Wineries of America
Blackthorn Mountain Winery
There are myriad home winemakers, but few break through to the commercial realm. The regulatory paperwork is daunting. The equipment needed is costly. Despite this, Alistair and Sally Sloley of Black Diamond followed their guts (and discerning palates) and launched Blackthorn Mountain Winery in 2005. Producing approximately 500 cases annually, their winery is tiny when compared to other commercial wineries. The Sloleys take pride in Blackthorn Mountain’s reputation as an “artisan winery.”
Their winemaking style relies on old-world techniques, including sustained maceration and extended lees aging, also known as sur lie aging. Rather than racking the wine or transferring it to a clean barrel for aging, the fermented wine remains in its original barrel and matures on the gooey muck (or “lees”) on the bottom of the barrel. Reds and whites are aged in neutral oak. The effect is an amazingly different wine-tasting profile that few Washington wineries emulate. Perhaps closest in taste would be the wines of White Heron Cellars, Saintpaulia Vintners, and Black Canyon Vintners, which rely on similar winemaking styles.
|Winemaker: Alistair Sloley|
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