Saturday, February 7, 2009

Anelare Opens New Tasting Room

With all of the changes and advances in the industry, sometimes it is hard to see the forest through the trees. It is especially hard to know where the good wines are, and the maybe not so good wines might be located. So, it is a real pleasure when I find a winery or a tasting room that I think holds promise.

One winery that I found last spring was Anelare out of Benton City. At the time, they were a “by appointment only” private winery, with no set hours of operation. Since then, they have partnered up with AVA wine rooms in Kennewick to offer great wine in a beautiful atmosphere.

Located in the Southridge area of Kennewick, Anelare can be easily reached by following the Highway 395 exit toward Spokane. As you reach the first light you will see the building on the left hand side of the road.

I came to the tasting room unannounced and really expected to remain somewhat anonymous as I tasted and viewed the new facility. What I didn’t expect was to meet and have a fabulous tour and conversation with owners Dr. Jim and Cindy Campbell, and Forrest Alexander.

Anelare’s wine is made by award winning winemaker, Victor Cruz. Victor, who is the owner and winemaker of Canyon Del Sol, has been helping the Cambells and Alexanders produce Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a just released Rhone style blend called Nonna Viola.

Cruz has been more willing to step out and take a few chances with the Anelare wines, which I think is spelling success. Victor’s first swings at Cabernet Sauvignon are under the Anelare label, and I have to say that I think he’s hit it out of the park.

The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is designed with 100% Wahluke Slope Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. Victor Cruz picked evenly amongst the best of Wahluke by focusing on Katherine Leon and Weinbau vineyards. This has produced a very structured wine which leads off with a nose and flavors of Bing Cherries, pepper, and cardamom. The mouthfeel is a rich velvet texture, and the finish is nicely tannic. This wine will lay down for five to ten years, or drink with a grilled ribeye steak tonight.

The 2005 Syrah follows Victor Cruz’s style nicely. It’s nose and flavors are of ripe, dark blackberries, just like you find beside River Road between Umatilla and Hermiston. A smooth, rounded mouthfeel and flavors, with a soft finish.

Nonna Viola is a great blend for those who want to step out of this region’s tendency to make every blend a Bordeaux style. Leading off with 50% Syrah, and following with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot makes this blend a step out of the rut. Once again Cruz has made an extraordinary wine for Anelare.

If you come to Anelare you can visit the tasting room Saturdays from noon until 6p.m., and Sundays noon until 4. The phone number is (509) 588-6171. As always, drive safe and enjoy!

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