February’s Wine of the Month is the 2014 Kiona Red Mountain Lemberger. Often called the “pinot noir of the east” because of its popularity in Central and Eastern Europe, Kiona produced the first commercial Lemberger in the State of Washington in 1980. The 2014 Lemberger has aromas of dark ripe cherries, blackberries and spice, and tends to become more velvety, supple and complex with age. Lemberger pairs perfectly with lamb and an assortment of grilled meats, including – surprisingly – hamburgers! (We suggest you caramelize some onions for those burgers, and add a splash of the Lemberger to the pan before they reach that deep, dark golden brown – you won’t be sorry!)
Both the cofounder and original owner of Kiona, John Williams, and his son Scott, the current vineyard manager, each received their engineering degrees from WSU. Today, the winery works extensively with the WSU Wine Science Center in Richland, conducting experiments to determine optimum water-delivery methods for the grape vines to ensure maximum fruit production.