Archive for July 29, 2012

Meet The Grower And Owner Of Airfield Estates.

A funny thing happened on my next winery visit… doors opened and I’m greeted my Mike Miller, the grape grower and owner of Airfield Estates:


This visit I hadn’t set up in advance so it was an unexpected pleasure to have him give up 45 minutes of his day to talk about his wines, including his secondary label Lone Birch. His son is the winemaker (Marcus) who I briefly met (he was in the middle of wine experiments). Funny that all the winemaker’s I’ve met this trip have been men in their 30′s.

At Madrona Wine Merchants we carry the 2010 Airfield Estates Late Harvest Columbia Valley Riesling ($13 for 375ml). This lovely dessert wine has citrus, pineapple and apricot flavors and is no longer available from the winery. We even have one in the refrigerator, chilled and ready to drink.

What’s Up At The Shop.

There are lots of reasons to stop by the shop in the coming days.

Today, we are tasting a nice line up of Rhone wines starting at 2pm.

Sunday is the closing reception for Nadia Hakki’s desert landscapes. 3 to 5 pm. Stop by and have a last look.

Wednesday we have a new installation of glass pieces from InVerse Studio.

See you soon.

Rhône Rendezvous

Saturday, 28th, 2pm

This weekend we are bringing together some new faces and some old friends from the Côte du Rhône for a little tasting. Join us and try a fine selection of spicy rouge, flavorful blanc, and crisp rosé that are a perfect match for our summer weather. We’ve even imported a genuine Frenchman for the occasion. Come rendezvous at the wine shop and refresh yourself.

2011 in fine, Rosé $11
80% Grenache, 20% Cinsault
In Fine is the baby project from Raphael Trouiller, rising star of the Ventoux Domaine de Cascavel. This small biodynamic sustainably farmed estate sits nestled in the shadow of Mt Ventoux allowing the grapes to slowly ripen. The rosé is new to the shop. Come check it out with us.
 
2009 Ogier, Heritages Blanc $13
Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Viognier
This Rhone Blanc from a noted Chateau Neuf producer offers an ample and round body with aromas of white peach, and pears.
 
2009 Ted the Mule, Cote de Ventoux $11
Syrah, Grenache
A little play on words, Ted the Mule is a bit stubborn and thick but ultimately delicious smoky and earthy Rhone Red.
 
2010 Ogier, Heritages Rouge $13
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
A good value spicy Rhône with lots of earthy fruit.
 
2008 Domaine des Florets, Gigondas Tradition $26
Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvèdre 5%, Cinsault 5%,
From an eight acre biodynamic estate, the Forlets Tradition comes from older vines with an average age of 60 years. The harvest is picked and sorted by hand at prime maturity. It is a blend of the 4 typical grape of the Gigondas appellation. Grenache brings the strength, fat and softness, the Syrah brings elegance and fruit, the Mourvèdre brings the backbone and the Cinsault the sweetness.

Meet The Winemaker:

Justin Neufeld of Gilbert Cellars.

Next winery up on our Yakima Valley tour is Gilbert Cellars. Here I am with Justin Neufeld, their winemaker:

Justin and Mark in the Cellar.

They had just finished a bottling run (which is a mostly mechanical process), but he still had enough energy to take us down into the cave to barrel sample half a dozen of his 2011 wines, including a Tempranillo-based Port that he is working on. Really fun to taste young wines like his Chardonnay that was still cloudy.

We featured Gilbert Wines in our tasting on Saturday, July 7th. Click here for the tasting notes.

If you are a fan of their Rosé of Mourvèdre, I’d stock up now as it is a limited release. We offer a 15% discount on special order cases.

Big Reds, Crisp Whites

France and Beyond

Saturday, July 21st, 2pm

This Saturday we have a great line up of wines from Bordeaux, the Loire, and South Africa. And while the combination may seem a bit odd on paper, the flavors will tell you otherwise. All these wines drink better than their modest prices.
 
2010 Domaine le Portail, Cheverny – $11
Sauvignon Blanc 80%, Chardonnay 20%
From a small family run estate, this unusual blend from the Loire Valley is a great fresh white wine. The Chardonnay gives this wine a fruity lift and body while the Sauvignon lends citrusy backbone and minerality. It is a shop favorite and if you haven’t tried it you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
 
2011 Domaine de la Garenne, Sancerre Blanc – $20
Sauvignon Blanc
The Classic white of the Loire, the Garenne combines two vineyard sites, Caillottes and Terre Blanches. This Sancerre has a good volume of citrus and white fruit. The finish is clean and dry, elegant minerality.
 
2009 Chateau Barrabaque, Fronsac – $14
70% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Great example of right bank wine from the fine 2009 vintage, drinks like a wine twice its price.
 
2005 Chateau Marsau, Cotes de Franc – $18
100% Merlot
This is a classically structured Merlot based Bordeaux that is just hitting its stride and drinking great right now. A great deal on an aged wine for those who don’t have a cellar.
 
2007 UGABA from Anwilka Stellenbosch, South Africa – $20
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 17% Syrah
A joint project from some heavy hitters from Bordeaux and Stellenbosch, the Ugaba is a big lush red with loads of black licorice, currants, smoky bacon and black tea notes.

Visit With Southard Winemaker.

Southard Winery is a family owned and operated winery located a few miles north of Selah, Washington. They produce Riesling from their estate vineyard as well as Rhône cultivars grown in the Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, and Wahluke Slope AVAs. We carry Scott’s “Columbia Valley White” which is a big-bodied Rhône style white blend of 65% Viognier and 35% Rousanne. We hope to arrange a tasting of Scott’s line in the near future.

Mark with Scott Southard, the winemaker.

Rain? Shine?

Depending on where you check, the forecast for this afternoon is either bright and sunny or thunder showers. But no matter the weather, we will be pouring six fun and delicious wines starting at 2 pm. Bring your sun block and an umbrella.

Summer Sippers

Fun wines that don’t cost a fortune

Saturday, July 14th, 2pm

Come cool off on Saturday and sample some wines that are perfect for the warm weather. We have a large lineup of refreshing wines from near and far that match long sunny evenings, easy conviviality and a wide range of foods and flavors. Stop in and give them a try, and if it gets too hot we’ll turn on our new air conditioner. How exotic can you get for Seattle?

Dopff & Irion, Cremant d’Alsace Brut $14
50% Pinot Blanc, 50% Auxerrois
Dopff & Irion is a complex glass of bubbles at a great price. It has lots of toasty, creamy, yeasty notes along with apple and citrus fruit flavors.
 
2011 Grande Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Rosé$10
45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre.
This Southern French wine has pleasant aromas of strawberries, raspberries, along with its dry, clean and crisp ripe fruit flavors.
 
2010 Marques de Caceres, Rioja Blanco $9
Viura

From sunny Spain the Caceres Blanco has a lively bouquet combining pears and mineral notes with a discreet depth of grapefruit. Well-integrated fruit flavors awaken the palate with their refreshing vivacity. It goes with Tapas and a whole lot more.
 
2011 Adelsheim, Pinot Gris $14
This esteemed Oregon estate farms with sustainable farming practices. Their Pinot Gris is full of crisp, bright flavors, with hints of papaya, apples and pears and a gentle creaminess that lends a rich, mouthfilling texture and long finish. It is great with mildly spicy foods (such as ceviche), not so mildly spicy Thai cuisine.
 
2010 Vina Gormaz, Ribera del Duero, Tempranillo $12
This unoaked Spanish classic has deep wild berry aromas and mouth-filling flavor and length provided by the old Tempranillo vines. The tannins are balanced by the textural richness and juicy fruit. It is tasty and easy to drink by itself or along with roasted vegetables, a wide range of snacks and dips not to mention barbeque chicken.
 
2010 Château de Campuget, Costières de Nîmes Rouge $10
30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 15% Carignan, 15% Cinsault
A good easy drinking wine from the South of France, the Campuget is light and fruity, easy drinking and very enjoyable. The wine is clean and fresh with herb and mineral notes up front, backed by a modest core of red currant and cherry fruit. It’s lightly crisp, but with good drive. Give it a sip.

Gilbert Cellars

Saturday, July 7th, 2pm

This Saturday we’ll be featuring the wines of Gilbert Cellars. Gilbert is an excellent example of grape growers who expand out and start making their own wines. Their wines show both good quality and good value. Their main vineyards are on the Wahluke Slope including Doc Stewart Estate, one of the older Washington vineyards with the grapes planted in the 1970’s. Meg Gilbert will be here to talk about her family’s wines.
 
2011 Rosé of Mourvedre $13
In the tradition of the great rosés of Bandol and Provence, this 100% Mourvedre Rosé of was cold fermented to retain its delicate rose petal aromatics and bright fruit character. The wine gives off a complex and distinct aroma of citrus peel, melon, spring strawberry, and coriander. The palate is fresh and full, with balanced acidity and a lingering finish.
 
2011 Unoaked Chardonnay $18
This Chardonnay from the Columbia Valley embraces its time in stainless steel tank, expressing pure aromas of lemon and lily. The palate is wonderfully bright but not without substance, bright, crisp, aromatic, and fun.
 
2009 Allobroges $20
37% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, 14% Counoise.
In the days of the Roman Empire, the Allobroges were a Celtic people living in the Rhone Valley of France who received acclaim for their dark, rich red wines made from the Allobrogica vine. Their winemaking tradition has continued in the Rhone Valley for over two millennia and inspired this wine today. It spent 21 months in 21% new oak barrels (80% French & 20% American). This is a bright, medium bodied wine with lots of complex berry flavors. Perfect for pairing with a wide range of foods.
 
2009 Left Bank Red $20
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot, 9% Malbec.
Left Bank was named after the “Left Bank” of Bordeaux which this delicious blend is styled after. The Doc Stewart Vineyard is also perched on the Left Bank of the Columbia River. The wine is dark and full of well structured, lip-smacking tannins.


Madrona Wine Merchants Goes Green.

July the 1st the City of Seattle’s plastic bag ban went into force. We are exempted from having to charge customers for our new paper bags and can continue to offer our customers our usual plastic bags until our supply is exhausted. But remember, we’d really prefer that you bring in your reusable bags and wine totes. Paper, plastic or your own reusable bag. The choice is yours.

FYI – our paper bags are renewable, recyclable, compostable, and contain a minimum of 40% post-consumer material.

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