THE RED MOUNTAIN AVA
Red Mountain is an AVA (American Viticulture Area) which for the longest time was the smallest in the State of Washington. While the area has grown some in past years, smaller such areas have been designated recently moving it up the list. Still it is estimated that only about 700 acres are planted on Red Mountain. It is not the size of the area that makes Red Mountain unique, rather its dramatic diurnal temperature swings (temperatures exceed 100° F in the ripening phase of fruit development in August and September, with overnight lows dipping well into the 60° F range) of nearly 40° F. Intense heat in combination with sand and eroded soils, work to limit vine vigor forcing the vines on Red Mountain to focus energy towards fruit development. Wine grapes become super intensified on Red Mountain. The cool nights help to slow the overall ripening duration down which helps to develop flavor and the overall complexity of flavors in the fruit. Think braising as opposed to flat out broiling. However you care to consider it, Red Mountain is an area that is superb for the development of big flavor in red grape varieties, especially Cabernet Sauvignon.
We have pulled Cabernet Sauvignon from two sites on Red Mountain, but presently are working exclusively within the 'Heart of the Hill' vineyard in partnership with Kiona Winery. Scott Williams along with his brother are second generation pioneers on Red Mountain. Their father initially purchased a substantial portion of the ground decades ago, and was the first to put grapes in the ground in the area. Today they remain one of the largest landowners on Red Mountain and over the past seven years have developed 25 new acres of grapes per year.
We have always loved the quality of Clone 8 Cabernet (known also as the Washington Clone and the most widely used in the state) but recently began harvest Clone 2 Cabernet Sauvignon as well. We are really excited about this. It is a clone few have experience with and seems to offer an incredible full and savory mid palate quality.
Red Mountain was the first source to warrant AERIALS status, and will remain a cornerstone for our wine program indefinitely.