Part 10, Washington State: visiting one of North America's leading wine growing regions

Sarah Goedhart and Boo Walker, Hedges

Ah, what a visit. The energy was good, the people lovely, the wines were good, and we had a good feed. The sort of visit I love.


Hedges is one of those wineries that has a slightly quirky feel to it, in a nice way. Look at the labels!  The strapline: Guardians of Red Mountain. This is because Hedges is a champion of the Red Mountain AVA, where owners Tom Hedges and Anne-Marie Liégois purchased 40 acres back in 1989 to begin their estate winery.


The Hedges name dates back two years earlier than this, to 1987. Tom and Ann-Marie had just begun an export negociant business called American Wine Trade. They used the name Hedges Cellars to label a wine that they'd sourced for a Swedish client. This client wanted a container of wine that hadn't been affected by Chernobyl fall out, and so the Hedges sourced a Cabernet/Merlot from Washington State for them. This was enough to get Tom and Anne-Marie into the Washington wine business – they began buying fruit, then vineyards, and finally they built their own winery in 1995.


Anne-Marie hails from the Champagne region. Marcel Dupont, her grandfather, was involved in the French Resistance, and his name turns up on one of the wines.


Anne-Marie's daughter, Sarah Goedhart, is now the chief winemaker. Her older brother Christophe is the general manager, and he also designs the labels. The wines here are made in quite a European style. 'We tend to stay below 14% alcohol and harvest earlier than others,' she explains. 'We're never really chasing high scores. We are looking for subtlety and finesse.'


These days, Hedges have 120 acres planted on Red Mountain, and around 10% of the fruit is sold. They've begun moving their vineyards to biodynamics, and 40% of the area is now farmed this way. 'We're all in on biodynamics,' says Boo Walker, communications director, who hosted our visit along with Sarah. Boo is a celebrated banjo player and has also written novels. He gave me a signed copy of his latest, which was a nice touch. 


The wine portfolio divides in two. There are wines from bought-in fruit, and then there are the Hedges Family Estate wines. Both sets of wines are really good, and they also represent great value for money, too.



Hedges HIP Chardonnay 2012 Columbia Valley, Washington State
From the Dionysus Vineyard, this styled on Chablis. Lovely texture here. Lively and pure with citrus and pear fruit as well as a bit of subtle spiciness. Very fresh. Unoaked. 90/100

Hedges CMS White 2014 Columbia Valley, Washington State
Sauvignon Blanc. Textured and pure with nice pear and citrus fruit. Shows finesse with purity and a bit of richness. 89/100

Hedges CMS Red 2012 Columbia Washington State
This was the first commercial red blend out of Washington State, in 1987. Sweet, supple and warm. Nicely elegant with a bit of spiciness. Supple and a bit juicy with nice elegance. It's a bit Rh
ône-like, even. 91/100

Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain 2011 Washington State
Fresh, focused blackcurrant nose with some spiciness. Lovely fresh style with a European-style blackcurrant, black cherry and plum fruit palate. This has nice minerally, gravelly structure, and it's fabulous. 94/100

Goedhart Family Syrah 2011 Red Mountain, Washington State
Sarah Hedges-Goedhart's own garagiste Syrah from the Bel Villa vineyard. Supple, elegant and fresh with ripe cherry and raspberry fruit as well as a hint of pepper. There's a nice savoury twist to this wine which is quite elegant and restrained. 93/100

Anne-Marie Liégois Hedges Cuvée DLD (Descendants Liegeois Dupont) Syrah 2012 Red Mountain, Washington State
Peppery, spicy black fruits nose with lovely freshness. Vital and peppery with black cherries, minerals and spices. Meaty and savoury with intense fruit and amazing finesse and detail. Nicely reductive. 95/100

Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain 2013 Washington State
Lively, sweet, supple and ripe with lovely silky black cherry and blackberry fruit. Ripe yet stylish with subtle peppery notes. Quite delicious with some feral hints. 93/100

Hedges Family Estate La Haute Cuvée 2012 Red Mountain, Washington State
This is the first biodynamic Washington State Cabernet, and the first biodynamic wine from Red Mountain. Sweet, fine, fresh and quite grippy. Firmly tannic with supple fruit and real density to the focused blackcurrant fruit. The fruit is sweet, but it has an attractive savoury twist. Stylish and dense with massive potential. 94/100

Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Reserve 1998 Washington State
Gravelly with hints of mint, blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Stylish and gravelly with nice savouriness, and beginning to show some maturity. Still grippy, this is lovely. 93/100

UK Agent: Roberson Wine

Columbia Winery
De Lille
WT Vintners
Savage Grace
Chateau Ste Michelle
Andrew Will
Airfield Estates
Milbrandt Vineyards
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Col Solare
Powers/Badger Mountain
J Bookwalter
Pacific Rim
Gordon Estate
Long Shadows
Seven Hills
Charles Smith
Geology with Kevin Pogue
Woodward Canyon
Gramercy Cellars
L'Ecole No 41
Columbia Crest
Memaloose/Idiot's Grace
COR Cellars

Wines tasted 06/15  
Find these wines with


Back to top