Hello friends. Water plays countless roles in the world of wine. From the glacial floods that created much of the landscape in Eastern Washington to the sedimentary soils that are at the core of regions like Champagne, Chianti, Jerez, and the Willamette Valley; from the the steep, cool river influence of the Rheingau to the shocking beauty of the banks of the Douro; from the hearty root systems that grow deep underground in search of water to the very makeup of the grapes themselves; wine is dependant on water.
Earlier this year, Full Pull was approached by a non-profit called Water1st International with a unique ask: one of the ways the organization raises funds is through selling a 100% volunteer-made, single-vineyard Cabernet from the Horse Heaven Hills. Could we taste the wine? And if we liked it, could we offer it to our list members on March 22nd, the United Nations’ World Water Day?
Well, we tasted the wine. And clearly, we liked it.
2014 Water From Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills
Water1st is a Seattle-based non-profit, and their goal is to support international, on-the-ground organizations in implementing effective, long-lasting water and sanitation projects. Water1st is the organization that the sale of this wine supports, but the wine is actually made by another non-profit, Water from Wine. Water From Wine is a non-profit winery and vineyard run by a longtime Washington farmer, Pat Tucker. He has dedicated six acres of Cabernet on his Horse Heaven Hills farm to this project, and donates 100% of the revenue from each bottle sold.
That story alone had us interested in this wine. A non-profit that provides water to people in need and allows us to drink Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet from a unique vineyard? A no-brainer. But it only gets more exciting from here. This wine is made by Pat’s good friend, the one and only Charlie Hoppes.
A quick primer on Charlie Hoppes: Hired by Mike Januik after finishing the UC-Davis program in 1988, Charlie spent a decade at Ste Michelle, eventually ascending to the Head Red Winemaker position, where he had great influence over Ste Michelle’s successful high-end projects, including Col Solare on Red Mountain. Charlie launched Fidelitas in 2000 and purchased his estate vineyard in 2007. He is also known for consulting on several Washington wine projects (you can see the ones we’ve offered here). 2019 will be his 32nd vintage in Washington.
So, now we’re looking at a feel-good winery that gives 100% of its proceeds to a worthy cause; from arguably the best AVA for Cabernet in the state; made by a champion of Washington wine. And the best news yet? It tastes great. So great, in fact, that Andy Perdue put it in the first spot on his list list of the top $30-and-under wines for the Seattle Times. He wrote: “This nonprofit winery in Paterson donates all proceeds to clean-water projects around the world. This wine by Charlie Hoppes is as spectacular as the idea.”
This bottle is sourced entirely from a six acre vineyard on Sandpiper Farm. The grapes are hand-harvested entirely by volunteers. It clocks in at 14.8% alc. and begins with a nose of combining cassis and black cherry with savory nuances. There are layers of minerals and soil, streaks of cocoa and gingerbread spice, and a vein of bright anise-tinged blood orange. On the palate, this Cabernet is so clearly Horse Heaven Hills. Cab grown in the HHH offers a robust tannic scaffolding and a persistent graphitic minerality that just isn’t found elsewhere. Here, that typicity interacts wonderfully with moody, dark fruit, pomegranate acidity, and a sanguine fringe. It’s a stainer through and through with its balance of fruit and earth—and the few years of bottle age have begun to soften the robust edges. This is a standout bottle of Washington Cabernet made by one of the greats. Pair with all sorts of red meats and marbled cuts.