Horse Heaven Hills
The 2009 vintage started out very slow! Bud break, the harbinger of the start of the growing season was later than normal causing some concern as to whether we would have a long enough growing season to ripen the grapes. Then the heat kicked in and we had an extremely hot and dry summer with some relief in early September. We waited and waited for the first grapes to come in and then BAM! Everything ripened at once resulting in a very compressed harvest. Although hurried, fermentation progressed normally. The wines have intense flavors, beautiful color & excellent balance.
Seductive scents of cherries, current, and smoke on the nose. It is soft and smooth in the mouth, with opulent flavors of chewy black cherry, spice, plum and cocoa flavors on the finish.
Our middle son, Sam worked harvest with us. It was a pleasure to have him in the winery again!
The 2009 Horse Heaven Hills Claret (red wine) is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot,
15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, and 10% Malbec. The fruit was sourced from our estate vines at Gunselman Bench, 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 13.8%. This wine was bottled September 2011.
Outstanding! Wine Press NW Spokane physician Joe Gunselman realized early in his winemaking career that the Horse Heaven Hills south of Prosser, Wash., produce some of the most stunning red wines in the world. He and wife Becky developed relationships with vineyards such as Andrews, McKinley Springs and Phinny Hill, and they’ve established their own site -Gunselman Bench-nearby. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (15%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Petit Verdot (10%) and Malbec might rank as their best release to date. The aromatics include blueberry, boysenberry, cinnamon, nutmeg,espresso and bubble gum. On the attack, flavors lead with plums and fig, followed by pie cherry
acidity, a strand of chocolaty tannin and black licorice. Hints of dried herbs in the finish bode well for flank steak or duck confit with a cherry glaze. It’s a bargain at this price, and the screwcap makes it easy to get into. (1,500 cases, 13.8% alc.)
18/20 points Rand Sealey, Review of Washington Wines “Best Buy” This is a tasty blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% each of Petit Verdot and Malbec. Brilliant ruby colored, it offers a rich nose of blackberry, cherry, plum, dried roses, lilac and sandalwood. The medium bodied flavors are ample, yet focused, with notes of licorice, cola, mocha and Horse Heaven earth and minerals. The flavors brighten on the back, with squeezed berry juices, bright fruit acids and chewy, moderate tannins. The sense of terroir gives the wine added interest. (October 2012)
Dan Radil Bellingham Herald An overachieving cabernet sauvignon-based Bordeaux blend with red berry and cherry flavors, nuances of toasted oak and just a bit of grip for perfect balance.