Kiona Vineyards and Winery pioneered the Red Mountain AVA. We were the first to plant vines here more than 40 years ago. Since that time we've worked and watched as Cabernet Sauvignon from our tiny hill grew in acreage and stature, to the point where it's now considered the premier grape in one of the world's premier wine regions. It accounts for more than 60% of our own estate acreage on Red Mountain.
Which is why it's ironic (and somewhat head-scratching) that the just-released 2014 vintage of our venerable Cabernet Sauvignon is the first to carry a Red Mountain designation. The wine has historically been 100% Red Mountain, but we were calling it Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2010 was 100% Red Mountain. So was the 2012. So was the 2013. Going from memory, the last version of our Cabernet Sauvignon that had non-Red Mountain fruit in it was the 2003 vintage, and the non-Red Mountain component used in the blend was from the legendary DuBrul Vineyard (no slouch!) in the neighboring Yakima Valley.
So what I am trying to say is that while the geographical designation and the label are new, the philosophy, execution, and broad-strokes composition of the wine is steady and consistant with vintages past. Even the barcode is the same as the Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon.
Perhaps even more intriguing is the fact that this "new" wine, which is Red Mountain designated, is the first in more than a decade to not include 100% Red Mountain fruit. I know, right?
There are a total of five vineyards that fall under our "Kiona Vineyards and Winery" umbrella. Three are on Red Mountain, and two are in the Columbia Valley. Even though we own and farm these Columbia Valley vineyards, we do not call them estate vineyards, or designate them as such in our marketing. Even though, legally, we can. And most wineries in our situation would. But we are a Red Mountain institution, so we don't want to confuse people by telling people about our "Estate Columbia Valley vineyards." 8% of this wine is from our Vista vineyard in the Columbia Valley. It's a Merlot component, and it was included in the blend because it added nice aromatics and a plush/round fruit characteristic.
The legal threshold for designating a wine with an AVA is 85%. That means that we can blend a wine that is 85% Red Mountain and 15% of anything else, and still label it as Red Mountain. Our 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is well within that margin at 92% Red Mountain and 8% Columbia Valley.
So what is it like?
In a word, brooding. This is a seriously dark, tannic, and hedonistic wine. Color-wise, it's one of the darkest wines we have ever produced. It will age for decades. This authoritative wine shows why Red Mountain has a reputation as a powerhouse Cabernet Sauvignon producer capable of going toe-to-toe with the world’s best.