"The 2003 Cabernet Franc Reserve "Conner Lee Vineyard" is 100% varietal. Late picked and aged for 24 months in French oak, 80% new, this is a benchmark for Cabernet Franc. Purple/black in color, the wine delivers a superior aromatic array of pain grille, graphite, truffle, menthol, clove, black currant, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by a lavish, mouth-filling, thick wine which does not reveal its 15.4% alcohol. There are huge flavors of mint, menthol, licorice, and black fruits, well concealed tannins, and a 60+ second finish. This is a Cabernet Franc against which all others should be measured (but quantities are limited)." - Wine Advocate
Matthews Estate Winery
Established in 1993, Matthews Winery is located in the heart of the Woodinville Wine Country. The boutique winery is owned by a local family and focuses on maintaining production of Bordeaux-style and single varietal vineyard-designated wines. Matthews uses grapes grown in Washington state from vineyards that have experience and respect for nature and its soil. The winery and winemaker, Aryn Morell, believe that there is a deep and tangible link between the vines, hills, winegrowers and winemakers, and carries this proof of affinity into every aspect of wine making—from the vineyard to the cellar, from the vine to the wine bottle. The numerous accolades we receive from trade and consumers alike are an undeniable proof and future motivation to us.
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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.