Washington Wineries. Red Mountain AVA, 2022

Red Mountain Is a small, but interesting AVA located on the southwest slopes of Red Mountain, accordingly. Plenty of suns during days, and long warm autumn provide ideal conditions for high-tannic varieties, that require long ripening. Result – rich, but soft tannins. Cold nights keep necessary acidity; low precipitation and constant winds provide small berry size, and, accordingly, a high concentration of aromatic components.

Several years ago, among the vineyards of Red Mountain, I found a fantastic small family winery Tapteil. They grew mainly Cabernet sav and Merlot and made beautiful wines – pure-varietal and Bordeaux-style. When I drop by this winery in the fall of 2021, the owners had sold out wines, retired and sold the vineyard. It was so pitiful because they made one of the best Washington wines that I ever tried. In 2022 the winery has been under the sign of new owners – Avennia. It is a medium size winery; they are buying beast vineyards in the different Washington AVAs. Makes Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines. It was too early for them to have wines from Red Mountain vineyard, the first release will be in 2023. Of course, they had wine from their other locations. They definitely do Old World style wines – mineral rose, Bordeaux style Sauvignon blanc, Rhône-style Roussanne/Marsanne, Bordeaux and Rhône style blend, pure varietal Syrah. All four reds were good, with good potential, but too young. And I don’t mean that they just don’t reach the peak, I mean they were too young to be open – rash tanning, hard acidity. They need two-three more years. It is ok to sell wine that needs ageing, but not for the money that they ask.

Hightower Cellars – a small family winery with a vineyard almost on the top of the mountain. There is a nice view of the valley from their tasting room. They have made wine since 1997. Mostly red wines – Bordeaux varieties, Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier. Pure-varietal wines and blends. Well-balanced, well-structured, saturated wines with bright fruit aroma, and notes of earth and species. I especially enjoyed Merlot 2019 – bright black plum note, good acidity, and good structure. Prices are from $ 25 to 60.

Owners – the friendly couple and the Labrador, who maintained order in the tasting room. While we tasted the wine, they brought some grapes from the vineyard, so we had an opportunity to see the work of the sorter.
My recommendation.

Fidelitas – another small family winery that has existed for almost 20 years. Tasting rooms are on the vineyard (very nice views), and in Woodinville.

Specialize in Bordeaux varieties, and make pure-varietal and Bordeaux-style wines. Prices are $ 30-75.
I tried Cabernet sauvignon 2019, Merlo 2019, classical Bordeaux-style bled 2018 – everything was very worthful. Especially was impressed with Semillon 2021 – the bright aroma of tropical fruits, good freshness, and effective ageing in French oak gives additional interesting notes.
My recommendation.

Longship Cellars
This is not Red Mountain AVA, but Yakima Valley, however, we visited them at the same time, a tasting room they have nearby, in Richland, so put them here.

The family winery since 2013. Make red wines from a wide range of varieties– Tempranillo, Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, and also some white wines – Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Alberino. I tried one white (Sauvignon blanc – pretty good, New Zealand style), rose malbec, and three reds – Grenache, malbec, and Syrah. Everything is quite good, and Grenache 2019 Pet Cheetah I especially enjoyed. Rich, but soft, well structured, with a bright aroma of black plum and blackberry, herbs, and citrus notes.

The tasting room is made as a social life centre. May tables, inside and outside, despite wine, offer some food, outside food is also welcome. We saw a lot of locals, it is a popular place among them, that is a good sign.
Degustation price – $12, waived with the purchase of any bottle. Wine for $ 20 to 60. Most days they work till 8 pm, which is convenient.

They also have a Cheese + Wine pairing option, we tried it, but local cheeses are too American. If you prefer European cheese, I wouldn’t recommend it.

And the last feature – their winemaker also makes mead. Dry (off-dry, more precise), two variants, very nice.

Nice winery, my recommendation.

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