Two Delicious Washington Reds from Hedges Family Estate

The Hedges Family has been growing wine in Washington State for more than 25 years now. In addition to founding their own winery and tending to what is now a 125 acre estate property they were heavily involved in establishing Red Mountain as an AVA. Their operation is a true family effort. Tom and Anne-Marie Hedges are the founders and their son Christophe and daughter Sarah are General Manager and Winemaker respectively. The family’s goal is to produce wines that express their Estate. Towards that end they practice Biodynamic farming techniques.

Hedges Family Estate 2011 Red Mountain ($26.99)

All of the fruit for this wine comes from the Red Mountain AVA. It’s predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), with smaller amounts of Merlot (26%), Cabernet Franc (4%), Syrah (8%), and Malbec (2%) blended in. It was aged in a combination of neutral (69%), and new (31%), French, American and Hungarian oak. Violet and red fruit aromas emerge on the nose, they’re accompanied by subtler but still present bits of toast and roasted espresso. The long, layered, and complex finish is loaded with red cherry and spice elements. Bits of earth, dusty cocoa and continued red fruits mark the long and intricate finish. What I love most here is the combination of terrific fruit and acid. Together they make this offering delicious now, but age-able for at least 6-8 years.

Hedges Family Estate 2012 DLD Syrah ($26.99)

This wine is entirely Syrah from a single estate vineyard (Les Gosses) in the Red Mountain AVA. It was aged over a period of 14 months in American and French oak; 30% of the barrels were new. Just fewer than 1,200 cases were produced. Mushroom aromas, wisps of brush, and red fruits light up the welcoming nose. Raspberry, black cherry and hints of smoked meats are all part of the charming and somewhat dense palate. Lots of earth, chicory and more fruit flavors are in play on the finish. Chewy tannins and firm acid provide excellent structure. This wine is a pleasure to drink. It’s kind of dirty and a little funky; for me that’s precisely what I believe great Syrah should be like.

This was my first time sampling wines from Hedges Family Estate, and it won’t be my last. I enjoyed both of these for a combination of similar and different reasons. They’re both well made and expressive offerings that showcase a sense of place, and each are true to the varieties they’re composed of. Red Mountain does a great job showcasing what the Hedges can do with cuvee style Bordeaux inspired blends from several areas of their property. In a sense the Syrah does just the reverse, it showcases a particular grape in a specific spot from a given year, in this case 2012. They’re both delicious and offer far more value than the price-point would indicate.