Kiona Winery Visit
Kiona Vineyards is in the red mountain AVA of the columbia valley in Washington state. They make a number of wines including cabernet, syrah and zinfandel.
We visited Kiona as part of a sweep of the Yakima Valley region, visiting wineries who had scored well in a NYC tasting of Cabernet Sauvignons. Kiona's 1999 estate bottled cabernet sauvignon in fact came in 2nd on that tasting, above L'Ecole No 41, Chateau Ste Michelle, Chauteau Palmer, Caymus and others.
The red mountain AVA is indeed up a reddish colored mountain, with quiet, winding roads moving between desert bareness or well watered vines. Kiona's winery is in the basement of a typical ranch home, with a play-gym and table greeting you as you drive up. The winery was founded back in 1972 by John and Ann Williams.
The wines were not inexpensive, ranging from $25 to $35 for the ones we tasted. The 2001 Washington Cabernet was light and smooth, with fresh cherry flavors and a quick finish. The reserve Cabernet had more tannins, with a chocolate cherry flavor and medium finish. The syrah was quite fruity with a spicy green pepper flavor. The Zinfandel was fresh and juicy, light in flavor but with a long finish.
I enjoyed all of the wines as easy drinking wines, but I am a bit surprised that the cab from Kiona won out over some of the others we'd tasted so far in our trip. It might be that 1999 was an excellent year for the red mountain, but it just didn't seem to be producing as complex, flavorful wines when we visited.
We talked to Andy, who poured for us, about the state of wineries in the area. Apparently the wineries are in a pinch, because there is a shortage of water in the region. The water is being saved for the salmon in the river - meaning vineyards can't ask for more water to plant more acres. Water use has become a political hot topic for the region.
All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.