East of the Cascade mountains lies the sunny and parched side of the state where the days are warm and the nights are cool--near perfect conditions for creating "balanced" wines.
Like a red-painted nail at the tip of the long Yakima Valley finger, the Red Mountain is by far the smallest appellation in Washington. Hardly a "mountain," this rust-colored ridge comprises the warmest portion of the greater Yakima Valley.
The Red Mountain is bone-dry, averaging just 5 inches of rain per year. Many of the vines face south toward the Columbia Gorge, from which cool air rushes into the Columbia Valley. In the summer, the range in temperature between the high heat of the day and the coolest point of night can easily fluctuate by 40 degrees--a phenomenon that benefits the grapes by bringing acidity and ripe fruit flavors into greater balance. This warm, south-facing appellation is becoming known for well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sangiovese do well here, too.