Super Wine Weekend

The Super Bowl arrives this weekend, and while it won’t see the Seahawks out on the gridiron, it will have all the over the top commercials and Lady Gaga and light shows and fireworks and maybe even some football.  Of course to celebrate we are pouring some Super Wines all weekend at Madrona Wine.

Saturday, we have a fine line up from the Loire and the Rhône that offer up some tasty exceptional value.
2013 Pierre Chainier, Château de la Roche, Touraine  $12
2014 Pierre Chainier, Les Hospices Sancerre  $19
2013 Charles Thomas, Côte du Rhône  $11
2012 Alain Jaume, Haut de Brun, Côte du Rhône  $15
2012 Pierre Chainier, Roc de Chateauvieux, Chinon $21

Sunday, we’ll be showing off a couple of wines from Italy.

2014 La Jara Pinot Grigio Rosé  $9
After the tide of summer rosés you sometimes find the gems in the receding surf.  The La Jarra blossoms with rose petal and red fruit, lots of blood orange and lively goodness. And due to the season it is now $9.  Was $12 Organic  12.5% alcohol by volume

2013 Contini Tonaghe  $12
Cannonau di Sardegna
Sardinian Grenache that taste like it comes from nowhere else. Intense, with a well-defined vinosity and a hint of ripe plums and blackberries, lovely grippy tannins; warm and full-bodied with blackberry notes and juicy, ripe plum flavors.

Slip in and join us.

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.

Classic Wines from the Loire & Rhône,

Saturday,February 6th, 2pm

This Saturday we are featuring three wines from Pierre Chainier who has several estates in the Loire.  It is a family business.  His wife Anne Chainier looks after the estates, the Château de Pocé and the Château de la Roche.  Their eldest son Francois is the managing director of the company. He also owns the Clos de Nouys and Clos wu Gaimont vineyards in Vouvray. Their two other sons, Louis and Philippe, are in charge of exports.  We’ll also be pouring two favorite reds from the Rhône to round out your palate.  Come taste with us.
 
2013 Pierre Chainier, Château de la Roche, Touraine  $12
Sauvignon Blanc
The Château de la Roche is one of the oldest single estates of Loire Valley, planted mostly with Sauvignon Blanc.  The vines provide a complex wine on the nose, aromatic and mineral with ripe fruits and citrus aromas, very subtle and delicate on the palate.
 
2014 Pierre Chainier, Les Hospices Sancerre  $19
Sauvignon Blanc
A great Value in Sancerre the Les Hospice is lively and full of fruit, with pleasant aromas, backed up by blackcurrant buds and wild flowers.
 
2013 Charles Thomas, Côte du Rhône  $11
A great little Côte du Rhône made by the Burgundy producer Jean-Baptiste Bejot.  The CT rouge is fresh spicy red overtones of red berry fruits. The body is found and supple with smooth aftertaste.
 
2012 Alain Jaume, Haut de Brun, Côte du Rhône  $15
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault
This winery dates back to 1826, having been founded at that time by Mathieu Jaume. Since 1979, Alain Jaume has run the Domaine and now has the help of his two sons, Sébastien and Christophe, and daughter Helene. The Haut de Brun is a delicious full Rhône with layered aromas of black plum, blackberry, violet and earth, along with distant whiffs of game and smoke.
 
2012 Pierre Chainier, Roc de Chateauvieux, Chinon $21
Cabernet Franc
Pierre Chainier’s beautifully elegant 100% Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley is very crisp and clean with aromas of mulberry, wild strawberry, and black cherry joined by a touch of dried fallen leaves and a hint of a fresh spring garden.  The flavor is black cherry, sweet plum, and fresh raspberry are framed against tobacco leaf, dried cranberry, cassis, and a lovely dried herbal element that perfectly frames the other flavor components.

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.

Weekend Options

Madrona: HIgh 47 degrees, Low 38 degrees — Cloud with Showers
Cape Town, South Africa: High 94 degrees, Low 71 degrees — Sunny and Clear
You choose.

Saturday, we’re tasting a great line up of wines from South Africa, where it is Summer and the grapes are ripening. Come take a vacation.
2015 Ashbourne Sauvignon/Chardonnay
2013 Neil Ellis Pinotage  
2012 Goose, Shiraz 
2013 Helderberg Wijnmakerij, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Delaire Graff, Botsmaskop Red

Sunday, Mark is fresh back from Vietnam and pouring two new reds to the shop that are a bit off the beaten path — a Cabrades from Southern France and a Cab heavy blend from Chile. 

2013 Echeverria, Propuesta  $10
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec
From Chile, this dry chalky red has plenty of dark fruit without being overripe or pretentious.

2013 La Mijane Arpege –Cabardes  $14
60% Grenache, 40% Merlot
Where the Atlantic influence meets the Mediterranean, the blend mixes notes of blueberry and dark fruit with some sunny spice.

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.

Summer in South Africa

Saturday, January 30th

2pm

It is Summer in Southern Hemisphere and what better time than to warm up with some fine South African wines. Come join us.

2015 Ashbourne Sauvignon/Chardonnay $18
80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay
Ashbourne Wine Estate shares a border with its more famous relative, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, in the breathtaking Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Walker Bay. The region has perfect conditions for both Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to thrive. Fresh, vibrant, perfumed Sauvignon Blanc, filled-out and enriched with a unwooded Chardonnay make this a beautifully balanced and highly versatile wine.

2013 Neil Ellis Pinotage $20
Neil Ellis’s vineyards in the Jonkershoek Valley and more specifically the south facing slopes are of the coolest sites in Stellenbosch. The vineyards are also influenced by southerly breezes during the summer months, which have a beneficial effect. Their Pinotage has bright aromatic sweet fruit with spicy varietal notes and an attractive palate with cedary undertones.

2012 Goose, Shiraz $20
Goose Wines are made by the South African golfer Retief Goosen. His estate in the Upper Langkloof has high altitude, cooler vineyards on the northern slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains. The Goose Shiraz has a ruby red color, scented bouquet with abundant smoke and spice, delivering exceptional richness and a powerful full-bodied finish. The tannins are ripe and soft, with a long, clean aftertaste.

2013 Helderberg Wijnmakerij, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon $14
The Helderberg Winery was founded in 1906. Over the following decades, the winery became known for its of fine red wines especially Cabernet sauvignon. A wildebeest of a wine, the Helderberg Cab is dark and smoky with flavors of dark plums, blackberry and cedar undertones.

2012 Delaire Graff, Botsmaskop Red $25
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec
The combination of Maritime and mountain in Stellenbosch makes up its unique terroir. A cooling Atlantic sea breeze washes over Delaire Graff’s steeply sloping vineyards gives a rich intensity of fruit. Their big Cab blend is powerful, yet elegant and polished, with classic aromas of dark berry fruit, spice and cassis. The softness of tannins and balance in structure complete this wine on the palate.

Tasting Report: Eldorado County California Wine Country

One of the lesser known, but fascinating California winery regions is Eldorado County, an hour east of Sacramento. Unlike the bustling regions of Napa or Sonoma, these smaller regions offer inexpensive tastings fees (if any at all), and offer up some great wines and stunning scenery.

As you can see from the map, there are no shortage of wineries in Eldorado County, many of which are only open weekends. Most everyplace you stop in will have maps of the area, including special maps for the sub-AVAs of Fairplay and Placerville. It being a Wednesday afternoon, my choices were a little more limited so I hit two that were recommended (and next door to each other) and one (Miraflores) that I just stumbled upon.

While none of the wines from the three wineries I stopped at are available at the shop, this is more informational about off-the-beaten track wine regions.

First up was Windwalker Winery in the Fairplay area of El Dorado County California. They produce 9-10,000 cases of wine a year with 10% being estate fruit. Of that production, 1/3 are white wine varietals, including dry-style Albariño (unusual for California) and a Viognier (both tasty, but I bought the Albariño). If you are a Chardonnay fan, their Chardonnay won the prestigious Golden Bear award at the California State Fair (front and center in front of their other medal placing wines).

As you can see from the chalkboard, they have an extensive and varied production. I even had a chance to chat with Ben, their winemaker:

Some of the more interesting reds they had open were the Alicante Bouschet (another rare California varietal) and their Estate Fruit Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They also have several desert wines that I passed on. By the end of the tasting I’d had three whites/rosé and nine of the reds – yes, I was swirling, sipping and spitting.

Next up in the day’s adventure was Perry Creek Winery, which is just one long driveway away from Windwalker. Unlike Windwalker, most of their grapes are estate grown.

As with Windwalker, the major portion of their wines are red varietals (Chardonnay and Viognier being the two whites). I worked my way through them, finding the Zinfandels to my favorites – and oddly, the ZinMan Zin (which I bought) tastier than their Reserve Zinfandel. I ended up trying both the whites and half a dozen of the reds.

Last on the list for the day was Miraflores Winery, visually the most stunning of the bunch – no wander they have a full schedule of wine/food pairings, weddings, wine maker dinners.

For tasting they had your choice of six whites or rosé, and fifteen reds of which I sampled. With the exception of their Pinot Grigio and Misíon 1853, all of their wines are estate fruit grown on 50 cultivated acres

I really like their 2014 Barbara Rosé, along with their 2012 Méthode Ancienne – a traditional native yeast, foot-pressed Syrah. They used to invite people in to help with the stomp, but in recent years it’s just handled by the production workers. Other notable on the tasting menu were the 2014 Misíon 1853 – the first varietal planted in California in, you guessed it, 1853. Also deserving mention are their 2011 and 2012 Petit Sirah.

So, when you are travelling around the country, explore the less explored wine regions – when doing the research for this article I found a map for the wineries of Indiana – who knew.

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.

New Arrivals January, 24th 11-5pm

The new boats of 2016 are arriving loaded with wine. This Sunday we’ll be welcoming two new arrivals to the shop — One from Corsica, and one from Spain. Stop by and greet them.

2014 Domaine Petroni, Corsican Red $12
50% Niellucciu, 35% Syrah, 15% Grenache
A good versatile red for Corsica, the wine has aromas of red fruit (strawberries, blackcurrant and raspberries) as well as delicate spice and a light minerality. It is supple on entry to the palate with red fruit flavors and subtle roasted notes. 12.5% alcohol by volume

2014 Tarima, Monastrell $10
This is your brain on Monastrell –Red raspberries, cooked cherries, and mulberries show in this wine’s expressive nose and mouth; the middle and finish also offer black plums and black raisins. Spices, herbs, and chocolate mark the finish as well.

Piedmont & New Arrivals

The weather can’t seem to make up its mind this week in Madrona, switching from buckets of rain to balmy spring like temperatures.   But at Madrona Wine we are single-mindedly going about our mission — Drinking good wine.

Saturday, we have a superlative line up of Piedmont wines, including a Sparkling Nebbiolo by Luigi Giordano.  We’ll also be tasting his 2011 Barbaresco Cavanna, his flagship wine that you won’t want to miss.  It starts at 2pm.

Sunday we’re pouring two new arrivals at the shop from this week. 11-5pm
2014 Tarima, Monastrelle $10
Red raspberries, cooked cherries, and mulberries show in this wine’s expressive nose and mouth; the middle and finish also offer black plums and black raisins. Spices, herbs, and chocolate mark the finish as well.

2014 Petroni, Corsican Red, $12
50% Niellucciu, 35% Syrah, 15% Grenache
A good versatile red for Corsica, the wine has aromas of red fruit (strawberries, blackcurrant and raspberries) as well as delicate spice and a light minerality. It is supple on entry to the palate with red fruit flavors and subtle roasted notes.

Our Sunday evening tasting of Older Bordeaux is filled up.  We’ll get back soon with the groups favorites.

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.

Luigi Giordano & His Neighbors

Saturday, January 23rd, 2pm

Luigi Giordano is a fourth-generation family winery whose vineyards are planted in some of Barbaresco’s most prestigious Crus. One particular Barbaresco bottling from the Cru of Cavanna showcases the winery’s elegant, hands-off style of winemaking. This Saturday we’ll be pouring this elegant Barbaresco along with some other of the wineries creations as well as a couple of offerings from some of his neighbors. It is a great line up you won’t want to miss.

2013 Angelo Negro “Serra Lupini” Arneis $22
This winery’s origins date back to 1670. Giovanni Negro, the estate’s present owner, produced the first dry Arneis on record in 1971 The wine has aromas of peach and pear, acacia flowers and tropical fruits. It has a soft persisting attack and a mineral aftertaste which comes from the sandy soil of Roero.

2013 Luigi Giordano, Brut Rosé $37
100% Nebbiolo
This sparkling Nebbiolo is made method classico (Champagne method) from 30 to 35 year old vines. The wine has an abundant, rose-tinted effervescence with a fine and persistent perlage. The perfume is intense and ample with notes of raspberry, red berries, citrus fruits and a hint of wilted roses. The flavor is fresh and full-bodied with a soft, clean aftertaste and a slightly tannic finish.

2014 Luigi Giordano, Langhe Rosso $21
80% Nebbiolo, 10% Dolcetto, 10% Arneis
A unique blend the Giordano Rosso’s cépage changes each vintage. The 2014’s bouquet is full and fruity, with hints of crisp dried flowers, dried plum and red fruit jam. The light spicy notes are just delicately noticed. The wine is full-bodied and elegant, well balanced and particularly drinkable.

2012 Oddero, Barbera d’Alba $22
Oddero’s first bottle was released in 1878. Today, the estate is run by the fifth and sixth generations: Giacomo Oddero and his daughters, Mariavittoria and Mariacristina. They are currently converting the vineyards to certified organic. The Barbera has a bouquet of cherry, blackberry, small red fruits, pepper and mineral flavors with an excellent dash of freshness. The tannins are soft and fresh in the mouth, maintaining the classic Barbera backbone, thanks to its pleasant acidity.

2011 Luigi Giordano, Barbaresco Cavanna $41
The Cavanna is left to age for 18-24 months in large (30-50 hectolitre) barrels of Slavonian oak and is then refined in bottle for at least 6 months before release. The wine has a brilliant garnet red color with orange highlights developing with age; It has an ample and intense perfume with fruity, jammy and spicy notes. The wine is dry and full with aristocratic 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 February 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
  • Discounts at our “Special Tastings”
  • A ready supply of delicious wines just waiting for a pull of the cork

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

Mel’s All Week Mix:

Mel’s 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

— 

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.

Older Bordeaux,

Sunday, January 24th,

5:30pm — $15 (plus tax)

Most wine needs a bit of time to hit its prime, but unless you have a cellar and a bit of forethought, it dissapears before it hits it peak. Sunday evening we are going to try and get around that. We’ve rounded up some Bordeaux with some age on them and it is time to check in and see how they are doing. Space for this tasting is limited so contact us to reserve your spot. We start at 5:30 on Sunday, have a few snacks to go with the wines and you can still get home for Sunday dinner.

2004 Château Lanessan Haut Medoc $25
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
A library release of a solid Bordeaux that is just hitting its prime. Lots of mineral notes, full fruit and smooth tannins.

2005 Gigault Cuvee Viva, Cotes de Blaye $26
90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
Lots of ripe black fruit aromas and even more richness on the palate with oak flavors in the background. This richness is balanced with good acidity, nice astringency and a good tannic backbone.

2005 Grand Bos, Graves Rouge $33
47% Cabernet Sauvignon 45% Merlot 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc.
A great aging wine from 2005 that is time to check in on.

2006 La Garde Pessac-Léognan Rouge $25
55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Cabernet Franc, 2.5% Petit Verdot
Chateau La Garde 2006 red is ruby-red, brilliant. Its delicate nose opens up on a note of Morelo cherries and plums. The initial attack is full, evolving into silky, integrated tannins, as a result of careful extraction during vinification.

2007 Gueyrosse, St Emilion Grand Cru $30
Merlot, Cabernet Franc
An under-the-radar estate. As of last Fall the Gueyrosse was showing bountiful aromas, dry full fruit and firm leathery finish.

2007 La Fleur Milon Pauillac $28
65% Cabernet, 25 % Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot & Cabernet Franc
One of the Rothschild properties, Fleur Milon is a Fifth Growth Estate and the 2007 is drinking well right now with red fruit aromas along with some more spicy notes. Well-structured on the palate, it builds on nicely balanced tannins, revealing licorice, coffee and blackcurrant flavors.

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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