Alexandria Nicole Cellars has everything you could ask for in a winery: friendly staff, great wines, and tasting rooms on either side of the Cascades.
I've yet to visit the Woodinville tasting room, but the Prosser location is one of my favorite stops in Eastern Washington. I especially recommend calling in advance to reserve a spot in the "secret" tasting room behind the sliding bookcase. Although it's not much of a secret anymore, you'll still receive excellent service, tasty nibbles and access to both limited, and remarkable, past and current releases.
Winemaker Jarred Boyle oversees the production of a number of high-scoring, heavily awarded wines that are produced from 263 acres of estate vineyards located at Destiny Ridge in south Central Washington's Horse Heaven Hills Appellation.
Tours and tastings of the production facility and vineyards alco can be arranged by contacting the Prosser tasting room in advance.
Somewhat isolated? Yes. A spectacular and serene setting worth the drive? Absolutely!
Here are my tasting notes on Alexandria Nicole wines that I've recently enjoyed:
2012 Shepherd's Mark (about $24) - This unique, flavorful and full-bodied blend of roussanne, marsanne and viognier is slightly nutty with notes of pineapple/pear and a finish that's quite viscous and borderline chewy.
2010 A2 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $24) - Dark fruit flavors on the palate lead off, with subtleties of dried plum, caramel, fresh herbs and vanilla bean in the background. It's drinking beautifully now, with supple tannins that lead to a polished finish.
2012 Chardonnay (about $28) - Gorgeous peach, melon and white raisin flavors are followed with a gentle splash of acidity for structure and lift. An awesome food pairing: fontina cheese, which really brings out the fruit flavors of the wine.
2010 Ice Viognier (about $38 for 375 ml) - Expressive stone fruits, a touch of cinnamon spice and marathon-long finish highlight this evening-ending dessert wine. Ice wines tend to be super-sweet, lower-in-alcohol sugar bombs, but with this wine's 13.4-percent alcohol content to balance the sweetness, there's no danger of that here.
Each of these wines, along with the Alexandria Nicole 2011 Jet Black Syrah (about $25), will be featured at a five-course dinner I'll be moderating at 9 Restaurant at North Bellingham Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 19.
A representative from the winery is scheduled to be on hand as well and this promises to be a great opportunity to hear about the winemaking process and their insight on the 2013 harvest.
Advance reservations are required and can be made by phoning the restaurant at 360-398-8300, ext. 2.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.