Spotlight On: Fielding Hills

By Kori ~ September 17th, 2008.

Fielding Hills Winery is a small, family-owned winery located in Wenatchee, Washington. Owner/winemaker Mike Wade and his wife Karen are longtime apple and cherry growers who have turned a middle portion of their orchard near Mattawa into a vineyard. Their Riverbend Vineyard, planted in 1998, is in the warm Wahluke Slope AVA. Strictly red wine producers, Fielding Hills’ current production is about 800 cases per year.

Just over a month ago, we had our first bottle of Fielding Hills wine and were absolutely blown away. Their 2005 Syrah is the first Washington Syrah we’ve given a 5-star (out of 5) Quality Rating. Since enjoying that first bottle, we have visited both their Riverbend Vineyard and their winery as well as attended their 2006 Vintage Release Dinner in Seattle. In addition to their Syrah, we also have really enjoyed their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

On a recent visit to Wenatchee, we visited Fielding Hills and had the pleasure to meet Mike and Karen Wade. The winery is located in a converted orchard shop just a few hundred yards from the Wades home overlooking the Wenatchee Valley. While the winery itself is nothing fancy, the quality of wine they are producing speaks for itself. The Wades are down-to-earth, very friendly people. It is obvious from speaking to Mike that he absolutely loves what he is doing and wants to produce the best wine possible. In fact, he is his own worst critic which I believe pushes him to be a great winemaker.

“This winery [Fielding Hills] is a superstar in the making.” –Paul Gregutt, Washington Wines and Wineries

During our winery visit, we had an opportunity to taste several barrel samples from the 2007 vintage. If those tastes were any indication, I think that 2007 has the potential to be their best vintage yet. I look forward to tasting them again when they are released next year.

Last Friday, Dad (John) and I attended the Fielding Hills 2006 Vintage Release Dinner at El Gaucho in Seattle. It marked the release of their seventh vintage. It was a wonderful event at which we were able to meet some fellow wine lovers from Seattle as well as friends of the Wades that ventured over from the Wenatchee area. Of the 2006 vintage, I am most excited about their Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you are ever in the Wenatchee area, I encourage you to give Mike and Karen a call to make an appointment to visit the winery. And regardless of whether you are able to visit or not, try to get your hands on a bottle or two of Fielding Hills wine and enjoy.

Here’s a rundown of the Fielding Hills wines that we have tasted recently. Under each Quality heading, the wine name will be listed along with price and QPR rating. All of Fielding Hills’ wines are sourced from their Riverbend Vineyard in Wahluke Slope. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
2005 Fielding Hills Syrah, $40, QPR: 5

Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Fielding Hills Syrah, $40, QPR: 5
2005 Fielding Hills Merlot, $36, QPR: 5

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2005 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, $38, QPR: 5
2006 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, $38, QPR: 5
2002 Fielding Hills Merlot, $36, QPR: 4
2006 Fielding Hills Merlot, $36, QPR: 4
2005 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc, $30, QPR: 4

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Fielding Hills Tribute, $32, QPR: 2

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2006 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc, $30, QPR: 2

Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Five-Star Quality Wines, Merlot, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Spotlight On, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25

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