A lot can happen in 10 years. In 2007, I was just starting to date my now husband, exploring a transition from education to the wine industry, and paying $800 rent for a condo with a water view…in Seattle (I don’t want to even think about what that place goes for now). Since then, I started with Fidelitas, got engaged, bought a house, got married, had a kid, expanded my role with Fidelitas, and have accomplished a million things I wouldn’t have thought possible 10 years ago.
10 years ago this spring, Fidelitas was also on the brink of something new. The doors were about to open at our new home on Red Mountain. Prior to this, Charlie’s family-owned winery had spent its first six years relying on tasting tables in the back of other tasting rooms and home deliveries by Charlie himself. I’ve heard countless stories of Charlie hauling a case of wine on his shoulder to this house or that, or people finding our wines in the “Sandhill days”. To have his own tasting room open, fulfilling a decades old dream, must have meant so much.
It took a lot of hard work to get the Red Mountain tasting room to open, and a bunch more to keep us open for the past 10 years. It’s beyond Charlie, beyond me, and our staff, and our families. We’ve had support from growers, fellow winemakers, neighbors, Club members, and extended friends and family that we maybe didn’t even know we had.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing our stories on how we came to be on Red Mountain, what we’ve learned in the past 10 years, and our vision for the years that lie ahead.
Crazy to think that Easter is right around the corner. Let’s hope the sun is shining because it’s a great day to spend with family, relax, and sip on something delicious. Our family likes to keep things a little more low key but you can guarantee that we will be sipping on some of our Fidelitas favorites. Let’s look at our inventory and see what would pair well with most dishes…
2016 Quintessence Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - NEW RELEASE
A great wine to start the day off with and sip on its own, or pair with a nice salad! My Italian sister-in-law will be making her famous “Easter Pie” and this will be right by it’s side.
2014 Canyons Vineyard Red Wine - NEW CLUB ONLY RELEASE
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot. I tasted this the other day and it was smooth, fruit forward, and friendly! Ideal for any meat option you might be making on Sunday.
A heavier style Cabernet that would add just the right touch to those bigger dishes. Plus it’s a Cabernet from Red Mountain…need I say more?
Another must have at any holiday gathering! A big Bordeaux style blend will perfect any dish in my opinion.
Everyone at Fidelitas hopes you have a safe and wonderful Easter! Please note that both tasting rooms will be closed so that we can spend time with our families.
Red Mountain is officially old enough to drive a car. That’s right, 16 years ago today Red Mountain set itself apart and became its own AVA. An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the United States Department of the Treasury. Want to know what makes Red Mountain unique? Check out this post or visit the Red Mountain AVA site.
Originally founded in 1972, Red Mountain had previously been a part of Yakima Valley AVA. To this day Washington state has 14 AVA’s with the oldest established in 1983, although vines were planted long before that.
Yakima Valley – 1983
Columbia Valley – 1984
Walla Walla Valley – 1984
Puget Sound – 1995
Red Mountain – 2001
Columbia Gorge – 2004
Horse Heave Hills – 2005
Wahluke Slope – 2005
Rattlesnake Mountain – 2006
Lake Chelan – 2009
Snipes Mountain – 2009
Ancient Lakes – 2012
Naches Heights – 2012
Lewis and Clark – 2016
We might be the smallest region on the map but Red Mountain is making history with the premium quality grapes planted right here in the region we call home.
HBD Red Mountain!
Last year we released the first vintage of The Canyons Red Wine. A fun blend of Cabernet + Malbec. What could be better than two of our favorite varietals in one bottle? The Canyons Vineyard is newer to the Fidelitas lineup. The name comes from the deeper ravines and the canyons that go right through the vineyard’s blocks. Something that contributes to the delicious taste in this wine!
Charlie decided to take it one step further with the 2014 and included another varietal into the mix…Merlot! This vintage consists of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Malbec, and 14% Merlot. The trio turned into a fruit forward and rich masterpiece. If you are looking for the perfect red to pair with your summer BBQ’s + outdoor picnics, this is your bottle.
Fidelitas is all in on Red Mountain. We are dedicated to producing the highest quality, Bordeaux-styled wines from the smallest growing region in Washington state.
Why the specific focus? While we know that exceptional wines can come from every region in Washington, we also know that there are certain geographical features about Red Mountain that make it truly one of the best growing regions in the world:
A SOUTHWESTERN FACING SLOPE
The southwest slope of the Red Mountain AVA provides the vineyards in the region with a directional aspect to the sun that is ideal for prolonged sunlight exposure and warmth. These highly desirable conditions allow for a ripeness in tannins that is recognized as a primary characteristic of Red Mountain fruit.
WARM SUMMERS AND WINTERS
Red Mountain experiences more growing degree days than any other region in the state. The high latitude (N 46*) and topography contribute temperature swings experienced during the growing season, with daytime temperatures averaging 90 °F and night time temperatures dropping below 50 °F. These heat accumulation days create ideal temperatures for highly marketable grapes, exhibiting ripeness and concentration. The cooler evenings help to retain acidity levels which allows for the exceptional balance and structure found in Red Mountain grapes, and the wines crafted from them.
Red Mountain gathers less than 8 inches of rain per year, requiring irrigation in the vineyards. The use of drip irrigation provides ideal grape growing conditions through canopy management. Additionally, Red Mountain vines experience dramatically lower mold and mildew pressure compared to most other vineyard regions.
SMALLEST AVA IN WASHINGTON STATE
Red Mountain is the smallest recognized American Viticultural Area in Washington State, with 4040 acres. Of that, about 2700 acres have been determined plantable, and only 1700 is currently under vine. Red Mountain is defined by natural borders, with the ridge of the mountain to the north and the Yakima River to the west. Red Mountain resembles a growing region more like the Old World, where one can see each block of each vineyard from a single vantage point.
AVA SPECIFIC SOILS
The predominate soils of Red Mountain are not found anywhere else in the state. Wind blown Loess (Warden, Hezel, and Scooteney) were brought in by pre-historic floods. The high alkalinity and calcium carbonate content of the soil, along with its granular consistency, allows for each vine to form a well-established root system. In soils with this composition, root systems are able to reach deep to obtain the necessary nutrients and moisture.
The prevailing winds come out of the Southwest and are notable for their frequency and velocity. The regular gusts of warm air flow through the AVA’s vineyards during the growing season, keeping the grape clusters small and concentrating the flavors of the fruit - which contributes to their richness and intensity.
While every sports fan is making their bracket selections for March Madness, I realized I have never created a bracket. As I’m not the biggest basketball fan, (I know…tall girl who doesn’t like basketball is shocking) I decided to complete my first bracket, with wine selections.
That’s right! I compiled a list of my all-time favorite Fidelitas Wines and put them to the test. This was quite the challenge, for those of you who have asked me what my favorite wine is, you know I don’t usually pick favorites. I typically end up naming every wine we have in our lineup. For me, a physical challenge that pushed me to my wine limits.
For those of you who do follow March Madness, go ahead and use my bracket to pair each round with a new favorite!
MARCH PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Regularly $50 - now $45 through March 31
shipping including on purchases of 6 or more bottles
It’s our first club release of the year and we can’t wait to share this perfect duo with you. We hope that you will be able to visit Team Fidelitas this weekend, February 24th-26th. Both locations will have special treats to go along with our featured flight!
Saturday, February 25th 11-4pm
February 24th 3-7pm Members only
February 25th + 26th 11-5pm Members only
Club Members will be receiving the new 2014 Optu Red Mountain + 2014 Red Mountain Merlot, both will be poured this weekend. Want to up your club shipment? Don’t worry, we will be featuring some other great fan favorites!
Not a member yet? Join now to get in on this years first release from Red Mountain!
Valentine’s Day was yesterday and I was amazed at how many couples were out and about tasting wine. It was fun to see people taking time off work to spend it with each other. One of the perks of working in a tasting room is the ability to meet people, get to know them and recommend amazing wines to help them to remember their tasting. It’s even more fun when you are able to recommend recipes to help make their special day even more so.
This month we are featuring our 2013 The Canyons Red Wine. It’s a delicious blend of mostly Cabernet with some Malbec, sourced completely from The Canyons vineyard on the northwest slope of Red Mountain. It’s wonderful by itself but paired with something spicy, it really shines.
Try it with the Paella from Tyler Florence and it’s a match made in heaven.
For dessert, chocolate is always a classic choice. It can be tricky pairing chocolate with wine so make sure you choose a dark chocolate - sweet chocolate taken with red wine will turn bitter and sour! For more on the science behind this, check this blog post from Palate Press out.
Choose a Flourless Chocolate Torte (recipe below) or some simple artisan chocolates for the perfect finale. Both are rich and delicious and are a wonderful way to end to your romantic meal.
1 ¾ sticks butter
7 oz blanched toasted almonds
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 large eggs, seperated
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (added to egg whites)
Preheat oven to 300F.
Melt butter and let cool. Grind almonds and chocolate together in food processor. Slowly add the butter to chocolate mixture. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until they reach stiff peaks. Fold into the chocolate almond mixture. Pour into 8 inch spring form pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, cool on rack. Dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
This last month I had the pleasure of touring the Seguin Moreau Cooperage in Napa. First, to be able to do this is beyond amazing, so thank you to Fidelitas and Seguin Moreau for your generosity and allowing me to take a million photos.
Barrels are an essential tool to the winemaking process. The largest take away was that the entire barrel is used during the build, that everything from the left behind scraps are used to start the fires for toasting, this is to help maintain consistency.
At Fidelitas we are purchasing mostly French Oak and American Oak and using a medium-medium plus toasting. This is always dependent on Charlie’s preference and the expression of the wine.
The winemaker will order barrels to their specification and these guys handle the rest. If you notice the gentleman in the above photo he is hammering down the toasting hoops and rotating each barrel around the fire to ensure the proper toasting is achieved. We had the pleasure of smelling inside the barrels right after they had been removed from the fires. The most intoxicating aromas of fresh baked bread!
Then, after the barrels have slightly cooled they are then laid and start making their way to have the toasting hoops removed and replaced with galvanized steel hoops.
Then, the tops are laser cut to fit each barrel. Doesn’t it look like a giant stack of toasty, cookies?
Since French Oak is so delicate reeds are then woven in between the slats to prevent leaking. Then, the barrels move into the final stages, everything is then tightened, sanded, stamped and sealed.
As we begin to release our first club wines of the year we can’t help but cherish the tools that go into crafting each glass of wine.