Hightower Cellars is a Red Mountain favorite of mine that gets a perennial visit due in large part to the husband-and-wife owners and winemakers, Tim and Kelly Hightower. They make touring and tasting wines in this area an absolute pleasure.
The Hightowers had the foresight to buy 15 acres in this now world-famous Washington appellation in 2002. I've followed the growth of their 10 acres of estate vineyards since they were planted in 2004 and it's safe to say these have matured into some of the region's finest.
Two Hightower wines I enjoyed as of late absolutely blew me away, especially the 2010 Murray Red (about $20). Despite the Columbia Valley label designation, all of the fruit for this wine was sourced from Red Mountain vineyards.
The 2010 Murray is a delicious Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, petit verdot and cabernet franc. There's a pleasant, wet stone, mineral-like aroma - indicative of Red Mountain terroir - that leads off and follows through to the finish. In between, this overachieving red wine offers generous, mouthwatering boysenberry and blueberry flavors that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Also a pleasure to taste is the 2010 Merlot (about $25). Subtle black cherry, plum and currant flavors are complemented with a 15 percent contribution of malbec, which gives it a gentle but distinct brambly, blackberry finish. Here, the Hightowers show how attention-to-detail winemaking can result in an excellent wine despite a challenging, cooler vintage.