Archive for January 30, 2016

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.

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.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

Rain is on the forecast this weekend in Madrona, and per usual it’s pouring at Madrona Wine.  We’ve got a busy line up so grab that umbrella and come check it out.

Saturday, we’re tasting wines from Domaine Le Fay d’ Homme  a great organic estate winery in the Loire that specializes in Mellon de Bourgogne or what is more commonly known under the appellation Muscadet.  They also make two very aromatic reds, one from Gamay and one from Malbec.

Sunday, some things come and some things go.  We’re pouring two red wines: A Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero that we got the last of this week, and a Cabernet Franc from the Loire that has just arrived.

2012 Domaine de la Rablais Mis en Bouteille Cuvée Rouge $14
Loire Valley
This 100% Cabernet Franc is just off the boat and tasting great. Lighter bodied — nice spice notes.

2009 Ismael Arroyo Ribera del Dureo “Mesoneros”    $14
From Ribera del Duero, this big Tempranillo has had time to soften up.  Its smoothness will make your taste buds think they’ve been put to bed with silk sheets. Oak aged in chalk tunnels hundreds of feet underground. Full, dark and rich.  Was $20 now $14

Sunday is also the Artist Reception for Suzanne Brooker’s show of new oil paintings, Waterways from 3 to 5pm
Water is the element of change that creates paths through the landscape. A trickster with many disguises, the dynamics of water is a constant challenge to render from the dancing currents of fast water to the sculptural effects of the water course over rocky shores.

Suzanne Brooker is a Teaching Artist and has published two books: The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting:–Techniques for Rendering Sky, Terrain, Trees and Water & Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques & Contemporary Applications

And keep your eyes out for our upcoming special tasting of older Bordeauxs.  We’re drawing up the details and will get it out soon.

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.

Domaine Le Fay d’Homme,

Saturday, January 16th,2pm

No, Fay d’Homme was not a 1920’s silent movie star.  It is however a great organic estate winery in the Loire that specializes in Mellon de Bourgogne or wat is more commonly known under the appellation Muscadet.  They also make some very aromatic reds.  Owner Vincent Caillé Earl is a 5th generation winemaker.  Indeed both of his parents, came from winemaking families which makes him a “concentrate”. His parcels are spread over 14 kilometers in 4 towns and 3 terroirs.  After converting his all property from conventional methods back to organic practices, he is now starting to learn and work a part of his domaine in Biodynamy.  This Saturday we’ll be pouring five wines from the winery, and being very French we’ll pour the reds first.

2014 La Part du Colibri Gamay  $13
La Part du Colibri means the Part of the Hummingbird from an ancient Indian parable meaning that even if you do just a little bit but the best you can, you contribute to a better place. This pure Gamay is from 40 year old vines and is a nice balance of fresh fruit and minerality.

2014 La Part du Colibri Cot $14
A bit of an odity, this Cot (aka Malbec) from the Loire is a bit lighter than Cahor, but abounds with juicy and spicy black cherry and plums with hints of pepper and anise and a large core of minerality.

X bulles Methode Ancestrale   $18
100% sparkling Melon de Bourgogne made in the méthode ancestrale style – a very traditional way of making sparkling wine where it is bottled before all the residual sugar is fermented into alcohol, without dosage and often riddling.  The fineness of the bubbles, salinity, mineral X bubbles form a nice balance between fruit and freshness.

2014 Muscadet Sêvre et Maine  $14
The Muscadet is Melon de Bourgogne from 35-year-old vines and aged in traditional glass lined cement tanks, offering a classic expression The wine ages “Sur lie” (on its sediment) for several months which adds body and mouthfeel.  The La Fay is a fuller Muscadet, dry and focused with notes of white flowers and melon & citrus notes.   12% alcohol by volume

2010 Monnieres, Saint Fiacre  $27
This “Grand Muscadet,” from 60 year old vines underwent a long fermentation and spent 15 months on its lees giving the Melon de Bourgogne a fuller richness.   It drinks beautifully, with supple, deep flavors, and power.

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.

MALBEC MANIA – The Score

Today we have THREE Malbecs open for tasting – was going to be two, but for the next bit we have some of yesterday’s Malbec that still tasting good.

From France:

2012 Les Fiefs d’Anglars Malbec    ($10)
Vin de Pays du Lot
A great value Malbec from Cahors with good full fruit and scents of red and black fruit, pepper and spices.12.5% alcohol by volume

From Chile:

2013 Echeverria Gran Reserva    ($12)
Malbec
A Chilean Malbec that sets itself off from its Argentinian neighbors. Full and soft plummy fruit, with violet aromas and a smooth round finish.

From Washington State:

2012 Malbec, Estate, Wahluke Slope $20
Aromas of blueberry, plum and violets. Fabulous balance of fruit, tannin and acidity. The flavors roll from blackberries and dark plums to a floral/herbal note of violets and lavender. The well-heeled mouth feel brings a light note of vanilla to the finish. Try this versatile wine with grilled (or plumb) duck, steak, pasta Bolognese, roast turkey, Mexican style chicken mole.   GOLD – North Central Washington Wine awards.

CURRENT SCORE

FRANCE

CHILE

WASHINGTON

15

9

1

(sample ran out at 1:30pm)

A little over an hour into the competition – it’s neck-n-neck.

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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