The first two wines from Red Mountain Trails Winery

Red Mountain Trails Winery!

Red Mountain Trails Winery – New Kid on the Block!

When I awoke this morning I anticipated a gray, dreary and wet Saturday.  By 11:00 am, it was a sunny and relatively warm day, perfect for some Red Mountain wine tasting!  Today I had an appointment for a private tasting at Red Mountain’s newest and smallest winery – Red Mountain Trails Winery.  Located off Ambassador Road near the base of Red Mountain, Teresa Owen and her husband Jeff decided to start their own winery.  While 2018 was her first year crafting wine, she worked at Kiona for periods of time dating back to 1986.  And with friends like Scott Williams and Ed Shaw she’s been mentored by some of Red Mountain’s best.

It’s certainly exciting times for Teresa.  This is her first year of producing wine.  Teresa made approximately 60 cases in her first vintage.  Of this, essentially 30 cases of each were made of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Red Blend.  For the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, she sourced the grapes from E&E Shaw Vineyards.  For her non vintage Cabernet-Merlot red blend (80%-20% respectively), the grapes came from Heart of the Hill vineyard.  It was an interesting chat with Teresa, as she reminded me that we were co-workers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for quite a few years.  As a matter of fact, she recalled helping me with some computer issues I was having years ago.  It was a funny story…but not one I can discuss over social media!!

The Tasting

The tasting was a great opportunity to understand Teresa’s process for creating her wines.  We discussed her plans for varietal wines and her thoughts on potential blends she is considering in the future.  My take on the Cabernet Sauvignon was that it was more medium bodied and less tannic than many Red Mountain Cabs.  This wine offered ripe black fruit on the front and mid-palate, was very approachable and came with a very reasonable price tag.  The Red Blend was more complex, mature and well-balanced, offering ripe blackberry on the mid-palate.  Additionally, I experienced subtle hints of white pepper on the finish that was smooth and lingering.  The red blend was really enjoyable…so much so…I had to buy a bottle!

What’s in Store for the Future…

After the first two tastings, Teresa provided me with a line-up of 5 tank samples of various wines.  These wines are currently evolving in preparation for future offerings from Red Mountain Trails Winery.  From young to old, (left to right as arranged on the table in front of me), 5 jars were filled with each wine sample.  A 2019 Sangiovese (Ciel du Cheval Vineyard), a 2012 Merlot, a 2011 Merlot, a 2011 Cabernet Franc, and a 2011 60%-40% blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, respectively.  With the exception of the Sangiovese, the other 4 wines were sourced from E&E Shaw Vineyards.  The 60-40 blend was my favorite.  The 2012 Merlot and 2019 Sangiovese were tied for 2nd according to my palate.

Teresa will be monitoring and tasting these wines as they continue to evolve.  Eventually she’ll be making determinations regarding a barrel program, potential blending or other decisions as time works its magic. It was a real pleasure being hosted in the Wine Tent and tasting the full complement of wines and future wines as the newest winery on Red Mountain begins to take flight!  Thanks very much to Teresa Owen and Aaron’s Wine Chronicles looks forward to your bright future on Red Mountain!  Cheers!!

Aaron Diaz