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Maryhill Viognier 2004

Viognier(JA) from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Winemaker Notes

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    Maryhill

    Maryhill Winery

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    Columbia Valley

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    A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!

    Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

    Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

    White Wine

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    From lean and crisp to oaky and buttery, white wines come in a diverse array of styles. Made just about everywhere but generally most successful in cooler climates, the most recognizable varieties are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, although indigenous varieties are plentiful throughout the world and often intriguing. Often misunderstood, white wine can be anything from a simple and refreshing aperitif to a robust accompaniment to a hearty meal, and some of the best can age for decades.

    To preserve freshness and primary fruit flavors, white wines are fermented at cooler temperatures than reds. Unlike red winemaking, the colorless juice is not left in contact with the grape skins during the fermentation process. The winemaker has the choice to encourage or prevent malolactic fermentation, which turns tart acidity softer, creating creamy, buttery flavors. Another important decision is whether and how to use oak—the barrels’ age, provenance, and length of use will all help to determine the style of the final wine, in terms of both flavor and texture. White wines can vary in color from nearly clear lemon-green to medium gold to even orange or brown, depending on age, grape variety, and winemaking methods.

    ARDMV03_2004 Item# 83805