Food & Drink

Cheap whites to help ring in the New Year

It’s still pretty easy to track down delicious white wines from the Northwest that cost $15 or less.

Part of this is because white wine grapes cost less, but they also spend less time in the cellar before they head to store shelves. Here are 10 tasty and affordable white wines we’ve sampled in recent weeks that are easy on the wallet and fresh from the 2014 vintage.

Pacific Rim Winemakers 2014 Spring Creek Vineyard Grüner Veltliner, Yakima Valley, $14: The nose of this Austrian white grape is fruit-forward with hints of tangerine, apricot and pineapple and peach. There’s firm acidity up front with grapefruit and lime juice. (12.5 percent alcohol)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling, Columbia Valley, $9: Elegant aromas of fresh apricot and sliced Bartlett pear lead to flavors that are bright with intense tropical tones of Juicy Fruit gum and fresh lemon. (14.2% alc.)

Airfield Estates 2014 Flygirl White, Yakima Valley, $15: This is an aromatic blend of pinot gris, viognier, gewürztraminer and roussanne that opens with aromas of cantaloupe and honeydew melon with pear, orange zest, powdered sugar and minerality. For the flavors, think of a fruit cocktail that’s not sweet, bringing pear, apple, orange and more melon. (13.8% alc.)

Mercer Estates 2014 Riesling, Yakima Valley, $14: Complex aromas hint at dragonfruit and Granny Smith apple, backed by Key Lime and slate. There’s richness on the entry with focused acidity behind the bold orchard fruit. It strikes a beautiful balance on the finish. (13.3% alc.)

Willow Crest Winery 2014 Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, $14: Tropical aromas of passionfruit and guava pick up bright hints of sweet lemon and lime. On the attack, it’s pleasing from start to finish as it opens with flavors of peach, Golden Delicious apple and pear before it hits on notes of POG juice. Sassy acidity and peach skin tension make for a delicious farewell. (13% alc.)

Washington Hills 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Washington, $9: Aromas range from dusty gooseberry to Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice to crème brûlée topping while offering hints of fresh rosemary and Granny Smith apple. Inside, it's herbal, green and wild with a fascinating mouth feel of frontal tannins backed by luscious acidity. The back end theme of gooseberry pie and a twist of lime makes for a fond finish. (13.4% alc.)

Milbrandt Vineyards 2014 Traditions Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $13: Aromas of wood spice are backed by Mandarin orange, ginger, Golden Delicious apple and fresh mint. It comes with an entry round and lush from the sur lie aging in barrel, followed by pleasing and long flavors of orchard fruit and lemon meringue pie that are capped by a pinch of mint. (13.5% alc.)

14 Hands Winery 2014 Pinot Gris, Washington, $10: Rather than tropical tones, this goes down the trail of orchard fruit and melon, opening with aromas of peach, apricot, dusty lemon, cantaloupe and fresh-cut jicama. It’s an acid-driven drink of the same fruit while offering a nibble of peach-skin tannin to build complexity for a zippy finish. (13% alc.)

Maryhill Winery 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14: A hint of caramel, plus pineapple and apple combine in its nose. Flavors are augmented by lime, tart apple and a tiny bit of dainty Asian pear at its edges. (14.2% alc.)

Jones of Washington 2014 Estate Chardonnay, Wahluke Slope, $15: A deft touch with oak builds complexity without creating much in the way of barrel tones and also hints at banana, rosewater, Pim’s Orange biscuit, peach taffy from Bruce’s Candy Kitchen and graphite. On the palate, it’s bone-dry despite notes of Gala apple, pineapple and orange cream. (13.6% alc.)

Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at greatnorthwestwine.com.

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