"...there's no doubt in my mind that for Cabernet there are vineyard areas in Wasington that are the greatest on earth." --Pierre Rovani
7 of our 12 vineyards are on the list of the top 10 Washington State vineyards as ranked by Andy Perdue of the Wine Press Northwest magazine: Champoux - #1, Ciel du Cheval - #2, Boushey - #4, Klipsun - #8 and Sagemoor, which includes Bacchus, Dionysus and Weinbau - #9.
The most important factor in making great wine is the terroir of the vineyard and one of the primary elements of terroir is the soil. The history of the vineyard soils in the Columbia Valley of Eastern Washington is a fascinating one. They are the effects of the Ice Age floods that occurred 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The below story is summarized from an article by Andy Perdue in the Fall, 2005 issue of the Wine Press Northwest magazine.
At the end of the Ice Age, part of the Cordilleran ice sheet crept south down into Idaho. This lobe of glacial ice blocked the Clark Fork River creating Glacial Lake Missoula that covered western Montana. Eventually, this ice dam failed setting loose a 500-foot-high wall of water that swept southwest across Eastern Washington at 60 mph. These floods were equal to 10 times the instantaneous flows of all the rivers in the world combined. After this first dam broke, the glacier continued its march south, repeating the entire process of temporarily blocking up the river then bursting to flood Eastern Washington another 80 to 100 times every 50 to 75 years. Each time, more gravel, sand and silt was washed south, shaping Washington's wine country. Since the end of the Ice Age, wind has continued to shape the landscapes of the Columbia Valley by adding a top layer of sand and silt to create the perfect terroir for premium wine grapes.
Champoux Vineyard is in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation and may be the best vineyard for Cabernet Sauvignon in Washington State. We began our association with this vineyard in 1989, the year we started our winery and the year Paul Champoux became the vineyard manager. He later purchased the vineyard as the general partner with 5 other wineries. We receive his Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 2, planted in 1981; the Baby Poux block, planted in 1991; Block 3 and the high density Block 4. We are also fortunate to receive Paul's Cabernet Franc and, beginning in 2007, his Merlot. Regarding vineyard land in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation, Pierre Rovani stated in a May 13, 2010 interview with Paul Gregutt "... there's no doubt in my mind that for Cabernet there are vineyard areas in Washington that are the greatest on earth. It's just a matter of tapping into it. I still want to do a project there. If you want to make great wine in Washington you can."
For more detailed information on the Champoux Vineyard, please click this link: http://www.avalonwine.com/Paul-Champoux-Vineyards-Washington.php
Visit the Chateau Champoux website
Ciel du Cheval Vinyard is also recognized as one of the very best vineyards in Washington State for Bordeaux grape varieties. Owned by Jim Holmes and managed by Ryan Johnson, it is in the tiny but highly acclaimed Red Mountain appellation. We receive their Cabernet Sauvignon from vines up to 24 years old, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The quality is consistently high every year producing wines with dark color, great structure for long-term aging and delicious flavors that include distinctive mineral notes.
For more information please see the following articles:
Sagemoor Family of Vineyards include the Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards located in Pasco overlooking the Columbia River and the Weinbau vineyard, located in Mattawa. In the past, these vineyards have sold their grapes primarily to the larger wineries but we were fortunate to begin buying their Merlot and Cabernet Franc in 2003 and Cabernet Sauvignon in 2007. All the wines from these vineyards typically show intense varietal character, adequate tannins and lively acidity.
For more information please see the following
article by WinePeeps:
Dineen Vineyard is the closest vineyard to our winery, located in the town of Zillah and lies within the new Rattlesnake Hills appellation. It sits on top of a large hill that is cool enough to allow for slow but complete ripening. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines have good fruit intensity, are dark in color, with adequate acid and tannin.
Klipsun Vineyard is also in the Red Mountain Appellation and is the source of grapes for many of Washington State's best wineries. We began receiving their Merlot in 2007 from vines planted in 1990. The soil and windy climate combine to grow grapes that produce wines with delicious fruit flavors and firmly structured for long-term aging.
For more detailed information, please click this
Recent Vineyard Additions: Elephant Mountain and Slide Mountain