France’s Rhone Valley produces some of the most highly coveted (and consequently expensive) wines in the world, so it’s no wonder Washington winemakers have looked to this area for inspiration and to follow the steps of tradition, at times with great success.

Alexandria Nicole’s Shephards Mark is one such example, having recently earned the most prestigious (in my opinion) Platinum Award from Great Northwest Wine’s Platinum Wine Competition, wherein only Golds and Double-Golds from the region’s competitions qualify for entry. In other words: the best of the best. For January’s Wine of the Month, I am pleased to introduce this beautiful iteration of white brilliance.

Winemaker duo Jarrod Boyle and Reid Klei have created a stunning example of their flagship white blend this 2022 vintage, being 55% Rousanne, 30% Marsanne, and 15% Viognier. She shows up early across the table when first poured (thank you Viognier), with a classic cologne scent reminiscent of Artemis shrouded in honeysuckle blossoms on a warm breeze, and continues to stun as she unwraps…

Alexandria Nicole Cellars has spearheaded the introduction of this classic blend to Washington State with their first vintage in 2004 (thanks to valiant industry names having some influence: Wolfe and Mercer). The 2022 growing season, after some fears of fluctuating circumstances of nature, finished off with an ideal vintage characterized by a late start to the spring, and ending with warmth extending into the fall.

Chuckanut Manor in Bow serves Shephards Mark, or you can find it in Bellingham at Bens Market on Alabama Street or Haggen in Barkley Village. Alexandria Nicole Cellars’s website also offers myriad places to taste, stay, and learn about their journey, as well as a comprehensive wine club program; you can find all you need to know at

Tasting Notes: White flesh peach, riverbed, clover honey, freshly sliced starfruit scents – palate has zippy limeade, mild banana, honeydew, Meyer lemon and apricot with a gentle ginger velvety finish on the back palate. Simply delicious.

Pairing Suggestion: Chicken Pad Thai, Roasted Red Peppers, Lobster, Cold Melon Soup, Arugula Salad, Coconut Custard Pudding.