Reminder that December’s Virtual Tasting is the 2007 Brian Carter Cellars Abracadabra and takes place on Monday December 21st. Read more about it here.
This post is dedicated to the winner of the Reader Survey 2009 Wine of the Year. I will be posting separately later today on the Reader Survey 2010 Wine to Watch.
The 2009 Wine of the Year is intended for the one Washington wine in 2009 that stood out among those you tasted. First, let me thank all of those readers who sent in nominations and who voted in the preliminary and final rounds. To recap, readers were encouraged to nominate up to five wines. In the preliminary round, everyone could vote on any three of these wines. In the final round, everyone could vote on any one. This year, I picked all wines that received over 10% of the preliminary vote to be in final voting.
1,840 people cast their votes in the final round for the 2009 Wine of the Year (see complete list of final voting below). Of the four finalists, voting between two wines went down to the final hours. Both wines are recognized here.
2009 Washington Wine Report Reader Survey Wine of the Year
Alexandria Nicole Cellars was started by Jarrod and Ali Boyle. Jarrod, who was born in Prosser, learned viticulture from Dr. Wade Wolfe (now of Thurston Wolfe Winery) when both were working for Hogue Cellars. After seeing a patch of land in the Horse Heaven Hills, Jarrod decided he wanted to try his hand at his own vineyard. The first vines of what would become Alexandria Nicole’s estate vineyard, Destiny Ridge, were planted in 1998. The original plan for the vineyard was to produce small lot grapes for others to use. However, after seeing the grapes coming from the vineyard, those plans changed. Alexandria Nicole, named for Jarrod’s wife Ali, was founded in 2004.
Petite Sirah is a rare beast in Washington. Called Durif in France and elsewhere, Petite Sirah was originally misidentified as Syrah when it was planted in California. The term ‘petite’ comes from the small size of the grapes. A small number of Washington producers, such as Alexandria Nicole, Animale, Daven Lore, Portteus, Martin Scott Winery, and Thurston Wolfe, produce a varietal bottling. That said, the producers who make it are passionate about the grape.
The 2007 Mr. Big Petite Sirah comes from Destiny Ridge Vineyards. 67 cases were produced.
2009 Washington Wine Report Reader Survey Wine of the Year Runner-up
Olsen Estates is a family winery located in Prosser, Washington. I wrote about the winery recently after coming across their Chardonnay and Petit Verdot at Seattle Uncorked’s Debuts and Discoveries event earlier this year. Discoveries indeed.
The 2007 Heritage is 100% Syrah from two vineyard sites in Benton City. Like all of Olsen Estates’ wines, the grapes come entirely from estate fruit. The Olsen family currently has twenty-three varietals in production on 800 acres. In total, they have 2,500 acres total planted to apples, cherries, hops, organic blueberries, Concord, and wine grapes.
The name for the 2007 Heritage wine comes from the Olsen family’s recent centennial celebration. In 1908, Martin Olsen settled on ten acres in Whitstran, rural Prosser northeast of town. There he took up what would become the family’s legacy – farming.
One hundred years and four generations later, Olsen’s great grandson and namesake, Martin Olsen and his cousin Lief run Olsen Estates, Martin as the winery manager and Lief as the viticulturalist. The winery made its first vintage in 2006 with Kyle Johnson serving as winemaker. The family intends for the Heritage series to always be small production under 200 cases. Winery manager Martin Olsen says it “will be selected from wine in barrel that is the best of the best.”
Complete List of Final Voting 2009 Wine of the Year
(1,840 votes cast)
Alexandria Nicole Petite Sirah 2007 803 (43%)
Olsen Estates Heritage 2007 686 (37%)
Alexandria Nicole Crawford Vineyard Viognier 2008 212 (11%)
Forgeron Cellars Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 139 (7%)