Red Mountain Wine

Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 09-Oct-2020
Vineyards at the base of Red Mountain, Washington
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Red Mountain is a small American Viticultural Area in the US state of Washington, located entirely within the Yakima Valley AVA, itself part of the larger Columbia Valley wine region. Red Mountain AVA covers just 4,040 acres (1,635ha), but produces some of Washington State's most prestigious wines, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.

Red Mountain is the easternmost AVA in Yakima Valley, occupying the land within a curve of the Yakima River just before it joins the Columbia River near the town of Richland. The mountain (on which grows cheatgrass that turns red in spring, hence its name) is more like a slope. It rises to 1,410 feet (430m) above sea level in the northeast corner of the AVA whilst vineyards are found on favorable aspects facing southwest above the river.

This placement of the vineyards creates a high exposure to sunlight throughout the growing season – almost two hours a day more than Napa Valley. This sunshine is followed by nights cooled by air from the north sinking into the Yakima River valley. This contributes to the balance of the grapes, with the diurnal temperature variation slowing ripening and allowing for the retention of acidity during the development of flavor. The Yakima River itself also helps to moderate the temperatures during the growing season.

Red Mountain's terrain is the result of the Missoula floods of the last Ice Age, when the then-sizable Lake Missoula in Montana burst through its glacial dam, sending a wall of water through eastern Washington and into Oregon. The waterflows around the mountain led to an uneven deposition of soils throughout the AVA. Generally, vineyards sit on gravelly loam soils that are high in calcium and alkalinity. This is important, as it encourages deep root systems and is beneficial to the uptake of minerals into the vines. These dry soils limit vigor and yield, and Red Mountain grapes can be up to 60 percent smaller than those of other Columbia Valley AVAs, resulting in powerful, tannic red wines with concentrated fruit flavors.

Rainfall in Red Mountain is just seven inches (180mm) a year on average, and very little of it occurs during the growing season. Irrigation is therefore needed, the water drawn mainly from the Yakima River and deep wells. However, a limit on well-drilling caused problems for producers in the past, limiting vineyard expansion. As these limits are loosened, the acreage is steadily increasing.

The region's first vines were planted in the 1970s, and Red Mountain was delimited as an AVA in 2001. Cabernet Sauvignon is largely responsible for the region's fame. The Quilceda Creek winery used old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills to produce a wine that was awarded a rare 100-point Robert Parker rating for its 2002 and 2003 vintages – the first time an American wine from outside California had achieved this rank. Subsequent vintages did equally well.

Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot also perform to a high standard in Red Mountain.

Red Mountain Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Product
 
Grape
Popularity
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of Quilceda Creek Galitzine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
3,248th in popularity
$ 162
95 / 100
Wine Label of Hedges Family Estate 'Red Mountain', Columbia Valley, USA
8,945th in popularity
$ 28
88 / 100
Wine Label of Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
10,459th in popularity
$ 70
93 / 100
Wine Label of Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
10,558th in popularity
$ 37
90 / 100
Wine Label of Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
10,779th in popularity
$ 73
92 / 100
Wine Label of Grand Reve Vintners - Force Majeure Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
12,778th in popularity
$ 128
92 / 100
Wine Label of Gorman Winery Old Scratch Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
12,833rd in popularity
$ 28
90 / 100
Wine Label of Andrew Will Winery Ciel du Cheval Red, Red Mountain, USA
15,134th in popularity
$ 63
92 / 100
Wine Label of Grand Reve Vintners - Force Majeure 'Parvata', Red Mountain, USA
18,820th in popularity
$ 77
92 / 100
Wine Label of The Walls Vineyards 'Curiositas' Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
19,211th in popularity
$ 66
90 / 100
Wine Label of Mark Ryan Winery Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
19,339th in popularity
$ 59
91 / 100
Wine Label of Grand Reve Vintners - Force Majeure Vineyards Estate Syrah, Red Mountain, USA
20,543rd in popularity
$ 83
93 / 100
Wine Label of Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
20,696th in popularity
$ 179
92 / 100
Wine Label of Hedges Family Estate 'Descendants Liegeois Dupont - DLD' Cuvee Marcel Dupont Syrah, Red Mountain, USA
21,009th in popularity
$ 34
89 / 100
Wine Label of Grand Reve Vintners - Force Majeure Vineyards Epinette, Red Mountain, USA
23,239th in popularity
$ 98
92 / 100
Wine Label of J Bookwalter Winery Protagonist, Red Mountain, USA
24,104th in popularity
$ 51
91 / 100
Wine Label of DeLille Cellars 'Grand Ciel' Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
25,998th in popularity
$ 140
93 / 100
Wine Label of Cadence Winery Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
26,243rd in popularity
$ 63
92 / 100
Wine Label of Betz Family Winery La Cote Rousse Syrah, Red Mountain, USA
27,321st in popularity
$ 63
92 / 100
Wine Label of Mark Ryan Winery Long Haul Proprietary Red, Red Mountain, USA
28,513th in popularity
$ 54
91 / 100
Wine Label of Cadence Winery Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard Red, Columbia Valley, USA
29,447th in popularity
$ 63
92 / 100
Wine Label of Grand Reve Vintners - Force Majeure Vineyards Collaboration Series Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Syrah, Red Mountain, USA
29,447th in popularity
$ 77
92 / 100
Wine Label of Barons Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, USA
30,090th in popularity
$ 72
90 / 100
Wine Label of Cadence Winery Coda, Red Mountain, USA
32,542nd in popularity
$ 30
90 / 100
Wine Label of Fidelitas 4040 Red Blend, Red Mountain, USA
33,334th in popularity
$ 34
90 / 100
To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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