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Meet Basel Cellars of Walla Walla Washington

Written By | Apr 18, 2014

SEATTLE, WA. April 18, 2014 — Many wine lovers in the Pacific Northwest have known about Basel Cellars for years now and have fallen in love with its heritage and wines. It’s built on an exquisite property on the south side of Walla Walla, just north of the Oregon border. Originally built as a single-family home by a US Cellular business tycoon, Kyle Mussman, the property sits on 96 acres, most of which now comprise its estate vineyards. Mussman later sold the property to the Basel family who originally converted parts of it to a working winery.

While the winery has gone through its share of ups and downs over the past decade or so, its recent acquisition of winemaker Ned Morris has been the catalyst for a much welcomed turn-around for its guests and the quality of its wine. His approach to wine is as elegant as the estate grounds it’s made on – one taste, and you’ll be hooked. That is, unless you prefer wines that are over-oaked, ultra-high alcohol, over extracted fruit bombs.

If that’s the kind of wine you enjoy, Basel isn’t your cup of tea or wine for that matter.

The wines Ned is making are for those of us who love food-friendly, balanced wines that are harmonious with fruit, tannin and acid. Wines  that take your palate on a multi-dimensional journey.

We had the chance to taste through three of Ned’s first red wines and here are the notes on them:

2010 Merlot:
Notes of plum sauce for weeks, 90% dark chocolate, licorice, peppercorns, forest floor funk, moss, dirt, mud, clay, blackberry and tobacco. Hands down one of the most complex Merlots you’ll find for the money, bar-none. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking old or new world, this wine is serious business, it’s off-the-hook and is one that would be great to have an endless supply of so you could hit it like the fist of a pissed of deity every day.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon:
Fennel, bramble, coffee, dark chocolate, Marion berry, black cherry, raspberry cola. A very sublime culmination of acids, fruit, mid palate and a finish which hangs out for weeks. Harmonious flavors  balanced in a way that entices you to tap it hard, leaving you with the feeling as if you should have gone for more than one bottle.

2010 Claret:
Tar bubble-laced cherries, black raspberry, peppercorns, crème brulee, dark chocolate, an old leather shoe, plum, rose hips and tobacco. A seductive temptress of a wine for its price point. In fact, they may not be a better value in the new world for a red of this finesse. It has a nearly impeccable balance of fruit, acid and tannins that culminate into a finish to die for. A total no-brainer for $20 dollars, in fact, you need to be ordering it by the case.

We recently caught up with Ned at Seattle’s Taste Washington event and fired off a few questions, here’s that interview:

Winery website:

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Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.