The vineyard is planted in small blocks (block=about 5 acres) that follow the topography and soil types allowing for consistent management of the vines in the blocks. Careful micromanagement of the vineyard by an experienced and highly dedicated staff allows the vines to perform at their optimum level, producing the best fruit.
Terra Blanca has always been very research-oriented to find the very best fit of varietal and clone to the site.
Grapes Grown on our Estate
What’s the difference between Syrah and Shiraz? -- Nothing, really, although there is a thought that wines labeled as Syrah are more elegant in style, while Shiraz indicates a fruitier, full body and higher alcohol wine.
We have three different clones, or types, of this grape: Hermitage, Cote Rotie (rare for Washington state) and the Phelps clone (common in Washington state). In France, this grape is most associated with the Rhone region and the wines of Hermitage.
• Deep in colors
• Black fruit (blackberry), spice, pepper
• In warm climates, full bodied with soft tannins, earthy, leather, spice
• Ages well
The grape people tend to associate with red wine. Its aromas reflect the place in which it is grown making it a great wine to learn about Red Mountain’s unique properties. In particular, it can be more cherry on warm Red Mountain, although the classic blackcurrant and blackberries are there too. There is rarely ever a smell of green pepper because grapes ripen so well.
• Buds late, so often protected again an unexpected frosts—a rarity on warm Red Mountain, but a significant benefit in a colder vintage such as 2010 and 2011.
• Grape clusters are loose with thick skins, high skin to pulp ration
• Insect and fungus resistant
• Full bodies, high acid, tannic wines that age well
Ignore what you may have heard about Merlot in the movie “Sideways” when you think about Red Mountain Merlot. In the movie, they make fun of it because for a while, many unremarkable Merlots were created in places like California.
• From our estate, Merlot is a heady drink of plum, cherry and velvet tannins.
• In Bordeaux, it forms the basis for world class St Emilion and Pomerol wines.
• Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon
• Can be harvested early for greater acid and brighter fruit flavors (as in our Arch Terrace Merlot) or harvested a bit later for the deep plummy flavors and full-bodied style of our Signature Series Merlot.
Perfume and finesse are the hallmarks of our estate Cabernet Franc.
• Flowers early, ripens early
• Fragrant, juicy light tannin wines
• Ages well
• We use Cabernet Franc for blending in ONYX, however Keith made his first 100% variety in 2008 and released in 2011. It sold out within six months of release.
A little grape with a big impact.
• Needs very hot weather in order to fully ripen
• Deep color, tannic wine
• Used in a blend to add tannin and color, which is why it features in ONYX
• A fractional amount can completely alter a wine. Don’t believe it? Compare the ’07 and ’06 ONYX.
A grape by any other name. Variously called Auxerrois, Cot or Malbeck, it is normally a part of Bordeaux blends.
• Our Red Mountain Malbecs are fruit-forward, medium tannic wines
• White pepper on the finish.
• Referred to in house as “pizza wine” because it actually goes really well with pizza. And barbeque. And just about anything else we tend to eat on the weekends.
At home in Northwest Italy, but on our estate it nestles happily on the sunny slope to the left of the driveway.
• Late ripening
• Thin skinned, so light colored wines
• Susceptible to disease
• Low yield
• Red fruit, rose licorice, high acid, high tannin
• Ages brilliantly
• We don’t make it often, but look for Altimissimo. Nebbiolo is blended with our Cabernet Sauvignon for an incredibly gorgeous blend.
We grow this to create our version of the Super Tuscan, Pantheon.
• High in acid and tannin
• Medium alcohol
• Fruit runs from earthy to blueberry to sour cherry
• Affinity for oak
From the northwest of Italy, Keith will make a single varietal wine from Barbera.
•High acid low tannin
•Sour cherry and savory notes
It’s planted but Keith hasn’t decided to make a wine from it yet.
• Tannin with low acidity
• Damson plum
• Best to drink in its youth
• Seldom aged in oak
Originally from the eponymous Maconnais village, this white grape reflects the climate wherever it's planted in unique ways.
Non-aromatic grape; that means that qualities of the vineyard and the winemaking choices Keith will have profound, unique affects on the wine.
For example, our Arch Terrace Chardonnay undergoes a limited amount of “malolactic fermentation” or a second fermentation that adds butter and creamy qualities to the wine, whereas our Block 5 Chardonnay undergoes a complete second fermentation.
Another winemaking choice is oak. The Arch Terrace Chardonnay is aged for a short time in neutral French oak, our Block 5 spends up to 16 months [X months sur lie (or lying on its lees, another word for the spent yeast) in new French oak. The latter adds toasty vanilla and flinty minerality.
Red Mountain Chardonnays are tropical with citrus and pineapple flavors. They can be very full bodied
Marsanne & Roussanne
We put these varieties together because they are both white varietals that originate from the Rhone region in France and are both the only whites that can be added to red wine. They are often co-fermented with Syrah to stabilize the deep color and provide another dimension to the aromas. Roussanne can be a bit tricky to grow, but the aromas and acidity create a spectacular wine. Marsanne, which you can find in our 2010 Marsanne, is a rich, full-bodied white with scents of flowers and almonds.