Blackwood Canyon Vintners: winery information
Winemaker: M. Taylor Moore
Blackwood Canyon’s Winemaker and Owner, M. Taylor Moore, started his career in wine in 1978 working for some of the top names in the business out of California. This included stints with the likes of Louis Martini and Gino Zepponi. A graduate of the venerable University of California Davis, Moore finished his degree in Viticulture and Enology within the top of his class in 1979 before moving to Washington during that State’s wine infancy. Since that time, he has become one of the most steadfastly original, exciting, and controversial winemakers in the country.
Moore says of his initial direction, “It was that bottle of ’64 Vosne Romanée that I fell in love with back in ‘78”. This would account for his winemaking style, which is heavily influenced by traditional Burgundian practices, such as sur lies aging, elevage, and extended maceration. After some consultation with other like-minded winemakers of the time and intense personal study, Moore found that the real secret to making great wine depends greatly on the soil. This was a direct contradiction to the U.C. Davis teachings that preach climate above all else. It would not be the last dogma of his former alma mater Moore would eventually challenge. Of course, the Europeans, especially the French, would find Moore’s attitude about soil absolutely incontrovertible.
Moore searched extensively for a soil that contained an abundance of Calcium Carbonate, similar to the great vineyard sites in Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhone, and Italy. In 1981, he found that soil in an area of Washington State that would eventually become one of the most-respected AVAs in the country, Red Mountain. Managing vineyards there for the now-famous Ciel du Cheval, Moore also consulted for other vineyards and winemakers while securing his own vineyard sites on Red Mountain. In 1982, Blackwood Canyon made its first vintage of Red Mountain Chardonnay, which, when released three years later, garnered high acclaim. Despite some major setbacks along the way (the entire winery burned to the ground in 1985 and was rebuilt), Moore would eventually become the largest individual land owner in the Red Mountain AVA.
In the years since Blackwood Canyon’s inception, Moore has concentrated solely on producing the absolute best wine possible from what the grape would yield. He would craft wines requiring fifteen years or more of aging prior to release in an attempt to attain perfection. It is true that some have labeled him ‘extreme’, while others rate him among the best in the world, but there is no question that Moore has consistently shunned the modern winemaking mantra of make-it-fast for quick money at the expense of quality. He has unwaveringly maintained traditional low-yield vineyard practices to ensure fruit quality. He has steadfastly held to the standards of the greatest European wines of the past. He has, time and again, produced some of the greatest and most inimitable wines available in modern times. All of this and more make M. Taylor Moore one of the winemakers in the world most worthy of the mantle: “Artist”.
Annual Production: 5,000 cases
Grape Varieties Planted