Red Mountain Wines: Great Washington Red Wines

Red Mountain wine is wine from the American Viticultural Area surrounding Red Mountain in Benton County, Washington. It is a small area at only 4,040 acres, of which only 600 acres are cultivated. The area has a great terroir due to the fact that it receives more sunlight than most of the area around during the day, yet enjoys cool nighttime temperatures. It is a truly great place to grow wine and a wonderful find in the northern state of Washington!

Kiona Vineyards was the first vineyard to begin growing Red Mountain wine in the 1970s, flowed closely by Ciel du Cheval Vineyards. Though they had not yet gained the Red Mountain AVA designation (they were instead lumped into Columbia Valley AVA or Yakima Valley AVA), they were rapidly making a name for themselves by the 1980s. In the late 90s, Hedges Family Estates started a push for a Red Mountain AVA designation, which was granted in 2001. The aforementioned wineries were soon joined by Seth Ryan Winery, Blackwood Canyon Vineyards, Sandhill Winery, Col Solare, Klipsun Vineyards, Grande Reve, and Taptiel Vineyards.

So what kind of wine is Red Mountain wine? Wines in the Red Mountain AVA are primarily known for their strong, tannic red wines. They have a good balance in flavors, but pack a powerful berry punch. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is not as fruit-driven, however, as those of other regions; it tends to be more structured. The Cab produced here has commonly been compared to a California Cab, while Cabs produced in nearby regions have been said to be more like a Bordeaux.

Many of the Red Mountain wine varietals have even made The Wine Advocate’s rare 100 point wine rating, a distinction previously reserved only for 15 California wines when it comes to American wines. Previously, only five other wines have received consecutive perfect scores throughout the history of the publication of The Wine Advocate. Quilceda Creek Vintners’ 2002, 2003, and 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon have achieved the status of “cult wine” for this reason. If you don’t know what cult wines are, they are the wines for which many wine enthusiasts will pay any price and therefore tend to be very expensive and rare.

All in all, Red Mountain wines have an appellation that shows no sign of slowing down. Don’t let anyone tell you that great wines only come from California or Europe – they can come from Washington State as well! You don’t receive a perfect score in The Wine Advocate by making sub-par wines, after all. These wines are truly unique, especially for the region, and simply must be sampled if you are a true wine aficionado. Red Mountain wine tends to be on the expensive side, with most going for over $30 per bottle, but it is definitely worth it. After all, as a real wine lover, you owe it to yourself to try more than just Californian and European wines. Life is short and you should try to sample as many different types of wine from as many different regions as possible!

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