Wine of the week: a violet-kissed, silky red from the US

This standout blended red is a sensational piece of sensitive winemaking.

2018 Hedges Family Estate

2018 Hedges Family Estate, CMS Red, Washington State, US

£20, reduced to £18 each by the case,

I was delighted to be invited to attend a Washington State Zoom masterclass a couple of weeks ago and, having not visited this wine country myself, I found it very illuminating. This rapidly expanding industry is starting to hit the high notes and, although we tasted ten wines from some of the most famous names, covering riesling, semillon, merlot, cabernet and syrah, it was this red blend that was the standout wine.

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Named CMS on account of its tri-varietal make-up – in this vintage it is 76% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 11% syrah – this is a sensational piece of sensitive winemaking by the brilliant Sarah Hedges Goedhart. The production reached an impressive 24,000 cases of 12 bottles, so you can order as much as you like, which seems a little incongruous in a region cram-packed with boutique producers.

At a third of the price of some of the wines in the line-up, this was still my preferred bottle given its stunning balance, harmonious palate and enviable detail. The violet-kissed perfume and silky red and black-fruited body is nothing short of mesmerising and it is drinking perfectly already.

Its big brother, 2018 Red Mountain (about £38), arrives in the autumn, so if you are a committed Hedges fan by this time, then trade up to yet another heroic red blend from this fascinating estate.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website,

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.