Hedges Family Estate: French Flair on Red Mountain



By Kori ~ November 7th, 2011.

Hedges Family Estate, located on Red Mountain, is the largest family-owned winery in Washington State. Founders Tom and Anne-Marie Hedges created an export company called American Wine Trade in 1986 to sell wine to foreign importers. Out of that business came the establishment of a négociant-inspired wine called Hedges Cellars. Tom and Anne-Marie bought land on Red Mountain, planted vines, and built the chateau that is now home to their wine estate. Today, their estate vineyard is farmed biodynamically.

Tom was born in Richland, Washington, while Anne-Marie was born in Champagne, France. Both of their upbringings have influenced what Hedges Family Estate is today. They truly believe in the importance of place of origin and embrace the French concept of terroir. If you quickly glance at the labels on their wines, you might mistake them for French wines. Tom and Anne-Marie’s son, Christophe, designs the labels. He is also the national director of sales and marketing. Their daughter, Sarah Hedges Goedhart, is also involved in the business. She serves as assistant winemaker to her uncle Pete Hedges.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste some of the current releases from Hedges Family Estate in a blind samples tasting. To be perfectly honest, I was surprised to receive these samples. Hedges is notoriously opposed to having their wines rated, championing an anti-100 point Score Revolution. In fact, a representative from Hedges initially wrote to me asking, “Would you guys be interested in tasting our wines without scoring them?” My reply, in part, said, “…we have standard policies and procedures that we follow in evaluating wines sent as samples. While we do not utilize the 100-point scoring system, we do assign a Quality and QPR rating to wines we taste in our blind samples tastings. For more information about our policies and ratings, please refer to these pages on our site: Trade Samples and Wine Ratings. If you would like for us to taste your wines after reading this information, samples may be sent to…” Shortly thereafter, we received samples and handled them in the same manner as all other samples we receive.

Our favorite was the 2008 Red Mountain, followed closely by the 2009 DLD Syrah, and the 2010 House of Independent Producers Chardonnay. If you find yourself in the Red Mountain area, be sure to visit Hedges Family Estate to taste their wines for yourself.

2008 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain (Red Mountain, Washington): 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Malbec. Deep, dark purple. Aromatic with black cherry, blackberry, and black pepper on the nose. More black fruit, black pepper, and spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium 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 $25; Available elsewhere, $18 to $26

2009 DLD Syrah (Les Gosses Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): 100% Syrah. Deep, dark purple. Aromatic with blackberry syrup and oak on the nose. Blackberry, black plum, and licorice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and viscous with lively acidity, medium to high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25; Available elsewhere, $21 to $22

2010 House of Independent Producers Chardonnay (Dionysus Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Chardonnay. Pale greenish straw yellow. Nice nose with fresh citrus aromas. More citrus as well as honeysuckle, apple, and pear come through on the palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14; Available elsewhere, $11 to $15

2009 CMS Sauvignon Blanc by Hedges (Columbia Valley, Washington): 77% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay, and 3% Marsanne. Pale straw yellow. Aromatic with peach, grapefruit zest, and floral notes on both the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, slightly bitter finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14; Available elsewhere, $10 to $15


Filed under: American Wine, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. RJ Bodah | November 14th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Love that Hedges lost the one vineyard, two vineyard, three vineyard wines and have just a Red Mountain wine. The syrah is even a much better deal when you know its only the second release from the vineyard. Thinking its only up hill for Hedges now.

  2. Kori | November 16th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    RJ,
    Agreed. Good points. Cheers!

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