That miserable winter has transitioned into a slow start to spring in the Northwest, but the wines in our region never have been better, according to judges at the fifth annual Cascadia Wine Competition.

The international taste-off of wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho recruited judges from across the country to the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore., for a three-day snapshot. And for the first time in the competition’s history, the top wine did not come from Walla Walla.

Wild Goose Vineyards in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley earned best of show honors with its 2016 Pinot Gris. Three generations of the Kruger family were involved in producing that stellar white wine. Sadly, patriarch Adolf Kruger, a founding director of the BC Wine Institute, died of cancer last fall at the age of 85.

Here are the top wines from “The Cascadia,” as dubbed by New Orleans broadcaster/journalist Tim McNally, who joined Sheri Sauter Morano, a Master of Wine from North Carolina, on this year’s international panel of judges.

Long Shadows Vintners 2016 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé, Horse Heaven Hills, $20: Gilles Nicault continues to prove that Pinot Noir isn’t the only Burgundy grape suitable for rosé. He extracts just enough pigment for its light salmon color and to present aromas and flavors of strawberry-rhubarb compote, peach nectar and raspberry. Expect understated elegance rather than flash as the residual sugar of 0.5 percent is veiled, leading to its medal as best rosé. (14.1 percent alcohol)>>>Read the entire article on Tri-City Herald