As we bravely journey forth into 2018, it’s a perfect time to pause and reflect on those wines which made 2017 a year which include both new favorites and long-time favorites that delivered another exceptional vintage.

My staff and I selected our 12 favorite wines of the past year. Here are The Wine Shack’s “Best Wines of 2017.”

1. Puffin Pinot Gris 2016. Yes, it’s our own wine, but Puffin Pinot Gris earned a platinum award, double gold award, earned “best of class” and was written up in Sunset Magazine. This luscious pinot gris delivers a soft amber color with flavors of apple, melon, pear and honeysuckle. This wine is amazingly good. We have about 25 cases or so left, so get it while you still can.

2. Shea Wine Cellars, Shea Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir. Made with fruit from their famous estate vineyard, “Shea Shea” offers classic Oregon pinot noir notes of red cherry, black cherry, with hints of blueberry and earth. An incredible wine.

3. Roco “RMS” Sparkling Brut 2014. Not many sparkling wines stop us in our tracks, but RMS isn’t your average bottle of bubbly. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, RMS is made using the “traditional method,” similar to Champagne. This sparkler is crisp with gentle flavors of apple, pear and baked bread. A delicious wine for special occasions.

4. Reustle Prayer Rock “Masada Bloc” Syrah 2014. Don’t tell Walla Walla or Red Mountain, but the Pacific Northwest’s best Syrah is made in southern Oregon. This medium-bodied wine is loaded with flavors of black cherries and smoked meat.

Our staff is having a love affair with this wine and we aren’t ashamed to admit it!

5. Stoller “Reserve” Chardonnay 2015. In case you haven’t noticed, Oregon’s Willamette Valley has quickly become one of the world’s top chardonnay producing regions. Sophisticated flavors of citrus, white flowers, baked bread and oak combine to make this wine a stunner. For those of you who “don’t drink chardonnay,” that’s fine as it leaves more for us!

6. Sleight of Hand “Illusionist” Cabernet Sauvignon 2013-14. We’re not sure how Winemaker Trey Busch continues to turn out Walla Walla’s finest cab sauv every year (and at such a reasonable price) but we’re glad he does! Packed with flavors of black cherry and blackberry, you’ll pick up secondary flavors of black tea, smoke and cedar. You should cellar this as it ages toward perfection, but you won’t, will you.

7. Lemelson “Thea’s Selection” Pinot Noir 2015. Wow! Lemelson delivers another elegant pinot noir. A bit lighter than their 2014 which earned world wine recognition, Lemelson’s 2015 Thea’s Selection tantalizes with flavors of red cherry, currant and black cherry along with hints of spice. This is the perfect wine for grilled salmon or pork tenderloin.

8. K Vintners “Milbrandt” Syrah 2014. This might be Charles Smith’s best Milbrandt Syrah ever. This full-bodied wine explodes with flavor of black cherry, black licorice, smoked meats and spice. This wine begs for pulled pork or BBQ ribs. It’s a rock star, just like the winemaker.

9. J Scott Grenache 2014. Possibly my new favorite wine! Made from Rogue Valley fruit, this juicy wine has flavors of cherry, strawberry and red licorice. If you haven’t tried Grenache before, it’s an easy drinking, food friendly wine that is a PERFECT companion for food. Trust me, I’m a professional.

10. Bergevin Lane “Linen” Sauvignon Blanc 2016. When does a crush become an addiction? I’m not sure when that transformation happens, but I’m there. Linen Sauv Blanc is my “go to” white wine (other than Puffin Pinot Gris) and I’m not ashamed to say it. Apricot, peach, kiwi, pineapple. … what could be better? Oh, I know, it’s under $20. Come in now.

11. Abeja Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. Yes, my staff loves Walla Walla Cab! This bad boy combines firm tannins with flavors of black cherry, roasted meat and sage. Let the wine linger long enough and you’ll discover some late arriving notes of dark chocolate. Hell yeah.

12. Palencia Albarino 2016. My favorite wine from Victor Palencia, Washington’s newest winemaking superstar. This delicious wine has flavors of apple, pear, peach and lemon zest with a crisp acidity that just works like a champ. When we pour this wine, people lose their minds. I saw that a major wine magazine only gave this wine 88 points. That wine reviewers needs a time out.

Time for you to give them a try! They won’t disappoint, we guarantee it.


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