I had a chance to check out a two of my favorite Red Mountain wineries a few weeks back. Hedges is one of the oldest Red Mountain wineries. The Hedges family began making wine from Red Mountain fruit in 1987. Fast forward more than 25 years later, their spot on Red Moutain lies at the the state's most famous land for Washington wine. The winery is beautifully perched up on a hill, overlooking the Columbia valley. If you have a chance to check out the winery, it is worth the trip! Hedges is known for Cabernet and Merlot, especially their estate Red Blend (and sold at Costco) but they also grow some interesting Portugese indigenous varietals that they throw into their estate vintage Port. I have to say that their Port is nothing like I've ever tried in Washington state. It is an outstanding effort!
About a mile down the road from Hedges lies Fidelitas Winery. Fidelitas is a modern facility that was created by superstar winemaker, Charlie Hoppes, former head winemaker for Chateau St. Michelle. Hoppes began making wine at Red Moutain in 2000 and has produced fantastic reds and whites since that time. Currently making 7,000 cases of wine, Fidelitas is known for their red and white Bordeaux blends, as well as their rich Cabernets. Their value wine series, M100, is also very good for the price and sells to Costco and most Seattle area grocery stores.
Here are some of my favorites from Hedges and Fidelitas:
2011 Hedges Red Mountain- 44% Cabernet, 33% Merlot, 16% Syrah, 4% Malbec and 3% Cab Franc. Herbal nose. Shut down on the palate with ripe red cherry and strawberry flavors with oak. Needs 1-2 years. -89
2009 Hedges Red Mountain- This is their signature red blend, from a better vintage than '11. Anise and blackberry on the nose. Blackberry and cassis with black cherry with dried herbs on the palate. Rounded out and smooth. Slightly better than the '11. Drink now. -90
2011 Descendants Liegios DuPont Syrah- -14% alcohol. Smoked meats and cassis on the nose. Shut down on the palate. Black cherry and blackberry. A bit straightforward. Drink now. -89
2010 Goedhart Family Syrah- All estate fruit. Smoked meats and blackberry on the nose with oak. Northern Rhone tasting, having strong terroir, with a citrus element with tar and smoked meats and blackberry. Very solid. Drink now. -91
2008 Malbec Limited Release- Anise and black cherry on the nose with oak. Chewy wine with blackberry, anise and good balance. Drink now. -90
2006 Red Mountain Fortified- This is their port, using 100 percent Portuguese varietals. Aged for 30 months. Ultra dark color. Nice heavy nose of oak, blueberry and blackberry. Palate has good balance and acid structure. Plum, anise and blackberry. Impressive. Drink now, -92
2012 Fidelitas Optu- 57% Sav Blanc and 43% Semillon. Honeysuckle and cut grass on the nose with a hint of orange marmalade. Palate has a nice viscosity. Pear, red delicious apple and minerals on the palate. Very smooth. -92
2010 Fidelitas Merlot Champoux Vineyard- Prune and red cherry on the nose with rose petals. Palate has black cherry, prune and blackberry. Nice richness. Great acid structure. Drink now or cellar for 2 plus. -92
2011 Fidelitas Columbia Valley Malbec- Waluke slope fruit, 100 percent Malbec. Spice nose with oak and red cherry. Palate has anise, red cherry and white pepper. Novel wine. -90
2010 Fidelitas Red Mountain Cabernet- Slightly vegetal on the nose with red bell pepper, red cherry and light spice with oak. Palate has great balance with the fruit. Blackberry, red cherry-92
2011 Optu Red- Red mountain fruit, with 50% Merlot, 34% Cab and 16% Cab Franc. Nose is a bit shut down. White pepper with herbaceous nodes. Rich fruit considering the vintage. Fruit hasn't full integrated. Red cherry, blackberry and smoke. Needs 3+ years. -92