It was a great day when the subdivision welcome committee came to our home, over a year ago now, for three reasons: (1) the “committee” was a lovely couple who became our friends; (2) they showed up with Camano Island Coffee (seriously good coffee); and (3) they told us about Kiona Vineyards Estate Bottled Lemberger wine (seriously good wine).
Kiona Vineyards and Winery was established in 1975 in the Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Washington and has over 200 acres of vineyards. Kiona (pronounced Kigh-Oh-Na, meaning brown hills) produces approximately 30,000 cases of wine annually utilizing “environmental stewardship” in both the vineyards and cellar.
Lemberger (not to be confused with Limburger, the stinky cheese) is an obscure varietal hailing from Austria where it is known as “blaufränkisch.” Kiona Vineyards led the way in determining this varietal to be well suited to Washington’s climate and produced the first Lemberger wine in the United States in 1980. The Lemberger grape produces a delightful, medium bodied wine exhibiting red fruit, especially red cherry, with a good balance of earthiness and spice. Lemberger is often considered Washington’s equivalent of California Zinfandel, and Kiona refers to their Lemberger as “Pinot Noir on steroids.”
Kiona Vineyards has received numerous accolades for its wine and in particular, Lemberger. Wine Enthusiast gave Kiona’s 2012 Lemberger 90 points stating it’s flavor is “built upon chocolate and cherries with dusty tannins.” I have yet to try a Kiona wine I don’t like. In fact, I’ve been known to buy their wine by the case and their Lemberger is a staple in my home.
Just a reminder, it is "Washington Wine Month" so it is a good time to stock up on Kiona wine!