The mountain is named for Ben Snipes, a cattle baron. Long before he settled the area in 1850, the Yakima River flowed over a plateau creating the rocky soils we see on the mountain today. Over many centuries, a geologic uplift pushed these soils to the levels currently seen on the mountain. Todd explained the mountain’s various temperature zones and soil types allow him loads of flexibility in varietal selection.
With all this in mind, we moved on to tasting some Upland wines. Our first pour was a clean, refreshing, white, a 2010 Gewürztraminer. Next was the 2009 Chardonnay – an interesting wine blended with 11% Aligoté for acidity. Apparently this is a common practice in the Burgundy
region of France but somewhat unique to Upland here in Washington State. We tasted the final offering – a 2008 Bordeaux blend called Teunis. The name comes from Todd’s great-great grandfather, Teunis Johannes, and has a tragic history to its introduction.
Moving down the mountain, we visited a Thompson seedless grape vine that was one of the first vines planted on the mountain in 1914 – old and gnarly with luscious sweet-grape clusters. The vine is depicted on Upland’s label.
We next moved to DavenLore Winery in the hills south of Prosser. Here winemaker Gordon Taylor entertained us while we sat on the lawn eating our Grill on Gage lunches. We learned he was from Ontario, Canada, and had worked in food processing-related industries before entering the wine industry.
We tasted his 2011 DavenLore Dry Riesling and an Upland Estates 2009 Julian Rhône red blend. Next, the winery’s 2011 and 2012 Tempranillo, and of most interest, the 2012 Recovery Red – a blend sold in a refillable bottle. The blend changes frequently, so it’s “surprise time” with each refill. The 2011 Tempranillo sparked my fancy; had to buy a few!
Back on the road at 2:30 p.m. and at the car at 3:00 p.m. A great trip; many thanks to the organizers.
Keith Snider, Member, TCWS