Time to Party with Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Washington wineries, Wine Comments Off

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.25.58 PMWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the wonderful people at Alexandria Nicole Cellars know how to party! And even better, they know how to throw a great party too.

Every year, ANC holds a Harvest Party in the Vines for wine club members at their estate Destiny Ridge Vineyard.

Every year, the party is a resounding success.

This year’s Harvest Party is on Sept. 13 and will be a special celebration of the Decade of Destiny – ten years since ANC opened the doors to their first tasting room in Prosser.

At that time, they celebrated the wines created from grapes first planted in 1998 at Destiny Ridge. Now, 16 years later, and with a second tasting room in Woodinville, ANC produces 10,000 cases of wine with more than 23 varietals planted in 267 acres of vineyard.

And that’s where the Harvest Party takes place!

The fun begins and the wine starts to flow on buses that take you to the vineyard. No worries about finding a designated driver for this party.

When you arrive, there are pours of the most recent ANC wines, while you can watch or participate in hilarious activities such as a grape stomp, wine balloon toss and skeet shooting. The vineyard and production team also compete in a barrel-rolling contest, cheered on by their fans.

Then there is an amazing dinner of steak and jumbo prawns, followed by dancing to a live big band.

So bring your dancing shoes!

We’ve been wine club members since 2007, inspired by some fabulous wine during our first visit to their Prosser tasting room, and further nudged by a Seattle Times article written by Washington state wine expert Paul Gregutt, who rated the ANC wine club as number 1.

Over the years, we’ve written about ANC wine often. We’ve also been lucky enough to become friends with winery owners Jarrod (winemaker) and Ali Boyle.

What, you’re not a wine club member? It’s not too late to sign up and grab tickets to the Harvest Party and save a space on the buses, which leave from Tri-Cities, Yakima and Prosser. Don’t live in the area? No problem — the Richland Courtyard Marriott and the Yakima Hilton Garden Inn both have special offers for wine club members.

We hope to see you there.

Cheers!

 

Another Favorite Winery in McLaren Vale, Australia

Australian wineries, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz Comments Off

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 2.12.13 PMWhen we were in Australia in May, we received many recommendations to stop by Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards, the oldest McLaren Vale winery still in founding family hands.

We are so glad we followed that advice.

The Shiraz is spectacular, and the vineyards are steeped in history. Kay Brothers was established on February 2, 1891, and a diary has been kept every day since. This gives new meaning to the word “awesome.”

The diary pages meticulously describe the weather, the vintages and insights into the people, their lives and their hard work.

Equally as amazing were the wonderful people we met at Kay Brothers Cellar Door (the Australian term for “tasting room”). In particular, Michelle Taylor entertained us for an hour or more with stories and enthusiasm about the winery’s history and the wine region, as we savored some pretty magnificent pours of Kay Brothers wine. Wow.

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 2.17.23 PMWe became fans of each wine we tasted at Kay Brothers Cellar Door. But our favorite, and the wine we brought home to Seattle, was the spectacular Kay Brothers 2011 Block 6 Shiraz, handpicked from 119-year-old vines.

Did we say wow?

Specifically, this stellar wine was sourced from vines that were planted on July 18, 1892. Known as one of the best Shiraz produced in McLaren Vale, Block 6 Shiraz is robust, rich, complex, structured, smooth and simply beautiful.

The outstanding 2011 vintage is the 27th release of this single vineyard wine, produced in the  tradition of open-top fermentation and basket-pressing used for more than a century.

We also were impressed with Kay Brothers 2011 Cuthbert CabernetIn wine country known worldwide for Shiraz, it was a breath of fresh air to experience a Cabernet Sauvignon of this quality. The Cabernet vines also go back more than a century but over the years, the grapes were mainly blended with Shiraz for full-bodied Australian Claret.

The 2011 is the fourth release of this commemorative wine honoring Cuthbert “Cud” Kay, who was responsible for the development of Cabs at Kay Brothers. (Only made in years when the grapes are deemed worthy, just four vintages have been made so far.) In the family tradition, this Cabernet is rich, vibrant and structured.

As you can see from the photo at the beginning of this post, Kay Brothers produces numerous other wines too, including Cabernet Merlot, the award-winning Mataro (Mouvedre) and Grenache.

If you travel to Australia, we highly recommend that you make a point of stopping by this outstanding cellar door. You can also buy Kay Brothers wines in the U.S. from distributor Quintessential Wines, and in Canada from Inland Trading

Cheers!