Earth Day in Italy

Saturday we are tasting our way around Veneto in the northeast of Italy at the foothills of the alps that produces a wide variety of wines.
2015 Inama Soave $14
2016 Maculan Rosato $15
2013 Tenuta Sant Antonio Monti Garbi Ripasso $15
2014 Maculan Brentino  $15
2012 Tedeschi, San Rocco Ripasso $23

Sunday we’ll be tasting two more wines from Italy.  A fresh white from the Friuli and a bold Super Tuscan from, well, Tuscany.

2015 Ronco dei Tassi Cormons, Fruilano $17
Tocai Friulano, also known as Sauvignonasse is a grape variety most famous for its role in the white wines of Friuli, in northeastern Italy. The wines are lively and fruit-driven with notes of citrus and almond, and often a touch of minerality. Medium intensity and structure that give a bouquet of anise, peach and yogurt and that mouth affects for long persistence.

2012 Poggio Bonelli Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggiassai  $30
75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon
Full-bodied and intense, with a complex fruity and spicy bouquet with notes of ripe red fruit and pepper; soft, soothing, balanced. The wine is aged for 16-18 months in barrique. It racked up 94pts from  Wine Spectator and got Tre Beccheri from Gambero Rosso. Come see if it lives up to all the praise.

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

Veneto

Saturday, April 22nd, 2pm

The Veneto region in north-eastern Italy is protected from the harsh northern European climate by the Alps, the foothills of which form the Veneto’s northern extremes. These cooler climes are well-suited to white varieties like Garganega (the main grape for Soave wines), while the warmer Adriatic coastal plains, river valleys, and Garda Lake zone are the places where the renowned Valpolicella, Amarone and Merlot and Cabernet reds thrive.  Stop by on Saturday as we traipse around this terrain and wet our whistles in its waters.
 
2015 Inama Soave $14
Garganega
The Inama estate, founded in 1960, grows Garganega on 17 hectares of basaltic lava.  This Soave has an elegant nose of sweet field flowers, Chamomile, Elder, and Iris.  The mineral palate is fresh with sweet almond on the finish.
 
2016 Maculan Rosato $15
100% Merlot
For three generations the Maculan family has been making wine in Breganze, an enchanting village, set like a small jewel at the foot of the Alps in the Veneto region. The high plains of Asiago offer natural protection and create an extremely mild climate that favors the cultivation of vines and olives.  Their Rosato made from Merlot has intense and fruity aromas of peaches and lychee and with white flower petals. On the palate, it is fuller-bodied and silky, with a lovely, lingering acidity.
 
2013 Tenuta Sant Antonio Monti Garbi Ripasso $15
70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Croatina, 5% Oseleta
The vineyards of Tenuta Sant’Antonio lie on the Monti Garbi whose harsh and impervious soil favors good grapes. This Ripasso has aromas of red fruit and cherries. The flavors are slightly sweetish, soft yet powerful, fresh, and full-flavored with a trace of tannin and a spicy aftertaste.
 
2014 Maculan Brentino  $15
55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon
Brenta is the main river near Breganze, and is also the name for a basket (backpack style) that was traditionally used to deliver wine. Deep ruby-red with garnet hues, the Brentino offers seductive aromas of blackberries and dark cherries, along with hints of cedar and forest due to the year spent aging in French barriques. On the palate, the wine is dry, full-bodied, and harmoniously balanced with firm tannic structure and a persistent finish.
 
2012 Tedeschi, San Rocco Ripasso $23
30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 10% Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara, Dindarella.
The grapes for the San Rocco come from vineyards on the Moraine Hills in the Valpolicella area.  Made in the Ripasso style the wine is ample and complex: notes of cherry, raspberry and red currant give freshness to the wine.  The wine is warm and round. The after-taste confirms the character of the bouquet with a long-lasting and persistent flavor.

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

It’s not too late to sign up for

Madrona Wines Monthly

and get your May box.

Can’t make the tastings,
but still want to try new and interesting wines?

Think about joining our monthly wine club –
for yourself, or for a friend as a holiday gift.

Sign up for Madrona Wines Monthly, our Wine Club where each month we pick unique selections from the hundreds of wines we taste each month. You get:

  • A hand-picked selection of intriguing wines waiting to be discovered
  • A ready supply of delicious wines just waiting for a pull of the cork
  • 10% off your wine club selections

We have several wine club levels to suit your palette and pocket:

Everyday Exploration:

Good quality wines that don’t require a special occasion. This club gives you wine for good, everyday drinking. These selections from all over the world are meant to go with food. If you buy two or three bottles a week at the grocery store, we promise you that you’ll drink better with this club! Pick your favorites and come back for more. Your choice of either six or twelve bottles a month. Choices all red, all white or 50%/50% or 60%/40% or rosés in the summer.
6 bottle selection: $50-$75 plus tax — 12 bottle selection: $ 100-$150 plus tax

Saturday Night Collection:

Classic samplings from around the world. It could be a new Cabernet from Walla Walla, or an old Barolo from the Piedmont, but they all will be excellent wines that represent their place and style. We’ll pick from some of the most exciting wine we find each month. Take our choice or tell us your preferences, and we’ll hand pick to your interest.
3 bottle selection: $75-$ 135 plus tax — 6 bottle selection: $150-$170 plus tax

3M All Week Mix:

The 3M All Week Mix offers two bottles from the Saturday Night Collection and four bottles from the Everyday Exploration so you have bottles for special occasions and bottles for every day.
6 bottle selection: $110 – $120 plus tax

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Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

Hopping

It is Easter Weekend in Madrona, with lots of egg hunting and bunny rabbits. Here at Madrona Wine we’ll be hopping around to taste an assemblage of wines to match up with whatever Easter feast you have going.

Saturday, we are bouncing all over Europe, win wines from Spain, France, Germany and Italy.
Torre Oria, Cava $10 ($15 for 1.5ltr. !!!)
2015 Granville-Lacoste, Graves Blanc $18
2015 Weingut Hexamer, Quarzit Riesling $17
2015 Ca’ del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo $14
2015 Domaine Durban, Beaumes de Venise Rouge $19
2013 Corte alla Flora, Pugnitello Toscana $29

Sunday, we’re staying closer to home and pouring two Northwest wines from some not so typical varietals.  Both at a great savings.

2009 Airlie Marchal Foch  $10
This early ripening hybrid grape makes a dark red from the Willamette Valley. The 2009 shows lots of blackberry pie flavors, cardamon spice, and dry light finish. Drink it up now.
Was $18 now $10

2012 Covington Cellars Petite Sirah  $20
There is nothing “petite” about this wine. Not a ray of light gets through this dark, inky-purple, glass staining liquid elixir. A rich blackberry flavor combines with notes of black pepper, licorice, smoked meats, and dry dark chocolate.
Normally $40 –Special Price $20

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

Euro-Tourism,

Saturday, April 15th, 2pm

Why stay in one place? This Saturday we’ll be hopping around all over “yourup“, taking in the sights of the old world and stopping at some favorite wineries. It’s “Spring Break” Madrona Wine style. Hop along with us as we hit a little bit of Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

Torre Oria, Cava $10 ($15 for 1.5ltr.)
Macabeo
Torre Oria ups the ante on value. Their crisp entry sparkler has a floral bouquet of wild flowers and berries and abundant fine bubbles. On the palate, it has flavors of peaches, tropical fruits and flowers.

2015 Granville-Lacoste, Graves Blanc $18
75% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle
This blend is a little different than the more Sauvignon dominated wines of most Graves. The Semillon offers texture and minerality with a ripe, almost tropical stone fruit quality on the palate, while the grassy, citrusy aromatics are all Sauvignon Blanc. It is a full, clean and fresh Bordeaux Blanc.

2015 Weingut Hexamer, Quarzit Riesling $17
Harald Hexamer’s dedication is seen both his work in the vineyards and in the cellars. The “Quarzit” always comes from a special parcel in Rheingrafenberg that is mostly all quartzite with steep (55°) south-east facing slopes. Usually the wine is harvested at high Spätlese level. When tasting the wines, one sees the purity of the vineyards, the intensity of minerality and remarkable clarity. They’re steely, acid-driven, clean and transparent.

2015 Ca’ del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo $14
Ca’ del Baio is better known for their Barbarescos, owner Giulio Grasso was named “Viticulturist of the Year” by the Gambero Rosso in 2016. But their young-vine Nebbiolo producer shows raspberry, high-toned grapey essence, and hints of earth and stands out as an achievement on its own.

2015 Domaine Durban, Beaumes de Venise Rouge $19
70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre
Located on the hillsides of Beaumes-de-Venise, is best known for its sweet white wine. However, their lighter and elegant Rhone Red has pretty notes of cherry, violets, and spice that will win you over.

2013 Corte alla Flora, Pugnitello Toscana $29
Most of the top wines from the Tuscany region of Italy are made from Sangiovese. However, Pugnitello, another indigenous red Tuscan grape, also deserves attention. Pugnitello means ‘little fist’ and refers to the grape’s tight bunches on the vines. It lost favor in the mid-20th century to Sangiovese partly because of its low yields. The vine produces small grapes with thick skins. They have intense dark color with ample tannins and good acid. The wine has a beautiful deep red color. The nose of ripe fruit has notes of blueberry and sensations of cloves and tobacco. In the mouth, it is velvety with sensations that recall the berries and surprisingly balance between structure and acidity.

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

Wine Engages The Brain More Than Solving Complex Math Problems

From Minnesota’s NPR station, and interesting take on the mechanics of tasting wines. According to Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd, the flavor of wine “engages more of our brain than any other human behavior.”

Who knew?

CLICK FOR THE ARTICLE

And yes, Minnesota does produce wine, though I haven’t had any. Speaking of odd places to try wine – had a Cuban White (Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay) that if it would have been at the right temperature (room temperature in the Caribbean) was quite drinkable.

= = =

 

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

Mediterranean Musing

While the sun plays hide and seek with the showers this weekend, we at Madrona Wine are casting our glances and glasses to the Mediterranean,

Saturday we are touring Spain following the breezes from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean as well as the wind through Rioja Alta and Catalonia.
2015 K5 Arginano, Pilota Txakolina  $19
2015 Vina Reboreda,  Godello   $13
2012 Bodegas Martinez Corta, Cepas Antiguas Rioja, Selección Privada
$12
2014 Grifoll Declara, Tossals Junior, Montsant $12
2013 Terrer d’Aubert, Tarragona $30

Sunday we are easing into Italy.  We’ll be pouring two easy quaffers from the big boot.  While both these wines are well made with underlying complexities, the main focus here is on simple enjoyment.   

2013 Giacomelli Paduletti  $10
60% Vermentino, 30% Trebbiano, 10% Malvasia
A more inland wine from Cinqua Tera, this Lugurian white has Acacia, honey and aromatic herb aromas along with a yellow plum, wisteria flowers and mint flavor. Was $14 now $10

2014 Scarpetta Squadra Rosso  $10
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 10% Merlot
An easy quaffer from Sicily, medium-bodied with ripe red fruits and hints of cinnamon. The Squadra tastes old-world and very modern at the same time.

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

A Taste of Spain,

Saturday, April 6th, 2pm

Come join us Saturday and we traverse the coasts and mountains of Spain.  You’ll feel breezes from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean as well as the wind through Rioja Alta and Catalonia — five wines, five regions, six grapes, endless flavor.
 
2015 K5 Arginano, Pilota Txakolina  $19
100% Hondarrabi Zuri
The K5 Winery is situated 300 meters above sea level with mineral rich soils of chalk, limestone, and shale. The scenic view from the winery highlights our surrounding 15 hectares descending down towards the Cantabrian Sea.  The Atlantic influences of the Bay of Biscay and the altitude provides a natural freshness.  The Pilota has intense notes of fruit and minerals, with subtle hints of white flowers and fruits like apple and winter pear.
 
2015 Vina Reboreda,  Godello   $13
From Bierzo, this 100% Godello comes from 40-year-old vines planted in chalky-clay soils on steep slopes overlooking the Miño River. This is a medium-bodied, fresh, complex and mineral wine that marries power and purity, with good density.  Its pear, melon, almond, orange peel and mineral flavors mingle seamlessly.
 
2012 Bodegas Martinez Corta, Cepas Antiguas Rioja, Selección Privada $12
Tempranillo
Bodegas Martínez Corta family estate includes 225 acres of old-vine Tempranillo in the heart of Rioja Alta.  The grapes for the Selección Privada are manually harvested from vineyards over 40 years of age in the Rioja Alta villages of Uruñuela, Cenicero and San Asensio. The wine has black fruit aromas of plums and blueberries are followed by a rich and velvety palate and a lingering, refreshing finish.
 
2014 Grifoll Declara, Tossals Junior, Montsant $12
60% Granacha Negra, 30% Cariñena, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
The wine cellar of the Grifoll family goes back to 1880. Many generations of the Grifoll family have been producing wine from their own vineyards at “El Molar”. In 2001, when the new cellar “Grifoll Declara” was founded to make wine for the family co-op.  The vine comes from 30-50 years old vines in Montsant.  The wine has notes of ripe red fruit, sweets and spicy balsamic with a touch of vanilla.
 
2013 Terrer d’Aubert, Tarragona $30
Cabernet Sauvignon
The Morell family vineyard estate is comprised of nine parcels totaling seventeen acres in the outskirts of Tarragona on the Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Defying urban sprawl, the vineyards lie within a mile and half of the sea, their soils composed of calcareous loam derived from shell (fossil) limestone. The wine has black cherry, blackberry, licorice; graphite and toasty flavors mingle in this polished, harmonious red, with a good balance of well-integrated tannins and acidity. The long finish shows floral and mineral notes.

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

Frolickin’ French,

Saturday, April 1st, 2pm

Join us Saturday as we frolic through the French country side quaffing vinous sips from France’s diverse regions.  We’ll be tasting wines from the villages of Jonqieux, Chablis, Bourgueil, Lirac, and Gigondas.  Kick up your heals and come join us.
 
2014 Eugene-Carrel, Jongieux Blanc $13
Jacquère
Carrel is a third generation family run vineyard & winery located in the village of Jongieux, the largest of the 17 appellations of the Savoie region. Situated at the start of the French Alps, Jongieux vineyards are on very steep, clay-limestone slopes carved out by ancient glaciers. Their southwest exposure provides 2-3 hours more sun daily, allowing the grapes to ripen more fully than in any other part of Savoie and produce fuller, fresher and more balanced wines. Jacquère wines have high acidity and a small amount of its natural CO2 is retained to enhance its freshness and vitality. The Carrel shows off a fruit essence of citrus and very ripe pears, followed by a floral overtone and a slight mineral note on the finish.
 
2015 Le Domaine d’Henri, Petit Chablis $20
Chardonnay
The Laroche family owned vines back as far as 1700 and started making wine in 1781. Their Petit Chablis, shows aromas of acacia mixed with lemon on a mineral driven base, presenting notes of peach and pear on the palate, with a well-balanced acidity and mineral, chalky notes that are the signature of Chablis.
 
2014 Domaine Le Pins, Bourgueil  $14
Cabernet Franc
Domaine les Pins has been a family-owned estate for 5 generations with 16 hectares in Bourgueil exclusively planted with Cabernet Franc.  They practice sustainable farming with respect to the environment.  A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fruits, this Cabernet Franc is nicely layered on the palate with brightness running throughout and just a touch of smoke mixed in with some purple fruits. Soft waves of mineral with a nice soft tannin make this a true delight to drink.
 
2013 Domaine la Rocalière, Lirac  $17
34% Grenache, 33% Mourvèdre, 33% Syrah
La Rocalière is a family estate with 32 ha of 30 year old certified organic vines in Lirac.  The wine has a dense purple color, with pure, dark fruit on the nose followed by deep, spicy, beautiful texture and structure on the palate.
 
2014 Moulin de La Gardette, Gigondas Tradition $28
80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault
Jean-Baptiste Meunier is the fifth-generation winemaker behind the great property of Moulin de la Gardette in the Rhone region of Gigondas.  Gigondas has more south facing slopes and higher elevations as well as varied soils that distinguish the region from some of its neighbors. The Tradition comes from vines averaging an age of 40 years. It is aged for about 18 months in mostly used barrique before bottling. The 2014 offers lots of cedary spice, dried red fruits and garrigue.  It is both rustic and charming with spicy tannins that add shape and grip.  

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

What NOT To Pair With Wine

This morning over my eggs and champagne (just kidding about the champagne), I was reading a great article from The Clever Root, “Risky Relationships: The Eight Killer Foods That Make Wine Taste Terrible”, by Karen MacNeil.

Sadly, the article isn’t on their website so I’ll have to paraphrase her thoughts on those eight foods:

  1. Artichokes – don’t do with tannic wines, will leave your wine tasting like a tin can
  2. Asparagus – Sauvignon Blanc would work, but only if you grill the asparagus, as for reds, forget it
  3. Cruciferous & Leafy Green Vegetable – just say no to wine with these because of the sulfur released from cooking
  4. Eggs – ditto on the sulfur content
  5. Chiles – stay away from tannic or high alcohol wines like Zinfandel, the capsaicin in the chilies intensifies the heat, tannins, and alcohol
  6. White Wine Vinegar – makes you wine taste astringent, use lemon juice, good quality Sherry, or balsamic
  7. Raw Garlic and Onions – sautéed them first
  8. Chocolate – forget reds and white, head for Port or Madeira to stand up to the power of chocolate

Interested on how others feel about food and wine? Pop over to Serious Eats and check out this ARTICLE.

Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.

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