California In The Middle.

Wine from California is epitomized by the high end Napa trophy wines Like Screaming Eagle on one end and Two Buck Chuck on the other.  In between these extremes there is a lot of quality wines at reasonable prices.  This Saturday we’re going to sample just a few of these.  To call them value wines seems a bit demeaning, but they are all great tasting and affordable. Come have a sip from the south.
 
2011 Grey Wolf Cellars, Barton Family, Blanc y Blanc,  $15
Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc & Sauvignon Blanc 
From Paso Robles Grey Wolf’s blend of blancs is a refreshing white with aromas of honey, lemongrass, and stone fruit. The palate is clean with bright lemon-lime notes, a bit of creaminess and a touch of minerality.
 
2012 Starry Night, Russian River Chardonnay,  $18
Made from grapes grown in the rolling hills above the Russian River in an area marked by cool refreshing nights and long warm summer days, The Starry Night is barrel fermented in a combination of French and American oak. It shows round and full rich flavors of apples, pears and vanilla with a warm creamy and roasty finish
 
2010 Tobin James, Notorious Cabernet Sauvignon,  $19
From Paso Robles fruit, the Notorious is an easy drinking style Cab that is medium bodied with a refreshing, polished palate of flavors, this wine is a hedonist’s delight. Boysenberry and blackberry emerge first while the surprisingly soft tannins manage to support the steady procession of flavors without being overpowering.
 
2011 Scotto Cellars, Nightfall Petite Sirah,  $13
From Lodi, the Nightfall Petite is as dark as the night and as clear as a starry sky.  This non-petite Petite has notes of black current, plum and roasted meat note along with some firm tannins.
 
2011 McNab Ridge Mendocino Zinfandel,  $17
95% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah
The Parducci family is no longer part of the winery that bears their name, but they are still making wine.  Their Mendocino shows off the essence of the fruit.  It exudes berry flavors and is infused with pepper and spice. It is a California classic.

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. No matter what day you stop by we always have something open to sample.


The Italian Stallions,

Sunday, August 17th, 11-5PM

We gotta white, we gotta red. If we had a Vinho Verde (green wine), we’d have all the colors of the Italian flag. While we DO have a Vinho Verde, we won’t have it open for pouring. But come taste what we do have open. Rain or shine, we’ve got the wine to pair with food or weather.

 

2012
Domini Veneti Custoza    ($10)
Trebbiano, Garganga, Fernanda
A great deal in a Veneto white. Full of lemony citrus and pineapple flavors.
12.5% alcohol by volume

 

2010 Tenuta del Buonamico Montecarlo Rosso    ($10)
55% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, 10% Syrah, 10% Merlot
A Tuscan blend with big ambitions that settles back into modest enjoyment. Dark fruit and floral notes, and a good dry backbone.
13% alcohol by volume

Was $17 now $10


Sparkman Cellars,

with winemaker Linn Scott,

Saturday August 16th, 2pm

Chris Sparkman spent a couple of decades as sommelier and wine buyer in some of the U.S.’s best restaurants before locating in Woodinville and starting making a plethora of big, bold Washington wines (there are 21 wines in current release.)  This Saturday we’ll be sampling a few of them with Sparkman’s winemaker, Linn Scott who will narrate the details of these distinct wines.  Stop in and give them a try.

2012 Birdie Riesling  $20
This is bone dry Riesling is made in a sort of Alsatian manner, from German clones planted at Bacchus vineyard.  It smells like apple, peach and pear decorated with delicate flowers, honey and spice and tastes like tree fruits, citrus and a touch of the tropics. It is a surprisingly unique wine.

2011 L’Autre Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley  $28
L’Autre is a Pinot Noir sourced from Temperance Hill Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. The 2011 vintage smells like the forest, of those delicate little mushrooms that grow at the base of huge old trees. Maybe some wild strawberries got smashed against the tree.

2012 Kindered Red  $20
67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 7% Malbec 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
The Kindred blends all five of the traditional Bordeaux varietals, but it is distinctly Washington.  Loaded with earthy Cabernet Sauvignon and sweet oaky goodness, it opens with smoky black fruit and herbs on the nose and explodes with a spicy silky velvet texture across the palate, building to a long iron laced, chocolate covered blueberry lovebomb.

2011 Ruckus Syrah  $50
88% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon
From Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval vineyards, the Ruckus takes the wild game, bramble, stone and smoke of Red Mountain Syrah and fuses it with the black fruit, cedar, cigar box and iron of Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon to produce a rich, supple, layered soulful goodness.


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. No matter what day you stop by we always have something open to sample.


Locus Wines All Day Sunday, August 10th…

Meet winemaker Rich Burton, 3-5PM

locus noun, [loh-kuhs]. 1. a place; locality. 2. a center or source, of activities or power.

locus wines: Producing wines from varietals that best showcase their native climate and soil & the newest winery in Madrona.

Locus is a brand new winery from two Madrona residents Rich Burton & Ton Yazici. (The tasting room is an unmarked garage on Madrona drive.) And judging from their first release there are good things ahead. Rich the wine maker turned his passion for wine into something more than just a passing interest. He got an Oenology certificate from Washington State University and started to plan making his own wine. This Sunday we’ll be showing off the results. Come meet Rich and Ton and give their wines a try.

2013 Locus Dineen Vineyard Sémillon    $15
A single vineyard semillon from a new Madrona winery. The full lemon cream body of the fruit is balanced out by a refreshing acidity. 13.2% alcohol by volume

2013 Locus Rosé    $15
50% Mourvedre, 50% Cinsault
This crisp and tasty rosé might be our favorite Washington pink this season.
12.4% alcohol by volume

2012 Locus Stonetree Syrah    $25
Born and bred in the Wahluke Slope AVA near Mattawa, Washington, these grapes come from the Stonetree Vineyard. Stonetree Vineyard’s name comes from the large number of petrified tree fossils found in the surrounding hills. The climate and the soil produce a fruit-forward Syrah, balanced by a touch of spice. Locus’s Syrah lets the fruit speak for itself.


Double Trouble this Weekend

We have two excellent tastings at the shop this weekend!

Saturday–We’re pouring South African wines from Boekenhoutskloof.  Come hear how many times we mispronounce it while you tip these great wines. That starts at 2.

Sunday –Meet the winemaker from Locus Wines
Tasting all day–Meet Rich 3-5PM

Locus is a brand new winery from two Madrona residents Rich Burton & Ton Yazici.  (The tasting room is an unmarked garage on Madrona drive.)  And judging from their first release there are good things ahead.  Rich the winemaker turned his passion for wine into something more than just a passing interest.  He got an Oenology certificate from Washington State University and started to plan making his own wine.  This Sunday we’ll be showing off the results.  Come meet Rich and Ton and give their wines a try.
 
2013 Locus Dineen Vineyard Sémillon       $15
A single vineyard Semillon from a new Madrona winery.  The full lemon cream body of the fruit is balanced  out by a refreshing acidity.  13.2% alcohol by volume

2013 Locus Rosé  $15
50% Mourvedre, 50% Cinsault
This crisp and tasty rosé might be our favorite Washington pink this season. 
12.4% alcohol by volume

2012 Locus Stonetree Syrah     $25
Born and bred in the Wahluke Slope AVA near Mattawa, Washington, these grapes come from the Stonetree Vineyard. Stonetree Vineyard’s name comes from the large number of petrified tree fossils found in the surrounding hills. The climate and the soil produce a fruit-forward Syrah, balanced by a touch of spice.  Locus’s Syrah lets the fruit speak for itself.


South Africa Values from Boekenhoutskloof,

Saturday, August 10th, 2pm

Boekenhoutskloof (pronounced Book-n-Howed) was established in 1776. Located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek valley, the farm’s name means “ravine of the Boekenhout” — an indigenous Cape Beech tree greatly prized for furniture making.  The early settlers in the Franschhoek valley built wolf traps to protect themselves from the beasts from their native lands.   The only problem is, there have never actually ever been any wolves in or around Franschhoek.  But it did turn out to be a great place to grow grapes.  Join us Saturday as we pour some great value wines from this winery.
 
2013 Wolftrap White  $10
60% Viognier, 21% Chenin Blanc, 19% Grenache Blanc
This unusual blend of Viognier (spice), Chenin Blanc (melon) and Grenache Blanc (white peach), contributes to an intriguing and harmonious quaffing experience. Components were fermented and aged partially in French oak before blending and bottling.  
 
2013 Porcupine Ridge, Sauvignon Blanc  $11
The Porcupine has pungent aromas of citrus, nettles and some tropical fruit, with good weight on the palate with a balanced natural acidity, lingering fruit and a crisp dry finish.
 
2013 Wolftrap Rosé  $10
51% Syrah, 28% Cinsaut, 21% Grenache
A method known as Saignee or Bleeding is used to draw juice from the grapes prior to fermentation. The wine is bright pink in color with a pungent aromatic profile from the Syrah and juicy flavors from the Cinsaut and Grenache. 
 
2013 Wolftrap Red  $10
66% Syrah, 32% Mourvèdre, 2% Viognier
Grapes from selected vineyards in the Swartland were used for this blend. Low yields, small berries, intense color and spicy flavors contribute to a harmonious blend. It is aged in French oak prior to blending.  The wine has black- fruit, violets and smoke that lead to a smooth savory palate with a peppery finish.
 
2011 The Chocolate Block $33
69% Syrah, 14% Grenache Noir, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault, 1% Viognier.
The Syrah and Viognier fruit come from Malmesbury (Swartland) and is dry farmed to ensure it deep-rooted vines with concentrated flavor and tannin structure. The Grenanche Noir is sourced from Piekenierskloof (Citrusdal) with its very sandy soils and perfect terroir for ripening this grape varietal. The Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Franschhoek and the Cinsault is from old bushvines on decomposed granite soils in Wellington. The influence of the Grenaches red fruits on this wine is striking. The nose shows an abundance of redcurrant, plums, crushed rock, and an array of spices. The floral notes add to its complexity. Spicy oak aromas cover a rounded mid-palate that reveals layers of fruit with intense purity.


Sunday Sippers,

France All The Way,

August 3rd, 2014, 11-5PM

Today Madrona Wine Merchants we are celebrating the end of Seafair with the Madrona Wine Tour de France. White or Rosé either are great paired with our sunny weather. .

2013 Domaine du Tariquet Classic    ($10)
45% Ugni Blanc, 35% Colombard, 10% Sauvignon Blanc,
10% Gros Manseng
Côtes de Gascogne
A good versitile Gascogne white with intense dry fruit, floral and citrus aromas and nice touches of tropical fruit. Light and well-balanced, this wine is a thirst-quenching pleasure.
10.5% alcohol by volume

2013 Domaine Couron Ardèche Rosé    ($10)
Grenache
A dry crisp rosé with light and delicate fruit.


Afternoon Noise.

There is lots of noise in Madrona this afternoon.  Is that the sound of thunder clouds passing over, or is it the Blue Angels, or maybe it is the sound of popping corks as we open some Thirst Quenching Italian wines.  A keen ear can tell the difference.

Sunday, Mark will have open a crisp Gascogne White that has just come back to the shop and an all Grenache Rosé from Ardèche in the northern Rhône.

Stop in and try something new.


Thirst Quenching Italians,

Saturday, August 2nd, 2pm

Saturday should be warm and sunny with the sounds of Blue Angles overhead and Hydroplanes from the lake.  And at two well be pouring a lineup of fine Italian wines that will soothe the nerves, wet the pallet, and refresh the mind.  Stop in and give them a try.
 
2012 Orsolani Erbaluce di Caluso DOC $14
Caluso might be one of Piedmont’s more obscure DOCs, but it produces some very tasty whites.  The Orsolani family’s Erbaluce has herbal floral notes along with green apple aromas.  It has a dry medium body, high acidity, and finishes with more flowers, stone fruit, and mineral notes.
 
2013 Cantina il Gorgo, Custoza , San Michelin $15
Cortese, Tocai, Trebbiano , Garganega.
The wine may sound like a battle between a Japanese Si-Fi monster and the tire company’s mascot, but this reserve white from the particularly rocky and calcareous soil of Veneto is aromatic and persistent, with scents of ripe fruits and citrus. It is smooth and velvety, full-bodied and has a lingering finish.
 
2012 Gulfi  Rossojbleo  $18
Nero d’Avola
An organic winery in Sicily, Gulfi specializes in the local grape Nero d’Avola.  Their Rossojbleo has aromas of plums, blackberries and silky tannins, lively acidity, and a touch of spice.
 
2012 Gulfi ,Cerasuolo di Vittoria  $20
50% Frappato, 50% Nero d’ Avola
Gulfi’s blend from Sicily’s only DOCG is refreshing and bright.  The Frappato brings freshness, acidity and drinkability to this wine, while the Nero adds structure and depth.   The wine is aromatic with cherry, peach notes and a hint of salinity. 
 
2012 Sassetti, Montecucco Rosso  $15
60% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot,  20% Syrah.
Montecucco borders Brunello di Montalcino, and on the other side the Maremma. Its soil is sandy and full of clay, with the protection of the ancient and extinct volcano Mt. Amiata that overlooks and protects the vines.  For more than a century, the Sassetti family has been producing wine in the region.  Lorenzo Sassetti makes the wine using time-honored traditions, including hand harvesting, giant  oak botte, and spontaneous fermentations in accordance with the phases of the moon and organic farming regulations.   Their Montecucco is rich, full with lots of dark fruit restrained tannins and some olive and mineral notes.


Sunny Summer Sipping

The sun has returned to Seattle and Saturday at 2 we have a great line up of summery French wine.  Stop by the shop and give them a try.  We’ll have the rosé cold and if it gets too warm we’ll turn on the air conditioning.

Sunday Mark will be pouring more French:  a white from the Savoy and one of our favorite rosés.  Enjoy the weekend.


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