Dead Canyon Chardonnay 20
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The beautiful rolling slopes of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington's Columbia Valley would make a perfect backdrop for any blockbuster Western movie. The dramatic, windswept landscape meets crystal clear blue skies, and you can't help thinking there's a posse close by getting ready to ride off into the sunset. The picturesque albeit brutal landscape and the harsh arid climate punish the vines -- history has taught us that suffering vines always produce the best wines.
Early settlers established vast networks of horse and cattle ranches and prospered until harsh winds, brutal temperatures, and arid conditions plagued the region for decades. Fast-forward to the early 1970s when Don and Linda Mercer planted the first grapes. They were the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in what is now known as the "Champoux Vineyard," one of Washington State's most famous and celebrated vineyards.
The Mercer family are faithful stewards of the land. They're farmers and certainly viticulturists; however, they prefer to be considered Agriculturists -- adhering to strict environmental and social values to respect and protect the land. In addition to world-class wine production, their diversified holdings span 12,000 acres of farmland along the Columbia River -- including acres of carrots, garlic, corn, kale, wheat, potatoes, onions, and broccoli.
The fruit for this bottling is sourced entirely from the family's "Estate Vineyards" in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The warm days and cool nights of late summer and the family's nearly fanatical attention to crop levels result in a beautifully balanced Chardonnay that features perfect ripeness with both power and brightness.
Aromas of cantaloupe and pear are balanced with lemon zest and hints of
biscotti. On the palate, the wine is creamy with clean, well-rounded acidity.