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Winemaker's Journal — 2013 Jones of Washington whites

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Jones of Washington wines have been a perennial winner at the NCW Wine Awards

I finally got a chance to taste through some of the Jones of Washington line of new white wines that were released earlier this summer. Jones Marketing Director Allan Williams said the 2013 whites and a beautiful Rosé of Syrah have a distinctive character that comes from a near perfect, long and hot growing season last year.

All of Jones wines are made from select grapes grown on the Jack Jones family vineyards and land the family has farmed for decades near Quincy and Mattawa. While most of the grapes from their more than 1,600 acres of vineyard are made into wines for some of the state's largest and well-known wineries at their Columbia River's Edge Winery in Mattawa, the best grapes are reserved and handled with special care for the Jones label.

Jones of Washington wines have been consistently among the best wines to come from the Wahluke Slope and Ancient Lakes growing regions. The wines have won numerous awards in regional, state and national competitions. Jones was named Winery of Year in 2012 by Wine Press Northwest magazine. It's been a perennial multi-gold medal winner every year at the NCW Wine Awards.

Head winemaker Victor Palencia has a brilliant talent to make superb wines in million-gallon lots for many well-known labels, while still coming up with something unique for the much smaller batch boutique Jones label wines.

Jones opened a second tasting room last year in Pybus Market. The tasting room is much more accessible than the winery's original site in Quincy and has helped broadcast the complete line of wines to locals and valley visitors, said Williams.

All of the white wines I tasted seemed to burst with fresh fruit aromas and flavors, nicely balanced with river stone minerality and bright acidity, a particular characteristic of the Ancient Lakes AVA. All of the wines seemed a tad more sweet than in previous years, but not unpleasantly so. Another great feature of all of these wines is their affordability. These are truly fine wines, and all priced between $12 and $15.

I'm looking forward to tasting the new reds later this year.

Here are my tasting notes: 

2013 Ancient Lakes Estate Riesling: Here's an 11.6 percent alcohol wine that doesn't skimp on taste. It's slight sparkle opens up nicely with pineapple, peach, Granny Smith apple and pear. The off-dry sweetness is pleasantly balanced with a crisp citrus finish.

2013 Wahluke Slope Estate Chardonnay: This is a very nice chardonnay in the fruity Washington style, but with comforting understated Hungarian oak warmth. Ripe melon, peach and papaya aromas make way for flavors of butter, ripe banana and yellow plum that really take off as the wine warms close to room temperature. All the wonderful fresh fruit flavors of a stainless steel fermented chardonnay are here, but with a long lasting richness of subtle oak.

2013 Wahluke Slope Estate Viognier: Here's another fruity, intensely floral, slightly sweet, but full-bodied wine perfect for late summer gatherings. Wonderful fragrances of honeysuckle and orange blossom and the characteristic whiff of Juicy Fruit gum. There's layers of flavor here that last long in the mouth thanks to gentle fermentation in Hungarian oak puncheons.

2013 Ancient Lakes Estate Pinot Gris: Always one of my favorites, this is no flabby, tasteless California Pinot Gris that lines grocery store shelves. This is a beautiful wine to serve to guests with its faint copper color and volcanic aromas of fresh tropical fruit and crushed apple followed by a citrus finish of ruby grapefruit.

2013 Ancient Lakes Estate Rosé of Syrah: What a beautiful wine this is. Stunning watermelon red bursting with rose petals, raspberry and watermelon aromas, followed by exuberant flavors of pomegranate, cranberry, raspberry and strawberry pie.