Hello friends. Kiona Vineyards is a standout operation in Washington. They are a family of grape growers and winemakers. They create samplings that range from late harvest ice wine to beefy Red Mountain reds from the vineyards their family planted on Red Mountain when there was practically nothing else there.
There is an innate sense of place in the wines of Kiona—as if the wine knows something special about its homeland and if you play your cards right it might just let you in on the secret. Today we have two such wines: a Cabernet that has become a list mainstay, and our first ever Kiona rosé:
2015 Kiona Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain
This Cabernet – a hugely popular offer for us in the 2013 and 2014 vintages – carries the generic Red Mountain label. And it would be enough if this was just an excellent Red Mountain Cab for twenty bucks. But it gets better, because the Williams family actually grows every grape that ends up in this bottle. A full 81% of this Cabernet comes from Kiona’s estate vineyards on Red Mountain (70% from Kiona Estate, which has been a hardworking staple since the mid 1970s, and 11% from Heart of the Hill, a west facing portion of Kiona’s estate that sits just slightly uphill from the winery). The other 19% comes from Emory Vineyard—which Kiona does not own, but which they do farm.
With this bottle, we’re essentially looking at estate-grown, estate-bottled, carefully-coddled Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, from folks who have been growing grapes and making wine on this mountain about as long as anyone. For twenty dollars. No wonder this wine has been so popular. It begins with a core of dark fruit (black plum, cassis) swaddled in alluring French oak tones of smoked vanilla bean and complicated by threads of earth and orange peel. The palate (14.5% listed alc) is ripe, rich, and delicious, very much in keeping with the warm 2015 vintage. The tannins, which sneak in at the back end, are fine-grained, ripe, and easy. The entire package is approachable and pleasurable as can be. As usual, this is an honest, well-priced entree into the power of Red Mountain Cab.
2017 Kiona Mourvedre Rose Heart of the Hill Vineyard
Mourvedre around the world, sits in Provence on the French side of the Pyrenees. Some of the most famous—and most expensive—rosé in the world comes from Bandol. Those wines will easily run you $30-$40 a bottle, whereas Kiona’s rosé, also made from the same grape, will run you less than $15.
It pours into the glass medium salmon colored, and offers an attractive nose of plum, mineral, and spice notes (star anise, clove). This drinks dry and brisk, with some notable dissolved CO2 giving this a mouthfeel more like Txakolina rosé than like many Washington versions. The overall character of the wine is bright, brisk, and deeply refreshing, but then the length and complexity manage to surprise and delight. A lovely new pink for our list members, and a terrific summer-into-autumn rosé.