Hestia, the Greek goddess of hearth and home, is a fitting symbol for Hestia Cellars. Winemaker and owner Shannon Jones came up with the name to honor the strong ties to Greece on his mother’s side of the family and the celebrations of his youth, complete with roasted lamb, wine and dancing.
Jones’ path to winemaking had uncommon roots; he worked in the finance industry, and is a techie through and through—and a former amateur rugby player. It was while playing rugby in New Zealand that Jones and his wife, Angela, were first introduced to the world of wine, an experience that kindled Jones’ secret desire to become a winemaker. Upon returning to the states, he took enology classes at both the University of California–Davis and Washington State University. In 2004, he quit his job, and he and Angela started Hestia Cellars in Carnation.
The first few vintages produced just 125 cases; Jones is dedicated to producing small lots of wines with “individual character, richness, balance and longevity,” he says, at the winery, which now has its home in the burgeoning wine nexus of Woodinville. He sources grapes from three vineyards in the Columbia Valley, including the Andrews Ranch Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, Boushay Vineyard in Yakima Valley, and from StoneTree Vineyard on the early ripening Wahluke Slope. The balance Jones strikes from these sources creates wines that are complex and unique.
At a recent Hestia wine dinner at Allium restaurant in Eastsound on Orcas Island, Jones seemed to be basking in the afterglow of recent kudos from Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator.
Chef Lisa Nakamura’s five-course meat-centric menu paired perfectly with Hestia’s trademark rich reds: Anderson Ranch lamb shank from the Willamette Valley was paired with the full blueberry fruit of Hestia 2009 Malbec. Painted Hills beef tenderloin with foie gras butter and black truffle demiglace held up beautifully alongside the black fruit and excellent structure of the 2008 Hestia Cabernet Sauvignon.
For Jones, there’s always room for friends and family—and new markets; Hestia now distributes in South Korea, Japan, Toronto and Calgary. And beginning this year, Hestia will start sourcing grapes in Walla Walla, with a first-ever Walla Walla Cabernet to be produced in 2012 at custom crush facility Artifex.
For Jones, the idea of hearth, home and wine is an ever-expanding world.
Shannon Borg’s Favorite Hestia Wines
2009 Hestia Cellars Malbec
Columbia Valley ($30)
The heat of the Andrews Horse Heaven Ranch vineyard helps this rich wine develop its big fruit; there’s also a classic Malbec wildness here. In making this 100 percent Malbec wine, Jones uses the saignée (French for “bleeding”) process; 20 percent of the first, less intense, free-run juice is removed in order to make the rest of the wine darker and more intense. Pairs with: Braised lamb shank with roasted winter squash.
2008 Hestia Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley ($35)
This powerful wine has a bit of Petit Verdot (10 percent), which adds a depth of color and flavor to the Cabernet Sauvignon (90 percent); both are from Andrews Horse Heaven Ranch. Aromas of cassis, coffee and ripe blackberries create a classic rich Washington Cabernet, which is also characterized by good structure and smooth tannins. Pairs with: Beef tenderloin.
2011 Hestia Cellars Chenin Blanc
Columbia Valley ($15; available mid-march)
A cool and slow fermentation helps this wine develop its lovely, soft mouthfeel with melon, peach and floral notes. Good acidity with balancing white grapefruit and apple freshness makes this an excellent wine with shellfish. Pairs with: Grilled Alaskan spot prawns with garlic and lime.
2008 Hestia Cellars Syrah
Columbia Valley ($30)
A touch of Viognier (3 percent) added to the rich, earthy Syrah (97 percent) lifts the fruit and floral notes of this wine. Most of the Syrah (70 percent) is from the Wahluke Slope’s StoneTree Vineyard, which is higher in acidity than the more concentrated fruit from Andrews Horse Heaven Ranch (30 percent). Used French oak keeps the fruit fresh, and aromas and flavors of deep blackberry and Asian spice combine with a meatiness and earthiness that round out this satisfying wine. Pairs with: Duck pot pie.