Washington Wine AVAs: Columbia Gorge

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Columbia Gorge
Columbia Gorge AVA is found near the Columbia River in the states of Washington and Oregon. This AVA can produce high-quality wines. It contains a wide range of different terriors within a relatively small area, in part due to the nearby Mt Hood and Mt Adams. The elevations range from just above sea level to nearly 2000 feet (about 609 meters) and are usually higher on the Washington side of the Columbia river. The mountains cool the dry desert air and the river moistens it. The Oregon side is cooler and wetter and is suited for crisp white wines. The wide regional diversity means over 30 grape varieties are planted here including Syrah, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner, Zinfandel, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese and Riesling. The local motto is "A world of wine in 40 miles".

Horse Heaven Hills Washington Vineyards

Horse Heaven Hills Washington Vineyards

Columbia Valley
Columbia Valley AVA is located in the south-east of Washington State and the north-east of Oregon. It contains most of Washington's smaller AVAs. Given its latitude during the summer it has two daylight than California's wine regions, adding to the grapes flavors. In this region the days are hot and the nights are cool, helping the grapes ripen with good acidity. Irrigation is often required. Grapes include Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.

Horse Heaven Hills
Horse Heaven Hills AVA is located within the larger Columbia Valley AVA in Washington State. Its finest vineyards are found on the banks of the Columbia River, whose powerful winds which cool the vines. Local elevations vary between 300 and 1800 feet (about 90 to 550 meters). Low annual rainfall means irrigating the well-drained, sandy, loam soil. Robert Parker's first non-California 100 rating honored a local Cabernet Sauvignon. Other grapes grown here include Syrah, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan AVA is located in north-central Washington. It englobes about 24 thousand acres ( a bit less than 10 thousand hectares) within the Columbia Valley AVA and carries the name of a glacial lake. a long growing season and a reduced risk of frost. The deep, free-draining glacial soils are sandy and include pumice, quartz, and mica. The most red grapes are Syrah, Merlot and Malbec for reds; their white cousins include Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.

Rattlesnake Hills
Rattlesnake Hills AVA englobes almost 70 thousand acres (27 thousand hectares) in Washington State. It is contained within the Yakima Valley AVA, in turn is contained within the Columbia Valley AVA. Most grapes are planted at altitudes less than 2000 feet (about 600 meters) and benefit from moderate temperatures during the growing season due to the nearby Cascade Mountain Range Hills. Winter temperatures may be several degrees warmer than neighboring regions. Popular grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Red Mountain
Red Mountain AVA englobes almost 70 thousand acres (27 thousand hectares) in Washington State. It is at the eastern end of the Yakima Valley AVA, in turn is contained within the Columbia Valley AVA. It englobes only slightly more than 4000 acres (over 1600 hectares), but is home to some of Washington State's most prestigious wines. The local altitude varies from 500 to 1500 feet (about 150 to 450 meters) above sea level. This is the sunniest area in the Columbia Valley and the summer nights are cool. There is very little rain occuring during the growing season. The loam soils contain a lot of gravel and sand and the grapes are much smaller (up to 60%) than normal, which leads to tannic red wines with concentrated fruit flavors. The best-known grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and one of the wines got a rare 100 rating from Robert Parker back in 2002 and 2003. Other popular varieties include Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Sangiovese.

Snipes Mountain
Snipes Mountain AVA is part of the Yakima Valley AVA itself part of the Columbia Valley AVA . This AVA occupies slightly more than 4 thousand acres (about 1600 hectares) in southeastern Washington. The best vineyards are planted at more than 750 feet (about 225 meters) above sea level. The rocky soils were once river beds. Popular grape varieties include Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir.

Wahluke Slope
Wahluke Slope AVA occupies about 80 thousand acres (approximately 330 square kilometers) within the Columbia Valley AVA of southeastern Washington State (and northwestern Oregon). Its free-draining soils are sandy and gravelly and the climate is mild and arid. Popular grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, and Chardonnay.

Walla Walla Valley
Walla Walla Valley AVA is part of the Columbia Valley AVA of southeastern Washington State and northwestern Oregon. This valley was formed by glaciers and contains rich, silty soils and massive boulders. It is framed by the Cascades and the Blue Mountains that moderate the climate and provide cool summer nights to go with the hot summer days. Popular grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay.

Yakima Valley
Yakima Valley AVA is part of the Columbia Valley AVA of southeastern Washington State (and northwestern Oregon). This valley was formed by glaciers and contains silty loam soils framed by the Cascade Mountains. Popular grape varieties include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Riesling.


      
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