Terroir is the reason for the high quality wines coming from Washington state. With its varied geology, soils, geography and climate, the region is on the rise. Some appellations that are garnering widespread attention are Rattlesnake Hills AVA, Red Mountain AVA, Yakima Valley AVA and Walla Walla AVA.

Cabernet is King in Washington and it is the premiere most widely planted grape of the region, though many new winemakers are successfully experimenting with other varietals.  Be sure to also look out for Syrah, Chardonnay, Chenin Blancs and Rieslings. Several winemakers are introducing Italian varietals like Sangiovese and Barbera.

Syrah is a standout varietal in Washington. Washington winemakers are making huge efforts with this grape.  Washington Syrahs are very much like Northern Rhone wines.  They are savory yet fruity and floral. The Syrahs from Washington can be smoky and meaty with notes of olive tapenade and white pepper, and are grown in cool climates on rocky soils.

The wines from Washington are high quality and under the radar, so they are affordable.  Wines are made in small production and simply put, they are fantastic. Below are seven wines from Washington that you must try now.  They can easily compete with the wines from Napa Valley, Bordeaux and Northern Rhone, yet sell for a fraction of the price.

Patterson Cellars 2017 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Chardonnay (SRP $38)

Founded in 2000 by Owner & Winemaker, John Patterson, Patterson Cellars crafts approachable Washington State wines that reflect the new world style in winemaking. Their diverse collection of wine offerings includes this spectacular sparkling wine.

This Blanc de Blanc is 100% Chardonnay and has aromas of citrus blossoms and tropical fruits. Fine bubbles bring out flavors of fresh apple tart, lemon crème and hints of hazelnut that last long into the satisfying finish. You have to try this one, never thought something so sparkling and effervescent would be coming from Washington State.

Chardonnay “Monet” 2017 Columbia Valley (SRP $15.99)

The world of wine is full of the unexpected. Drum Roll wines are inspired by the creative drive and fearless spirit of artists like Claude Monet, Edourard Manet, and Auguste Renoir.  The founders, Dave and Matt are drumming musicians. They believe, like great art, wine can seem intimidating or overwhelming, but it’s made to be enjoyed.

Made from grapes grown in the cooler elevations of the Ancient Lakes and Snipes Mountain AVAs, this is a highly aromatic Chardonnay with vibrant scents of pear, crisp yellow apple, and white peach. Layered flavors include lychee, golden raisins, mango, and honey. The mouthfeel is round and medium-bodied while the finish is round and expressive.

CasaSmith Barbera Northridge Vineyard Wahluke Slope 2016 (SRP $25)

Charles Smith is the legendary winemaker behind this wine.  In 2017, he unveiled a new name for his international company and vast portfolio – Wines of Substance, which is defined as the quality of being important, valid and significant. Wines of Substance illustrates Charles’ philosophy of producing exceptional wines to be enjoyed by everyone around the globe.

The wine is a true expression of Barbera, the best in Washington State. The wine is elegant and concentrated. Wonderful big nose. With notes of plum, cherries and spice in the palate. Nice acidity and silky texture.

Hightower 2015 Red Mountain Reserve (SRP $55)

Tim & Kelly Hightower founded Hightower Cellars in Woodinville in 1997, with their primary grape supply coming from Red Mountain.  They are co-winemakers and husband and wife that hand craft highly acclaimed, food friendly, red wines of elegance, depth and complexity.

The Hightower 2015 Reserve is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of Malbec. Notes of black currant, tobacco and coffee. Nice structure and tannins. A beautiful wine. Wow!!

2015 Concrete Mama Syrah (SRP $75)

Concrete Mama is The Walls’ premium, small-lot label. These wines are born from the Rocks District and bred “on the rocks” in tanks of cool concrete. I’ve been talking a lot about the Rocks’ District Syrah and I can’t tell you enough that you have to try this wine.

Concrete Mama is one of my favorite Syrah from The Rocks.  It’s got a smokey nose. It’s meaty and gamey on the palate and oh so good. Notes of blueberry, black currant and licorice. There is that unique Rocks minerality that is ever so present.

Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (SRP $40)

Home to some of Washington State’s most celebrated vineyards, Red Mountain is renowned for Cabernet Sauvignon. Named for the Canvasback duck, which is native to the Pacific Flyway, this wine was crafted from grapes cultivated by some of Red Mountain’s finest growers. With Canvasback, their aim is to express and develop the depth, structure and sophistication that define wines from this young and exciting appellation.

Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of cherry and plum. On the palate it is concentrated with layers of depth and concentration. Notes of plum, hazelnut, nutmeg and cocoa fill the palate. Long lingering memorable finish.

Andrew Januik Stone Cairn Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Red Mountain (SRP $40)

Made from three vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA, that are expressive of their terroir, Quintessence, Obelisco, and Ciel du Cheval. Andrew is no newbie to winemaking, he is son of the legendary winemaker Mike Januik, the man behind Chateau Ste. Michelle. Andrew Januik is making limited quantity, high quality wines from Washington’s premier sites

This is a gorgeous Cabernet with notes of cassis, blackberries and cocoa notes. It’s dark, complex and structured. Long finish, supple tannins and nice acidity. Stunning!!