For several years we have motorcycled along Hwy 14 between the Columbia River and the rolling Horse Heaven Hills, my partner in wine has worked with potato farms in those hills and driven by Destiny Ridge Vineyard, estate vineyard and location of the Alexandria Nicole Cellars production facility, many times. Comment is always made that we should stop into a tasting room of theirs; this weekend, when we were in Prosser, we made a point of getting to their tasting room (they have another one in Woodinville also).
As the first weekend of 2015, all guests to the tasting room were welcomed to the wine club members room, a cozier, comfy space to taste wine. Keri welcomed us and poured our first wine, 2012 Riesling, into two glasses before I had the presence of mind to say we would share a tasting; instantly I was glad I didn’t have to share. All of the fruit is estate grown, planted after the purchase of the 267-acres outside of Paterson in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in 1998. The 23 grape varieties that owner and winemaker, Jarrod Boyle, doesn’t use are sold to other wineries.
The second white poured, the 2013 “Shepherd’s Mark”, is a white Rhone blend of 60% Rousanne, 30% Marsanne, and 10% Viognier. This is a flexible blend each year poured in the tasting room to showcase the vineyard fruit. This wine has a flavor and texture of cherimoya; lovely. This was followed by the 2013 Marsanne, a stainless-steel fermented, single varietal wine that is full bodied, smooth and fruity.
Onto the reds, 2012 Phelps Clone Syrah called “Jet Black” is a young, nicely oaked wine that will hold its own for a good long time. Next is the 2011 red tasting room blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 8% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot named “Quarry Butte”, a bit green tasting for my palate when it was first poured, but very nice once it opened up a bit. The 2011 “Gravity” Merlot was poured with the description of a ‘Washington Merlot’. Although not as big and bold as some Walla Walla Merlots, it was certainly a mouthful of fruit with a moderately long finish leaning toward the oak. Another 2011 red, the “Alderdale” Cabernet Sauvignon surprised me with no green flavors but lots of dark fruit flavors, baking spices and a hint of mocha. For a cool year Cab it was a great find.
The last wine in the flight my partner in wine didn’t even want me to try as I am drawn to it; it is a weakness… when the aerated 2012 Tempranillo “Big Shot” came to us he knew he was right. The floral bouquet, the rich, fruit-filled and spicy flavors and the lingering finish were the highlight of the whole experience for me.
Although it took us a long time to get to this winery, it was worth the wait. They seem to have a large distribution here in the west, but I am not sure how well they cover the rest of the country or where else they ship to at this point.