From the thousands of contenders he tasted this year, Andy Perdue ranks the standouts, many of which sell for less than $30 a bottle.

THROUGH THE COURSE of 2016, I’ve tasted thousands of wines from throughout the Pacific Northwest (and around the globe, for that matter).

Knowing I’ll be producing this year-end list, I think about wines that really stand out. I tasted the No. 4 and 5 wines on this year’s list in the first quarter, and each stood out in my mind for the entire year, both for their clarity as well as purity of fruit. Looking through this list, it comes to mind that I’m particularly fascinated with a couple of grape varieties being produced in the Northwest, particularly malbec (six examples made my top 50) and petite sirah (three examples).

I also wanted to keep in mind value as I compiled this list, so nearly half of the wines retail for $30 or less. While there are several priced at $50 or higher (including the top two), producing great wines costs money — for great grapes, the proper equipment, etc.
This year’s No. 1 wine comes from Long Shadows, the international collaboration between Washington and several of the world’s top winemakers. This particular merlot resonated with me the several times I tasted it>>>Read more on The Seattle Times