It is Washington’s grandest cru, this modest lump of land at the eastern end of the Yakima Valley, some 4,000 acres (2,700 planted) that’s only “red” in spring when the cheatgrass blooms.
We’re on a horse & buggy trot through some of Red Mountain’s most storied vineyards: Kiona, Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval. The vines here were first planted in 1984, prehistoric days by Washington standards. Jim Holmes and John Williams, David & Patricia Gelles, drilling for water and keeping their fingers crossed.
The Williams family is still at it; their Kiona Vineyards is the granddaddy. Rather than make wine, Patricia Gelles sold Klipsun’s grapes to a who’s who of Washington wine makers (Quilceda Creek, Seven Hills, Col Solare, Betz Family) and, last year, sold the vineyard itself. “I was tired,” she said. The buyer was a wine company based in Chicago, Terlato.
Now Terlato is releasing a super-premium cabernet sauvignon under the Klipsun label. The price will be in the range of $150 a bottle.
Kiona, rather inelegantly, means “brown hills,” whereas Klipsun means “beautiful sunset.” And now, at the very top of Red Mountain you’ll find the next installment of this site’s history: new plantings of cabernet from Vancouver BC’s ultra-wealthy Aquilini family at one end; and, at the other, Rhone varieties courtesy of Cameron Myhrvold (brother of Nathan, the author of Modernist Cuisine). Very deep pockets here, on all sides.