Over the next several weeks, I’ll be featuring wineries from Washington’s Yakima Valley and Rattlesnake Hills Appellations. Established in 1983, Yakima Valley is Washington’s oldest appellation and home to over 40 wineries, while Rattlesnake Hills, a schism of Yakima Valley, was granted appellation status in 2006 and includes 16 wineries.
It’s impossible to pin down a varietal or varietals these regions do best, but it’s safe to say that the incredible range of quality wines created here are comparable to much of what the rest of the world has to offer.
Kana Winery, located in downtown Yakima, provides a perfect example of the increasingly diverse nature of wines produced by Washington’s wineries. Kana specializes in blended varietals, and many of their current releases feature two or more grapes from several different vineyards.
A fine example is the 2005 Workingman’s Red (about $16), a blend of zinfandel, malbec, and petite verdot that’s slightly peppery with a touch of brambly blackberry on the finish. This isn’t a big, overly fruity California zin by any stretch, which makes it much easier to pair with foods such as roast pork or lamb.
Also worth noting is the 2005 Scarlet Fire (about $25), another blend consisting of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. This intensely compact red wine – filled with nuances of cherry, plum, and tobacco – opens up nicely with ample breathing time and has excellent cellaring potential.
For white wine drinkers, the Kana 2006 Cuvée Blanche (about $18) is a must-try blend of roussanne, viognier, and marsanne. With honeysuckle and papaya aromas, lush tropical fruit and baked apple flavors, and a lingering finish, this massive wine may very well put you on sensory overload.
Kana Winery will be one of the wineries featured at the Grape & Gourmet event in Bellingham on November 2. You’ll also find their wines at Compass Wines in Anacortes and Libation Station in Mount Vernon, or order them online at www.kanawinery.com.