Even though McKinley Springs’s vineyards supply 5% of Washington’s wine grapes, it is still a family business. In 1945 George and Mabel Sith purchased the land and farmed wheat for 35 years before planting their first vineyard in 1980.
For the past 34 years their grandson, Rob Andrews, has been quietly tending to the 2,000 acres of vineyards by Prosser, WA. About 600 acres will be planted with wine grapes over the next three years.
Within this sizable operation there are 200 blocks with 22 varieties of grapes – Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot mainly, but Barbera and Muscat along with some other less common varieties.
McKinley Springs 2011 Viognier
Starting with fruit from Horse Heaven Hills puts a good foot forward with this Viognier. Estate fruit is fermented in stainless steel with surlie aging. The result is tropical aromas with scents of rose petal and a flavor hint of Ceamsicle and a mineral backbone. This crisp wine leans to lime and apricot making it perfect for a green salad with prosciutto and blue cheese or some grilled shrimp.
Average price $16
McKinley Springs 2010 Malbec
Horse Heaven Hills again serves as the foundation for this inky black beauty. The estate fruit for this selection offer up a perfect acidity that would pair well with grilled lamb or chili.
With flavors of elegant dark fruit ranging from currents and black raspberries to blueberries the dense flavors finish off with a good tannic structure and a hint of pepper.
88 points Wine Spectator.
Average price $24
McKinley Springs 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Again the Horse Heaven Hills fruit supports the finely balanced garnet red finished product.
Made with original “old block” 1980-planted fruit blended with new block estate fruit has scents of the earth – sage brush, cinnamon and flavors of plum and black current.
The dusty tannins scream for a fatty cowboy cut Ribeye or tomato sauce slathered pasta.
Average price $24