A dark ruby appearance shows the great concentration of the wine. Remarkable for its complexity, the nose offers impressive aromas of cedar, pepper, spice, mint and chocolate. The smooth and velvety palate, with layers of currant, black cherry and spice flavors, is framed by nuances of toasty oak. It finishes with a well-focused, fruity finish punctuated with dashes of herb and cedar. A bright, but well-integrated acidity will allow our 1998 Tradition to age beautifully.
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot
Gordon Brothers Cellars Winery
The Gordon Brothers vineyards were established in 1980. They have planted a total of 95 acres, consisting of 25 acres of Chardonnay, 21 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 acres of Merlot, 15 acres of Syrah, 14 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, and one acre of Gewurztraminer. The vineyards lie on a perfectly oriented south-facing slope ranging from an elevation of 600 to 682 feet above sea level, on the Snake River just above Ice Harbor Dam and the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers in southeastern Washington. These mature vines are proving that the Gordon Brothers vineyard has a singular, superior micro-climate. Superb air drainage and all the favorable effects of river sites for grape growing are only two of the reasons that these are some of the most sought-after grapes and wines in the Northwest.
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Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.