2017 Dead Canyon Ranch Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet
Unlike some wine regions of Washington State, such as Red Mountain – which is neither a mountain nor red—the Horse Heaven Hills are exactly as advertised. Beautiful rolling hills that hearken back to a romantic vision of the Wild West, complete with the Columbia River Gorge providing a dramatic backdrop (literally) of up to 4,000 feet.
The early pioneers of these hills discovered great ranching, but almost all of that dried up in the 1900s when fierce winds and brutal temperatures in eastern Washington scored the earth for nearly a decade. Most people left when all the crops died, which gives way to the lonesome name of this particular plot in the Horse Heaven Hills – Dead Canyon Ranch.
It took several generations but one day, in the late 1970s, a farmer got a wild idea. This land that pretty much nobody thought was good for anything, might just be a place where dark thick-skinned grapes might want to grow. After all, if you look into the annuls of viticultural history, grapes are generally planted in the harshest (or maybe marginal is a more friendly word) places. Why? Because when they struggle, they make exceptional wine, of great character.
Thus came the rebirth of farming in the Horse Heaven Hills, and the birth of Washington State’s wine industry. Combining exceptional black-skinned Cabernet grapes with an intense terroir resulted in world-attention-grabbing wines. The tradition continues to this day:
The 2017 vintage of Dead Canyon Ranch’s Cabernet elicits more than a few “wows” when you smell the powerful notes of blackcurrant, blackberry, and voluptuous blueberry fruit. That is backed up by classic secondary aromas of graphite, pain grille and touches of roasted black truffles. The midpalate offers a seamless, soft and savory mouthfeel that is coating in its richness. A gutsy wine, this Cabernet leaves a signature of perfectly integrated tannins. The flavor alone is sure to dazzle – but if your friends ever saw the price, then it’d be a real head-turner!
Horse Heaven Hills in Washington State is one of the great places to be growing Cabernet – taste and see for yourself.