What happens when you get a group of businessmen together over good wine? In this case they open a winery: Market Vineyards, in West Richland and asked Charlie Hoppes (Fidelitas Winery) to make their wine. Ian, their weekend wine guy is a student at WSU’s enology and viticulture program with an emphasis on vineyard management. He was pouring for us as we discussed vineyard management, vines and varietals.
Their white, 2013 ‘Liquidity’, is a Viognier/Rousanne blend – if you are only going to do one, do it well. The reds are older than most we have been tasting on Red Mountain: 2009 ‘Basis Points’ Royal Slope blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, 2010 ‘Dividend’ a Northern Rhone style 100% Syrah from Gamache Vineyard (Gamache Winery were my focus here) with a smokey vanilla nose, onion and garlic on the palate and a pleasant herbal finish; super delicious, followed by a 2012 ‘Arbitrage’ 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that although very nice was hot to me (14.8% ABV) so my partner in wine enjoyed that taste on his own.
Ian brought out three barrel pulled wines from the staff meeting they had earlier in the week, unlabeled single varietals from 2013 they are planning to bottle for release later this year. This was fun, smelling and tasting with guesses, but tougher than you might think as some markers overlap others and our Northwest vineyards and wineries choose clones based upon what they want in a wine rather than to be precisely described in classic descriptions of that varietal.
The first wine we tried was deeply colored, had an earthy nose, undertones of fruit and herb finished with caramelized onions and bon-fire smoke. Yes, the oak is still fully forward in the wine, but working with the previous varietals on offer I guessed Syrah – it is a Merlot from the Scootany Flats Vineyard. The second wine had lovely fruit esters but they were so covered with the ethanol to me that it was not something I wanted to taste – I don’t recall what my hubby guessed it to be, but it is their Malbec and he loved it. I will look to see how much alcohol that wine carries once it is bottled and labeled. Since 2013 was a hot year it wasn’t surprising it was that hot, but I truly am a lightweight and don’t find that appealing. The third and final bottle was green peppers and tannins to me, no doubt about it, a Cabernet Sauvignon – and this from Kiona Vineyards right next-door on Red Mountain.
This tasting room is in a charming strip mall with the businesses in attached cottages looking more like a small village than a modern strip mall. We enjoyed their wines and will be back to pick up some of that 2013 Merlot when it is released.