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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star). See all 26 reviews
on October 2, 2017
Great read and a great preview of a visit to wine country.
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on April 11, 2015
Great info on Washington wines. I wish they would come out with an updated edition.
One person found this helpful
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on May 4, 2013
Paul is knowledgeable and an able writer. This book will be a great introduction for budding Washington wine enthusiasts, and will offer some nuanced perspectives for those already versed. However, this book will need to be in a constant state of revision in the coming years, as new wineries are sprouting up constantly and viticultural areas continue to be added and refined. Overall, an informative read.
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on April 18, 2013
Purchased this book before a trip to Washington's wine areas. Extensive history and review of the wine industry in Washington today. Helped me determine what wine areas and wineries I would visit.
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on February 23, 2015
Good book
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on July 12, 2011
The author is no doubt is the home town expert. When he sticks to technical information the book is a pure joy. The book is an excellent resource although his fact checking on the second edition leaves a lot to be desired. I enjoy wine and have been fortunate to travel the world seeing vineyards and wineries up close from an early age. There is only one thing I care about is the quality of the wine I'm drinking and buying. The winery having an interesting history is nice to know but it should not affect their standing in the ratings. Only the quality of the current wines should. Unfortunately the author seems affected by peer pressure to rate wineries on how "interesting" they are. There are glaring omissions in discussing AVA's leaving out some of the biggest vineyards in the AVA.

Columbia Crest is I'll grant you a boring supermarket brand. But it delivers what customers and most (not the author) wine critics want. All the major wine publications rate their reserve wines extremely highly, in fact Wine Spectator recently named a Columbia Crest Reserve Cab the #1 wine in the world. For a decade now they have earned more 90 point ratings than any other winery in the world. The author only rates them four stars. Maybe he is offended that their barrel room at 14 acres is larger than some boutique vineyards. The author seems full of his own importance tasting over 20 wines a day and feeling that wineries should listen to critics. He never gets tired of self adulation. Wineries are not in the business of pleasing critics, especially one critic. They are in the business of selling wine to customers. That is how they stay in business. The author would do his readers, who are his customers, a huge service by saying which wineries do which styles well. Even if it is a popular style he does not agree with. To say that Pinot Noir is only experimental in the Puget sound AVA is elitist and disrespectful. Wineries in the Puget sound AVA have been growing Pinot Noir commercially since 1992. Yes the acres is small but then so is the total acreage of all grapes in this AVA. I doubt there is a higher percentage of Tempranillo in the Columbia Valley AVA.

This is a great book to give you a background on Washington wines. The five star wineries will deliver the best conversation but not always the best wine. Wine authors and critics are as a group it seems blind to rating the wineries tasting rooms for their friendliness to customers. There are a few bloggers picking up the slack here. This book is like my GPS it will get you very close, but from there you need to decide on your own. I would recommend this book to friends. But if you don't taste pencil shavings when drinking wine take it with a pinch of salt. I've had $20 Cabs from the unlisted and risings star wineries that put the $60 reserve cabs from his 5 star wineries to shame. My summer vacation was touring Washington wineries and I have lived in Washing since 2000.

What is great about Washington is that in the most unlikely places you will find almost unheard of wineries producing amazing wines at very affordable prices. Buyer beware many wineries including some of the authors 5 star listings are so proud of their average offerings, that they are asking ridiculous prices for them. In fact the further you get from the tightly packed clusters of wine tasting facilities the better yours odds of finding the gems.
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on August 2, 2011
I agree that this is the leading book on Washington wines, but partly by default (i.e., until Sean Sullivan goes the dead tree route). My favorite section was Gregutt's description of the leading vineyards, where he not only describes the history of their development, what is grown there, and who uses the grapes, but makes a real effort to describe what makes the site special. I would have liked to see some attempt to challenge or reconcile the lip service growers and winemakers give to "terroir" with the reality that many of these very producers issue blended wines, whether multiple varietals from the same vineyard or the same varietal from several vineyards. But perhaps the publisher would not have been thrilled by a 50-page digression on this subject; nor is it unique to Washington. And I think we share a similar affinity for lower alcohol, higher acid red wines, although I do not share Gregutt's enthusiasm for Washington rieslings.

In some cases, though, he is a little too generous, which is my major problem with the rest of the book. In what universe is a producer of oceans of (mostly) plonk like Chateau Ste. Michelle a "five star" producer? And how is the dreadful Columbia Crest entitled to four stars, the same as the brilliant Gramercy, Cote Bonneville and Waters? I can't tell for sure whether he's being nice or is afraid to take the gloves off when it comes to assessing the big shots in Washington wine. But he certainly has no problem calling out the small fry who are issuing flawed or mediocre wines (e.g., sickly-sweet whites designed for the tasting room bus tours). So carve out a category for the underachieving big shots like "Market Leader" or something, but don't pretend they're issuing top-flight wine rather than just selling widgets that happen to be bottles of wine, because they're not; in fact, they're not even trying.
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