2011 14 Hands Vineyard Hot to Trot Red Blend – Columbia Valley
I can’t recall the last time I drank this wine, but it has been years. A friend brought it to a weekend dinner we both attended. I poured myself a glass and immediately thought that I needed to pick up a bottle or two of this to have around the house. It’s a casual-drinking wine you can buy for around $11; but one that tastes like a bottle that costs twice as much.
For a simple wine, it has a lot of depth. The auburn color and the plum nose prepare your taste buds for some wonderful sipping. The juicy, dark fruit flavor is rich and jam-like without tasting like Concord grapes. The finish was as smooth and clean as a New Zealand glacier-fed lake. The winemaker has taken a page from southern Rhone, using several grape varieties in this blend including Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and a handful of others.
The winery’s unusual name, 14 Hands comes from the wild horses that used to run free on the present-day vineyard located in Washington state’s Columbia Valley AVA. The horses were a mere 14 hands high, a measurement equal to 4 inches per unit. I hate to disappoint you but the label Hot to Trot refers to these horses. So get your get mind out of the gutter. It’s not a sexual reference. Although, that shouldn’t stop you from pouring it at a “Do-Tell-All Girls Night”.
14 Hands Vineyard practices sustainable farming in Horse Heaven Hills (HHH) . They recently opened a new facility. The HHH appellation is home to approximately 30 vineyards, but only five have tasting rooms open to the public. The wines produced in this region benefit from south-sloping, bench-work vineyards, situated along the Columbia River.