If “Washington State” brings to mind gray skies and rainy days, you clearly know little about the largest AVA in the Northwest, the Columbia Valley. An arid plateau east of the Cascade Range, the Columbia Valley is bathed in sunshine for over 300 days a year and gets about as much rain as the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. On the other hand, at 46° N, it shares the same latitude as the great French wine growing regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy, allowing for long summer days and a lengthy growing season. The Columbia Valley’s combination of a long growing season, rich volcanic soils and plenty of mountain run-off for nurturing vines in the dry climate produces bold and nuanced wines, full of structure and balanced acidity. Castle Rock’s south-facing hillside vineyards produce a Cabernet Sauvignon that is rich, structured and supple.
Producing low-priced wine is not difficult in California – as long as one uses undistinguished central valley grapes. Yet Castle Rock Winery sells premium, handcrafted wines from the best appellations in California, Oregon and Washington at prices that match those wines labeled “California.” Castle Rock Winery’s secret to providing “appellation wines at affordable prices” is to operate as a kind of “virtual winery,” owning neither its own vineyards nor a winery. Instead it maintains close, long-term relationships with around forty growers in such areas as Monterey County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley and Colombia Valley and leases state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in all three states. Winemaker August "Joe" Briggs works closely with the growers to ensure they produce the best quality fruit while overseeing the winemaking at the same time. This unique method of operating allows Castle Rock to avoid the “money pits” of land and fancy buildings that sink many wineries and focus everything on securing the best grapes and crafting delicious wines. Since the beginning in 1994, Castle Rock has focused particularly on Pinot Noir, making distinct bottlings from such key Pinot districts as Carneros, Russian River Valley and Willamette Valley. However, over the years the winery has also branched out into other popular varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Riesling. Though an oft-repeated wine country adage goes, “it takes a fortune to make a small fortune in the wine business,” Castle Rock Winery has shown there is a way to make captivating wines for the discerning drinker without deep pockets.
|Appellation(s)||Columbia Valley (Washington)|
|Bottle Size||7.5 x 30.5|
|Case Size||32.0 x 24.5 x 31.0|
The wine pleases with concentrated flavors of cassis, blackberry, black cherry and plum, hints of oak as well as firm tannins and fresh acidity. An excellent choice for a wide range of meat dishes and cheeses.
This wine was aged for 18 months in French oak.