A few quick thoughts on the 2010 Alexandria Nicole Tempranillo from Destiny Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills.
Founded in 2001, the origins of Alexandria Nicole date back to the first planting of the Destiny Ridge Vineyard by Jarrod and Ali Boyle in 1998.
Jarrod was working as a viticulturist with Hogue Cellars, under the mentorship of Dr. Wade Wolfe (of Thurston Wolfe fame). While checking out vineyard sites, he noticed an unplanted south facing slope north of Alderdale that overlooked the Columbia River. Finding out that the property belonged to the Mercer family (Champoux Vineyards and Mercer Wine Estates), the Boyles and Mercers went into partnership to plant Destiny Ridge Vineyard.
Today, the 267 acres of Destiny Ridge are sustainably farmed and planted with 23 grape varieties–including unique varieties like Tempranillo, Barbera, Carménère, Counoise, Marsanne, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Roussanne. While the Boyles get first pick, Paul Gregutt in Washington Wines notes that fruit is also sold to wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle, Darby Winery, Guardian Cellars, Saviah and Tamarack.
The 2010 Tempranillo is a blend of 94% Tempranillo, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine spent 20 months aging in 1 and 2 year old French barrels with 104 cases made.
Medium-minus intensity nose. Red fruit dominant with cherry and cranberries. A little tobacco spice but very muted.
On the palate, the red fruit is carrying through but is faded and dried. This dried fruit element, interestingly, seems to amplify the spice with black licorice notes joining the tobacco. Medium-plus acidity and firm medium-plus tannins add an edge to this wine that is desperately missing the fruit to balance it.
This wine is probably about 3 years past it peak. That said, even at its peak, it’s hard to say this was a compelling enough wine to merit its $55 price tag.
Especially when you compare it to what you can get at that price from Spain (not to mention southern Oregon), it’s clear that you are paying for the novelty of a Washington Tempranillo.