the wine is a fairly new -- and rare -- variety in the Pacific Northwest.

If you are a fan of big, bold red wines, then you will want to track down and try a Petite Sirah, and we hope this week's column will serve to introduce or further educate you on the grape.

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February 1  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
After a couple of false starts, Hamilton Cellars in Richland, got rolling a year ago -- and already is releasing some startlingly superb wines.

Russ and Stacie Hamilton began thinking about opening their namesake winery a half-decade ago and worked at creating a wine village in the heart of Washington wine country.

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January 25  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
Few images of Pacific Northwest wine country are as iconic as the red-roofed barn just off Mill Creek Road in Walla Walla.

And those who taste the wines from Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri have found their way back since Walla Walla Vintners was bonded in 1995.

The success of their winemaking talents, blended with friendship, prompted them to hire Bill vonMetzger in 2002.

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January 11  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Wine Press Northwest
Abacela founder Earl Jones says proudly, "This is the wine we came to Oregon to make."

In October, the Umpqua Valley winemaker lifted the veil on his secret project -- Paramour -- a proprietary red blend from the 2005 vintage with the robust Spanish grape Tempranillo as the base.

"American Tempranillo will change forever" is how the Roseburg winery promoted the invitation-only evening.

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January 4  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Wine Press Northwest
In November, Wine Press Northwest magazine conducted its 12th annual Platinum Judging, which we have dubbed "the best of the best in the Great Northwest."

Last week, we shared some of the top wines from British Columbia's Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, which won six Platinums in the 12th competition. This week, we will look at some of the best wines from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, along with brief descriptions.

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December 28  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Special to The Herald
If you haven't heard of Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, do not fret because you are not alone.

Yet the winery just north of the Canadian border near Oliver, B.C., is one of the finest producers of white wine anywhere on the West Coast.

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December 21  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
When it comes to celebrating, few wines in the Northwest are more affordable, available and worthy than the sparklers from Domaine Ste. Michelle.

This summer, Rick Casqueiro observed his 15th anniversary as winemaker of Ste. Michelle's sparkling wine house in Paterson.

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December 14  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Special to The Herald
Jeff Gordon is now into his fourth decade of growing wine grapes on top of a cliff overlooking the Snake River near Pasco.

He and his brother, Bill, began planting wine grapes in 1980. They launched their eponymous winery in 1983 and released their first wines in 1985.

In 1998, Bill retired from the wine business, and Jeff took over the operation. He has continued to plant grapes and now is up to 105 acres, with Cabernet Sauvignon taking up a fourth of the space.

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December 7  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Special to The Herald
Winemakers throughout the Pacific Northwest struggled with weather during this fall's trying harvest, but the winemaker for Willamette Valley Vineyards had a much bigger battle: cancer.

Forrest Klaffke has been with the Turner, Ore., winery for 18 years and has led the winemaking efforts for the past decade.

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November 30  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Special to the Herald
We are fully engaged in the Christmas season, so now is a great time to start thinking about what to get for that wine lover on your list. You can take the easy way and buy a bottle or two of wine, or you can find something fun, interesting, unusual and Northwest in style.

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November 23  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
Charlie Hoppes finds it hard to believe next year will be his 25th vintage in Washington. Fans of his wines are just happy he's been around so long.

The owner of Fidelitas Wines on Red Mountain, near the Tri-Cities, is never one to dawdle, and he continues to develop his winemaking and marketing.

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November 16  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman Special to the Herald
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and the famed Marchesi Antinori of Italy bill their Col Solare collaboration as "two unique wine cultures, one extraordinary Washington wine."

And the latest creation of Ste. Michelle winemaker Marcus Notaro and Antinori's head enologist Renzo Cotarella ranks among the best since the label's debut vintage of 1995.

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November 16  |  By Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman
Thanksgiving can be one of the most stressful meals of the year for the person charged with selecting wine. In fact, when faced with the daunting task of trying to pair wines with the myriad flavors and textures on the Thanksgiving table, it can be downright terrifying.

Fear not, for a few simple guidelines will turn this holiday horror into a delightful experience.

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November 16  |  
We're introducing a new blog. Northwest Wines by Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman's column will appear each week at www.heraldnet.com/NWwines. Perdue and Degerman are Washington state journalists with extensive backgrounds in covering West Coast wines, wineries, vineyards and restaurants and a mission to make wine accessible and enjoyable for all.

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