Apex Yakima Valley Syrah 1999
Syrah/Shiraz from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
A deep, impenetratable color in the glass leads to elegant yet generous aromas of ripe fruits, spice and well-integrated sweet oak. A luxuriously textured wine with sumptuous fruit to last.
Three-quarters (73%) of the wine was from our own Outlook Vineyards which were just coming into full production. The balance of the Syrah was from Solstice Vineyards and 5% Viognier was added for aroma and texture.
The Yakima Valley, located within the larger Columbia Valley appellation, stretches some 100 miles from the Cascade foothills east along the Yakima River and east to the Columbia. The vineyards are generally located on the hillsides above the valley floor.
Washington Hills Cellars is one of Washington's largest and most respected independent wineries. Our three brands, Washington Hills, Bridgman, and Apex cover the spectrum of wines. From the beginning, the concept behind Apex wine has been to produce a limited quantity of reserve wines so special and so outstanding that they represent the ultimate in winemaking, "ne plus ultra."
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About Yakima Valley
Washington's first appellation, Yakima Valley has over one third of the state's vineyards. The rolling foothills of the Cascades give the vines a good sun angle, so grapes are well-ripened come harvest time. Merlot dominates the plantings here, creating elegant wines with complex fruit, herbs & structure. Syrah continues to grow in popularity, creating blanced wines with spicy black fruit.
A few smaller, but notable appellations that lie within or just outside of Yakima Valley include:
Rattlesnake Hills, which gained AVA status in 2006, lies in the north with 17 wineries.
Horse Heaven Hills, another recent sub-appellation hugs the south end of Yakima and is known for its outstanding vineyard sites that create incredible and collectible red wines.
Red Mountain, known for its intense and delicious reds, is located on the eastern side of Yakima Valley.
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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
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.