I am a sommelier student and am doing my New World project on these areas.
I am looking for any regional cuisine and any exceptional wines you may know.
I do live in Canada so some may be way out of my attainability but I appreciate any insight and ideas you may have.
I lived in Washington for a long time but live in Orgon now. There are literally hundreds of smaller wineries that all put out very good products but availability is limited for these smaller wineries. There are a couple of larger winries in each state that put out very good products that are widely available. In Washington, Chateu Ste. Michelle puts out very good wines that are widely available. They are mostly known for their reisling but they make great merlots and syrahs as well. Ste Michelle puts out some single vineyard wines that are great.
In Oregon, Willamette Valley Vineyards makes a whole flight of Pinot Noir that should be pretty widely available. They also make Pinot Gris that is very good.
As far as pairings, I love wild grilled salmon paired up with a medium bodied Washington merlot, oysters on the half shell with a sauvignon blanc and crisp Washington apples and assorted cheeses with the reisling mentioned above.
There's a Washington Wine Commission (or something like that) with a web page promoting Washington wines. I'm sure there's something similar for Oregon. I've also heard about a wine program or department at one of the Oregon universities.
Not too long ago I saw a documentary on a PBS about the recognized grape growing regions in Washington state, talking about soil characteristics and microclimate and how it affects the grapes. But I don't know if that can be found online, or in a related printed form.
I don't know about Canadian availability but the wines from that area are some of my favorites including:
I would imagine the coastal areas would focus on Pacific seafood and there is likely to be a great availability of game like Elk and Venison. The "locals" can correct me if I'm wrong (or elaborate if in agreement....).
Agree with the recs for Owen Roe, Sineann, and Andrew Will. Must say that I have enjoyed every Owen Roe wine I have tasted (including a superb Sangiovese).
And from someone living in a coastal area (Vancouver Island), I must agree with your assessment of our cuisine: focus is on Pacific seafood (esp wild Pacific salmon, halibut, sablefish, spot prawns, oysters, tuna, dungeness crab, and mussels) and we do have good availability of game, though I must say that I find elk to be much more prevalent in the Rocky Mountain area than on the coast.
I think that Oregon and Washington are so different from one another. Washington's greatest success is with Bordeaux and Rhone varietals whereas Oregon does best with varieties associated with Burgundy (i.e. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay).
Some of my favourite Oregon Pinot Noir producers:
Some of my favourite Washington wineries: