As a whole, there are regions of the United States that are definitely known for their wines. Napa, Sonoma and other regions of California are often cited as some of the best places in the US to get wine. While I do love a good California Pinot Grigio, I’m here to tell you that there is a booming wine scene in Washington, and if you’re a wine lover, it’s time you got in on it. I sat down with one of our Food & Beverage managers at Loews Hotel 1000, Bill Munn, and he gave me the inside scoop on the best wines in all of Washington.

Red Wines

Washington is traditionally known for some bigger wines, especially reds. Big, fruit driven Syrahs, Merlots and Cabernets have been the name of the game for a while now, but lately we’ve seen the emergence of some lesser known varietals and some more old world wine making techniques. This has helped to create more complex, sometimes earth driven, reds. You’ll see a lot more Bordeaux Style & Rhône-style blends (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc…. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) alongside single varietal wines.

White Wines

For whites, Rieslings and Chardonnay are traditionally the main varietals. Riesling varies in style, from floral German style to dry Alsatian Riesling. Sauvignon Blanc has always been popular, just not the super lean style of Loire Valley or New Zealand. Instead, a more lush, and slightly opulent wine is presented. These are often blended with rounder style grapes like Sémillon (another classic Bordeaux-style blend). Chardonnay is here, but Oregon has the corner marketed a little bit more (just like with Pinot Noir).

As more people get into the wine making business, you are seeing more creativity and diversity in style. Lots of lesser known grapes are being planted as well, like Petite Verdot, Chenin blanc, Carignan, Aligoté grapes.

Where can I taste these wines?

Most of the wines in Washington are made east of the mountains, making it a bit of a trip to go to the wineries. With that being said, there are a few great places to taste wine. Woodinville is about 15 miles away and you can drive there in under 45 minutes with good traffic. There are many tasting rooms nearby — Chateau Ste Michelle has its famed winery here, and there’s also Novelty Hill Januik. There are some great breweries, distilleries and restaurants in Woodinville as well. This is an excellent day trip for any enthusiast.

If you are hoping to stay in town, there is a huge Tasting Room/Winery that opened in the Georgetown neighborhood from iconic winemaker Charles Smith. Here is a great article from Eater that will give you some additional information.

Favorite Wines (with notes!)

Andrew Rich Wines: great local winemaker who has some creativity with his blends
Two Mountain Winery: smaller operation out of Rattlesnake Hills, making some great stuff
Novelty Hill Januik: one of the heavy hitters, but great stuff
Long Shadows: makes some killer Merlots, wine of the year by Seattle Times, 2013
Leonetti Cellar: Walla Walla’s first winery, lots of prestige
March Cellars: great Washington chardonnay
Chateau Ste Michelle: a behemoth, but makes a lot of good stuff

During your next stay at Loews Hotel 1000, try a bottle! The wine cellar downstairs has at least one wine from each of the wineries listed above. Show us your favorite reds and whites (or maybe even a bubbly!) by tagging @Hotel1000 or using the hashtag #LoewsHotel1000.

Loews Hotels & Co.