The 2015 Best of the Northwest
by Kristin Ackerman

Sip Northwest magazine is excited to release its fourth annual Best of the Northwest issue. Printed with two unique covers, this collector’s edition showcases the winners of the grand tasting competition from wine, beer, spirits and cider, along with top Northwest travel locations, locally focused restaurant and bars, upright industry influencers and more.

An open call for submissions last spring drafted more than 430 entries from wine, 269 beers, 122 from spirits and 131 ciders. The magazine recruited an accomplished, qualified group of nearly 70 of the Northwest’s premier palates to judge and determine the top three in each respective beverage category. Together, Sip Northwest and the judging panels built a comprehensive listing of winners that deem themselves particularly notable to add to readers’ liquor cabinets, beer fridges, wine cellars and cider coolers.

The issue also profiles some of the most influential personalities in each beverage, along with features of locally supporting restaurants, bars, tours, festivals and retailers.

To subscribe to the magazine and pick up this collector’s edition in print, click here.

Sip Northwest’s 2015 Best of the Northwest issue is a versatile compilation of the top billing beverages of the year. The full list of winners is below.

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BEST OF TRAVEL

Oregon
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver
Whale Cove Inn, Depot Bay
The Nines, Portland

Washington
Camano Island Inn, Camano Island
The Edgewater Hotel, Seattle
Cave B Estate Winery & Resort, Quincy

British Columbia
Sparking Hill Resort, Vernon
The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria
Watermark Beach Resort, Osoyoos

Idaho
Hotel McCall, McCall
The Lodge at Sandpoint, Sagle

Montana
The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough

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BEST OF WINE

BEST SPARKLING
1st Place: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars NV Brut, Okanagan Valley
2nd Place: Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Noir, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Argyle Winery 2011 Brut

Panel Picks:
College Cellars 2014 Muscat Ottonoel, Walla Walla Valley
Castillo de Feliciana 2013 Brilliante, Columbia Valley
Blasted Church 2011 OMG, Okanagan Valley

BEST PINOT BLANC
1st Place: Foris Vineyards 2014, Southern Oregon
2nd Place: The Four Graces 2014, Willamette Valley
3rd Place: Youngberg Hill 2014, Willamette Valley

Panel Picks:
Winter’s Hill Estate 2014, Dundee Hills
Torii Mor 2014, Willamette Valley
Z’IVO 2011, Willamette Valley

BEST SAUVIGNON BLANC
1st Place: Hedges Family Estate 2014 CMS, Columbia Valley
2nd Place: Gamache Vintners 2013 Heritage, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014, Umpqua Valley

Panel Picks:
Mercer Estates 2014, Yakima Valley
Va Piano Vineyards 2013, Columbia Valley
Lodmell Cellars 2013, Columbia Valley

BEST PINOT GRIS
1st Place: King Estate 2014 Acrobat, Oregon
2nd Place: King Estate 2014 Signature, Oregon
3rd Place: Wy’East Vineyards 2014, Columbia Gorge

Panel Picks:
Solena Estate 2014, Willamette Valley
Long Shadows Vintners 2014 Nine Hats, Columbia Valley
Portlandia Vintners 2014 Portlandia, Willamette Valley

BEST RIESLING
1st Place: Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2013 Eroica Gold, Columbia Valley
2nd Place: Ancestry Cellars 2013 Reminiscence, Columbia Gorge
3rd Place: For A Song Wines 2013 Caliche Lake Vineyard, Ancient Lakes

Panel Picks:
A to Z Wineworks 2014, Oregon
Long Shadows Vintner 2013 Poet’s Leap, Columbia Valley
Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen 2013 Eroica, Columbia Valley

BEST WHITE SINGLE VARIETAL
1st Place: Savage Grace 2014 Grüner Veltliner, Columbia Gorge
2nd Place: Ransom Spirits 2014 Redford-Wetle Albarino, Eola-Amity Hills
3rd Place: Lagana Cellars 2014 Roussanne Sagemoor Vineyards, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
Abacela 2014 Albarino, Umpqua Valley, Southern Oregon
Castillo de Feliciana Vineyard & Winery 2014 Albarino, Columbia Valley
College Cellars 2014 Marsanne, Walla Walla Valley

BEST CHARDONNAY (Tie)
1st Place: Mercer Estates 2013, Columbia Valley
1st Place: Stoller Family Estate 2014, Dundee Hills
2nd Place: Goose Ridge Vineyards 2012, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Long Shadows Vintners 2013 Dance, Horse Heaven Hills

Panel Picks:
Lemelson Vineyards 2013, Willamette Valley
Solena Estate 2013, Willamette Valley
Poplar Grove Winery 2014, Okanagan Valley

BEST WHITE BLEND
1st Place: College Cellars 2014 Scholarship White, Walla Walla Valley
2nd Place: Rocky Pond Winery 2013 Glacial Treasure, Lake Chelan
3rd Place: Genoa Cellars 2014 Tell-Tale, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
Cliff Creek Cellars 2014 MRV, Rogue Valley
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Shepherds Mark, Horse Heaven Hills
Le Vieux Pin Winery 2013 AVA, Okanagan Valley

BEST VIOGNIER
1st Place: Maryhill Winery 2014, Columbia Valley
2nd Place: 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery 2013, Southern Oregon
3rd Place: Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2014, Umpqua Valley

Panel Picks:
Grizzly Peak Winery 2013, Rogue Valley
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Crawford, Columbia Valley
Vin du Lac 2013 Vie!, Columbia Valley

BEST DESSERT WINE
1st Place: Rocky Pond Winery 2013 Late Harvest Riesling Clos CheValle Vineyard, Lake Chelan Valley
2nd Place: Torii Mor Winery 2011 Syrah Port, Rogue Valley
3rd Place: ArborBrook Vineyards 2012 Sydney Semillon, Klipsun Vineyard, Red Mountain

Panel Pick:
Gordon Estates 2014 Ice Wine, Columbia Valley

BEST ROSE
1st Place: College Cellars 2014 Mourvèdre Rosé Nostra Terra Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley
2nd Place: Genoa Cellars 2014 Wind’s Eye Grenache, Horse Heaven Hills
3rd Place: King Estate 2014 Acrobat Rose of Pinot Noir, Oregon

Panel Picks:
Abacela 2014 Grenache, Umpqua Valley
Maryhill Winery 2014, Columbia Valley
Goose Ridge Vineyards 2014 Rose de Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley

BEST PINOT NOIR
1st Place: Hyland Estates 2013 Estate, Dundee
2nd Place: Van Duzer 2013, Willamette Valley
3rd Place: ArborBrook Vineyards 2013 Estate 777 Block, Chehalem Mountains

Panel Picks:
Hyland Estates 2013 Coury Clone, McMinnville
Ransom Spirits 2012 Cattrall Vineyards, Eola-Amity Hills
Savage Grace 2013 Underwood Mountain Vineyards, Columbia Gorge

BEST RED SINGLE VARIETAL
1st Place: Saviah Cellars 2013 Barbera, Walla Walla Valley
2nd Place: Ancestry Cellars 2012 di Donato Sangiovese, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Beresan Winery 2012 Carmenere, Walla Walla Valley

Panel Picks:
Le Chateau Winery 2012 Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley
Tamarack Cellars 2013 Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley
Locati Cellars 2012 Estate Barbera, Walla Walla Valley

BEST MERLOT
1st Place: L’Ecole No 41 2012, Walla Walla Valley
2nd Place: Seven Falls Cellars 2011, Wahluke Slope
3rd Place: Gamache Vintners 2011 Estate, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
Lodmell Cellars 2009 Estate, Columbia Valley
Eye of the Needle 2012 Reserve, Columbia Valley
Hedges Family Estate 2013 House of Independent Producers, Columbia Valley

BEST TEMPRANILLO
1st Place: Jaxon Vineyards 2012, Rogue Valley
2nd Place: Saviah Cellars 2012, Walla Walla Valley
3rd Place: Girardet Wine Cellars 2012 Bush Vine, Umpqua Valley

Panel Picks:
Castillo de Feliciana Vineyard & Winery 2012 Reserve, Columbia Valley
Weisinger Family Winery 2012, Rogue Valley
Abacela 2012 Fiesta, Umpqua Valley

BEST CABERNET FRANC (Tie)
1st Place: Saviah Cellars 2011, Walla Walla Valley
1st Place: Grizzly Peak Winery 2012, Southern Oregon
2nd Place: Gamache Vintners 2012 Estate, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Dusty Cellars Winery 2013 The Queen, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2011 Griffin Creek, Rogue Valley
Tamarack Cellars 2013, Wahluke Slope
Savage Grace Wines 2014, Rattlesnake Hills

BEST MALBEC (Tie)
1st Place: Skylite Cellars 2011 Verhey Vineyard, Yakima Valley
1st Place: Ledger David Cellars 2013, Rogue Valley
2nd Place: Obelisco Estate 2012, Red Mountain
3rd Place: Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2013, Umpqua Valley

Panel Picks:
College Cellars 2013, Walla Walla Valley
Abacela 2012, Umpqua Valley
Weisinger Family Winery 2012, Rogue Valley

BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNON
1st Place: Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Cold Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley
2nd Place: Columbia Winery 2013, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: (tie) Obelisco Estate 2012 Electrum, Red Mountain and Obelisco Estate 2011, Red Mountain

Panel Picks:
Woodward Canyon 2012 Old Vines, Washington State
Goose Ridge Vineyards 2012 g3, Columbia Valley
Gård Vintners 2012, Columbia Valley

BEST SYRAH
1st Place: Maryhill Winery 2011, Columbia Valley
2nd Place: Tenor 2012, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: (tie) Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2012, Wahluke Slope and Gordon Estate 2013 Syrah, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
Purple Star Wine 2012, Columbia Valley
Ambassador Wines of Washington 2012 Estate, Red Mountain
Dunham Cellars 2012, Columbia Valley

BEST RHONE-STYLE RED BLEND
1st Place: Rocky Pond Winery 2013 Stratastone, Red Mountain
2nd Place: Buried Cane 2012 Heartwood, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Cadaretta 2012 Windthrow, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
College Cellars 2013 GSM, Walla Walla
Gård Vintners 2012 Vaucluse, Columbia Valley
Robert Ramsay Cellars 2012 Le Mein, Columbia Valley

BEST BORDEAUX-STYLE RED BLEND
1st Place: Chateau Ste. Michelle 2011 Artist Series Meritage, Columbia Valley
2nd Place: (tie) Monster Vineyards 2013 Cabs, Okanagan Valley and Goose Ridge Vineyards 2012 Elements Cellar Select Artist Series, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Ancestry Cellars 2012 Le Frère, Columbia Valley

Panel Picks:
Balboa Winery 2012 Mith, Walla Walla Valley
Ancestry Cellars 2012 Provocant, Columbia Valley
Lodmell Cellars NV Sublime, Columbia Valley

BEST PROPRIETARY RED BLEND
1st Place: Sinclair Estate Vineyards 2011 Vixen, Wahluke Slope
2nd Place: Maryhill Winery 2013 Winemaker’s Red, Columbia Valley
3rd Place: Robert Ramsay 2012 La Previa, Snipes Mountain

Panel Picks:
Mercer Estates 2012 Sharp Sisters, Columbia Valley
Terra Blanca Winery 2009 Signature Series Batholith, Red Mountain
DeLille Cellars 2012 Doyenne Aix, Red Mountain

Industry Influencer: Chris Peterson, Avennia and Passing Time Winery, Woodinville, WA

Best Northwest Wine Tour: Bon Vivant, Woodinville, WA

Best Local Wine List: Barrel Thief, Seattle

Best Newcomer: Bella Wines, Naramata, BC

Best Northwest Wine Festival: Taste Washington, Seattle

Best for Liquid Lessons: Pairings, Portland

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BEST OF CIDER

BEST TRADITIONAL APPLE
1st Place: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Cidre Bouche
2nd Place: Cider Riot! 1763
3rd Place: Alpenfire Cider Spark!

BEST MODERN APPLE
1st Place: Rambling Route
2nd Place: Finnriver Farm & Cidery Oak & Apple
3rd Place: Anthem

BEST PERRY
1st Place: Spire Mountain Pear
2nd Place: Finnriver Farm & Cidery
3rd Place: Tieton Cider Works Sparkling Perry

BEST SINGLE VARIETAL
1st Place: Montana CiderWorks Small Batch McIntosh
2nd Place: Alpenfire Cider Glow
3rd Place: Traditions Ciderworks 2013 Riverwood

BEST BARREL-AGED
1st Place: Finnriver Farm & Cidery Fire Barrel
2nd Place: Whitewood Cider Co. Kingston Black
3rd Place: Snowdrift Cider Co. Cornice

BEST HOPPED
1st Place: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Hop & Stalk
2nd Place: Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider Hallelujah Hopricot
3rd Place: Anthem Hops

BEST FRUIT-INFUSED
1st Place: Locust Cider Dark Sweet Cherry
2nd Place: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Made Marion
3rd Place: Seattle Cider Co. Berry

BEST SPECIALTY
1st Place: Number 6 Hard Cider Stumptown Cold Brew
2nd Place: Snowdrift Cider Co. Red
3rd Place: Spoke and Sail Cider Abeille

BEST SPICE/HERB
1st Place: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Nice & Naughty
2nd Place: Seattle Cider Co. Gin Botanical
3rd Place: Tieton Cider Works Spice Route

BEST SPARKLING
1st Place: Snowdrift Cider Co. Perry Reserve
2nd Place: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Cider Master Reserve Batch No. 1, Barrel Select Blend
3rd Place: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Serious Scrump

BEST ICE/POMMEAU
1st Place: Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse Pomona
2nd Place: Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse Black Applejack
3rd Place: Traditions Ciderworks 2013 Pommeau

Industry Influencer: Nat West, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Portland

Best Northwest Cider Tour: Port Townsend Cider Route, Port Townsend, WA

Best Local Cider List: Portland Cider House, Portland

Best Newcomer: WildCraft Cider Works, Eugene, OR

Best Northwest Cider Festival: Cider Rite of Spring, Portland

Best for Liquid Lessons: Capitol Cider, Seattle

***

BEST OF BEER

BEST LAGER
1st Place: Full Sail Brewing Co. Session Black
2nd Place: Red Truck Beer Co. Red Truck Lager
3rd Place: Full Sail Brewing Co. Session Premium

BEST PILSNER
1st Place: Icicle Brewing Co. Crosscut
2nd Place: Black Raven Brewing Co. Hochzeit
3rd Place: Long Brewing Pils

BEST SESSION ALE
1ST Place: Fremont Brewing Co. Session Pale Ale
2nd Place: Sumerian Brewing Co. Sumerian India Session Ale
3rd Place: Red Truck Beer Co. Red Truck India Session Ale

BEST PALE ALE
1st Place: Boneyard Beer Bone-A-Fide
2nd Place: Breakside Brewery Lunch Break India Session Ale
3rd Place: Bale Breaker Brewing Co. Field 41

BEST INDIA PALE ALE
1st Place: Reuben’s Brews Hop Tropic
2nd Place: Breakside Brewery Breakside
3rd Place: Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. Yaak Attack

BEST IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE
1st Place: Hopworks Urban Brewery Ace of Spades
2nd Place: Three Creeks Brewing Co. Vaquero
3rd Place: Phillips Brewing Co. Amnesiac

BEST AMBER ALE
1st Place: Fish Brewing Co. Vicious Circle
2nd Place: Red Truck Beer Red Truck Ale
3rd Place: Phillips Brewing Co. Blue Buck

BEST RED ALE
1st Place: Hopworks Urban Brewery Rise Up Red
2nd Place: Deschutes Brewery Cinder Cone
3rd Place: Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. Ross Creek

BEST BELGIAN-STYLE ALE
1st Place: pFriem Family Brewers Belgian Strong Dark
2nd Place: Propolis Brewing Zephyros Golden Elderflower Saison Brett
3rd Place: Propolis Brewing Cedar Imperial Saison Brewed with Honey

BEST SOUR ALE
1st Place: Wander Brewing Raspberry Millie American
2nd Place: Driftwood Brewery Obscuritas Dark
3rd Place: Cascade Brewing 2013 Sang Rouge

BEST BARREL-AGED
1st Place: pFriem Family Brewers Flanders Red
2nd Place: Two Beers Brewing Co. Fall Line Russian Imperial Stout
3rd Place: Fremont Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star Oatmeal Stout

BEST CASCADIAN DARK ALE
1st Place: Reuben’s Brews Black Imperial India Pale Ale
2nd Place: Counterbalance Brewing Co./Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery Storm Cycle
3rd Place: Spinnaker Bay Brewing Black High Heel

BEST STOUT/PORTER
1st Place: Icicle Brewing Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Ale
2nd Place: Reuben’s Brews Foreign Export
3rd Place: Deschutes Brewery Obsidian

Industry Influencer: James Walton, Storm Brewing, Vancouver

Best Northwest Beer Tour: Vancouver Brewery Tours, Vancouver

Best Local Beer List: Parkway Tavern, Tacoma, WA

Best Newcomer: Holy Mountain Brewing Co., Seattle

Best Northwest Beer Festival: Bend Brewfest, Bend, OR

Best for Liquid Lessons: Naked City Think & Drink Series, Seattle

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BEST OF SPIRITS

BEST VODKA
1st Place: Wishkah River Distillery Vodka Distilled from Honey
2nd Place: Black Heron Spirits
3rd Place: 44° North Idaho Potato

BEST FLAVORED VODKA
1st Place: 44˚ North Sunnyslope Nectarine
2nd Place: 44° North Mountain Huckleberry
3rd Place: Batch 206 Distillery Mad Mint

BEST GIN
1st Place: Vivacity Spirits Bankers’ Gin
2nd Place: Mt. Index Brewery & Distillery Wild Sky Pot Still
3rd Place: Big Bottom Distilling Oregon

BEST BARREL-AGED GIN
1st Place: Captive Spirits Distilling Bourbon Barreled Big Gin
2nd Place: The Liberty Distillery Endeavour Old Tom
3rd Place: Batch 206 Distillery Count Old Tom

BEST UNAGED WHISKEY
1st Place: Bad Dog Distillery Grandpa’s Likker
2nd Place: Cowlitz River Distillery Smokey Valley Moonshine
3rd Place: Skip Rock Distillers Headwaters

BEST WHISKEY
1st Place: Big Bottom Distilling Barlow Trail, Port Cask Finish
2nd Place: Bull Run Distilling Co. Temperance Trader Bourbon
3rd Place: Hood River Distillers Pendleton 1910 Rye Whisky

BEST RUM
1st Place: Skip Rock Distillers Belle Rose Double Barrel
2nd Place: 3 Howls Distillery Gold Label
3rd Places: 3 Howls Distillery Spiced Flavored

BEST SPECIALTY
1st Place: Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery Marteau Belle Epoque Extrait d’Absinthe
2nd Place: Nightside Distillery Apple Pie Moonshine
3rd Place: Sound Spirits Aquavit

BEST EAU DE VIE/BRANDY
1st Place: BelleWood Distilling Reserve Apple Brandy
2nd Place: Skip Rock Distillers Asian Pear
3rd Place: BelleWood Distilling Eau de Vie

BEST FRUIT LIQUEUR
1st Place: Whidbey Island Distillery Raspberry
2nd Place: Whidbey Island Distillery Blackberry
3rd Place: Skip Rock Distillers Raspberry

BEST NON-FRUIT LIQUEUR
1st Place: Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs Ginger
2nd Place: Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs Hibiscus
3rd Place: RiverSands Distillery Kennewick Kennlueur

BEST DESSERT LIQUEUR
1st Place: Mt. Index Brewery & Distillery Black Cat Coffee
2nd Place: Seattle Distilling Coffee
3rd Place: Vivacity Spirits Turkish Coffee

Industry Influencer: Gordon Glanz, Odd Society Spirits, Vancouver

Best Northwest Spirits Tour: Distillery Row Walking Tour, Portland

Best Local Spirits List: Local 360 Cafe & Bar, Seattle

Best Newcomer: Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs, Lacey, WA

Best Northwest Spirits Festival: TOAST Portland, Portland

Best for Liquid Lessons: Liberty Bar, Seattle

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Sip Northwest would like to thank Kerloo Cellars, Wine World & Spirits, Capitol Cider and the panels of  judges for their participation in this issue:

BEER: Dan Armerding, Dan Armstrong, Caylee Betts, John Beuscher, Randall Breedlove, Yvonne Davis, Bean Fairbanks, Ashley Fender, Dan Freuh, Erik Gedde, Morgan Herzog, Kendall Jones, Kim Sharpe-Jones, Mark Krukar, Rob Lisaius, Steve Luke, Kevin Miller, Samantha Morin, Joe Nation, Paul Orchard, Andy Reineke, Ian Roberts, Don Scheidt, Gary Sink and Matt Younts

SPIRITS: Erick Armentrout, Erica Beindorff, Andrew Friedman, Barbara Harnish, Brett Konen, David Little, Andy McClellan, Casey Robison, Leroy Thomas and Sarah Wright

CIDER: Chris Austin, Tyler Hurst, Bean Fairbanks, David Flaherty, Dan Freuh, Kendall Jones, Sarah Silverman, Erika Tedin, Julia Wayne, Dave White and Catherine Ferrante

WINE: Dave Bender, Chris Chan, Regina Daigneault, Nick Davis, Shelly Fitzgerald, Zach Geballe, Beth Hickey, Chris Horn, Rebecca Koehler, Sharon McLean, Rebecca Murphy, Chris Nishiwaki, Thomas Price, Treve Ring, Aaron Snyderman, Paul Swanson and Peter Szymczak

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