- Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery turns science into artPosted 1 day ago
- 20th annual Taste Washington offers 20% discountPosted 4 days ago
- Brian Carter, Reininger, Walla Walla Vintners hoist Jefferson CupsPosted 1 week ago
- Sager Small set to take College Cellars education back to Woodward CanyonPosted 1 week ago
- Wine Yakima Valley rallies to support food banksPosted 2 weeks ago
- BC wine industry mourns Wild Goose founder Adolf KrugerPosted 2 weeks ago
- Ste. Michelle calls 2016 harvest biggest, longest for Washington winePosted 2 weeks ago
- Giving thanks for Northwest wine on ThanksgivingPosted 2 weeks ago
- ¡Salud! auction for Oregon vineyard worker healthcare sets recordPosted 2 weeks ago
- College Cellars spins Muscat into gold year after yearPosted 3 weeks ago
Red Mountain rises for world-class grapes, wines
It’s rarely red, and it’s not a mountain. But Brown Ridge sounds way less sexy than Red Mountain.
The 4,040-acre bench in the eastern Yakima Valley near Richland, Wash., is considered the prime region for growing red wine grapes in Washington wine country. The first grapes were planted here in 1975, when Kiona Vineyards arrived. Federal recognition came in 2001 when the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area was approved.
Today, Red Mountain is covered with vines, thanks to the arrival of much-needed water in the past decade. Some of the best wineries in Washington use Red Mountain grapes, and the wines from this fruit often reveal power and grace on the palate.
At 2,110 acres planted (and rising), more than 50 percent of Red Mountain is covered in vines. This makes it the most densely planted AVA in the Pacific Northwest.
And Cabernet Sauvignon is king. With 1,246 acres of the Bordeaux red variety in Red Mountain’s sandy soils, more than half the vines here are dedicated to Cab.
So what’s with the name? Each spring for a brief couple of weeks, cheatgrass that grows prolifically on Red Mountain turns a reddish color. Of course, this also happens on nearby Candy Mountain, Badger Mountain, Goose Ridge and Rattlesnake Mountain.
Ultimately, it should be called Green Mountain because not only is it covered in beautiful green vineyards, but it also brings in cash. The land here is the most expensive in Washington wine country, and grapes from Red Mountain vineyards tend to bring a premium that is 30 percent or more than other regions of the Columbia Valley.
Here are a dozen delicious wines using Red Mountain grapes that we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.