Sometimes I hear so many reports about a winery that I just have to drop in and see what is going on for myself. Such was the case for my visit last week to Airfield Winery in Prosser.
I've had several people in the past few weeks and months tell me that they had been out to Airfield, and what a great visit they'd had. Even one of my friends, who is no wine slouch by any means, had shared with me that his recent trip to the winery was "quite memorable" in a good way.
I was in Prosser meeting with my friends Jessie and Susanne Ayala, the owners of Tuscany Grill. Susanne shared with me that they have a huge Airfield following at their restaurant. (As a side note, there is going be a fantastic wine event there on Sunday, June 13, with Apex Winery and Master Sommelier Angelo Tavernero. At $55 a ticket it will be awesome. You can contact Susanne for tickets at 509-786-7600.)
With all of these great reports, and a little time to burn, I decided I needed to make a stop at the Airfield and taste. The winery sits parallel to the freeway alongside Olsen Estates, Thurston Wolfe, and Milbrant Wineries.
Walking into the spacious, hanger-like facility was actually kind of spunky and refreshing. The place is decked out in flyer paraphernalia, and looks kind of like a fancy, leather-seated version of my brother's airplane hanger in southern Idaho.
I was met by a bar full of twentysomethings who were an extended wedding party, and the very pleasant staff. They offered to pour the entire list of around 15 wines for me, and I thought, "why not?"
Starting off with the whites we went right into the 2009 Flygirl White, a spicy, floral, and peachy blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer. Next was the un-oaked 2009 Chardonnay, which was creamy and rich from malolactic fermentation. These wines would go nicely with my chicken spring rolls or a yakisoba.
The 2008 Pinot Gris was on special for $99 a case, which I snatched up. Spicy and dry, with mangos, peaches, and honeydew dancing across the tongue. Yum!
I taxied into the 2009 Ruby Rosé. I'm a Rosé fan, and cannot ever turn down a good one. This is an actual "foot-stomped" wine, created at the crush festival last fall. Made from Syrah and Grenache, this wine is full of rhubarb and strawberries. I couldn't help but pick up a few bottles of this as well.
My attention headed directly down the runway of reds with the 2007 Aviator, a blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. This dark, rich blend opens with vanilla and spices, and finishes with velvety fruit and baking spices.
The 2008 Mustang blend is all Rhone with Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Counoise, and Morvedre. This super tight blend eventually opens up deep and rich, with so many layers it's hard to explain. Just be ready to decant this one.
Last, I thoroughly enjoyed landing with the 2008 Zinfandel. Jammy plum flavors, cocoa, and allspice. This wine is ready for a great steak in my back yard.
I hope you can fly to Airfield Estates Winery in Prosser sometime soon.
I'll see you at the Plateau at Wildhorse for the big winemaker's dinner Sunday.
Rich Breshears, the East Oregonian's wine columnist, is a commercial photographer and marketing consultant for the wine industry in Oregon and Washington. He lives with his family in Kennewick, Wash. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com