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The lighter side of Red Mountain3 min read

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Red Mtn sunset

In my previous post I talked about the Rabblers trip to the amazing Red Mountain AVA in Eastern Washington. We explored the area and met some great people and truly talented winemakers. I talked about the place and the wineries but what, you may ask, about the dang wines? Well, hang on, I’ll get there. In this post I want to touch on a few wines I personally purchased (some of the many that weighed down the RabblerWagon on our way back to Portland.)

One of our days of tasting took us to Frichette Winery, Cooper: A Red Mountain Winery (more on them in the next post), Hedges Family Estate and Hightower Cellars. Here is a rundown of a few wines that stood out to me.

Frichette Winery is a new on the mountain and in a brief period of time they have developed a great reputation. One of the things the Rabblers do when tasting in a new area is ask the tasting room folks we meet where they like to go tasting. Everyone on Red Mountain told us to visit Frichette Winery and boy are were glad we did.

My personal favorite was their 2012 Columbia Valley Semillon. Light, crisp, nice acidity with a lovely fragrant nose and a pleasant tartness. I’m looking forward to having this with a big turkey burger on my patio in the summer.

At Hedges Family Estate, the Rosés and Chardonnays from their Independent Producer label where two standouts that found a home in our wine fridge. I like Chardonnays but usually find Pinot blanc and gris a bit more interesting. The 2012 Independent Producers Chardonnay was of a rare breed, something different: vibrant, crisp fruit, a mid palate that burst with citrus and passion fruit and had a clean finish.

Independent Producers makes a 2012 Syrah rosé that was a distinct yet refreshing change from the rosés I normally drink. In the Willamette Valley, we are privileged to have a vast selection of Pinot Noir rosés. Syrah is one of the tent pole wines of Red Mountain and the rosés made from this grape are eye openers. Full bodied, great acidity, dry but with a slight berry finish, the Independent Producers Syrah rosé is a wine to enjoy any time of year– not just in the summer.

A jaunt to the top of Sunset Road brought us to Hightower Cellars, where I found that Independent Producers had not cornered the Syrah rosé market. Tim and Kelly Hightower make wonderful Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot and blends but this year they tried their hands at making a Syrah rosé. They shoot- they score!

Beautiful color in the glass, this fragrant yet bright wine is delicious. A bit more body than a Pinot rosé but still dry (just how I like it) with a slightly candied strawberry flavor that gives the finish a nice zing. I had this wine with turkey on Thanksgiving and it was a seamless match. Worked nicely with the Marionberry pie we had for dessert as well.

This is but a small sampling of the myriad of fine wines produced by these skilled winemakers. Many of the Frichette Winery, Hedges Family Estate and Hightower Cellars wines would be perfect pairings to the vast variety of holiday foods we all enjoy this time of year. These are a few wines that stood out to me but there is a big mountain for you to explore.

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Matt Talbot likes wine. Some varietals he prefers more than others. He enjoys learning about wine. But what he likes most about wine is the journey. The act of going tasting, exploring new areas of the country, discovering new wineries and wine makers, visiting towns off the beaten path- these are the things he enjoys the most about wine. Traveling and drinking, like peanut butter and jelly, go together seamlessly like wine and chocolate.

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