RED Mountain: The Big, Bold & Tiny AVA

Located on the Eastern edge of Yakima Valley, this AVA established in 2001 has properties that lend itself to growing stressed vines bearing small berries of high tannin content.  The primary grape varieties planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

red-willow-vineyard  delille_redmtnvineyards

 Photos provided of the Betz Family Vineyard And Delille

Can you anticipate the wines and blends coming from this collection? A big, fat oowee is what my taste-buds would have said, if taste buds could talk.

Recently I attended Series #10 of the Washington State AVA Wine tastings held at the World Trade Center,  which showcased a handful of these rich and intensely flavored wines. (Read more here: WA State Red Mountain AVA )

My w20160608_133540ine friend and I recently visited (Next blog entry will cover that little trip, fun stuff!) Yakima Valley over a previous weekend and didn’t quite make it all the way towards Benton City, which is the mecca starting point for this wonderful region. As it turns out, Red Mountain, was coming to us. So we bought our tickets and attended this intimate event one beautiful, sunny Monday afternoon.

(And if you are local Seattle-ites, you might want to consider getting on the email list for this Tasting Series list through the Washington State Wine Association, click here to see a sample of of that last tasting series, contact the concierge for more information for future events. WTC Seattle )


A viewpoint from the World Trade Event Space.  

Around the room we were able to meet and re-meet winemakers who made their careers extracting the juice from this region, and have some of the oldest vines in the state. Although I enjoyed them all, I will pause here to feature the wines of Col Solare .

I do this because the keynote presenter was Darel Allwine (great name right?). Since 1995, Chateau Ste. Michelle partnered with Marchesi Antinori for their very first joint vintage, which now have become known for their silken and powerful wines.

Of all the tables we tasted through, none excited us as much as Darel’s pours. To steal a phrase from the Fidelitas table, declaring their 2012 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon-$65- as “Red Mountain in a Bottle”, and oh boy it is a grand wine, the 4 offerings from Col Solare, in my mind,  have to be the example that sets a standard for the region.

20160606_175953I tasted:

  • 2013 Red Blend – $75
  • 2013 Shining Hill Red Blend – $35
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvingnon – $85
  • 2013 Malbec – $85

Darel spent the time with us describing the vintages and the year of production and their particular attributes, from weather to wine barrels.

The website, self-describes their wines as ‘silky’, and I can find no better word to describe them; balanced, fragrant, and artfully crafted must be the result for what comes out of their bottles. Kudos to the  winemaker for just the right amount of  intervention, or non-intervention for that matter.

My pick if I can only find it on local store shelves would be the $35 Shining Hill Red Blend, 2013.


For the price point, one I can stretch myself to purchase at some point in the future, is this bottle.  Whatever grapes that don’t get selected to go into their premium priced wines, are blended into this one. The lineage is clear with every sip and is one I look forward to sipping very soon.

Other notables that day:  Fidelitas 2014 Klipsun Vineyard OPTU White -$35 Sauv/Semillon blend, lovely, long finish, with the acid you like and the smooth body that shows well. Of course, Fedilitas 2013  OPTU Red Mountain and 2012 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon are Red Mountain delicious-ness.Fidelitas Wines

Muret-Gaston Winery – Loved the 3 samples:  2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2012 Syrah-a really nice blend of syrah, cunoise. My pick for flavor and value pricing:  The NV Red Blend – $28- a wonderful blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon, buy it if you can find it.Muret-Gaston WInery

Kiona Vineyard & Winery: 2013 Reserve wine for $42 I enjoyed. But for the value pricing, their 2013 Lemberger, 100% for – $15 – delivered a balanced, flavorful, everyday wine.Kiona Vineyards

(Read more here:



About Cabfranca

Adventures of a wine appreciator and her tasting notes via sometimes the semi-fictional persona, Cabfranca. The wines are true, the stories are mostly true, through a well lived sense of wine travel and the beauty that can be found along that trail.
This entry was posted in Red Mountain AVA, Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized, Wine Events, Wine Tasting. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s