Wahluke Slope Wine

Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 09-Oct-2020
A Wahluke Slope wine label

Wahluke Slope is an AVA within the larger Columbia Valley wine region of Washington State. The wines made in this warm, dry part of the Pacific Northwest are predominately red, with Merlot as the front runner, producing concentrated, heat-ripened wines. There are also substantial plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Wahluke Slope is clearly defined geographically, and consists of a sloping, south-facing plateau situated in a bend of the Columbia River. The AVA covers a triangle of land measuring about 15 miles (25km) from east to west, bordered by the Saddle Mountains in the north (which separate it from the brand-new Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA). The Columbia River makes up the southern and western borders, and the Hanford Reach National Monument borders the appellation to the east.

The vineyards of Wahluke Slope sit on an alluvial fan. Like much of the Pacific Northwest, the terrain here was created by the Missoula floods of the last Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago. These floods, caused by waters from the then-sizable Lake Missoula in Montana breaking through the glaciers that held them in place, saw huge amounts of water wash through eastern Washington before flooding the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

The soils in Wahluke Slope are made up of sediments deposited by these floods and of windblown material from the flood-eroded material of the surrounding landscapes. Gravel and rocks are covered by a thin layer of sand and silt, providing a low-fertility, well-drained site for grape growing. The vines here are put under stress by the harshness of the dry soils, and as a result produce small, concentrated grapes in lieu of leafy foliage.

The soils are joined by the effects of the desert-like climate of Wahluke Slope. Like most of Columbia Valley, the AVA lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountain range, and Wahluke Slope is one of the warmest wine regions of Washington, along with Red Mountain. The south-facing aspect of the slope means that vines benefit from day-long sunshine, maximizing ripening, and the lack of rain means that growers have control over vigor and berry production through the careful use of irrigation.

Wahluke Slope is one of Washington's high-production areas, and the vineyards in the AVA are owned by producers from all over the state. While premium, single-AVA Wahluke Slope wines exist, a large proportion of the wines made here are blended into regional Columbia Valley blends, usually providing intensity of flavor and big structure to the wines.

Wahluke Slope Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Product
 
Grape
Popularity
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of Charles Smith K Vintners The Hidden Syrah, Wahluke Slope, USA
6,656th in popularity
$ 70
94 / 100
Wine Label of Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, USA
14,616th in popularity
$ 19
88 / 100
Wine Label of Charles Smith K Vintners Milbrandt Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope, USA
16,106th in popularity
$ 34
91 / 100
Wine Label of Luke Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, USA
20,394th in popularity
$ 21
89 / 100
Wine Label of Seven Falls Merlot, Wahluke Slope, USA
21,324th in popularity
$ 18
88 / 100
Wine Label of Charles Smith K Vintners 'El Jefe' Stoneridge Vineyard Tempranillo, Washington, USA
21,862nd in popularity
$ 55
92 / 100
Wine Label of Charles Smith CasaSmith Porcospino Primitivo, Wahluke Slope, USA
38,536th in popularity
$ 23
89 / 100
Wine Label of Charles Smith CasaSmith Cervo Barbera, Wahluke Slope, USA
39,128th in popularity
$ 22
89 / 100
Wine Label of Dusted Valley Stone Tree Vineyard Petite Sirah, Wahluke Slope, USA
40,296th in popularity
$ 41
89 / 100
Wine Label of Desert Wind Ruah, Wahluke Slope, USA
43,608th in popularity
$ 15
86 / 100
Wine Label of Seven Falls Chardonnay, Wahluke Slope, USA
55,384th in popularity
$ 15
87 / 100
Wine Label of Luke Merlot, Wahluke Slope, USA
56,535th in popularity
$ 21
89 / 100
Wine Label of Charles Smith CasaSmith Cinghiale Sangiovese, Wahluke Slope, USA
59,101st in popularity
$ 23
90 / 100
Wine Label of Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, USA
62,062nd in popularity
$ 26
89 / 100
Wine Label of Milbrandt Vineyards Northridge Vineyard 'Sentinel', Wahluke Slope, USA
62,062nd in popularity
$ 55
90 / 100
Wine Label of Desert Wind Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, USA
65,234th in popularity
$ 19
85 / 100
Wine Label of Milbrandt Vineyards The Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, USA
68,680th in popularity
$ 26
88 / 100
Wine Label of Desert Wind Merlot, Wahluke Slope, USA
79,118th in popularity
$ 21
86 / 100
Wine Label of Two Vintners II Stone Tree Vineyard Zinfandel, Wahluke Slope, USA
81,685th in popularity
$ 30
89 / 100
Wine Label of Tagaris Winery 'Boar Doe' Red, Wahluke Slope, USA
84,408th in popularity
$ 15
85 / 100
Wine Label of Gilbert Cellars Left Bank Red, Wahluke Slope, USA
87,373rd in popularity
$ 22
88 / 100
Wine Label of Hogue Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, USA
90,560th in popularity
$ 28
88 / 100
Wine Label of Milbrandt Vineyards The Estates Malbec, Wahluke Slope, USA
90,560th in popularity
$ 23
88 / 100
Wine Label of Eccolo Cellars Barbera, Wahluke Slope, USA
93,857th in popularity
$ 25
91 / 100
Wine Label of Milbrandt Vineyards The Estates Syrah, Wahluke Slope, USA
93,857th in popularity
$ 45
89 / 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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