The inspiration for 14 Hands wines refers to the wild mustangs that once roamed the hills of eastern Washington State. These were small horses, measuring a scant 14 hands high, and they would travel down from the hills every day to drink from the Columbia River and graze upon the riverbank grasses. They were strong and had excellent endurance.
The original winery is in Paterson, Wash. The latest vineyard is located in Prosser is located at the base of the Horse Heaven Hills appellation, which is along the southern edge of the Columbia Valley, north of the state line between Washington and Oregon.
Keith Kenison, 14 Hands vintner, has been making wines in Washington state for more than 15 years. He states: “I take a practical approach to winemaking and let the fruit express itself. I guide it to its final destination with as few manipulations as possible, making every decision by taste because, ultimately, that’s what matters to the person buying a bottle. I love making a style of wine that I enjoy and experience.”
14 Hands offers varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Moscato. They have two blends: the Hot to Trot Red and a Hot to Trot White.
Reserve wines were introduced in 2012, in limited quantities and sold exclusively online. These are the Reserve Red Blend, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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The Wine: 2011 14 Hands Chardonnay
The Vintner says:
This Chardonnay displays aromas and flavors of fresh apple with subtle hints of vanilla and buttery caramel. On the palate, notes of sweet oak and spice give way to a soft, lingering finish. It’s 89% Chardonnay augmented with other aromatic varieties.
The Critics say:
“Lots of fruity taste with pineapple flavor that is just right. Very soft in the mouth.” — www.wine.com
The Gazette says:
A nice gold color, with a faint nose of anise and honeysuckle. The medium bodied wine is silky, with initial flavors of pear, melon (cantaloupe?) and light oak. A delicate chard, sweeter than most.