Archive for Tasting Notes

Deal or No Deal?

Spring Specials

Saturday, April 6th

This Spring has been a good season for deals from our distributors, and this weekend we’ll be opening a number of them for you try.  It is a diverse bunch from California, the Languedoc, northern Spain, Portugal, and the pinnacle of the Rhone – Châteauneuf du Pape.  Is it deal or no deal?  You decide for yourself.
 
2016 Meadowcroft, Louvau Viognier  $15
Morning fog from the Pacific Ocean tempers the warm summer days giving the Louvau Vineyard a great balance of maritime and inland climates.  The 2017 Louvau Viognier is aromatic and expressive with complex layers of vanilla bean and expressive honeysuckle blossom aromas play into a rich and creamy palate with ripe apricot and white peach finishing with lively acidity.
Was $30 now $15
 
2015 Château Cazal Viel, Saint Chinian Vielles Vignes  $15
Produced from hand-selected old-vines on the estate, this is a classic blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. The nose is intense and spicy with hints of black pepper and cloves. On the palate, this wine is round and full-bodied, showing a very fine balance between tannins and oak.
Was $17 now $15
 
2012 Tionio, Ribera del Duero  $15
Tempranillo
The Tionio has complex aroma with hints of red and dark fruits. It is a complex wine with different aromatic layers. In the mouth present a good structure, with volume, and good persistence. It is a wine characterized by its good balance between tannin and acidity.
Was $25 now $15
 
2008 Quinta Seara d’ Ordens, Reverva  $15
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz
A big, deep Portuguese Red that has been smoothed out by a few years in bottle is really drinking well now.
Was $21 now $15
 
2015 Les Terrasses,  Chateauneuf du Pape  $30
A negociant,  under the radar, CNDP that makes up in price what it lacks in pedigree.  Aromas of dark cherry, licorice, orange peel and spice notes.  The acidity is bright and fresh with more cherry, cinnamon and orange marmalade on the palate, land smoky tannins on the finish. 
Was $35 now $30

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 Wines

Spring is in the air this weekend in Madrona, so spring to it and stroll on down to Madrona Wine and taste the weekend offerings.   We’ll be pouring five flavorful wines from France on Saturday. Sunday we’ll be sipping some savory new wines from South Africa.

Saturday:
2016 Château Martinot,  Entre-Deux-Mers   $13
80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon
2017 Château Rivière, Rosé   $12
Syrah & Grenache
2015 Domaine Les Espérières, Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge  $13
70% Grenache,  30% Syrah
2015 Les Couventines, Gigondas  $26
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
2014 Château Lalande de Gravelong, Médoc  $17
75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc

Sunday we have two new wines from a new South African winery, Lubanzi
2017 Lubanzi Chenin Blanc  $15
100% Chenin Blanc
The nose brings tropical and stone fruits first, eliciting thoughts of tangerine and lychee. The palate is round and fleshy, pushing forward lychee again, along with white peach, apricot and green apple, all carried by a touch of elevated acidity. There is brightness and a hint of freshly baked bread throughout.
2016 Lubanzi Blend  $15
58% Shiraz, 30% Cinsault, 3% Mourvédre, 3% Grenache
The wine is a lush, dark ruby color. The nose suggests equal parts fruit, savory, and spice, eliciting thoughts of plum, liquorice and a touch of ground coffee. The palate shows dark fruits at first, before giving way to lighter red fruits, such as strawberry and raspberry. Finishes with a touch of spice and raw earth. Slight tannins, countered by an elevated acidity.

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.

French Flavors

Saturday March 30th, 2pm

Stop by on Saturday and taste through a line up on new French wines that have arrived at the shop.  We have a couple Bordeaux, a couple Rhones and a southern French Rosé that are all excellent values.  Take a break and come join us.
 
2016 Château Martinot, Entre-Deux-Mers   $13
80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon
Literally translating to “between two seas,” Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest region within Bordeaux.  Located on the Right Bank it is the area between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.  This blanc has aromas of ripe white fruits, apple & light citrus.  The palate is well structured & delicate, clean & crisp.
 
2017 Château Rivière, Rosé   $12
Syrah & Grenache
Located in the heart of Minervois, Château Rivière has south facing slopes with clay-limestone soil.  The Rivière has intense raspberry and strawberry aromas.  The palate is dry and reveals hints of redcurrant and cherry.
 
2015 Domaine Les Espérières, Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge  $13
70% Grenache,  30% Syrah
This 5 hectares cooperative sits on the right bank of the Rhône, near Pont du Gard where he vineyard is planted on Urgonian limestone scree and ancient alluvia soils The wine has a nose of wild strawberries and raspberries framed with light spice.  The palate is fresh, full and packed with silky flavors of wild fruit and garrigue.
 
2015 Les Couventines, Gigondas  $26
60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
Les Couventines is the product of a group of cooperatives in the Southern Rhone that pool their resources under the name Vignerons du Soleil.  The Gigondas has a nose of ripe baked cherries with licorice and vanilla undertones.  The plate is hedonistically full of jammy black cherries, black berries and raspberries layered with peppercorn, fresh hillside herbs and anise.
 
2014 Château Lalande de Gravelong, Médoc  $17
75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc
The vineyards of Lalande de Gravelong are made up of 30 year old vines planted on it gravel clay soil.  The wine has aromas of ripe red fruits, plum and black cherry.  Deep and fresh flavors of ripe plum, fruitcake, and black cherries are highlighted by notes of cedar and spice that accent its rich texture and well-integrated tannins.

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.

Donkeys and Down Under

Spring has arrived here in Madrona.  And after a few days of Summer we are back to the usual pleasant mix of sun and showers.  The days are as long as the nights.  It is the perfect weather for tasting wine.

Saturday we are in Veneto with wines from Contra’ Soarda and Vignalta.  Contra’ Soarda, besides making great wine has herd of small donkeys that they use to work the steep vineyards.
2016 Vignalta, Sauvignon Blanc IGT Delle Venezie $18
2017 Contra Soarda Breganze Vespaiolo $20
2015 Contra Soarda, Veneto Rosso Gaggion $20
2014 Contra Soarda, Veneto Rosso Musso Ettaro Marzemino $24
Pinot Nero, Marzemino, Merlot
2010 Vignalta,  Marrano  $30
50% Cabernet, 50% Merlot

Sunday we head to Austailia.
2018 Yalumba, Y Series Viognier $11
South Australia
Aromas of white flowers and honeysuckle dominate the nose, with ginger and five spice to finish. The white flowers and ginger lead into a creamy mid palate with a silky textural finish. The wild fermentation and lees aging give the wine an extra level of complexity on the palate.
2015 Pikes, Los Compañeros  $15
80% Shiraz, 20% Temperanillo
Clare Valley Australia
Los Companeros greets the nose with seductive blueberry fruit framed by suggestions of chocolate, mint, earth, and spice. On the palate, this wine is rich and dense yet approachable. The concentrated dark fruit and chocolate are tempered nicely by fine, silky tannins and balanced acidity.

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.

Contra Soarda & Vignalta

Getting High in Veneto

Saturday, March 23rd, 2pm

This Saturday we are featuring wines from two Veneto wineries who have turned their elevation to their advantage. Contra’ Soarda, (which means “hamlet on the slope”) grows vines and olive trees with utmost respect for the environment. They are organic and practicing biodynamic without the certification. The soil is of volcanic composition lending minerality to the wines. Vignalta (meaning high vines) is nestled at 2000 feet above sea level on the steep hills of Italy’s Colli Euganei. The high elevation brings something special to the grapes, in addition to sun exposure. Over 30 million years ago, a volcanic eruption thrust the Adriatic Sea floor up, and forged these cone-shaped hills with volcanic and limestone soils into the middle of the flat Venetian plain. The region also has an almost 200-year-old tradition of Bordeaux wine grape varietals after Phylloxera wiped out many native varietals.

2016 Vignalta, Sauvignon Blanc IGT Delle Venezie $18
This Sauvignon Blanc is classically aromatic and complex, crisp, dry and mouth-watering.

2017 Contra Soarda Breganze Vespaiolo $20
Vespaiolo derives its name from the wasps (vespa) that feed on the grapes as sugar accumulates later in the season. The wines are often made into a passito style sweet wine but this wine shines as a rich, dry wine with bountiful aromatics. The nose is quite effusive with scents of apple blossom, white peach, orchard fruit, and ripe citrus. Fairly full on the palate with a rich texture, the initial flavors of juicy apple and peach give the impression of sweetness which is lifted away by high acidity and a mineral finish.

2015 Contra Soarda, Veneto Rosso Gaggion $20
Marzemino
The Gaggion focuses on purity of this native varietal from Veneto. The wine has distinct character of red fruits, berries, and well-balanced tannin.

2014 Contra Soarda Veneto Rosso Musso Ettaro $24
Pinot Nero, Marzemino, Merlot
Musso in Veneto dialect means ‘donkey’ and is dedicated to the donkeys that live on the estate that help with daily work in the vineyards. This distinctive blend has aromas of coconut and vanilla and slightly smoky notes. Its cherry and berry flavors are spicy with fine acidity on the palate. The wine is unfiltered, unadorned and natural.

2010 Vignalta, Marrano $30
50% Cabernet, 50% Merlot
The Marrano ages 6 years in barrel before bottling, softening up all those tannins and ready to drink on release. This complex, earthy, mineral-driven red offers a nuanced combination of green tones, leather, pepper, plum and cassis.

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.

From Bubbles to Bordeaux

It is supposed to be a bit warmer this weekend here in Madrona and at Madrona Wine we are airing out the old winter cobweb with some fresh wines from France.  Here’s what is going on:

Saturday we are featuring some French Country Wines from small, sustainable, organic and more natural producers. 
Château Breze, Cremant de Loire $19
Florence Loisel Cidre Brut  $10
2017 Domaine Couet  Sauvignon Blanc 
$15
2015 Château Lafond Canon Fronsac $18

2017 Olivier Pithon,  Mon P’tit Pithon  $16

Sunday we are off to Bordeaux with two wines from Château La Maroutine.  The plots of Château La Maroutine are situated on the slopes of the Saint Germain de Graves village at the south part of the Cadillac. A family estate since 1789 and bought in 1942 by Jean Darriet, a 6th generation winemaker, Château La Maroutine has been gradually restructured. Now the 8th generation is beginning to leave their imprint.
2017 Château La Maroutine Bordeaux Blanc  $11
80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon
From vines on the slopes above the Garonne river, this herbal, fruity wine is dominated by Sauvignon Blanc. Its acidity is balanced by the yellow fruits as well as citrus. 13% alcohol by volume
2015 La Maroutine Bordeaux  $11
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
A deep and intense garnet red color, a warm and powerful nose with touches of red crystallized fruit. Soft tannins in the mouth mixed with toasted bread aromas. 13% alcohol by volume

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.

Italy & Art

This weekend at Madrona Wine we are exploring Italian terroir.  Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of wine. we’ll be tasting through a full line up both Saturday & Sunday.  Sunday is also the Artist Reception for our new show. Scroll down for more info or just come on by for a look.

Saturday:
Tenuta Col Sandago Extra  Dry Prosecco  $18
2015 Colpaola, Verdicchio di Matelica $17
2014 Filodivino,  Lacrima di Moro d’Alba Diana $12

2016 Tiziano Mazzoni,  Colline Novaresi  Nebbiolo del Monteregio $25
2013 Giovanna Madonia, Ombroso Sangiovese di Romagna DOC Riserva $32

Sunday we have a pair from Piedmont.
2017 Ca’ Gialla Roero Arneis  $11
Hints of white and citrus fruit notes of savory and freshness. Organic.
2016 Riva Leone Barbera  $12
Fresh, with mature plum scents this easy drinking Barbera is great with dinner or by itself.

Sunday 3pm to 5pm is the Artist’s Reception for our new duo show by Amy Hanada Nikaitani and Michelle Kumata.

Michelle Kumata’s Nihonmachi series is based on pre-WWII photos of the Japanese American community, when Seattle’s Japantown was a bustling, vibrant neighborhood. The imagers were inspired by found photos and the Takano Studio Collection at Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

Amy Hanada Nikaitani was born in 1923 on Halloween Day in Seattle, Washington in a hotel near 6th and Weller which her father operated. Imagine, now she is living in Washington Terrace on 6th and Yesler!!! Born to immigrants from Japan, Kuramatsu and Matsu Takami Hanada.

She had been interested in the female figure all her life, playing with paper dolls as a child, drawing fashion figures and bathing beauties on her notebooks and also on her stationary as she corresponded with many GI friends during WWII.

After high school she hoped to attend art school. Her father, concerned for her financial security, sent her to the Charette School of Costume Design in Seattle, instead. She had only started her studies, when World War II and the internment orders interrupted her plans. 

Her entire family moved to Wyoming to avoid the internment. From there, she married and became a mother of four. She put her artistic aspirations on hold, but in the back of her mind thought she would return to art someday.

While raising her children she attended Edison Technical School and studied at the Burnley School of Art.

After having a fifth child she went to work at Boeing in a Graphics Group for 18 years. During this time she continued her interest in the female figure, becoming a fixture in local figure drawing groups.

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.

Italian Landscapes

Saturday, March 9th, 2pm

Tenuta Col Sandago Extra Dry Prosecco  $18
100% Glera
Tenuta Col Sandago is set amidst the splendid hills of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG region in the prestigious March of Treviso.  The Glera grapes benefit from the land’s unique physical characteristics. The exposure, the slopes, the altitude and the microclimates all contribute to creating crisp Prosecco.  The wine has a fine and persistent mousse with a pleasing, characteristic fruitiness. The palate is slightly velvety, balanced and lingering.
 
2015 Colpaola, Verdicchio di Metalica $17
The valley of Matelica, called the Camerino Syncline, is the only one in the entire Marche region that runs parallel to the sea creating a unique continental microclimate, since it’s not influenced by air currents coming from the Adriatic Sea.  Made with organically farmed grapes, this delicious white opens with aromas of citrus blossom and white stone fruit. The tangy, medium-bodied palate offers a lovely depth of flavors that include juicy tangerine, lime, white peach, bitter almond and mineral. Crisp acidity brightens the rich flavors and carries through to the clean finish.
 
2014 Filodivino, Lacrima di Moro d’Alba Diana $12
The Filodivino draws its character from the minerality of the calcareous soil and salinity from the nearby Adriatic Sea. The wine has a fragrance of violets, dog roses accompanied with currant, blueberry and blackberry. In the mouth, the flavor is all enveloping, softened by scents of fruits of the forest, wild strawberries and bramble coupled with good structure and soft, refined tannins.
 
2016 Tiziano Mazzoni,  Colline Novaresi  Nebbiolo del Monteregio $25
Tiziano Mazzoni farms just 4.5 hectares of vines and produces about 1,200 cases of wine per year in the “alto Piemonte” region of Ghemme.  This higher elevation region of the Piedmont produces Nebbiolo that are radically different from Barolo or Barbaresco.  The Colline Novaresi is a light and very pretty Nebbiolo with aromas of red plums, red cherries, red and pink roses, light pepper.  It is suave and silky, fine-grained tannins.
 
2013 Giovanna Madonia, Ombroso Sangiovese di Romagna DOC Riserva $32
The Madonia estate extends over 35 acres on the sunny ridge of the magnificent hill of Montemaggio, in Bertinoro, the heart of Romagna Wine District. The vines are trained in the “Alberello” or “Bush” system, which allows the clusters a more consistent sun exposure throughout the daily cycle. Here, the plants benefit from an optimal southwest exposure, and the yields are kept at minimum for the best fruit quality. The vines are intermingled with olive groves and wild forest, whose scent is blended with the pleasant breeze coming from the Sea, only 5 miles away.  Inky dark, the wine opens with aromas of underbrush, vanilla and black-skinned berry. The dense palate delivers ripe black plum, toasted oak and tobacco alongside assertive tannins and the warmth of alcohol.

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.

Western Cape to Wahluke Slope

It is a cold and clear weekend here in Madrona.  So when the afternoon high hits 46 degrees, get out, stretch those legs and  come and taste some heartwarming  wines at the shop.

Saturday, we have hunted down a lineup from South Africa.
2016 Ashbourne,  Sauvignon Blanc / Chardonnay   $15
2016 Man Vintners,  Bosstok Pinotage $10
2014 Tometoso Syrah / Mourvédre  $16
2013 Helderberg Stelenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon $16
2013 Stark-Conde Stelenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon $28

Sunday, we head to Wahluke Slope with two new wines from Milbrandt Vineyards.. In 1997, Butch Milbrandt, a fourth-generation farmer, started planting grapes and helped establish two of the top AVAs in Washington State: Ancient Lakes and Wahluke Slope.
2018 Milbrandt Rosé  $11
73% Syrah, 27% Tempranillo
A Washington Rosé from Waluke Slope at an introductory price. Aromas of peaches lemon peel and strawberries followed by a crisp citrus finish.  Get ready for Spring.
2017 Milbrandt Cabernet  $12
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
A barrel-aged Washington Cabernet that has all the right fruit notes and a touch of toasty vanilla.

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.

Vinicultural Safari

South African Wines

Saturday, March 2nd, 2pm

We’re hunting for big game this Saturday as we tour the landscape of South African Wines.  Grab your binoculars and come taste with us as we roam the Western Cape.
 
2016 Ashbourne,  Sauvignon Blanc /Chardonnay   $15
Ashbourne is located on a beautiful 64 hectare property in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on the eastern border of Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Fresh, vibrant, perfumed Sauvignon blanc, filled-out and enriched with a carefully judged unwooded Chardonnay component, make this a beautifully balanced and highly versatile wine.
 
2016 Man Vintners,  Bosstok Pinotage $10
Bosstok refers to the untrellised bush-vine vineyards that make up more than half of the vineyards of Stellenbosch.  The Bosstok Pinotage plantings grow close to the ground, producing lower yields of concentrated, flavorful grapes. The wine shows pleasing aromas of mocha chocolate and roasted coffee beans, followed by juicy flavors of red berries, nutmeg and vanilla spice on the palate.
 
2014 Tometoso Syrah / Mourvedre  $16
76% Syrah, 24% Mourvedre
The Tometoso comes from dry-farmed, trellised vineyards that grow in deep, pebbly shale soils of the Agter-Paarl region.. The wine is barrel matured for 12 months in 225- and 300-litre oak barrels before blending.   It is intensely aromatic, with notes of orange-peel, leather, cigar tobacco, black licorice and dark-plummy fruit. The wine has layers of black fruit and leather notes. It finishes with typical black wine-gum flavors, rounded out by soft, juicy tannins.
 
2013 Helderberg Stelenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon $16
The Helderberg Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromas of blackcurrant, dark plums, red berries, light lead pencil whiffs and hints of fynbos. The dense layer of pure and complex fruit, with subtle cedar undertones, is held together by a firm and well balanced acidity. On the palate the wine exhibits a great balance of ripe fruit character with an elegant, structured and silky finish.
 
2015 Stark-Conde Stelenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon $28
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot
2015 was a very dry year, resulting in very rich, soft wines and considered to be one of the best vintages of the past 20 years.   There’s a leathery, tobacco-like seam throughout this dark and masculine Cab, adding intrigue to the black plum and cassis core. Hints of char and roasted coffee give a rich impression to the palate, which feels plush and velvety in texture yet well-structured and defined. The finish is long and evolving, with an enduring grip and final notes of cigar box and black-fruit skin.

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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