It was a great day when the subdivision welcome committee came to our home a few weeks after we moved to the Pacific Northwest for three reasons: (1) the “committee” was a lovely couple who quickly became our friends; (2) they showed up with Camano Island Coffee (seriously good coffee); and (3) they told us about Kiona Vineyards Lemberger (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. Kiona refers to their Lemberger as “Pinot Noir on steroids” which is a great description because it has more guts than Pinot Noir, can be enjoyed by itself and has the ability of a Barbera or a blend to pair with a ton of different foods.
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. I’m not a spokesperson for them, I just want you to drink good wine! Look for Kiona in your local wine shop or order online, you will not be disappointed.