Domaine Magdalena is the vision of Maggie Hedges who grew up in Northern California where she enjoyed the bounty of her Father’s cellar and gained her appreciation for wine. Maggie later met her Husband Christophe Hedges in the early 2000’s and her wine journey continued, as Christophe’s parents owned a well-known winery in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington state, Hedges.
Maggie underwent a steep learning curve – some of her first dinners with her future in-laws included blind tastings – but a passion for Washington vineyards, specifically the Red Mountain AVA, became ingrained quickly. In addition to Washington wines, she was able to broaden her horizon by tasting many other great wines of the world. This helped to cultivate an appreciation for wines of a place, i.e. wines of terroir.
Maggie and Christophe were married in 2004. But instead of taking a honeymoon, they put everything they had into a piece of land on Red Mountain and planted a vineyard that would become Domaine Magdalena.
The estate is planted to four acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is also where Maggie lives with her husband and two sons, Julian and Oliver. Living in such close proximity to their vineyard and raising small children there as well, they felt it was imperative to grow their grapes in the healthiest, most sustainable way possible. Given Christophe’s background, they also made it their utmost to showcase true Red Mountain terroir. Organic farming, while admirable, they felt offered little in the way of tangible guidelines. So they decided to work toward Biodynamic certification. Biodynamic farming gave Maggie a way to rigorously control outside inputs into the vineyard. For example, any manure she adds comes from local, certified organic dairy farms. Also, in an effort to cultivate a near wild ecosystem, Locust trees, which are nitrogen fixing (and bee friendly!), as well as native wildflowers and sage, all thrive on the property. The vineyard was officially certified Biodynamic by Demeter in 2011.
By 2014, the vines were healthy and maturing, and the fruit was consistently impressive. The time was ripe (pun intended) for a wine from Magdalena Vineyard. The first vintage of Domaine Magdalena was the culmination of ten years of work and love. It’s a given that Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is well known, but Domaine Magdalena brings this particular piece of the earth to life. The main tenet of Biodynamics is to espouse minimal inputs, allowing things to grow the way they would without human intervention. Their winemaking philosophy emulates this as well. In fact, Maggie’s view of winemaking is more of ‘fermentation management’, keeping an eye on things as they develop naturally and at their own pace. Maggie’s sister in law, Sarah Hedges Goedhart, also helps to oversee the critical winemaking process.
The Domaine Magdalena Cabernet Sauvignon undergoes spontaneous, native yeast fermentation. Following the completion of malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation, the wine is aged in a combination of neutral(80%) and new (20%) oak barrels for about eight months and is bottled in May following the harvest. The resulting wine is pure and elegant, with somewhat dusty, dark, plum/cassis fruit and lovely fine-grained tannins to match. For sure it could be called a balanced wine, though it does not clobber, but rather, speaks eloquently and firmly of its roots, the Red Mountain AVA of Washington State!