If you have never tasted Fidelitas Wines crafted by Charlie Hoppes, you don’t know what you’re missing. We first met Charlie more than 15 years ago at wine events such as Taste Washington and Auction of Washington Wines. Subsequently, we visited his Red Mountain tasting room for the first time in 2009. We returned many times over the years, and also frequented his Woodinville location when we lived in Seattle. So we were delighted to travel to Red Mountain in April, chat with Charlie and taste his excellent wines.
The Story of Fidelitas Wines
Fidelitas owner Charlie Hoppes is one of Washington’s most respected winemakers. There’s a reason why Seattle Magazine named him Winemaker of the Year 2013. Consequently, Auction of Washington Wines named him Honorary Vintner in 2018 (pictured at the event with his son, Will). Above all, Charlie brings almost 35 years of knowledge to every bottle. As a result, numerous Washington wineries ask Wine Boss, his consulting business, to produce their artisan wines.
Moreover, Fidelitas is a multi-generational winery. Charlie recently turned the reins of Fidelitas Managing Director to Will. Charlie transitioned to the role of Director of Winemaking and Vineyards. Meanwhile, Head Winemaker Mitch Venohr now leads the day-to-day operations. These changes mean Charlie can hang out more often with people in the tasting rooms, which he told us he really enjoys. You can find Charlie’s full story on the winery’s website.
Fidelitas Library Wines
According to Charlie, “Fidelitas is faithful to Bordeaux grape varieties, loyal to modern craft winemaking techniques, and true to the terroir of Red Mountain AVA.” So it’s no surprise that we have loved Fidelitas wines over many years. During our April trip, we purchased two library wines, 2013 Optu Red Mountain and 2013 Ciel du Cheval VIneyard Cabernet Franc. We tasted both these wines in earlier vintages and look forward to seeing how they’ve evolved over the years.
Fidelitas Cabernet Franc Red Mountain Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2013
We enjoyed the 2010 vintage of this Cabernet Franc, so we were happy to find a 2013 in Charlie’s library selection. This 100% Cab Franc showcases the true expression of the grape, with lush notes of plums, blueberries, herbs, spices and chocolate. Planted in 1975, the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard is the second oldest vineyard on Red Mountain. Bring on the BBQ. This is expected to be the last year in its drinking window.
Fidelitas Optu Red Mountain 2013
As mentioned, we also took home the library wine Optu Red Mountain 2013. This Bordeaux-style red is sourced from six vineyards. And it shines. Cabernet Sauvignon (74%) is blended with Merlot (17%), Cabernet Franc (7%) and Petit Verdot (3%). Aromas of espresso, cherries, raspberries and spice lead into flavors of more spices, blackberries and plums. And a hint of minerality also runs through this wine. We plan to open this beauty soon. According to Fidelitas, it will age through 2025.
Our friendly and knowledgeable host, Bryce Appleby, poured these recent releases for us in the tasting room and entertained us with his stories.
Fidelitas Optu White 2019 ($35) blends 63% Sauvignon Blanc with 37% Sémillon. This vintage was fermented both in new and used French oak, as well as in a concrete egg. We tasted tropical fruits from the Sémillon and citrus notes from the Sauvignon Blanc.
Fidelitas Merlot Red Mountain 2017 ($45) is 100% Merlot from four vineyards, including old vine fruit from Kiona’s 1975 block and Red Mountain Vineyard’s 1990 planting. We tasted blackberries and cherries.
Fidelitas Red Mountain Malbec 2018 ($45) is 100% Malbec from five Red Mountain vineyards. We tasted notes of raspberries, dark fruit and spice.
Fidelitas Cabernet Sauvignon Quintessence Vineyard 2017 ($70) is distinctively different than the other Cabs in the Fidelitas lineup. Will considers it to be “arguably one of the best wines we make each year.” We tasted blackberries, plums and spices. Where’s the steak?
In conclusion, Fidelitas Wines should be on everyone’s list of must-stop places to visit in Washington wine country. Put together beautiful Red Mountain fruit and excellent winemaker Charlie Hoppes and what do you get? A slice of Fidelitas heaven in a glass. Or two.
Previous stories about Fidelitas Wines
- Our Favorite Washington Wineries (2020)
- Our Favorite Washington Wineries (2019)
- 31st Auction of Washington Wine (2018)
- Woodinville Wineries (2016)
- Seven Washington Cabs (2015)
- Fidelitas Cabernet Heaven (2013)
- Special Wines for New Year’s Eve (2013)
- Fantastic Fidelitas (2011)
- Our First Visit to Fidelitas Red Mountain (2009)
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Margot and Dave