The largest concentration of the most famous vineyards in the Pacific Northwest are found in the Yakima Valley. This Valley’s special confluence of topography, climate, farming families, and viticultural research are like almost nowhere else on Earth. They result in wines that look and smell and taste distinctly of their amazing origins. Most remarkably, the vineyard characters are notable across multiple styles, as represented in the following wines.
Six of the ten wines featured in Seattle Met’s September 2013 issue “100 Best Washington Wines” in the “A Sense of Place” category are from the Yakima Valley. If you are a fan of Washington State wines…this is no surprise.
àMaurice Cellars Grenache Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010
Coming from a vineyard best known for its syrah, this wine sings from the mountaintops and—shows that the grape has found a new home. The use of two-year-old French oak rather than new oak allows the fresh, vivid flavors of herbs, white pepper, and raspberries to come into full focus.
Cadence Camerata Red Wine Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain 2010
Red Mountain, located with in the Yakima Valley AVA has forged its reputation on wines with great structure, and winemaker Ben Smith’s Cara Mia Vineyard has this in spades.
Force Majeure Collaboration Series III Red Wine Red Mountain 2010
While Red Mountain is perhaps best known for its cabernet sauvignon and merlot, syrah grapes also excel here, showing rich, dark fruit flavors and distinct mineral notes.
Côte Bonneville Carriage House DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2008
Since the Shiels family planted DuBrul Vineyard in 1992, its fruit has gone into some of Washington’s finest wines. The same family founded Côte Bonneville in 2001 to further showcase the vineyard. DuBrul always displays a remarkable amount of elegance, as proved by this blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc; the wines also boast tremendous aging potential.
Seven Hills Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2009
Of the winery’s 26 vintages, this is just the eighth reserve bottling. And it screams Red Mountain.
Bunnell Family Cellar Syrah Boushey-McPherson Vineyard Yakima Valley 2008
Grower Dick Boushey is renowned for his syrah grapes, and here winemaker Ron Bunnell coaxes some of their finest expression—aromatic with smoked meat, orange peel, and floral notes.