I was watching a news story about the forthcoming election in Washington and realised I’d never written about Washington State wines. There are a number of really good wine making regions in the States, but with few exceptions, they all struggle to escape the shadow cast by California. Washington is one of those that buck the trend and with over 900 wineries to choose from, we should be drinking a lot more of it.

I’ve found the wines are just a bit more complex and interesting than those of the Napa valley and that’s not to take away from the superb quality of the latter. The main difference for me is that Washington’s wines often display subtle but evident tannins which is virtually a hanging offence in California.

It struck that some of my favourite wineries down the years are actually from the area including Chateau St Michelle, Hedges, Columbia Crest and the fabulously eccentric Charles Smith. That realisation has made me wonder just how on earth I’ve had this weird writers block about the region; talk about blind tasting!

Charles Smith ‘Velvet Devil’ Merlot

Charles Smiths wines all have a bit of a marmite presentation, but there’s nothing eccentric about the liquid. Dark cherries on the nose with smooth autumn fruits and a classic hint of cigar boxes on the finish. Superb!

The Good Spirits Co, Glasgow £17.90

Chateau St Michelle Dry Riesling

This is an absolute corker, with refreshing citrus aromas, zingy fruit and a crisp acidic finish. Pair it with shellfish or a creamy cheese for the best effect

Waitrose £9.99