2004 Columbia Valley Claret
The 2004 vintage was somewhat unpredictable; influenced by 2 winter events. A sudden freeze occurred in October, followed in February by a very deep freeze of –20° temperatures for three days. This was the first deep freeze we had experienced in our blocks and we were concerned our vines may have been damage and need to be pruned back to the ground. Thankfully, our vines didn’t sustain any damage due in large part to the good cold drainage down to the Columbia River. The vines cropped heavier than we expected; maybe a natural phenomena resulting from the shock of the sudden and severe cold. The summer ripening season held no surprises and harvesting occurred at an average time. We also noted darker than usual color in the fermenting wines.
The 2004 Columbia Valley Claret (red wine) is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petit Verdot, and 11% Malbec. The fruit was sourced from our estate vines at Andrews Horse Heaven Ranch, McKinley Springs and Phinny Hill vineyards. It was aged in 70% French oak and 30% American oak for 23 months, 50% of the oak was new. The ideal consumption is 2 to 5 years from release date, but this wine will develop for another 5-7 years. The alcohol by volume is 14.5%. It was bottled September 7, 2006.
93 Wine & Spirits Cool as a Cascades mountain meadow, this poised cabernet based red is cool and dark with scents of cedar, tobacco, plum and cassis, which evolve over a day to a dark robe of black cherry. That cool exterior doesn’t hint at the wine’s power, its herbal tones complemented by dark cocoa, smoked tomato and black raspberry flavor. It builds energy on the palate, finishing firm.
Excellent Wine Press NW This bottling does the bulk of the work at this Spokane boutique winery. Cost and quality are the two keys. It’s all Horse Heaven Hills fruit, and blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec sends out notes of cherry cola, maple syrup and some leafiness. Those cherries and vanilla show up densely, and the tannin structure doesn’t distract.