This Pacific Northwest region of the US has recently made significant advances in its international wine presence. With its dense Cabernet Sauvignons and lush, plummy Merlots, Washington State’s production of quality wines has bloomed over the last couple of decades. Located just north of Oregon, Washington’s inland AVAs have experienced the most success due to the Cascade Mountains protection from the marine influence of the Pacific Ocean and the Puget Sound. While Washington has 11 defined AVAs, the Columbia Valley is by far the biggest and most prolific. Covering almost a third of the state, and even creeping over the state line into Oregon, it encompasses several smaller AVAs, including Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla and Yakima Valley. The greatest Washington State wines have been described as having the structure and finesse of the Old World while displaying the flashy and ripe fruit of the New World. While red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the most notable, Chardonnay and Riesling have proven to be the favored white varieties, creating dependable wines with plenty of vibrant fruit and crisp acidity. Recently, Washington wine trends have begun to favor the production of Syrah-dominant reds. These powerful, Rhône-styled bottlings are packed with smoked meat, tapenade and black fruit flavors. To find some great wines from Washington State, be sure to visit our Washington State Wine Reviews.