Washington State's Columbia Valley looks more like a desert than a lush wine region. Unlike the other (western) side of the Cascade Mountains, the eastern side is not green and has few trees.
But the days are hot and the nights are cool, a good start for wine-friendly weather. And the rocky soil is somewhat difficult growing ground. But again, bad ground makes for good wine grapes because they strive harder and grow less fruit. The fewer grapes concentrate the nutrients in luscious wine grapes.
Hogue is not on the list of wineries that produce Washington's premium wines, but like Beaulieu and Beringer in Napa Valley, it produces very good value wines. It's 2007 Chardonnay is $10 and it makes us happy when we open a bottle for dinner (or socializing) because we know it will be predictably good.
This wine won't stand up to a burly tomato sauce, but it is great with fish fillets, a light pasta dish, clams or a crisp salad. It smells of pear and a bit of citrus, and tastes of pear and honey. It is not as complex as a $40 Chardonnay, but it is round and crisp.