The West's best wines

The best bottles, wine bars, tasting rooms, and winemakers to watch. We sipped until we found them all

2008 wine awards
Photo: Anabelle Breakey

Our panel of wine writers, teachers, sommeliers, and other industry experts nominated destinations, professionals, and wines. They blind-tasted more than 180 bottles in four price categories.

And the winners are ...
Judging by the banter among the teams at our awards tasting this year, Chardonnay is finally pulling back a little on oak, and Zinfandel on alcohol. The West is producing more and more amazing whites that aren't Chardonnay. And Syrah is in better shape than ever. 


Steal of the year* Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2007 (Clarksburg; $12)

Good value Navarro Gewürztraminer 2006 (Anderson Valley; $19)

Special occasion Nickel & Nickel Medina Chardonnay 2006 (Russian River Valley; $45)

Deep pocket Hanzell Chardonnay 2005 (Sonoma Valley; $65)

Critics' choice Cayuse Cailloux Viognier 2006 (Walla Walla Valley; $45) 


Steal of the year* Ancient Peaks Zinfandel 2006 (Paso Robles; $14)

Good value Clos LaChance Grenache 2005 (Central Coast; $30)

Special occasionFailla Phoenix Ranch Syrah 2006 (Napa Valley; $42)

Deep pocket Betz Family "Père de Famille" Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Columbia Valley; $55)

Critics' choice DeLille Chaleur Estate Bordeaux-style Blend 2005 (Yakima Valley; $72)

*The Steals of the Year are our People's Choice Awards, selected at Sunset's annual Celebration Weekend


  • 2008's green award: Paul Dolan

    2008 wine awards

    Sustainable winemaking champion Paul Dolan, winner of [I {Sunset's}] Green Award

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