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!
What to Cook: What to Cook This Week - Start with miso chicken, settle in with a souped-up version of baba ghanouj, and end with a bang: clams, any way you’d like.
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