Make Your Holiday Season Even More Memorable with a Special Bottle of Wine

This article originally appeared, in part, in the November/December, 2021 issue of Bellingham Alive Magazine

Do we overspend, overeat, and over-imbibe during the holidays? Almost certainly! 

The holiday season means it’s time for special gatherings with family and friends, so why not celebrate with an extra-special bottle (or two) of wine?

Variety is the key, and Washington and Oregon wineries have you covered with an incredible range of reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines that are perfect for the holidays.

Here are a few special wines from the Pacific Northwest to get you started:

King Estate Winery 2016 Brut Cuvée (about $40) – Based near Eugene, Oregon, King Estate currently offers this gorgeous blend of 83-percent Pinot Noir and 17-percent Chardonnay that brings to mind similar wines from France’s storied Champagne houses.

It opens with lovely brioche and citrus aromatics followed by lemon chiffon, apple, and juicy Bartlett pear flavors. The finish is both crisp and lengthy, with vibrant acidity nicely balanced by a suggested whisper of sweetness.

Goose Ridge Vineyards Cellar Select Artist Series ($36 to $52 each) – This four-wine series of eye-catching labels by artist Katie Small is matched by the equally impressive wines inside the bottle, crafted by winemaker Andrew Wilson.

White wines include the 2019 Reserve Roussanne “Camellia”, with flavors and aromas of stone fruits and toasted walnuts and a finish of lemon crème; and a 2019 Reserve Chardonnay “Magnolia”, which strikes the perfect balance between freshness and richness, with baked apple and pear flavors accentuated with a hint of citrus and spice.

The Artist Series red wines feature a 2018 Reserve Syrah “Dahlia”, with stunning aromatics of violets and wild berries backed by intense, dark fruit and fig flavors on a textured finish; and the 2018 Reserve Red Blend “Violette”, a blend of five Bordeaux varietals packed with black plum and black currant fruit wrapped in a finish of toasted oak.

The eighth iteration of special release wines for Washington State University, the Cougar VIII WSU Red Blend ($40) is another winner, also produced by Goose Ridge’s Andrew Wilson.

An amazing blend of six red varietals – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Petit Sirah, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon – it opens with aromas of vanilla bean and red berries followed by concentrated dark fruit flavors of black plum, black cherry, and blackberry. The finish is lengthy and layered, with notes of allspice, buttered toasted, cocoa powder, and espresso. It’s sure to be a great choice for the Coug fan/wine enthusiast on your gift list.

These wines are available at Goose Ridge’s four tasting rooms located throughout Washington and can also be ordered online at

Tsillan Cellars 2018 Estate Barbera (about $36) and Siren Song Wines 2017 Reserve Beijo (about $48) – The Lake Chelan area is fast becoming one of Washington’s premiere wine grape growing regions and these two selections are indicative of the quality of wines being produced here.

The food-friendly Tsillan Cellars Barbera opens with fresh berry and vanilla wafer aromatics, followed by brambly blackberry flavors, sweet tobacco and spicy nuances, and a splash of acidity on the finish.

A gorgeous 50/50 combination of Merlot and Syrah, the Siren Song Beijo carries a mouthful of luscious black cherry fruit topped with a slice of blueberry pie and a soft, butterscotch-like finish. Gold medalist at the 2021 Bellingham Northwest Wine Competition.

Both wines are recommended as serving partners for a lamb or red meat entrée and can be purchased at the winery’s tasting rooms or online stores.

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