General Winery Reviews

"About 210 miles from Seattle is the Red Mountain area...Don't leave the region without sipping the hard-to-find wines of Hightower Cellars..."
   -Alice Feiring, Time Magazine

"Tim and Kelly Hightower make small amounts of high-quality, handcrafted Cabernet Sauvignon. They focus on grapes from such fine vineyards as Boushey, Artz, Pepper Bridge, and Alder Ridge as they produce the wines from vine to the bottle. Best Bets: Cabernet Sauvignon. Hightower's first wine is a Cab with small amounts of Merlot blended in. The result is a red wine of distinction with wonderful depth, power and grace."
   -Andy Perdue, Northwest Wine Guide, A Buyer's Handbook

"Service only a smaller winery can provide ... A perfect example is Hightower Cellars, located in Eastern Washington's Red Mountain growing region. Tim and Kelly Hightower literally run the entire winemaking process from start to finish. They're also wonderful hosts and you'll be hard pressed to find a nicer pair of people in the wine business."
   -Dan Radil, Bellingham Herald

2011 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is a solid, yet straightforward effort that offers up plenty of smoke, char, asphalt, licorice and hints of mint to go with a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated and balanced profile on the palate. Coming from Red Mountain and a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 9% Malbec and the balance Cabernet Franc, it should have 8-10 years of overall longevity. 88 points

 -Wine Enthusiast, November 2014

Double Gold, Seattle Wine Awards

2011 Hightower Merlot

In a challenging vintage, this shows excellent structure around rather light fruit. Strawberry and cherry come into play, with some well-managed tannic strength from the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and a splash of Malbec. 89 points

 -Wine Enthusiast, November 2014

Double Gold, Seattle Wine Awards

2010 Hightower Red Mountain Reserve Red Wine

Loaded with notions of cedar, toast, licorice, graphite and smoked dark fruits, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness solid concentration and classic red mountain structure. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles over the following 10 to 15 years. 91 points

 -Robert Parker, June 2014

Double Gold, Seattle Wine Awards

2010 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon

The wine is bright with aromas of violets, black currant and plum leading to a well-structured palate with ample acidity and toasty oak framing flavors of cherry, dark fruits and vanilla.

 -Chuck Hill, Wines NW November 2013

2010 Murray Cuvee Red Wine

The 2010 Murray is a delicious Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, petit verdot and cabernet franc. There's a pleasant, wet stone, mineral-like aroma - indicative of Red Mountain terroir - that leads off and follows through to the finish. In between, this overachieving red wine offers generous, mouthwatering boysenberry and blueberry flavors that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face

 -Dan Radill, The Bellingham Herald, June 2014

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

"…is a big, friendly effort that offers up plenty of blacker styled fruit, sappy herb, mint and spice t o go with a big fruiit loaded  mouthfeel. Voluptuously textured with no hard edges and full bodied richness.  It should thrill over the coming 4-6 years.  Drink now -  2019 90 points

 -Robert  Parker, July 2013

2009 Murray Cuvee Red Wine

Smooth and vibrant, with a strong peppermint character wafting through the cherry and berry flavors. The finish lingers against polished tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2017. 720 cases made. 89 points

 - Wine Spectator, August 2012

2008 Red Mountain Red Wine

92 Points, Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast - "This is a three-grape Bordeaux-style blend that is three-fifths Cabernet and Sauvignon and one-fifth each Merlot and Petit Verdot. It has tremendous flavor appeal, featuring a lush mix of red and black fruit – both berry and plum-with generous barrel flavors of mocha and espresso It gains mass and breadth as it breathes."

Double Gold Seattle Wine Awards

2008 Murray Cuvee

"Hightower's new releases begin with the 2008 Murray Red Wine, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot, and 11% Malbec. Aromas of rose petal, cinnamon, clove, incense, black cherry, and black currant inform the nose of a ripe, easy-going, tasty wine meant for drinking over the next 5 years. ...excellent value...89 points"
  - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Reviews October 2011 Newsletter

2008 Pepper Bridge Red Wine

"This is 100% Merlot hand-harvested from Pepper Bridge Vineyard south of Walla Walla. This straight-Merlot cuvee allows Pandora’s Merlot Box to be opened with a rush of aromas: spicy berry, floral, jasmine, citrus, sandalwood, vanilla and more. The palate is round and jammy with cassis and vanilla flavors leading to a firm finish of tannins"
  - Wines NW - November 29th, 2011

"The 2008 Pepper Bridge is a cuvee of 100% Merlot sourced from a quality site. It displays a more complex nose with exotic spices, cherry blossom, balsam wood, and assorted red and black fruits. This sets the stage for an elegant Merlot with savory flavors, good depth, and impeccable balance. Drink it over the next 8 years. 90 points"
  - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Reviews October 2011 Newsletter

2007 Red Mountain Red Wine

"The 2007 Red Mountain Red Wine is made up of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Merlot and Cabernet Franc aged in 80% new oak. Savory, spicy, and forward, this is a balanced, surprisingly elegant wine with the Red Mountain tannins nicely in check. This lengthy, nicely proportioned red will evolve for 2-3 years and drink well through 2019. 90 plus points"
  - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Reviews October 2011 Newsletter

2009 Murray Syrah

"The 2009 Syrah was made entirely from estate-grown fruit and was co-fermented with 5% Viognier. Smoke, game, bacon, and blueberry aromas lead to a savory, round, friendly wine with good depth and balance. Drink it over the next 4-5 years. 90 points"
  - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Reviews October 2011 Newsletter

2007 Merlot, Columbia Valley

"The 2007 Merlot contains 14% Cabernet Franc with the fruit predominantly from the Red Mountain AVA, the balance from Horse Heaven Hills. Medium purple in color, the nose … gives up aromas of toasty oak, mineral, violets, cassis, and black currant. Savory on the palate… 89 points"
  - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Reviews August 2010 Newsletter

"Tim and Kelly Hightower have claimed their corner of Red Mountain, and with their motto of “handpicked – handsorted – handmade,” they meticulously craft fine red wines from some of the state’s finest fruit.  Their 2007 Merlot offers aromas of smoky black cherry, plum, cherry candy and floral perfume.  The palate offers flavors of cherry, vanilla, anise and cocoa that are delicious with duck sausage and others."
  - November 2010

2007 Murray Syrah, Columbia Valley

Gold Medal, Seattle Wine Awards – May 2010

"The hits just keep on coming. Here's another syrah from Washington that convinces me wineries should postpone the abandonment of this grape. 100% estate fruit from Red Mountain, this syrah possesses all the components attributed to making this grape great. The nose leads with an assault of layered complexity. Rich red and purple berries, smoky, savory, peppery, and violet notes tease the taste buds into great anticipation for what lies ahead for the mouth. And in the mouth, the follow through is as expected. All those beautiful flavors dance harmoniously across the palate as promised, towards a perfectly balanced, structured finish that commands another sip. Here's the red for your summer Bar-B-Que, or stock-up for the fall, which in Seattle, might be next week"
  - Pike and Western Newsletter June, 2009

"Hightower Cellars 2007 Murray Syrah, Red Mountain, $20. Recommended: If you visit the winery, Murray the family dog will lead the greeting party. His happy face appears on the bottle, which brings notes of strawberry fruit leather, blackberry and pie cherry acidity. Chocolate lovers can truly enjoy the finish."
  - Wine Press NW Summer 2010

2007 Murray Cuvee, Columbia Valley

"Excellent: The entry-level label of this small family operation on Red Mountain is named after their yellow Lab. The mix of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (26%) and Cabernet Franc is no mongrel either with scents of Bing cherries, blueberry, Tennessee red cedar, green peppercorns and fine-grained sandpaper. It stays on point with a carton of black cherries and more blueberries. Waiting is a treat of molasses cookies in the finish. Lingering acidity should make this delicious with beef shoulder roast from the Kittitas Valley."
  - Wine Press NW Summer 2010

2007 Hightower Pepper Bridge, Walla Walla Valley

Gold Medal, Seattle Wine Awards – May 2010

"Recommended: It would be street-legal to label this blend of Merlot (75%) and Cabernet Sauvignon, and this famed vineyard makes it easy to find accents of rich strawberry and plum. Behind are hints of coffee, tobacco, green peppercorns and Triscuit crackers. Richness and acidity in the structure gives way to a finish of steak juice and a Keebler's Fudge Stick."
  - Wine Press NW Summer 2010

2006 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Gold Medal, Seattle Wine Awards – May 2010

"Excellent: The 10th anniversary of the flagship from this Red Mountain boutique winery has its foundation on estate fruit, assisted by Alder Ridge (18%) and Pepper Bridge (9%). Wonderful aromas send out whiffs of cassis, Chukar Cherry, blackberry, lavender, vanilla bean and cedar. There's a nice fruit core on the palate with more blackberry and cherry, supported by firm and frontal yet integrated tannins, and coffee in the finish."
  - Wine Press NW Summer 2010

2006 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley

"If Merlot strikes you as underwhelming (and overpriced), you haven’t tried one from Washington. The state’s eastern half may be the only area in North America where the varietal truly thrives. Boutique producers such as Hightower, … typically make a few hundred cases of bright, fruity Merlot that never travel farther than Seattle or Portland."
  - Bruce Shoenfeld, Travel and Leisure Magazine July, 2010

"Hightower Cellars has earned a reputation of producing incredible red wines. A perfect examples is their 2006 Merlot (about $28) a well –polished wine that is drinking exceptionally well right now. Lovely cherry, white pepper, and chocolate flavors melt seamlessly into a finish with soft elegant tannins. Well worth the price, and highly recommended."
  - Dan Radil, Bellingham Herald June, 2010

2006 Hightower Red Mountain Red Wine, Red Mountain

"Excellent: Neighborhood vineyards Shaw (44%), Kiona's 1975 block (34%) and Artz (11) made this 10-barrel lot come to fruition for Tim and Kelly Hightower. It's a nose-filling assortment of fruit accents of strawberry, blackberry, cherries and raspberries, backed by cedar and chocolate. Rich on the mouth is the arrival of black cherry and strawberry jam, showing lots of acidity. Smooth tannins gather in prominence, yielding in the finish to barrel notes of star anise, chocolate-covered almonds and coffee."
  - Wine Press NW Summer 2010

2004 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley

"...2004 Merlot is drinking splendidly! Look for bright cherry and raspberry aromas and flavors with underlying complexity and structure from 18% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Try it with your own harvest celebration from the grill."
  - Chuck Hill, Wines Northwest October, 2007

2003 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley

"Smooth, hard and glossy, with tightly wound fruits dappled with light herbs. The mix of plum, cherry, coffee and earth is perfectly balanced, and the wine shows good density and extract. Grapes are from Red Mountain, Walla Walla and Horse Heaven. Score: 92"
  -Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast October, 2006

"the 2003 Merlot...a big wine loaded with dark cherry flavors"
  -Dan Radil, Bellingham Herald

2002 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

"Enticing, complex nose of black/red fruit precedes mouth-filling flavors that lean toward black fruit such as currant, plum and blackberry, mingled with black cherry, vanilla and spice; nicely balanced by firm structure and soft, yet plentiful tannins. Score: 90"
  -Richard Kinssies & Howard G. Goldberg, The Wine News

"the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon... which is drinking awfully well right now. It also displays cherry fruit with subtle tannins and a velvety finish."
  --Dan Radil, Bellingham Herald

2002 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley

"Floral nose of Lavendar, rose, blackberry jam and herb; clean berry and cherry flavors, mouthwatering acidity...good with production."
  -San Franscisco Chronicle Wine Selections

2001 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

"I like the firm core of cassis, cherry and plum; it says cabernet loud and clear...transitions cleanly to well-managed tannins and makes a smooth landing; 88"
  -Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

"Aromas of black fruit, licorice, cedar, herbs and a distinctive olive character carries right on over to the palate, with a nice acidic backbone giving structure. Pair this one with veal shanks cooked with rosemary and kalamata olives; 89/90"
  -Randy Buckner, Wine Lover's Page

"I thought this was a beautifully structured wine with plum and black cherries in the mouth and a long finish. The grapes come from Red Mountain, and I always get a dusty, brambly cassis flavor from Red Mountain wines."
  -Spokesman Review

"This lean and angular wine shows a different side of Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of coffee/chocolate, leather, blackberry and toasty oak. On the palate, fruity flavors of plums and cherries mingle with textural qualities that mellow into a velvety fruit-filled finish. The complexity of the palate mingles nicely with the grilled flavors of the lamb."
  -Chuck Hill,

2001 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley

"A good mix of vineyards (Artz on Red Mountain, Alder Ridge from the Horse Heaven Hills, Pepper Bridge from Walla Walla) ensures a smooth, full-bodied wine that really showcases what Washington merlot is all about. Plummy and sweet, the fleshy fruit hints at raspberry preserves, leading to a silky, chocolate and vanilla finish."
  -Wine Enthusiast

"Light ruby in color, the wine gives off aromas of sweet black fruit, leather and olives. You'll find a crisp wine that is full in the mouth with liqueur-like fruit and olive notes; 88/88"
  -Randy Buckner, Wine Lover's Page

"I recently tried their red wines and found them to be pleasantly and distinctly different. The one thing they had in common was their handcrafted attention to detail, which clearly shows in the quality of each glass...Very plummy with some black cherry flavors and supple tannins. This wine would be a beautiful complement to a pumpkin or butternut squash soup or perhaps a duck entrée."
  -Dan Radil, The Bellingham Herald

Silver Medal, 2004 NorthWest Wine Summit

Silver Medal, 2004 Finger Lakes Wine Competition

2000 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Gold Medal, 2004 NorthWest Wine Summit

Silver Medal, 2004 International Eastern Wine Competition

"Deep, generous cherry scents mirrored on the palate with additional flavors of plum, cassis and new oak."
  -Richard Kinssies, The Wine News

"Like a favorite piece of leather luggage. It has aromas of cedar and pipe tobacco, then bold flavors of currants and dried cherries. It's a take-anywhere red."
  -Bob Woehler, Wine Press Northwest

"This tiny winery on the slopes of Red Mountain scores with a Cab showing compelling mint notes amid aromas and flavors of black cherries, chocolate and leather. Great structure gives this length. Excellent."
  -Wine Press Northwest

2000 Hightower Merlot, Columbia Valley

"The best of the state's 2000 merlots...A tight, muscular merlot that shows off firm, plump fruit, black olive/herbal highlights and smooth tannins."
  -The Seattle Times

"Recommended. Berry fruit, cedar and light toast aroma. Bright and vibrant on the palate, with flavors of berry and toast. Well balanced, with soft tannins."
  -Northwest Palate
1999 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

"A rich and powerful handcrafted wine, eminently age-worthy but, thanks to a hefty mixture of merlot grapes, delicious right now."
  -Seattle Weekly Hot Sheet

"Pacific Northwest Wine of the Week...This Cab is an understated and intricate wine with classic black currant and toasted oak aromas. It offers layers of subtle complexity with black fruit, spice, sweet tobacco and more and finishes smooth and satisfying."
  -Wine Press Northwest

"Tim and Kelly Hightower have done it again with a great wine for the price. They are making the big move to their own winery in eastern Washington. Grab this rising star for your cellar."
  -Arista Wine Cellar

1998 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

"Full ruby red. Extravagant aromas of spiced plum, meat and menthol. Large scaled, layered and plump, with fruit-driven red and blackcurrant flavors. Big and soft...Finished with easy tannins and good length."
  -Stephen Tanzer's International wine Cellar

"Dark garnet color. Cassis, vanilla and barrel toast in the nose. Bright flavors of currant fruit balance chocolatey barrel toast and youthful tannins. Medium-bodied, with currant and toast on the finish."
  -Northwest Palate

1997 Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

"...this is an extremely well-made wine with pure red cherry and candied raspberry aromas, intermingled with faint touches of vanilla. Medium-bodied and satin-textured, it is refined, fruit dominated and possesses a long, well-furnished finish."
  -The Wine Advocate

"From one of Washington's newest wineries comes this complex and attractive Cabernet that shows nuances of blackberry fruit, black cherry and cedar."
  -The Seattle Times

"Hightower Cellars is one of the area's newest, and its first vintage is a great start with a blend of grapes from the Yakima Valley's Red Mountain Vineyard and the Walla Walla Valley's Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine freatures delicious dark fruit flavors and soft tannins laced with berries that leave a nice mouthfeel."
  -Tri-Cities Herald

"Deep garnet color. Complex and attractive style with nuances of blackberry, black cherry and cedar. Highly recommended."
  -Northwest Palate

"...Leans towards the firm side but has nice soft flavors and finish. Kinda like silk stockings on Robocop."
  -Wine X Magazine

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