New Releases from Fielding Hills, 2008 Vintage [Wow! Alert]



By Kori ~ November 1st, 2010.

Fielding Hills Winery, a small, family-owned winery in Wenatchee, is one of the top wineries in Washington State. 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 Wahluke Slope AVA and is their sole source of grapes. Strictly red wine producers, Fielding Hills’ current production is about 850 cases per year but will be increasing to about 1400 cases with the 2009 vintage. We have tasted their wines from their inaugural vintage in 2000 through their current releases and continue to be impressed. They are so consistent; it is not a question of whether their wines will be good but where they will fall on the quality spectrum between “very good” and “Wow!” In fact, we recognized Mike Wade as Best Winemaker in our Wine Peeps’ Best of 2009 in Washington Wine Country.

In 2008, their 2005 Syrah “wow-ed” us and was the first Washington wine that we gave a 5-star (out of 5) Quality rating. Recently, we had the opportunity to taste all five new releases from Fielding Hills in a blind samples tasting. Fielding Hills has done it again; we were “wow-ed” by their 2008 Cabernet Franc. Regular readers will realize that this fact is quite remarkable because we have not always been big fans of varietal Cabernet Franc. This particular wine, however, is wonderful and a great representation of what quality Cabernet Franc can be. Dad (John) and Mom (LaGayle) were especially excited with how this wine showed in the blind samples tasting because they helped to bottle it in May. They thought it was an excellent wine when they tasted it at bottling, but it has definitely improved with some bottle age and should continue to improve for a few years.

While the 2008 Cabernet Franc is the best Cab Franc I’ve ever had, the four other new releases from Fielding Hills are also quite impressive. The 2008 Merlot and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon received 4.5 stars (out of 5), the 2008 Syrah received 4 stars (out of 5), and the Tribute Red Wine received 3.5 stars (out of 5).

If you are ever in the Wenatchee area, Fielding Hills is a stop you do not want to miss. 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.

Tasting notes for the five 2008 Fielding Hills wines, in my personal order of preference:

2008 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark red in color. Gorgeous nose with black fruit, floral, herbal, and a hint of bell pepper aromas. Luscious red and black fruits, black cherry, herbal notes, and a hint of earth come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity and drying tannins. Extremely well-balanced and smooth with good complexity and a very long, lingering finish. The best Cabernet Franc I’ve ever had. Wow!
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $30

2008 Fielding Hills Merlot (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark red. Gorgeous nose with black cherry and plum aromas. More black cherry, plum, as well as leather, and cocoa come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with good, crisp acidity and smooth tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $36

2008 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark, inky purplish red in color. Gorgeous nose with black fruit and spice rack aromas. Black cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant, spice, pencil lead, and a hint of tobacco come through on the palate. Full-bodied and fruit-forward with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $42

2008 Fielding Hills Syrah (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark, inky purple in color. Very aromatic with blackberry, cinnamon, clove, and violets on the nose. Blackberry, black plums, spice, and a hint of black pepper come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $38

2008 Fielding Hills Tribute Red Wine (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark purple. Very aromatic with ripe red and black fruits on the nose; black cherry, blackberry, and licorice on the palate. Medium to full-bodied, fruit-forward, lively acidity, medium to high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $32


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

Reader's Comments

  1. Mike Veseth | November 1st, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I agree 100% — Mike and Karen sure make great wines and I think they are great food wines, too. I understand that Brix 25 in Gig Harbor is doing a Fielding Hills wine dinner on Thurs Nov 11 — an opportunity to taste the 2008 wines as part of a four-course winemaker dinner. Contact the restaurant for details.

  2. Mike Veseth | November 1st, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Just learned that they will be pouring the 2007s at the Brix dinner. They are also dynamite wines.

  3. Kori | November 1st, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Mike,
    Thanks for sharing the info on the Brix dinner. You are absolutely right, the 2007′s are great wines too. For those who are interested, here’s a link to our review of the 07′s when they were released last fall: http://winepeeps.com/2009/10/19/current-releases-from-fielding-hills-nefarious-and-saviah/. Cheers!

  4. RJ Bodah | November 1st, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    There are lots of merlots in washington, this has to be one of our favorities. Their wines show a sense of place I don’t see else where.

  5. Kori | November 1st, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    RJ,
    You are exactly right, the Fielding Hills wines definitely show a sense of place. Riverbend is a very special vineyard. Cheers!

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