With the release of the single vineyard Quintessence Cabernet early last month (the first single vineyard Cab of the year to make it to the tasting bar), a common discussion in the tasting room has been how many different "micro-fermentations" we do here at Fidelitas.
By this I mean both:
a) the methods: different oak vessels, metal vessels, different types of yeast, etc... and
b) the numbers: we have lots of unique tiny lots of different varietals and vineyard sites from all over Red Mountain which we crush, ferment, age separately + even within some lots of the same fruit, "Estate Cabernet" for example, we'll separate the same fruit into what I like to call micro-fermentations which only result in about a single barrel of finished juice (1 barrel = approximately 25 cases).
I specifically remember tasting the 2016 Estate Cab during last Christmas break, of which we have about 14 barrels - those 14 barrels are first broken down by the 2 different clones we use for our Estate Cab: 7 barrels of Clone 6, and 7 barrels of Clone 2. Within the 2 groups of clones, each barrel was fermented on its own in a different vessel, meaning we'll have 14 different "wines" which will need to be taken care of separately for the entirety of its 2 years of aging until it's finally blended together at the end with the other Estate Cabs!! Wouldn't it be so much easier to just throw all of the Estate Cab in one big stainless steel tank and call it good? It would certainly make for shorter days during harvest.
However, our winemaking team has found that the micro-fermentation method is well worth the effort: it adds a great deal more complexity of flavors and texture and gives us a more intimate hands-on approach with our fermentations. I liken it to a craftsmen spending time meticulously working on the individual pieces before putting the masterpiece together.
Another thing I'm reminded of when having discussions like this is how easy us second generations winemakers have it. Winemaking is all about experimenting and learning from your results - trial-and-error. However, unlike a chef who can make a new dish, try it, throw it out and immediately start over; winemakers only get to make wine once a year. The learning window is around 2-3 years until you have finished wine or even 5+ years depending on how much bottle time. Or even a decade if you're experimenting with planting differnet clones of Cabernet and how those result in a finished wine!! Lucky for guys like me, I have winemakers like my dad who have been doing this trial-and-error, and continuous gathering of data and experiences for multiple harvests who can pass their knowledge along. And for this I am truly grateful.
- Will Hoppes
Is anyone else in shock that June is just around the corner? Even though time is going (too) fast, this means that entertaining, BBQ’s, and nice weather have arrived. Can’t really complain about that! No matter the party, we know one item that should always be present. Whether you want to bring a bottle as a gift for the host, or pair with those ribs and salads, Fidelitas has you covered. Below are some of my current favorites for those summer festivities!
Releases June 6, contact us to pre-order! If you're looking for that perfect wine to pair with salads, this is your bottle!
A delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot. My top pick for BBQ's and 4th of July! This is a fun addition to sip with anything off the grill.
You can't not have a Malbec at the party! Bring this phantom bottle to your gathering and I promise, people will be pouring themselves a glass to drink with ribs.
This 94 point wine is a perfect gift for the host that will certianly impress. Convince them to open this bottle and pair with steak!
I tasted this wine last week and I was definitely impressed. Perfectly smooth, elegant, and some of the best fruits were noticeable. Let's face it, Merlot goes with everything!
Whether crossing the country, the mountains, or planning a stay-cation right in your home town here’s your no thought required itinerary for the perfect weekend on Red Mountain!
Arrive and check into The Lodge at Columbia Point. Use code "CORK" for a special rate. Check in begins at 4pm. Check out their daily happy hour featuring Washington wineries from 5-6:30pm.
Head to dinner at Fiction Restaurant at Bookwalter. You can often catch live music on the patio!
If you’re feeling up for a night cap stop in at Tap + Barrel to pick and choose what you want to sip on from their WineEmotion. They have an amazing selection of wines from Washington, Oregon, California, and beyond. Plus beer, cider, and food available too!
Otherwise, head back to the hotel and get a good night sleep in those comfy beds…you’ll be getting an early start on wine tasting!
Enjoy the sunrise while drinking coffee on your hotel room balcony and be sure to fill up at the complimentary breakfast bar. Don't skimp on the carbs, you've got a full day of wine tasting on the slopes of Red Mountain!
11:00am start your day with a tour and tasting at Col Solare. Col Solare is a partnership between two influential wine producers who are recognized leaders in their respective regions: Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Washington State's Chateau Ste. Michelle. They are my favorite place to start because they give a great lay of the land during their tour and have a view overlooking Red Mountain vineyards.
12:15pm Come see us at Fidelitas! Grab a spot on the patio and relax while taking in the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard. If you let us know ahead of time we can even plan to have a cheese plate ready for you upon arrival. Feel free to do a self-guided tour through the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard (just be courteous of the vines) and don’t forget to check out the magnificent Library!
1:30pm Visit Red Mountain originals at Kiona. The William’s family planted the first vines on Red Mountain in 1975 and their family run winery has one of the best stories around, not to mention great wines from their Estate. My personal favorite is their Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon!
2:45pm Just down the road you will hit Frichette. Owners Greg and Shae are living their dream on Red Mountain and their energy is contagious. Pair that with a great glass of wine and you are set!
4:00pm Cross on over to Anelare. Here is truly one of my favorite experiences in the area! Anelare sits just outside of the AVA borders but has a divine view looking back at Red Mountain. Anelare sources grapes from some of our favorite vineyards including Ciel du Cheval and Boushey and makes an outstanding Syrah. Order up a flatbread and enjoy the view of Red Mountain!
5:15pm Find your way back to Sunset Road to go to Cooper for one last stop. He’s one of the only wineries open until 6pm and will be sure to have a handful of Estate grown wines open for you to taste and a fun and memorable experience.
After all this tasting you are definitely ready for dinner! Head back to the hotel, freshen up, and walk next door for some great eats. Don't forget to take your wine out of the car where it will get hot!
7:30pm Dinner at Budd’s Broiler. Budd's is a premier steakhouse owned by Anthony’s restaurants. Their patio sits alongside the Columbia River and is perfect for catching the sunset. I always order the ‘Steak Oscar’ which is Wagyu top sirloin grilled to your liking and crowned with Dungeness crab, asparagus and bearnaise. I should also mention Budd’s wine list is one of the best in the area! Go ahead, order a glass of bubbles with your appetizers. That’s what Charlie would do!
Walk off your meal with a stroll on the pathway at Columbia Point. This serenity is just what the doctor ordered.
Take advantage of those hotel room black out curtains and…SLEEP IN! Not into catching extra Z's? Run or walk the path along the Columbia River.
Walk over to Anthony’s for Brunch from 9am-2pm on Sundays. Upon arrival you will be seated with a complimentary fresh fruit plate, warm blueberry coffee cake (to die for), and a glass of bubbles or a mimosa. And that’s all before picking out what you’ll have for breakfast! I recently had the Northwest Dungeness Crab Cake Bowl and was in heaven.
By this point you’ll probably be ready to hit the road. At least you’ll have wine as a memento and reminder of your weekend away on Red Mountain. Cheers!
There's tons more to do in Tri-Cities and surrounding wine regions. For more reccomendations email me!
PRO-TIP: It is always best to book tasting reservations ahead of time. Appointments can be made by visiting a wineries website or giving them a call. You will most certainly get the most bang for your buck if you let wineries know you are headed their way so that they can prepare ahead of time for your visit. I usually plan for about an hour at each winery, or longer if they have a great patio to relax on or if you plan on doing a food and wine pairing. It’s always best to ask the winery how long you should plan for. The wineries listed in this post are no more than 5 minutes drive apart from each other.
Note this is not an inclusive list of all Red Mountain wineries. If you have time, do stop and visit more of our neighbors on Red Mountain! We are blessed to be among so many great wineries.
Many of our visitors to Red Mountain are looking for a more unique experience, more information and more history on the region we call home. We have created our Fidelitas Estate Experiences to offer our guests further insight into this beautiful region. The spring is one of the best times to visit Red Mountain, we have experience bud break, the weather is great, and the patio is open.
On Select Saturday mornings, we explore the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard that sits outside our Red Mountain Tasting room. The tour begins promptly at 10 a.m. Our small group of 10 joins us at our tasting room and we venture through the vines and make our way to the heart of our vineyard. We then return to the tasting room to enjoy a seated tasting of wines sourced from the Red Mountain AVA with light bites.
Estate Experience tours are $20 for members and $30 for non-members, which can be waived with wine purchase.
Spring 2018 tours are scheduled at 10AM on: May 12, May 26, June 2, and June 16.
To reserve your space, or for more information, contact Chelsea Larson: email@example.com or 509.588.3469
Please book at least 48 hours in advance.
As we come in to the end of April, I thought I’d take the time to talk a little bit about what’s going on here at the winery and in the vineyard.
We’re working hard in the cellar. Already, we’ve bottled some of the 2017 whites, including Quintessence Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, which came out of the Ovium Barrel, and later this week will be the Semillon. With the Optu White Wine, we are going to let things age out a little bit longer. We have equal parts of the Sauvignon Blanc for this blend in our new concrete egg, and in the standard French Oak that we’ve used in the past. We want to see what each component is like and can bring to the blend and will either use one or the other, or maybe a mixture of both in the final blend. Overall, we like to give the Optu White just a little more time to pick up some creaminess and a bit more flavor.
On the reds side, we’re doing some testing with letting the 4040 spend some time in the oak upright tanks before bottling. That blend doesn’t get a bunch of oak aging otherwise, so we’ll see what this ‘flashing’ at the end does as far as boosting the final product. This is another example of how we aren’t ever following the same recipe and are always willing to try new things to make excellent wines. Beyond that, in June we’re planning to start bottling some 2016 reds, including that 4040, as well as some Malbec, and Merlot, and then the Cabernets and bigger blends will fall later in to the summer.
4040 spending it's final days in Oak Upright tanks, prior to June bottling
Out in the vineyard we’re starting to see some bud break, and it’s like we’re starting anew. Like in the fall, when we’re in the cellar and starting to make wine again, you feel like you’re starting a new vintage. Really, that vintage starts right now when you’re starting to see some growth and are starting to prune things a certain way. I think one of the things that is great to see is that there is a lot of new planting on Red Mountain. A lot of the fruit we take, and wines that we make, are from these newer sites. This includes Quintessence, which was planted in 2010, and we took the first crop in 2012. Same thing with The Canyons Vineyard, that was planted in 2009, and we took our first crop in 2012 as well. As these vineyards age out, I think that these wines are going to settle and even out, and we’re excited to work with them long term.
Bud break in the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard
The other thing that is exciting for us to see is getting to third leaf in our new planting of the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard. These are the 9 acres we planted in 2015, that we will now be coming in to perhaps half production this year, based on what we’ve seen so far. This is really going to give us the chance to see what the wines might be like. Not only with some new Cabernet Sauvignon clones that we planted out there, like 412, 33, 169, but also some clones 2 and 6 in addition to the original planting of 2, 6, and 8. We’ll also be looking at how the Merlot is going to come on, as well as the Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. We’re really looking forward to seeing how those are going to start turning out and are thinking about the next chapter of the vineyard.
Exploring the new plantings of the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard
Overall, on Red Mountain, things look good. We’re maybe a little bit behind a normal year, but as we know, a nice little heat boost along the way can push things forward really quickly. Already, we are scheduled to get to 86 later this week, which is really warm for the end of the April, and believe me, will push shoot growth and get us closer to a normal year.
As far as newly released wines, we are focusing a lot on Quintessence Vineyard right now. I really think that this is a great vineyard. The main blocks we take from give us extreme southern aspect, we are working with some great clones, and probably the most essential part of the vineyard, is the human factor on the terroir and what a great job they are doing there. The Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon are all tasting great upon release.
Back in 1988 as a recent graduate from UC Davis' Viticulture and Enology graduate program, my dad was hired by Mike Januik (a fellow Davis grad) at Snoqualmie/Langguth near Mattawa, WA for his first winemaking job. After doing a harvest at Waterbrook in 1990, he rejoined Mike as a part of the winemaking team at Chateau Ste. Michelle, and worked alongside him for just under a decade, becoming the head red winemaker in '93 as Mike was serving as the head winemaker. They worked on the the first few vintages of the Col Solare project together from '95 to '98 and helped push Washington onto the world scene with the wines they crafted together during their time at the Chateau. Itching to start their own projects they both left around 1999, Mike staying on the west side of the state and creating Januik and my dad starting Fidelitas on the eastside. But you probably know this already, it's been well documented and touted by us throughout years.
What you may not know is that Mike's son, Andrew, who apparently I spent a lot of time hanging out with when I was too young to remember, has stepped into a winemaking role at Januik, and has his own "Andrew Januik" label since 2011. He started working part time at the winery when he was 13 and shortly after started working full time during the summers - a sentence that sounds all too familiar to me.
Since starting to manage our Woodinville tasting room about a year ago I reconnected with Andrew - which felt natural to say least with how much we had in common with our lives following very similar paths. After many glasses of wine, nights at karaoke bars, times spent dog-sitting for him, and quests to find the best beers in Seattle we became good friends and thought it'd be and awesome idea for me to join him for a Malbec project he had going in the famed Uco Valley region of Mendoza, Argentina. Not wanting to pass up on the opportunity to travel and learn from a talented winemaker like Andrew it was a no-brainer. Below are some highlights of past few weeks spent harvesting in Argentina:
We flew into Buenos Aires after a layover in London (this is what happens when you buy tickets at the last minute) and spent 1 night there before heading over to Mendoza. We spent hours and hours exploring the city with plenty of stops to drink beer and play cards:
Then over to Finca Agostino in Mendoza to check in on Andrew's 2017 Vintage:
Checking our fruit the day before the first pick:
Note how high these Cabernet vines are planted
First day of crush at O Fournier
Early Morning Pumpovers with a view
If it weren't for the snow-capped Andes in the background you'd think this was Eastern WA
Before and after pumpovers
With plenty of breaks for empanadas
Thanks to Andrew for letting me tag along.
There's so much I can take away from this trip to help me in my winemaking journey.
Make sure to go taste his wines if you haven't yet!
Come see me in the tasing room this weekend!
It’s that time of year where people want to hit the road to wine country. After just recently making tasting appointments for my family, I have a few tips to provide for those who want to plan a weekend at some of their favorite (or new!) spots.
Research the area you want to visit! Create a plan of attack. That way, you aren’t totally winging it and you have some sort of game plan. During your visits, even ask the staff where their favorite spots are! I have found my favorite wineries by doing just that. And trust me, the staff loves to chat all things wine!
Make a Reservation
If you are traveling with 6+ tasters (or even less) I recommend making a reservation wherever you hope to taste. This will ensure that your group has a place to sit while you enjoy your tasting. Curious if that location may have more than just their daily tasting lineup? Just ask! Some locations may offer special wine tastings at different prices.
Bring Bottled Water + Snacks
Typically, you taste anywhere from 4-5 wines at any given tasting room. That’s roughly a glass of wine at each stop. Going to multiple locations that day? The wine really adds up! Be sure to bring some bottled water for your group that way you can stay hydrated throughout each tasting. It’s also important to fuel up with food. If you are making a reservation, ask if they offer cheese plates for purchase. They can have them ready for you ahead of time. Or, if you’d rather, pack up some cheese and crackers and bring them along!
Watch Out For the Heat
If you are planning your wine trip during the hot months, this can be dangerous for any wine purchases you have made if you store the bottles in your car. Bring a wine cooler so your wine doesn’t get too hot! Or, ask the staff if you can leave your wine purchase at the tasting room and grab it later that day or on your way back out of town.
Most of all, have fun! Buy that special bottle that will help you to remember the experience you had with your friends and family.
Contact your Club Concierge Team to help plan your next visit to Red Mountain!
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from Fidelitas, one of the flagship releases from the estate, spent 22 months in 71% new French oak. Its deep, inky purple/ruby color is followed by an impressive bouquet of ripe plums, black cherries, tobacco, and leafy herbs. Picking up more chocolate and graphite characteristics with time in the glass, this full-bodied, rich, nicely concentrated effort has fine tannin, good purity of fruit, and nicely integrated acidity.
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Quintessence (100% Cabernet aged in 83% new French oak) offers more tobacco, spring flower, and violets characteristics, as well as a full-bodied, pure, balanced style on the palate. With lots of blue fruits, ripe tannin, and terrific purity, it's going to keep for 10-15 years. It's another high-quality, balanced wine from this estate.
Another 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from this estate, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Blackwood Canyon (22 months in 71% new French oak) offers a plumper, more sweetly fruited, sexy style. Blackcurrants, blueberries, scorched earth and Asian spice notes all give way to a full-bodied, plump, rounded, yet still structured effort that has considerable depth and richness, all while not being heavy. It too will keep for 10-15 years. While I found all these 2015s to be outstanding wines, they're certainly more similar than different.
From one of my favorite vineyards on Red Mountain, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Ciel du Cheval spent 22 months in 29% new French oak. Black cherry, blueberries, violets, spring flowers, and lavender notes all emerge from the glass and it has a rich, rounded, voluptuous style on the palate. Nicely balanced, with sweet tannin, it's another rocking wine from Fidelitas to enjoy over the coming 10-15 years.
The 2015 Optu Red Mountain is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. It's another inky-colored effort that gives up plenty of graphite, tobacco, and black cherry/currants styled fruits. It has lots of Cabernet Sauvignon character, the savory tannin of the Red Mountain terroir, and a great finish.
The classic 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain (100% Cabernet aged 22 months in 80% new French oak) offers pure, elegant notes of crème de cassis, crushed flowers, and violets, with a medium to full-bodied, silky, nuanced style on the palate. Less powerful and tannic than some of the other cuvées here, it still has beautiful purity and well-integrated acidity, and is a beautiful wine that's going to drink well for 10-15 years.
We’re finally coming into that time of year when things start to get really exciting on Red Mountain, and we have no shortage of events to celebrate all that is great about the wine and region we love. Plan your trip and party with us this spring!
visit the links for tickets and more information
Explore the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard that sits outside our Red Mountain Tasting room. Join us at the tasting room as we venture through the vines and make our way to the heart of our vineyard. We will then make our way back to the tasting room and enjoy a seated tasting of 5 wines, all sourced exclusively from Red Mountain.
Fidelitas is visiting our neighbors to the south, bringing a wine tasting event to you at Union/Pine in SE Portland. We invite members and friends to mix and mingle with winemaker, Charlie Hoppes, and Team Fidelitas while sipping on our newest releases and enjoying bites from White Pepper. Invite friends to join you at this event to taste Club only wines + the opportunity to receive joining prizes!
The Feast of St. Fidelis is a celebration of all things good on Red Mountain. We're kicking off spring on the mountain with our annual event for Fidelitas Club members. Join us for new releases and amazing tacos while taking in the sights of the vineyards.
We are hosting an intimate Winemaker Dinner on Red Mountain to showcase the spring vineyard designated wines, and wonderful foods of The Q Wood Fired Grill. We have just 18 seats available for this paired dinner showcasing Red Mountain, with Fidelitas Owner + Winemaker, Charlie Hoppes.
An afternoon on the Red Mountain patio with delicious BBQ and lively tunes.
Take in the sweeping views of Red Mountain and The Yakima Valley while enjoying the highly acclaimed, hand crafted wines by Honorary Vintner, Charlie Hoppes, expertly paired with a memorable meal.
The Auction of Washington Wines is proud to present the 4th Annual Wine & Music Festival in the beautiful Red Mountain AVA area. The Wine & Music Festival will feature live entertainment, tasty appetizers and tastings from 20 Washington wineries.
And we’re just getting started! Check out our events calendar for more summertime fun!
Contact the Fidelitas Club Concierge for trip planning assistance and recommendations:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 509.521.9319
On one of the most classic spring mornings I ventured up the Red Heaven Vineyard and strolled through the vines enjoying the morning light and dreaming of sipping this amazing Cabernet in a few short weeks. Charlie continues to hand craft each wine from the vineyard to the bottle and one of his favorite most diverse sites to work with is the Red Heaven Vineyard. Perched on the slope of Red Mountain, provides us with Clone 8 Cabernet Sauvignon for this limited-edition wine. This is one special Cabernet, Charlie only chooses to source from this vineyard when the fruit is the most exceptional.
This beauty is a full varietal Cabernet Sauvignon and sees about 83% New French Oak, he’s also fermenting this wine in 100% Wood using 66% 500L Roller Barrel, 34% Oak Upright Barrel. We’ve only produced 144 cases and expect this wine to be gone in the blink of an eye. To get on the wait-list or to pre-order please contact our Club Team!