Originally acquired as an apple and plum orchard, Old Stones is located along an ancient river bed covered with massive basalt cobblestones, similar to the profile of vineyards found in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of Southern France. These cobblestones go very deep into the soil and retain heat during the day to then radiate that heat back to the vines during the cooler evening hours. This rocky section of the AVA is producing some of the most distinct and sought after wines in the Walla Walla Valley, especially for Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Given the depth and complexity of this fruit, and its distinct aromatics and flavors, this Syrah is certainly destined for a single vineyard bottling in the future.
Old Stones was our very first estate vineyard planted on one of the rockiest sections of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. While still in its infancy, the fruit coming from this vineyard has incredible structure and consistency, and has the potential to be one of the best vineyards in our portfolio. This secluded, 15-acre site (a former apple and plum orchard) is fully planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, two different clones of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. Old Stones is named after the large, football-sized basalt cobblestones that make up the entire soil profile in this small section of the Walla Walla AVA.
Perhaps one of the most unique Syrah sites in the Walla Walla Valley, if not the entire state, wines from Forgotten Hills are big and ripe with terrific balance and healthy acidity. The expressive aromatics are consistent from vintage-to-vintage - dark plums, cassis, flint, game, salty/smoked meats and rich earthiness. Forgotten Hills is sustainably farmed and precision-managed in collaboration with our good friend, Justin Wylie, of Va Piano Vineyards.
Planted originally in 1996 by Jeff Hill on his family homestead, this mature 7.5-acre vineyard is at the eastern edge of the Walla Walla Valley appellation near the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The soils are composed of three different types: basalt cobblestones, deep silt loam and sandy loam. The cobbles provide excellent drainage and radiate heat that prolongs ripening during cool evenings. The silt loam allows vines to send roots deep into the soil and tap into native water supplies which reduces the need for irrigation. The sandy loam also offers excellent drainage and reduces pest pressures.
At almost 1,000 feet elevation, picking dates in the fall tend to be later than most other Walla Walla vineyards. This additional hang time produces fruit with ideal ripeness and complex phenolics. Canopy management is critical at this highly vigorous site, with more exposure allowed on the morning side of the rows and increased shade on the afternoon side. The steady, direct warm winds experienced in many parts of the Valley are seemingly non-existent at Forgotten Hills, allowing fewer extremes in temperature and that even ripening that we prefer for producing distinct and expressive wines.