Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hey Marseilles and Gilbert Cellars

From Emily Popp:

Destination: Yakima Valley Wine Country.

Eager to commence this weekend getaway, we parked our truck in the last available space of the small grassy clearing and made our way toward the audible vibrations—thankfully those of an eclectic mix of tracks and not of the band we came to see. Hey Marseilles would be playing  as the final show for Gilbert Cellars’ Music in the Vines summer series. A few rushed hours earlier, my husband and I were working away at our eastside offices, frightful that we might hit a bad patch of traffic and miss the start of the show. 

What a difference in atmosphere that two hour drive east could make. Here we were, our city shoes struggling on the rocky gravel road, with views of rolling hills blanketed by different shades of green square plots. Washington apples and grape vines in the foreground, warm high desert country in the back. The closer we came to the music, the more aware became of the lavender until the freshly pruned arcades of the fragrant flowers came into view. It was a beautiful evening; the sun just prepping to set and I was perfectly comfortable in short-sleeves in the warm evening breeze.

We checked in, grabbed a bottle and scoped out a seat on the lush grass hillside, smack dab in the  middle of the 300 or so guests and only a handful of yards from the band as they kicked off their first set. Wine flowing, we blissed out as the six band members serenaded us with orchestral folk, song after  intoxicating song.

“Wine is all about the experience,” explained Laura Rankin, Tasting Room Manager and part owner of Gilbert Cellars. From the bands that play to the butterfly-attracting flowers to the cave, hosting barrels of maturing Washington wines; all the details were carefully crafted to create this experience of wine appreciation and tell the Gilbert family story to their guests. Their objective is to share “an authentic  product that comes from the place that we love.”

The Gilberts’ love for this place came full circle by way of the wine in our glasses. We shared a bottle of Gilbert Cellars’ Rhone-inspired 2010 Allobroges throughout the evening, enjoying the ripe aromas of blackberry and plum, and the nuances of baking spice and smoke. This blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache exhibits bold, true to varietal flavors. It was named after the Gallic tribe of the Allobroges who were given credit for having shared the recipe of winemaking with the Romans.

Like an extension of its namesake, Allobroges the wine, shared a recipe with us too. It was the perfect summary of the picturesque setting; uniting the music, the landscape, and fragrant flowers together  into one memorable evening and liberating the Gilbert’s love for this place to diffuse by route of all five senses into the hearts of their guests.


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