Becky Basel, of Basel Estate Cellars, is a woman after my own heart. Like me, Becky believes there are only four major food groups - cabernet sauvignon, cheese, chocolate, and coffee. And a few days ago, Becky and I were able to share the love of the four "C's" together.
If you have never been to Basel Estate Cellars - what's stopping you? Besides tasting their showcase of wines, it is truly an experience. The eighty-seven acres of beautiful surroundings are quite magical. The magic starts from the time you announce yourself at the gate and continues even as you leave the winery grounds down the winding drive. There's a reason why Sunset Magazine named it "The 2005 Wine Destination of the Year."
Becky Basel is a wonderful hostess. Together, we tasted through their selection of wines that Basel Estate Cellars has to offer. There's a lot! The wines were well crafted and the estate wines really showed off the Walla Walla terroir, which I happen to love. Their estate wines were "in-my-face" with that lovely Walla Walla terroir of dark cherries, rich soil and autumn leaves. And last, but not least, it was the blends that really excited my palate.
The Forget-Me-Not - 2007 is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with 25% Semillon. Aromatic! It was gentle and refined on the tongue with citrus bursting through. Really a wine that I would be serving on a hot day and so well tuned for pairing with foods from light seafood to spicy chicken.
Okay, this is my style of wine - - my style of wine that I want to meet me at the door after a long busy day: Basel Cellars Claret - 2006. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Bold with dark cherries, bright with just the right amount of acidity and still leaving a long velvety finish. It's a comforting wine, a great nose and the price is even more comforting at $20 for such an elegant blend! Becky said this wine is a sell-out with every vintage. No doubt!
And speaking of elegant blends. Free-run juice, like the cream off the top, makes the Basel Cellars Estate Merriment - 2005. You definitely notice your palate is in store for a delight as soon as you see the dark red, almost black, wine poured into your glass. It's a "swooner!" The nose is smoky and shows all of those wonderful characteristics that Walla Walla fruit is known for. Dark dried cherries, black brambleberries, and that wonderful cigar box finish. This is definitely a wine to showcase at dinner. Considering the style of the wine and using the best of the estate fruit, it is a great purchase at $48 - under $50! And it is a rich blend that can stand on its own to any wine that is priced well over $50.
What I noticed about the wine prices of Basel Cellars is: in spite of the breathtaking drive up the hill, the grand buildings and the panoramic view (in fact, a view that makes one feel like King or Queen of the mountain), the prices of Basel Cellar's wines are very affordable! One might automatically think at first glance of the large rustic, but elegant facility and magnificent grounds the prices are going to be high-end. Not so. The prices are very comparable with other well crafted wines of the Walla Walla Valley.
The Basel Cellars tasting room is very welcoming with the feel of a ski resort lodge. The patio in front of the tasting room gives the visitors a breathtaking view of the Basel Cellars vineyards, multi-colored foothills, the snow-capped Blue Mountains and much of the estate. During my visit, Becky even queued and unleashed the pet deer to make their entrance - - kidding! Yes, I am kidding, but while we were chatting Becky excitedly pointed out her deer paid us a visit. Sure enough, I looked out towards the vista of vineyards and there were a couple of deer! And very close to the tasting room! It truly was an aesthetic treat that added to all of the sensories of the Basel Cellars experience. And especially a treat for any lucky tasting room visitor who lives in the larger cities to have such an experience.
So if you haven't been had the Basel Estate Cellars experience - - what's stopping you?