Red Mountain tops Seattle Times top 50 wines of 2014

By on November 15, 2014
Chris Upchurch is the head winemaker for DeLille Cellars and makes Harrison Hill.

Chris Upchurch is the winemaker for DeLille Cellars. He had two wines in The Seattle Times top 50 list, one from DeLille Cellars and one from his Upchurch Vineyards. Both wines came from Red Mountain grapes. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Red Mountain continues to emerge as Washington’s top region for quality. The latest evidence is The Seattle Times top 50 wines of 2014.

Of the top five wines on the list of best regional wines, three are from Red Mountain grapes, led by the No. 1 wine: DeLille Cellars 2011 Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon.

st-2014-web-3inThe list was compiled by Andy Perdue, Seattle Times wine columnist (and, in the spirit of full disclosure, he is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine). Perdue selected the wines from thousands of wines he tasted blind in 2014.

The DeLille Cellars Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cab grapes from four Red Mountain vineyards: Ciel du Cheval, Grand Ciel, Klipsun and Upchurch. Grand Ciel is the estate vineyard for DeLille Cellars, while Upchurch is owned by Chris Upchurch, winemaker and partner for DeLille. Grand Ciel is a partnership with famed grape grower Jim Holmes, owner of Ciel du Cheval.

In the No. 2 position is Obelisco Estate‘s 2010 Malbec. The lesser-known Bordeaux variety is a rising star in Washington wine country, with more than 100 examples now crafted from Columbia Valley grapes.

And the No. 5 wine was Upchurch Vineyard‘s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is Chris Upchurch’s estate vineyard, which is on the far southern border of the AVA. Upchurch makes just a few hundred cases of the wine.

In addition to these, other Red Mountain wines on the list include the Patterson Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc (No. 14), the Mosquito Fleet Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (No. 37) and the Dowsett Family Winery 2011 Heart of the Hill Vineyard Mourvèdre (No. 44).

The No. 3 wine on The Seattle Times top 50 was Saviah Cellars‘ 2011 Elephant Mountain Vineyard G.S.M. The winery is in the southern Walla Walla Valley, and owner/winemaker Richard Funk brought these grapes in from one of Joe Hattrup’s two acclaimed sites in the Rattlesnake Hills, not far from the city of Yakima.

For the No. 4 wine, Perdue went to the Eola-Amity Hills in the northern Willamette Valley. The Bethel Heights Vineyard 2012 Aeolian Pinot Noir uses estate grapes northwest of the capital city of Salem.

Though the list spotlighted 50 wines from 50 different wineries, two winemakers each had two wines on the list. In addition to Upchurch (DeLille and Upchurch), Victor Palencia also had two wines: Palencia Wine Co. 2013 Albariño (No. 7) and Jones of Washington 2013 Rosé of Syrah (No. 27).

A few other stats from the list:

  • If you want to buy every wine on the list, it would cost you $1,411 (plus tax).
  • The average price of each bottle on the list is $28.22.
  • Nine wineries from Oregon were among the top 50 wines.
  • Three wineries from Idaho made the list.
  • Fourteen wines had connections to the Yakima Valley.
  • Nine of the wineries have a Woodinville tasting room.
  • Fourteen of the wineries are from Walla Walla.

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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