If you enjoy robust red wines such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines of the Wahluke Slope American Viticultural Area (AVA) are well worth investigating. In addition to varietals, this Washington wine region produces sparkling wines, dessert wines, and Meritage (red and white Bordeaux-style wines.) For more information on this Washington AVA, see below.
History. The Wahluke Slope AVA was approved in 2006. Located in the larger Columbia Valley AVA, this wine region encompasses 81,000 acres, with 5,200 acres of vineyards, one winery, and twenty vineyards. It produces twenty percent of Washington’s entire harvest each year.
Climate and Soil. The Wahluke Slope AVA is very dry, and has one of the warmest climates for growing grapes in Washington. This is the only wine appellation in the Pacific Northwest that is a single unique landform, a giant fan created by repetitive flooding. Its elevations range from 425 to 1,475 feet. The soil is layers of silt and sand on top of gravelly rocks that provide excellent drainage for grape growing.
Wines. The Wahluke Slope Ava produces predominantly Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Chardonnay, among other wines. Grapes from this Washington wine region are used by many wineries in the Northwest.
Wineries and Vineyards. Below are just some of the wineries and vineyards located in the Wahluke Slope AVA, along with some recommended wines.
Jones of Washington. This family owned and operated Wahluke Slope winery creates amazing hand crafted wines. Try their 2006 Estate Barrel Select Blend, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other wines that has aromas of blackberries and flavors of both chocolate and vanilla, mixed with spice. Also try their 2008 Estate Riesling, with aromas of pineapple and orange blossoms and flavors of pear and more pineapples. For more information on this Washington winery, click here
Ginkgo Winery. This small winery is located on the edge of the Wahluke Slope AVA. Most of the grapes in their wines are grown on their own Washington vineyards. For an outstanding sample of their hand crafted wines, try their 2007 Pinot Noir, with aromas of cherry and strawberry, followed by flavors of berries and more fruit. Also try their 2007 Late Harvest Syrah, which has aromas of black currants and flavors that include cherries and raisins. For more information on this Washington winery, click here.
Desert Wine Winery. Handcrafted wines from small lots of fruit are the signature of this Wahluke Slope AVA, located at the foot of the Saddle Mountains. They also use extended barrel aging. Try their 2006 Desert Wind Merlot, with fruity aromas that include cherry and flavors that include raspberry and spice. Also sample their 2008 Desert Wind Chardonnay, which has aromas of apple followed by flavors of cream and pear. Click here for more information on this Washington winery click here.