Skip to main content

Review: Fidelitas 2009 Red Mountain Merlot

Red-Mountain-Merlot. Three words with deep meaning for those of us who know.

Last month I was in Portland, Oregon for the fifth annual Wine Bloggers Conference. There's a lot of wine poured and consumed at these events. A lot. So, why did I bring along a bottle of Fidelitas Red Mountain Merlot? It was my hope to find an opportunity to share this wonderful wine. A few quiet moments, and  a couple of fellow wine compatriots was all I needed to open this lovely bottle of Washington wine.

Photo: Empty bottle of Fidelitas 2009 Red Mountain Merlot.

Winemaker Charlie Hoppes has spent the past 20 + years as a leading winemaker for several noted Washington wineries. He was Assistant Winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, then Head Red Winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle's facility at Paterson, where he helped create the premium label for Col Solare's first two vintages. In 1999 Charlie worked to help start Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla. He created his own label Fidelitas wines in 2000. He my friends, makes wonderful wine.

Missed opportunities.

There were too many distractions in Portland over the ensuing five days of the conference. I have a vivid memory of a wild looking, laughing, Fred Dexheimer, Master Sommelier and mixologist (aka the “Juiceman"), making Pisco Sours in a hotel suite. Fred was entertaining three, long-legged, blondes, while Pisco and egg whites flew everywhere. I never did get my Pisco Sour. Another night I was with a couple of friends, we were outside on a balcony smoking Cohibas and drinking expensive California red wine. Another time, another suite, I was drinking New Zealand wines with people dressed in drag for a night of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Photo: Tango presented by Wines of Argentina.
Photo: Author Rex Pickett speaking at the Wine Bloggers Conference.

And on it went, Oregon wine in one suite, Italian wines in another, a room of Argentina wines and a couple dancing the Tango, and so on. It was a fantastic, five days of wine. But, no opportunity for me to open that bottle of Fidelitas Merlot in Portland. The Washington wine I brought to share went back in my car and came home with me.

Open me, drink me.

It was with mixed feelings when I decided to open the bottle at home. I could not resist, even though I felt a little sadness and a bit of chagrin when I pulled the cork on the Fidelitas Red Mountain Merlot.

Photo: Fidelitas 2009 Red Mountain Merlot.

Gazing into my glass of wine, the brooding color drew me in. It was deep, darkest, inky, blood red. Spill it and you'll look like a crime scene. I had wanted to share this wine with friends I see only once a year. Sniff.  Smelling the wine, my misgivings faded. Lovely Red Mountain juice, with aromas of spicy violets, rich tar, licorice, currant, nutmeg, pepper mill, root beer and sage, such an intoxicating aroma.

On the first taste of that precious Red Mountain Merlot, such a beautiful wine, my apprehension disappeared. I was lost in layers of dark fruit, blackberry, boysenberry, spice and espresso. It was  pleasantly dry, with a concentrated long finish. Who cares? It was luxurious. A shame to have to drink this decadent wine at home, all by myself. It was glorious.

Don't miss any opportunity to sample wines made by Charlie Hoppes. And put his Fidelitas winery on Red Mountain, on your must visit list. You owe it to yourself. This wine is: Recommended.

ABV 14.7%
100% Red Mountain Vineyard Merlot
Closure: Natural cork.
Price: $45 at the winery.
Production: 286 cases.

Red Mountain Vineyard lies in the geographical center of the Red Mountain AVA, the tiny appellation where Fidelitas calls home. Known for it’s south-west facing slopes, proximity to the Yakima River, hot days and cool nights, Red Mountain Vineyard produces fruit with incredible intensity and concentration.

When you stop by the tasting room, tell them Wild 4 Washington Wine sent you.

Tasting Room
Fidelitas on Red Mountain is open 11am to 5pm.
51810 N. Sunset Road, Benton City, WA 99320

There is a $5 tasting fee per person that can be waived with purchase.

Groups of 12 or more must schedule their tasting in advance to ensure the best experience for all guests.  Please contact the winery for more information: 509.588.3469 or



Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Recipe | Flourless Chocolate Torte

Satisfying those chocolate cravings. My Instagram followers have seen me post photos ( @wild4wawine ) of my favorite dessert for over a year. Possibly, I've posted the original recipe to Instagram. If you ask, I usually do. After success and failures, I've learned that this dessert does not always deliver desired results. With some effort, I've figured out why, and the remedy. Yes, I've been gently tweaking the recipe. Adjusting ingredients. Modifying and streamlining the process. With mixed results. Confiding with my wife, she gave me a tip that finally nailed this recipe down. I'm happy to share this recipe with modifications. It's truly a lovely dessert. My favorite. Enjoy responsibly. Just out of the oven flourless chocolate torte. Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Torte An easy recipe to follow. You will need an oven, mixer, spring form pan and a double boiler. While you can eat this torte warm, I prefer to let it cool down and refrigerate it

Chateau St. Michelle, Indian Wells, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

Good Wine, Happy Camper Fall is settling on us quite rapidly. Today, our sunny afternoon was framed by ominous dark clouds lurking on the horizon north of us. It‘s unsettling how quickly the cool weather descends on SE Washington. That touch of autumn sunshine put me in the mood for grilling steaks tonight. I‘ll embrace the sun when I can. But, what good is steak without wine? On my way home, I grabbed a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. On a whim, I bought a wine I would not usually purchase; it was priced on sale for less that $15. My expectations were not high for the wine, I was just hoping for something palatable. Chateau St. Michelle Chateau St. Michelle, is a Washington winery - an Eastern and Western Washington winery. The St. Michelle winery and tasting room is located in Woodinville, Washington, just across lake Washington from Seattle. However, this wine is made in Patterson, Washington, from Columbia Valley grapes (Indian Wells series) at their attractive Columbia Crest

The Best Sci-Fi Series You’re Not Watching. But I Am

The Ministry of Time/El Ministerio Del Tiempo History is under threat. Someone is attempting to alter the past. In response, a secret government organization is working to protect the sanctity of time. This group is the Ministry of Time. Agents of the ministry, are able to travel to different times and places via a deep well of stairs located in Madrid, Spain. From these stairs, innumerable doorways branch off to different periods of the past. Agents are recruited from other time periods, they work diligently to protect the history of Spain. And we get to go along for the thrilling ride. I’m changing up things today by recommending my favorite Spanish TV series. I found it accidentally, now I'm hooked. Improving my Spanish language comprehension Among my self-improvement efforts, there are many, one is to enhance my comprehension and speaking abilities of the Spanish language. With a neglected minor in Spanish, I’m embarrassed to have forgotten so much vocabulary and