Monday, October 26, 2009

Kiona Vineyards & Winery

Kiona is one of those wineries that unfortunately I've just neglected. Their wines are of very good quality but I guess I've just gotten caught up in other Washington wines. So I was very excited when I saw my itinerary for Day 2 of Washington Wine Road Trip & saw that Kiona was my winery exercise for the afternoon. Scott Williams was very down to earth & kind of reminded me of my uncle who is a farmer back home. Scott picked us up from lunch & drove us up Red Mountain to his winery. I still wasn't used to the sparseness of the landscape & how remarkably beautiful the arid region was. As we pulled up near into the estate vineyards I saw Ciel du Cheval Vineyard to my right. Holy crap! We were adjacent to one of the most incredible vineyards in the world, in my opinion. Scott explained to us that this site used to be part of the Kiona Estate but his former partner, Jim Holmes, got this site when they parted ways. On the other side of Kiona lies Patricia Gelles' Klipsun Vineyard, another world class growing site. This was a plot of land that grapes absolutely loved. While Klipsun & Ciel have gone on to become world renowned, Kiona was smack in between producing outstanding wines maybe just a bit quieter.




We entered the vineyards first to grab a few plastic bags to take a grape sample. Scott led us into the vineyard & had two of us do a whole cluster sample & the other two a berry sample. I was gathering berries so my method was to walk deep into the vineyard block & randomly pluck grapes off clusters at different heights & orientations.



With our bags of grapes in hand we went into the lab to do a little analysis on the sugar & pH. Once we had our numbers Scott turned to me & said "we're going into the vineyard probably by the end of the week". I really felt part of the "when do we pick?" process & that to me will be one of the coolest things I've ever done.



I was itching to get down into the barrel room & sample some resting wine. I could feel the temperature drop with each step as I climbed down the steps into the below ground room. I saw a sleeping barrel of petit verdot & absolutely HAD to try it. Instead of shrieking out like a banshee I just waited patiently until Scott asked us if we wanted to taste anything in particular.



Yeah...um...yeah. This was so good I can't even...yeah. It was dark & deep with a concentrated "black hole" color, aromas of blackberry/rosemary sauce, a dusty/earthy note & a rich, viscous texture that was cleaned up & balanced out with super bright acidity.

I quickly crawled over to the next barrel I was aching to taste.



This isn't Chianti or Brunello by any means at all but I don't think that was the point. This wine was like a new world descendant of an esteemed, elegant Tuscan gentleman. I could smell fennel, licorice, cranberry & hint of violet. It had a solid grip to it with a fresh, zingy acidity. I wanted to keep drinking it, however Scott whisked us up to the tasting room to sample his finished wines. Gazing out over the estate with a glass of syrah in my hand, the feeling that this was a very special place for grapes was palpable.



Thank you so much, Scott!

8 comments:

petya said...

I didn't know you had a blog! This is so exciting! I already subscribe to it in Reader and became a follower. Am I allowed to whine if you don't blog frequently?!

Michael Hughes said...

Yes. Yes you are!

Samantha Dugan said...

After reading this and the Pinot Camp posts...your love of Washington really shines through. I dig that, when someones passion just takes over and the reader is able to feel it. Nice posts Michael.

Michael Hughes said...

Thanks, Sam! I know I just returned but I am DYING to get back there. Such down to earth people & incredible wines. I've got some more WA posts coming but I had some work to catch up on first. It sounds as if London treated you well. I'd love to visit.

Ryan said...

Great post! Check out Miracle One wines sometime. We just started selling in Memphis. www.miracleonewines.com

Michael Hughes said...

Ryan, thanks for reading! I just went to the link. I'm very impressed by, first & foremost, the quality of the vineyard site (which I know quite well)& the commitment to the environmental mindset across the board. I didn't know you were in the market!

Ryan said...

Thanks for the response and checking out the website. Come try the wines at SIP this Friday. I will be there pouring wine. We have only been selling wine for a month in Memphis.

Michael Hughes said...

Ryan-Unfortunately I have a prior engagement on Friday so I won't be able to attend SIP.