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Consider the following wineries a best-of-2014 selection, but since they don't stay on the shelves very long, consider them also as a list of wines to discover in 2015. All are wineries that produce quality across the board and are entering the upper echelon of U.S. wineries.
Zepaltas Eau Claire native Ryan Zepaltas crafts marvelous Pinot Noirs that are energetic with pure fruit. He also makes a delicious, food-friendly Chardonnay and an elegant Syrah. Wine to try: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Sleight of Hand Don't let the bewitching labels trick you: These are serious wines from the Walla Walla region of Washington with immediate appeal yet fine complexity. They also make one of the most compelling Rieslings in the U.S. Wine to try: Spellbinder Red (a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot)
Copain This fantastic Russian River Valley producer also makes a line of superb-value wines that come alive at the table. Wine to try: Brousseau Chardonnay
Failla I've found their Chardonnays pleasing to both the "butter and oak" fans as well as white burgundy lovers. If you can find them, Failla's Viognier and Syrahs are among the finest in the Americas. Wine to try: Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Lioco Low-intervention winemaking and access to California's best vineyards make this ten-year-old winery one to watch. Part of the new California wine-making techniques, Lioco makes three tiers that represent fruit sourced from individual counties, American Viticultural Areas and single vineyards. Wine to try: Sonoma County Chardonnay
Michael Kwas is a sommelier at L'Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.