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 2021 Hellcat

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2021 Hellcat

 2021 Hellcat
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Tasting Notes

The 2021 Hellcat is a Spanish-style blend of 64% Tempranillo and 36% Syrah. This full-bodied wine boasts enticing dark, blue fruit aromas reminiscent of fresh huckleberry, boysenberry, and blueberry jam, complemented by a subtle hint of spicy black olive tapenade. Its velvety, round mouthfeel offers a captivating journey of flavors, including sweet plum, black truffles, soy sauce, peppery smoked meats, and a subtle layer of toasted oak. The finish is remarkably smooth and enduring, with silky tannins and seamless oak integration.

Vineyard Designation

100% Estate Grown

Vintage Notes

The 2021 vintage will be recorded as one the warmest in Washington State history. With a mild winter and a warm spring, we saw bud break during the second week of April, about 1 to 2 weeks earlier than average. Then we experienced a heat wave in late June that lasted roughly six weeks with over 35 days of 100°+ temperatures and some daily highs nearing 118° Fahrenheit. This period of extreme heat began when the grapes were in a cluster and berry size development stage, causing grapes to stress out weeks before we vintners would prefer. Smaller berry size led to an overall 30% reduction in crop size for us. On the bright side, these smaller berries produced phenomenal flavors. We also saw rapid ripening at a pace last seen in 2015, creating a very early harvest start. By the end of August, we had brought in nearly 150 tons of sparkling wine grapes and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, hands down an August record for us at Airfield. By the end of September, we had crushed every white varietal, which was beneficial for us in winemaking as we could then give 100% of our attention to red varietals. October started with nice warm temperatures, and the pace of grape harvesting was going very well, with ideal ripeness and exceptional quality. By the third week of October, we did see several freezing events causing our canopies to die. With only a limited amount of fruit remaining, it was easy for us to harvest the last remaining fruit before the end of October. In the end, the 2021 vintage made outstanding wine. Our red wines display dark fruit elements with structure and finesse. The wines created in 2021 will be enjoyable in their youth but also age-worthy, making a lasting impression.

Winemaking Notes

Each component of this blend was sourced from reserve tier blocks on our estate vineyard. The Tempranillo was harvested at the beginning of October and fermented in a concrete tank. The Syrah was harvested towards the middle of October and fermented in a small 2-ton fermenter. Both varieties had a similar extraction program, with a 3-day cold soak, then inoculated with a unique yeast strain. With these varietals, we aimed to get as much extraction as possible before 9 to 10% alcohol. Once we achieved our extraction, we took a gentler approach to not over-extract the wine. Fermented until dry on the skins, each lot was drained, gently pressed, and sent to various French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. Once this process was complete, the wine’s lees were stirred in each barrel twice a month for three months to help create a rounder, softer mouthfeel and act as a natural fining agent. A blend of this nature naturally has a high pH and low acidity, so extra care was taken to ensure the health of the wine during aging. Each barrel was topped twice a month to ensure minimal headspace and constant chemistry check-ups were also performed. The wine was aged for 18 months exclusively in French oak barrels (35% new French oak, 30% 2-year-old French oak, and 35% neutral French oak). After barrel aging, the wine was returned to a concrete tank and aged for another month before being prepped for bottling.

* Produced in a Vegan Manner (No animal byproducts used in the production of this wine)

Food Pairing

Cajun Filet Mignon
Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary
Jambalaya Pasta
Manchego or Dubliner

  • Varietal Composition: 64% Tempranillo, 36% Syrah
  • Appellation: Yakima Valley
  • Aging / Barrel Program: Aged for 18 months in French oak (35% new, 30% 2 year-old, and 35% neutral) followed by 1 month in concrete
  • Cases Produced: 407
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • pH: 3.94
  • Acidity: 5.1 g/L
  • Ageability: Enjoy now through 2036, with optimal maturity in 2030

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