Top 12 Washington State Wine Clubs

In case you missed it, northwest wine writer Paul Gregutt wrote case studies about the top 12 wine clubs in The Seattle Times today. He put his list in an interesting context — you now have to wait years to purchase Leonetti Cellars or Quilceda Creek wines directly from the winery. So, sign up now to receive wines from his Top 12 list: the “cult wines of tomorrow [that] are already being made.”

I was delighted to see Alexandria Nicole Cellars first on the list. Regular readers of this blog know how Alexandria Nicole wines are among our favorites. Although we were not yet wine club members in September, winemaker Jarrod Boyle was kind enough to invite us to spend some time in the “members only” area of the tasting room in Prosser. The room is exquisite — just like Jarrod’s fine wines. And we regularly stop by the new tasting room in Woodinville.

As Gregutt notes, Jarrod recently launched a unique club, called Over The Ridge to educate its members on all aspects of winemaking practices. With an “Over The Ridge Club” membership, you will literally grow your own vineyard and create hand-crafted wine from the grapes.

Other wineries on Gregutt’s list include some that I’ve written about in the past: Cadence, Three Rivers and Woodward Canyon.  Here is the complete list:

1. Alexandria Nicole Cellars

2. Andrew Will

3. Betz Family

4. Bunnell Family Cellar

5. Buty

6. Cadence

7. J. Bookwalter

8. Sleight of Hand Cellars/One Louder

9. Syncline

10. Three Rivers

11. Va Piano

12. Woodward Canyon

Please read Gregutt’s informative article for details about the wine clubs. Gregutt is an acclaimed wine writer who really knows his stuff! In fact he’s on a tour right now to promote his latest book, Washington Wines & Wineries: The Essential Guide.


WWD: Alexandria Nicole’s Quarry Butte

We discovered Alexandria Nicole Cellars when the winery opened a Woodinville tasting room a few months ago. On our next trip to eastern Washington, we stopped by the Prosser tasting room; spent some time in the beautiful “Members Only” room; tasted some great new releases; and better yet, met winemaker Jarrod and his wife Alexandria, for whom the fine wines are named.

A couple of weeks ago, my nephew Mathew–an excellent wine tasting companion–came from Vancouver (B.C., my hometown) to visit, so we decided to tour our favorite tasting rooms in Woodinville. Of course, we stopped by to visit the good folks at Alexandria Nicole again.

During those three trips in two months, we tasted many of Jarrod’s wines. And of course, we brought some home to the dinner table. So, it stands to reason that the wine with dinner (WWD) recently was Alexandria Nicole’s 2004 Quarry Butte–a blend from Destiny Ridge Vineyards and Horse Heaven Hills.

The winery’s estate vineyard, Destiny Ridge, used to be called Quarry Butte. It’s located on the bluffs of Horse Heaven Hills and was slated to become a rock quarry. I, for one, am glad those plans were derailed.

2004 Quarry Butte is a Bordeaux-style blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 6% Cab Franc, 6% Syrah and 1% Malbec. It is smooth and rich, with berry flavors and a balanced structure. We had it with dinner the night before our second trip to the Woodinville tasting room, where we found out that it is now sold out!

The 2005 Quarry Butte was just released on the day of our visit–it’s a different blend of 48% Cab, 38% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Syrah and 3% Cab Franc. We preferred the 2004 vintage, but you can’t go wrong with the 2005 Quarry Butte either.

This time, we took home something different–Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2004 Estate Cabernet. It is loaded with flavors and when we have it with dinner, I’ll tell you more.