Archive for February 28, 2013

Spain Old and New,

Saturday March 2nd, 2pm

This Saturday we’ll be stomping around the Spanish wine regions. Some are old and respected while the reputation of others is on the rise. All are a blend of tradition and modernity; old vines and new equipment. It’s the best of both worlds.

2011 Bodegas del Medievo Blanco (Rioja)$11
100% Viura
Medievo is located in Aldeanueva de Ebro at 500 meters high, in one of the most prestigious of Rioja where the clay-calcareous poor soils are perfect to grow high quality vines. The Blanco is very fresh with aromas of tropical fruits, pear, with a crisp clean finish.
 
2011 Bodegas Naia, Las Brisas (Rueda) $11
50% Verdejo, 30% Viura, 20% Sauvignon Blanc
Bodegas Naia is located in La Seca, a region that is considered grand cru in Rueda, focuses on making great white wines from indigenous old vines Verdejo. Their vineyard has untrained vines (some pre-philloxeric) and includes some strains that are more than a century old. “Bright citrus and mineral aromas, plus a hint of quince. Smooth and silky on the palate, offering lively orchard fruit and tangerine flavors and a hint of ginger. Finishes with good tangy bite and a suggestion of pear nectar.” –International Wine Cellars:
 
2011 Bodegas Terra Sigilata, Filón (Calatayud) $10
Garnacha from 30- to 40-year-old vineyards
The Calatayud region in Northern Spain resembles parts of Utah or Arizona with tall red buttes and dry arroyos in a high plains atmosphere. The arid landscape is punctuated by old vine Garnacha grape vineyards as well as cherry and almond orchards tended by the local farmers. The old Garnacha vines have deep root systems to draw moisture from the arid soil. These old vines produce dark, concentrated fruit that in turn makes rich expressive wines. The Filón is full of aromas of cherry and other fruits smoke and licorice.
 
2009 Pazos del Rey, Sila, (Monterrei) $14
Mencia
Monterrei is located in the south-eastern corner of Galicia, bordering Portugal is warm and dry with very little rainfall. Here Mencia takes on a more robust and darker in comparison to its other traditional homes Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra. The Sila has bright cheerful red berry fruit with integrated aromas of sandalwood, cracked pepper and spice and a longing velvety texture finish from time aged in French oak.
 
2010 Bodegas Tabula, Damana 5 (Ribera del Duero) $18
Tempranillo (Tinto Fino) 20 years old vines.
Bodegas Tabula farms 22 hectares of limestone rich soil in Olivares de Duero on the far western side of the Ribera del Duero DO with prestigious neighbors such as Pesquera & Vega Sicilia. The Damana 5 is dark and intense with a nose of blackberries, black cherries, creamy notes of fine oak, some spices and underbrush aromas. On the palate there is a wealth of fresh, lively berry fruit flavors leading to a sumptuous yet elegant finish.

New Accessories from MWM.

Just a reminder that Madrona Wine Merchants carries accessories that every wine lover needs.

FIND IT IN YOUR CELLAR

Make it easy to find things in your cellar with these set of 50 cellar tags ($5)

GET IT OPEN

This double-hinge action cork screw is gentle on the hands and makes opening the toughest of bottles easy ($4)

For a buck more we have a model with a spring-loaded double hinge ($5)

GET SOME AIR IN IT

Aerate while you pour with this aerating pour spout ($5)

SAVE IT FOR THE NEXT DAY

Save those bubbles with this champagne capper ($5)

Keep your wine fresh a day or two longer with the VacuVin ($8)

Comes with one stopper, additional two-packs of stoppers ($4)

ANIMALE New Releases,

Saturday, February 23rd, 2pm

ANIMALE is a very small winery hidden away in the outskirts of pastoral Ballard with an annual production of just around 200 cases. There Matt Gubitosa, winemaker, cellar master and head bottle washer produces his hand-crafted, full-flavored red wines from some of Washington’s lesser known grapes. It is hands on winemaking at its most pure level. His preference for aging in neutral oak barrels accents each varietal’s unique characteristics and lets the wines speak for themselves. Matt will be at the shop Saturday pouring some of his newly released 2010 vintage as well as the scarce 2009 Petitie Sirah (a personal favorite). 2010 was the coolest Washington growing season since 1999. The new wines are balanced, concentrated, nuanced and complex; they exhibit distinctive varietal character Come have a sip.

2010 Cabernet Franc, $25
95% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
This Cab Franc comes from McIntire Vineyard, a late-harvest vineyard which also provides the grapes for the Petite Sirah. Medium-dark ruby-red color; complex assortment of delicate aromas including fresh cherries with hints of cherry candy, pomegranate, pimento, clove and nutmeg. Medium-bodied, fresh and zesty, with moderate tannins suststained through a long finish. This wine will reward many years of aging, courtesy of the 2010 vintage.

2010 Dolcetto $22
From 24 K vineyard on Waluke Slope, the 2010 Docetto has brilliant, bright purple-black color; complex and spicy aromas of blackberry and freshly-ground peppercorns, with hints of anise, blackcurrant, cola, and wisps of violets and sweet smoke. A zesty, medium-bodied wine with flavors of fresh berries and a soft but lingering finish.

2009 Petite Sirah $26
A standout in the Animale line up, the Petite Sirah has explosive aromas of fresh blackberries, and a hint of menthol. The wine is medium bodied with flavors of ripe plum, berries, and dark chocolate.

2010 Zinfandel $25
76% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah
Who says you can’t get Zinfandel ripe in Washington? Even in the cooler 2010 growing season this Zin out of Prosser has dark red-black color; aromas of fresh raspberries, blackcurrant and plums with hints of white pepper, leather, lemon, grapefruit peel and fresh flowers; rich and full-bodied with citrusy freshness and notes of chocolate and cherry pie.

The Slopes of Mt. Etna,

Thursday, February 21st, 5:30 to 7:30

Sicily’s (the large island off the toe of Italy’s boot) most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. The soils needless to say are volcanic. This distinct landscape makes for very distinct wines, from the local varietals Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Frappato and Inzolia. Thursday we’ll taste the wines from these precarious slopes. Stop by after work and try them.
 
2009 Maurigi Bacca, Bianca $14
60% Inzolia, 20% Grecanico, 20% Chardonnay
The Maurigi Estate is located 2000 feet above sea level. The land on the estate is varied, with steep slopes, alluvial soils in some parts, bare rock in others. Microclimates abound, changing from segment to segment. The indigenous Inzolia adds flinty and nutty notes with citrus fruit. Grecanico is known for its tang and in fact has a reputation for maintaining acidity despite Sicily’s searing hot days. These grapes are produced on some of Maurigi’s highest vineyards whose cool nights lend acidity-preserving qualities of their own. Scented, the wine presents notes of white fruit, aniseed and citrus fruits. On the palate it appears juicy with an intense mineral note.
 
2009 Maurigi Bacca Rosso $14
60% Nero d’Avola, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Maurigi’s Rosso has intense flower and fruit scents typical of red grapes with fine aromatic herb notes. Fine and elegant, it has a fresh and dynamic finish.
 
2011 Tenuta delle Terre, Terre Nere Etna Rosso $16
Norello Mascellese
Marc DeGrazia’s organically farmed estate on the slopes of Mount Etna has the highest-altitude red-grape vineyards in Europe. The soil at Terre Nere is mostly volcanic ash speckled by black pumice and peppered with abundant volcanic rock; to call it ‘rocky’ is putting it mildly. The weather variations in the area are profound and characterized by exposure, altitude, and open to the cooling and drying effects of the wind. The extraordinary elevation yields dramatic temperature variations between night and day. The wine has “Beautiful aromas of flowers and dried fruits with plums and strawberries. Full body, with fine tannins and a fresh finish. Balanced and delicious.” 93pts. –James Suckling
 
2009 Girolamo Russo, San Lorenzo $40
98% Norello Mascellese, 2% Nerello Cappuccio
Girolamo Russo is a very small producer (only 1000 cases total production) with the vineyards at 2300 feet growing Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. The wine and winery are heavily lauded. Russo was named wine maker of the year by Gambero Rosso and his single vineyard San Lorenzo received 3 bicchieri. Wine Enthusiast gave the wine 93pts: “Delicate and sophisticated, this has notes of wild berry, rosemary, crushed stone, tobacco and spice that are delivered with slow, beautiful intensity. The wine shows freshness, structure and staying power.”



Coming Soon!  Saturday we’ll be tasting the new releases from ANIMALE, with wine maker Matt Gubitosa.  Block out your calendar.

Washington Winners

Saturday, February 16th 2pm

With a few exceptions, Washington’s wineries are still mostly small family operations. And the story of farmers turned grape growers turned wine makers is a common one. This leads to some notable and some not so notable local wines. This Saturday we are just pouring winners.

2011 Gard, Freyja White $15

49% Viognier, 36% Roussanne, 15% Pinot Gris

The Lawrence family.have been farming Royal Slope in Columbia Valley for more than 45 years where they now have their sustainably farmed estate vineyards. Their distinctive white blend has notes of lemon peel, white blossoms, and white peach and citrus zest. Swirling brings up honeysuckle, ripe peach and fresh apricot. The palate is round, textured and crisp. The wine is balanced and fresh.

2010 Mercer Canyon, Cabernet Horse Heaven Hills $14

82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 6% Syrah

The Mercers are 4th generation farmers in the Horse Heaven Hills.
Their HHH Cab is mostly from their estate fruit. The wine is loaded with ripe red cherries, cassis, vanilla and toast. On the palate the wine is full with pleasantly soft tannins. The bursting fruit gives way to a lingering finish with notes of candied cherries, earth and char.
2008 Helix, Pomatia $16

30% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah, 16% Cabernet Franc

Helix is Reininger’s label for their Columbia Valley AVA wines. Chuck’s notes for his Pomatia: Buckle up for an unforgettable red wine roller coaster ride! This adventurous and fearless blend will take you straight through a tunnel of plum and hearty cherry marmalade. Twist and turn through a nose of baking spices, pipe tobacco. Prepare to splash into a finish of juicy pomegranate and red licorice. Trust me, you’ll get in line again for more.

2010 Hedges, DLD Le Gosses Vineyard Syrah $25

In 1976 Anne-Marie Liegeois said goodbye to her life in Champagne, France and left for the United States with her new husband Tom Hedges. The DLD Syrah is an homage to her grand-father. Grown on a 15 acre vineyard, named Les Gosses, this wine displays the greatest qualities of low yield farming. It has earth, fennel spice and structure, the hallmarks of a great Red Mountain Syrah, framed by classic French Oak barrels.

2009 Reininger, Cabernet, Walla Walla $31

78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot

Chuck Reininger’s Cab comes from the cream of Walla Walla Vineyards being a blend of Pepper Bridge & Seven Hills. Chuck’s notes on the wine: Man, this is a Muscular, Charles Reininger Atlas, Anaconda, Steak house, lick the tannin off my teeth Cab. Dense, volume expanding, weighty. Black raspberry, Black currant (cassis), Black plum, black berry, Black licorice, Black earth, toffee. It’s a good thing the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body.

The Hundred Dollar Case

(Including Sales Tax)

Yes, Dorothy, you can have a case of wine for under $100 ($99.56 to be exact). That was a customer request for a winter mountain trip, 12 bottles mixed red and white, one hundred dollars including tax. Remember, you get 10% off when you buy a mixed case (or 15% if you special order a full case).

Here is what we came up with:

Three Whites

2009 Montpellier Viognier                ($7)
Napa Valley
Delicate aromas of white peach and apple with a hint of almond blossom. Light-bodied on the palate and shows the creamy texture of Viognier with citrus accents and a pleasant crisp dryness on the finish.

2011 Montgravet Côtes de Gascogne            ($8)
Colombard
A dry, fresh and refreshing colombard with pear and peach notes. Great sunny afternoon wine.

2008 Bodegas Berroja Berroia                ($10)
90% Hondarribi Zuri, 6% Folle Blanche and 4% Riesling
Berroia is an estate-bottled wine made by Bodegas Berroja in the Txakoli de Bizcaia DO. Txakoli wines have a slightly “spritzy” effervescent character similar to vinho verdes from Portugal but whereas the latter are light wines with fresh, clean flavors and bright acidity, Txakolis have more complex aromas and depth of flavor on the palate along with a firm minerality that is their signature.

Eight Reds

NV Caves Bonifacio Encosta dos Curiosos (EC)        ($7)
A great deal on a Portuguese red blend. Full bodied with rich fruit.
12.5% by volume

2009 Tuga Douro Douro    ($9)
Portugal
Red fruits and spicy aromas. The mild maceration preserves the typical flavors of the varieties that show its potential after bottling. The palate is very gentle and sweet, with well balanced acidity and fine tannins. Pairs well with Mediterranean and Asian dishes.
12.5 by volume

2010 Terre d’Artagnan Côtes de Gascogne Rouge    ($10)
60% Merlot, 20% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
12.5% by volume

2000 Gran Oristan Gran Reserva            ($12)
Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon
La Mancha
No Quixotic adventure, this Cabarnet Sauvignon and Tempranillo blend sees 24 months in barrel and you can count the years in bottle. Not as good as the wines from Rioja but nowhere near the price either.

2007 Château La Freynelle Bordeaux            ($8)
65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon
This little Bordeaux has softened up with its age and has turned into a good summer quaffer.
12% by volume

2010 Sainte Elisabeth                     ($9)
Grenache
Costières de Nîmes
Predominantly Grenache, this southern French red has a jammy quality with rich aromas of red and black fruits, spice, and mineral.
12.5% by volume

2011 Camene Sicilia Rosso                ($8)
Nero d’Avola and Perricone
A very friendly Sicilian blend with spicey aromas and bitter chocolate tannins.

2010 Bodegas la Aldea lLA Radela            ($9)
100% Tempranillo
Rioja
From 20+ year old vines, this stainless steel fermented Rioja is full of cherry and mineral flavors.

One Dessert

2010 Viña Tabalí Late Harvest                ($9)
Muscat
Chile
Tabalí’s desert Muscat is amazingly rich, complex, deep and expressive. It shows, plenty of dried apricots, honey, papaya and great botrytis character. On the palate is unctuous, smooth and rich, with nice acidity giving the wine a great balance and refreshing edge and a very long, intense and velvety finish. 375 ml.

South American Terroir,

Saturday, February 9th, 2pm

This weekend we are show casing a collection of wines from the other end of the Americas. These old world varietals have adapted to their new world terrain and make great wines of power and complexity. Come taste the terroir of Argentina, Chile, and Urugauy.

2011 Don Martino Old Vine Semillon (Argentina)$15
This Old Vine Semillon comes from a heritage vineyard planted in 1938 in Perdriel, a warmer sub-district better known for its Malbec. It has a lively nose with notes of lemon, pear, and golden fig and is bright on the palate, with plenty of citrus and some mineral flavors.
 
2010 Viña Tabalí Reserva Syrah $14 (Chile)
Vina Tabalí is located six hours North of Santiago in the cool climate Limara Valley. The grapes are all estate grown. “Syrah does surprisingly well in Chile’s newly developed cooler regions with characteristics of France’s northern Rhone Valley. The 2010 Syrah Reserva offers up aromas of game, bacon, lavender, and blueberry. Dense, layered, ripe, and flavorful, this excellent value could easily be mistaken for a quality Crozes-Hermitage“- Wine Advocate
 
2009 Familia Durigutti Cabernet Sauvignon $17 (Argentina)
95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot
Durigutti is a brother team with a broad history of working with the likes of Antinori, Tutini, and Catena among others. This boutique project is their pride and joy. Their vineyards, which date from 1943, have been organically farmed for many years and will soon be certified. Only native yeasts are used and filtration is kept to a minimum. The Cabernet is spicy and smoky, with aromas of red fruits such as blackberry and raspberry. In the mouth it is robust with sweet, balanced tannins and a velvety finish.
 
2011 Bodegas Bouza Unoaked Tannat $17 (Uruguay)
Bouza is a small family run estate winery in Canelones. This Tannat comes from a dry farmed parcel in Las Violetas. 2011 was an unusually warm growing season and due to this the winery decided to produce an unoaked bottling for the first time. The wine has a fruit forward nose of dried figs, plum, and blackberry. In the mouth it shows nice body, with more briary fruit notes and a hint of black tea. It finishes with nice acidity and rustic tannins.
 
2008 Familia Durigutti Malbec Reserva (Argentina) $25
Durigutti Malbec Reserva is made using native yeasts, then aged for 16 months in French oak (30% new) and is unfined and unfiltered. In the wine aromas and flavors of plum, fig, and ripe strawberry dominate. There is tremendous concentration on the palate, with ample tannin and acidity to match and finishes long, with loads of white pepper. This “big” wine matches sensationally with charcoal grilled beef.
 
2010 Viña Tabalí Late Harvest Muscat $9 -375ml (Chile)
Tabalí’s desert Muscat is amazingly rich, complex, deep and expressive. It shows, plenty of dried apricots, honey, papaya and great botrytis character. On the palate is unctuous, smooth and rich, with nice acidity giving the wine a great balance and refreshing edge and a very long, intense and velvety finish.

It’s Super Bottle Sunday.

Come in and check out this 5 liter (that’s almost 7 standard-size bottles) 2008 Chianti Classico Reserva that is big enough to handle your Super Bowl crowd. We are open until 5pm today.

2008 San Felice Chianti Classico Reserva        $170
Sangiovese
A Big Bottle of Big Wine.
Il Grigio releases lingering, complex fragrances redolent of sweet violets and wild red berry fruit. The palate displays a wine of appreciable body, nicely lean-edged, and with a crisp acidity.

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