Kitzke Cellars Candy Mountain, Washington

Since I am a huge fan of Red Mountain, I have been very eager to try wine from Candy Mountain. They are so close to each other that I thought that the wines would be very similar, but I could not have been more wrong.

Since we were heading that way for an event at another winery that we belong to, I emailed Audrey of Kitzke Cellars and asked her if we could stop by for a tasting. She could not have been any nicer. We set up to meet Seth and do a tasting. Currently, the tasting room is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Around 2000 the Kitzke’s planted a small vineyard of Bordeaux varietals on Candy Mountain. The first vintage was made in 2005. Seth, their son, took over as winemaker in 2016. Seth has worked at K Vintners/Charles Smith Wines as well as Brian Carter Cellars.
Seth was super enthusiastic and very informative giving us as much information as we wanted. He even had rock samples to show us how Red Mountain is basalt (which has good moisture retention and more fertility) and Candy Mountain is caliche (which is sand, silt, clay and gravel). So the Candy Mountain wine has a very different, more minerality flavor. Seth also talked about the higher winds which cause the grapes grow thicker skins giving the wine a richer color and texture. Strong winds can also dry the grapes and concentrate their aromas and sugar.

I did like that Kitzke does not use herbicides. They also do not add any additives like proteins or tannin or artificial colors to their wines. I have experienced terrible headaches after drinking a single glass of wine that has been “boosted” with additives. For me, the more natural the better.

The day we visited we tasted the following wines:
2017 Reserve Field Blend– Excellent. Loved this and purchased a bottle – $65/bottle
2017 Petit Verdot – Rich and complex – a nice wine at a reasonable price – $45/bottle
2018 Cabernet Franc – This was another winner for us. A bit more minerality – $49/bottle
Seth and his wife Audrey also founded Upside Down Wine. They will be opening a tasting room in Cle Elum this summer. We were fortunate enough to also taste a couple of those wines as well.
2022 Rescue Red – A good value. $24/bottle
2021 Marsanne-Roussanne – Very nice mouth-feel. Quite complex.
2021 Sages Red Wine – Wine Advocate gave this wine a 95.

This is a great stop on your wine tasting itinerary. Small, boutique with very nice wines. If you are like I was and think this could be a Red Mountain clone – think again. 😊

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