Chateau Champoux: Washington's Finest Wines
A few miles after the turn-off to the north onto Alderdale Road, a brown sign announces the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, which was founded in 2005. On Washington Route 14, which borders the Columbia River, southbound, travelers will see the first sign of Chateau Championoux on the left, near the intersection with Washington State Route 13.
Not far away, wine travelers will see the vineyards stretching across the gently sloping hills of Horse Heaven Hills. They do not make wine, but they have a tasting room at Chateau Champoux where wine lovers can taste wines from their grapes. He makes his wine at his own Coyote Canyon Winery, located in the Winemaker Loft in Prosser's wine-growing village. McKinley Springs Vineyard grows more than 23 different wines, following a long history of excellent viticulture. The grapes are sold to some of the most prestigious winemakers in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mercer Ranch Effect
The vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills, called Canoe Ridge Vineyard, is part of Precept Wine, which owns 181 acres of vineyards. Michelle, who makes wines from grapes from the Canoes Ridge Estate, has achieved scores of 90 or more in more than 40 vintages.
Today, the Mercer family cultivates over 2,000 hectares of grapes destined for bottling. This makes Champoux Vineyard one of the largest vineyards in the state of Washington.
Horse Heaven Hills
Horse Heaven Hills supplies 25% of Washington's grapes, and the bulk is bought by Chateau Ste. Michelle. Most wineries age red wines and release bottles that are ready to drink, while reserve wines take 5-6 years to show their best side.
As well as selling the fruit, most of the winemakers are dedicated to producing wine for their own labels. Paul Champoux runs his own winery, Chateau Ste. Louis, who supplies grapes to some of Washington's leading winemakers, including Will Will. Nevertheless, the most sought after grapes in the region are the red wines such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, as well as the white wines.
Dramatic Increases in Wine Quality
As Mike Januik puts it: "Champoux Vineyards is a world-class vineyard, and we would be much better off if we were to focus on wine production. " Paul has been instrumental in making this possible in Washington state.
At the time, Champoux Vineyard was one of the most successful vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The estate in Horse Heaven Hills consistently produced wines of exceptional depth, complexity, and elegance.