Thursday, July 1, 2010
PROSSER – The North American Wine Bloggers Conference was over. Attendees were wrangling rides to the airport or figuring how to stuff wine bottles into their luggage with assurance they wouldn’t arrive home with wet purple clothes.
For the lucky group on the WBC-or-Bust bus, we had one last shining moment before returning to the work-a-day world. The stop was at the Alexandria Nicole Cellars tasting room in Prosser.
The outside of the tasting room is unassuming. Although Alexandria Nicole has a very large vineyard, it is a small winery that sells 90% of its grapes to other wineries.
Upon arriving we were greeted by owners Ali and Jarrod Boyle in their stylish tasting room. Ali has a unique place in the winery in that the winery is named after her.
We chased away some of the road weariness with 2008 Crawford Viognier. I continue to be impressed with the Viogniers from Washington. This was followed by the 2008 Shepherds Mark. I tasted this at Corks many months ago and was enchanted by this great blend of Rousanne, Marsanne and Viognier. It has many layers of flavor that keep opening up with each sip. At only $20, this is outstanding QPR.
We were ready to continue our visit with lunch, which perplexed me a bit. I surveyed the tasting room – it wasn’t large and there was no sign of a table or food. Jarrod walked back to a bookshelf in a corner. Hmm… perhaps he is going to show us an interesting book.
Jarrod pressed a concealed button and the bookshelves slid apart opening the way to the concealed members-only tasting room! Here it was – the fabled Rock Star room. We went inside and savored the 2007 Jet Black Syrah, a smooth and delicious Syrah that rated among the very best of my Washington visit. Only 319 cases were produced.
The Rock Star room had it all. Great wine, mellow lighting and comfortable furniture. We recounted tales of the conference and after a short while we continued to a dining area even further in recesses of the tasting room.
The lunch prepared by Chef Brad Smith was the perfect accompaniment to the exclusive and elegant wines of Alexandria Nicole. We started with a mixed spring green salad with raspberry vinaigrette, feta, candied pecans and watermelon. With this we enjoyed the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and 2009 Rousanne. In the past my experience with Rousanne has been mixed. It came across as too earthy, but this wine was crafted just right. The flavors had been dialed down to the point where the grape still expressed its true identity without being aggressive.
We also enjoyed the 2007 Cabernet and 2008 Primitivo as we moved into our next course which was grilled tropical prawn skewers with mango salsa. It was then we were treated to the 2007 Rock Star, a Grenache, Syrah and Counoise blend available only to members and typically a hot item at charity auctions.
This is living! Some of the best wine in the country in great surroundings enjoying a delicious meal with interesting friends.
We wrapped up the meal with a delicious cheesecake with red wine reduction, toasted dates and fresh strawberries. We rounded out our session with tastes of Marsanne, 2008 Merlot (bottled just a week earlier) and the 2007 Tempranillo.
Alexandria Nicole is available locally, so you too can experience the “rock star” of Washington wine.