Archive for In The Beginning

Spring Forward

It is a busy weekend here at the wine shop. Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day with a crisp Austrian Rosé. Saturday we’ll be pouring an unusual Sardinian white varietal along with a Tuscan Rosso. Sunday we spring forward with another great deal from Finn Hill. Plenty of reason to stick your head in the door at Madrona Wine Merchants.


Friday — International Women’s Day

2021 Schlosskellerei Gobelsburg, Cisterncien Rosé $13
Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Saint Laurent
This Austrian rosé has a nice and elegant aroma, fresh and lean texture and an acidity–piquant and smooth–for pure drinking pleasure. Made from grapes grown in the coolest locations in the region, it is more reminiscent of the character of white wines. Was $18, Now $13

Saturday — Daylight Spending ends

2021 Cantine di Dolianova, Nuragus di Cagliari In Cantos $14
100% Nuragus
Sardinia, Italy
This white wine has a fresh, floral and pleasantly fruity aroma. It’s taste is delicate and elegant, with a pleasant acidulous expression.
12% alcohol by volume
2019 Nottola, Rosso di Montepulciano $18
95% Prugnolo Gentile Sangiovese , 5% Merlot
Not quite Nobile but fresh and enticing with a nose of ripe cherries and plums, the palate is medium bodied and shows ripe sweet fruits, quite gentle tannins and fresh acidity.

Sunday — Daylight Savings begins

2017 Finn Hill, “Jolie” Cabernet Sauvignon $16
100% Cab. Sauvignon
A dark, floral, earthy nose with lilacs and forest floor, new leather and black pepper, with a whiff of blackberry jam hidden beneath. The palate is luscious with plums and prunes and mixed berries. The mid-palate includes dried strawberries and bay leaf, with celery stalk, white pepper, and dark chocolate developing through the finish. Was $30 Now $16

Weekend Roundup

It looks like a wet weekend but there should be some breaks. So come and take a break with us. We are pouring the next three days


2021 Barone di Bernaj, Terra Siciliana $15
100% Nerello Mascalese
Mt. Etna, Sicily
Medium bodied red wine from Mt. Etna, Sicily, grown in volcanic soil that lends a mineral note to flavors of red cherry, pomegranate, dark plum and a hint of smoke. The finish is smooth and round with firm, slightly dry tannins. A great value for a wine from this region.


2020 Kuentz-Bas, Alsace Blanc $14
60% Sylvaner, 20% Muscat, 20% Auxerrois
A marriage joined the Kuentz and Bas families in 1895 forming a classic Alsace winery. The Blanc is a dry but floral Alsatian blend that combines honeysuckle, peach and apricot flavors.
12.5% alcohol by volume
2019 Weingut Piedmont, Filzen Kabinett $20
100% Riesling

Mosel, Germany
A slightly off dry Riesling grown without chemicals from steep grey slate slopes along the Saar. Focused, energetic, light and crisp with a touch of sweetness up front that blends with the good acidity. Sustainable
9.5% alcohol by volume


2021 Château Cessaras / Domaine Coudoulet, Minervois Cuvée Olric $18
60% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 20% Carignan
This wine offers a spicy nose showing aromas of dark berries, hints of black pepper and licorice. Harmonious and fresh palate.

More Bordeaux

We enjoyed pouring the Chateau Maine Blanc so much this week that we are going to keep tasting more Bordeaux over the next few days. We’ll start today with a petit value from Blaye. Saturday we’ll take a step up in class with a favorite Saint Emilion. Sunday we’ll take a break and head to Spain with a full juicy Grenache. Whatever day it is you should stop in and give them a try.


2018 Chateau les Petits, Blaye-Cotes-de Bordeaux $12
90% Merlot, 5% Cab. Franc, 5% Cab. Sauvignon
This wine’s rich, sultry, and balanced aromas feature earth-tinged red berry, peppered plum, and currant fruit complemented by notes of cocoa and coffee, toasted spices, and subtly warming musky scents of earth. The generous nose leads into a nicely balanced palate where the fruit is soft, fresh and friendly.


2016 Château Leconte Marquey, Saint Emilion $22
85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Leconte Marquey is a small estate of just 14.5 hectares. Round and opulent, it offers flavors of red and black berries, with refined tannins that allow the wine to age gracefully.


2020 Bernabeleva, Navaherreros $25
100% Grenache
Madrid, Spain
This old vine Grenache is grown at the higher elevation foothills of the Sierra de Gredos is Bernabeleva’s flagshipo wine. Light to medium bodied and dry with roasted strawberries and red cherry fruits. A long maceration with some whole clusters add a nice tannic structure.

Wet Weekend

It’s raining outside and we are pouring at the shop. Grab your umbrella and head on over.


2018 Domaine Agapé, Vin d’Alsace “Expression” $15
100% Pinot Gris
The nose is clean and develops smoky and toasty notes. On the palate, it expresses ripe fruit, notably apricot, as well as light bursts of citrus. The palate is relatively fat while remaining with a nice length and freshness. Was $22, Now $15

2020 Delas Freres, Ventoux Vin Rouge $14
80% Grenache, 20% Syrah
With its predominantly berry-fruit bouquet, this wine shows the full aromatic power of these two fine grape varieties whilst retaining the freshness imparted by well-controlled winemaking.

2021 Zorzettig, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso $15
A rustic Northern Italian red. Broad, warm, ripe and spicy, with notes of violets, plums, and strawberries. The fruit is captivating and seductive, with earthy aromas echoing cinchona and other balsamic notes. Well-structured and fresh with flavors of dark peppery spices, plums, licorice and eucalyptus.

Wine and Art

We have some fun things lined up this weekend at the shop. Saturday we have a pair of great Italian wines that are on fantastic discounts.
Sunday we are welcoming our new art show of watercolors by Tom Costantini. And of course we’ll have a few things to sip while you appreciate the art.


2017 Tenuta Santi Giacomo e Filippo Bellantonio $15
Incrocio Bruni
A unique white from the Marche region. The nose is abundant with fruit and has complex notes of citrus fruit, tomato leaves with a hint of tropical lychee fruit. The palate is fresh and vibrant with a near perfect balance of fruit and acidity. Stunning wine. Organic
Was $22, Now $15
2019 Giacomo Vito, Barbera d’Alba $14

A small under the radar family estate that was revived by the grandchildren in 1992. This clean fresh Barbera has lots of cherry flavors and crisp acidity.

Was $18, Now $14


Sunday—Red, White and Art

2018 Barone Cornacchia “Casanova” Passerina $10
100% Passerina
This Italian dry White has an intense, floral and fruity bouquet. Fresh, fine and persistent flavor.

Was $15, now $10
2021 Charles Dubois “Ma Belle Recolté” Côtes du Rhône $13
50% Grenache, 50% Syrah
A lovely, lighter red Rhône with vibrant flavors of ripe red and dark fruits like cherries and blackberries. You’ll also pick up some earthy spice notes, maybe even a hint of pepper or dried herbs. Organic
Tom Costantini

Artist Reception 3 to 5pm

Tom is an interior designer who has been drawing and sketching his whole life.

He paints with watercolors to illustrate favorite subjects including vintage cars,

homes and furniture, and scenes from his travels.

Tom also creates shadowbox assemblages combining mixed media collaged

images with vintage toys and other recycled objects.

He exhibits his art at Fogue Studios & Gallery in Georgetown, and you can view

more of his artwork at .

Winter Warmers

It is going to be a chilly weekend here in Madrona. We have the space heater out and running, but to make sure we keep warm we will be pouring a few wines. Bundle up and come give them a try.


2021 Villa Antinori, Toscana Bianco $15
Trebbiano (with a bit of Chardonnay)
Elegant and subtle citrus aromas of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. The flavors are well-balanced, and show mineral notes with its lengthy finish.
2017 Tenuta Santi Giacomo e Filippo, Fortercole Rosso $15
Sangiovese & Montepluciano
The Fortercole hales from the Marche region of Italy. Sangiovese in this blend gives sophistication in the form of a backbone of acidity and Montepulciano makes this wine bold without being unbalanced. Organic
Was $25 Now $15

2020 Glen Carlou, Petite Classique $12
50% Malbec, 50% Merlot
South Africa
This blend is beautifully layered; cherry notes in the company of red plum, blackcurrant and almond combine with enticing vibrant mint aromas and nuances of soft spices.

Was $15 Now $12

New Year deals

We are starting the year off with a few anyday wines that help adjust back to the normal winter activities. Everyday can’t be a party, but you can have a good time. Here’s what we are pouring this weekend.


2020 Domaine Astruc, Viognier $12
The nose of this Limoux Viognier’s is complex and intense with aromas of fresh fruits (apricot, white peach, pear) and honey. The mouth feel is very rich and aromatic with a long-lasting finish.
2017 Andre & Michel Quenard, Chignin Mondeuse Vieilles Vignes $15
100% Mondeuse
Medium-bodied and dry. Bright raspberry, kirsch and blackberries on the nose. The palate is expressive and elegant with black fruit and strawberry. Floral notes, herbs, and terroir define a finely tannic finish.
Was $25 Now $15


2020 Anselmi, ‘San Vincenzo’ Veneto Bianco $14
70% Garganega, 30% Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
Think of San Vincenzo as declassified Soave. An expressive white wine, creamy

and lightly juicy throughout, offering flavors of blood orange, granita, fresh tarragon, yellow peach and mineral, set in a light-bodied frame. The finish is juicy.

Was $18 Now $14

Bubbles & Bordeaux

What else do you need for New Year’s? We’ll be popping some of both this weekend as we get ready for 2024. Stop in and see which of the following we have open.

We will be OPEN New Year’s Eve from noon to 6pm.

2021 2 Copas, Brut $12
Made with hand-picked grapes from Chile’s cool and sunny Central Valle, the 2 Copas has aromas of pineapple, apple and inviting floral notes. Refreshing acidity with a smooth creamy mouthfeel. Ripe nectarines, peaches and melon in the finish.

Was $15 Now $12
2016 Châteay de Panigon, Médoc $20
50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot
A simply great nose of mint, dark fruit and truffles is backed up by a multi-faceted palate showing floral and meaty tinges to the rounded, sleek cherries and raspberries on chalky tannins.
Champagne Moutard, Demi Sec $34
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay
Fine, rich and developed nose with aromas of almonds and steamed dough. An elegant mouth which ends softly with a taste of restrained sweetness.

Was $40 Now $34
Champagne Louis Armand, Primier Cru Brut $38
75% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier
From a family own estate located in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, but somehow not Grower. It over delivers for the price. White flowers aromas, slight citrus hints, subtle hazelnut hints, notes de brioche.

Special Gift Bottles

We are pouring some fun stuff all week (including todays Taurasi Reserva), so stop by the shop and see what is open. In the mean time here are a few gift ideas for that very special wine lover on your list. Fancy Burgundy, Library Rioja, Big bottle Brunello, Beautiful Bordeaux Serious Syrah and Old School, Old Vine Washington. These are all limited to stock on hand. First come first served.

2018 Maxime Dubuet-Boillot, Volnay Sur-Roches $85
Pinot Noir
The 2018 opus offers an intense nose where peony and violet rub shoulders with spices; this bouquet also expresses a slight touch of noble vegetal, the identity mark of the roundup. On the palate, this Volnay is powerful, racy, on the floral mid-palate and licorice on the finish.
2014 Bouchard Volnay, Caillerets 1er Cru     $110
Pinot Noir
Exquisite fruit and spice aromas on the nose. On the palate, perfect harmony between structure and elegance: rich, complex and voluptuous. Very good ageing potential.
2007 Lopez de Herrdia, Viña Tondonia Reserva $78
70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and Mazuelo
Library Release

Attractive, dark earth and dried sage with a strong aroma of attractive, rich dried cherries, as well as blackberries and hints of cedar, cigar tobacco and fresh leather. The palate has a smooth array of fine but quite powerful tannin that builds seamlessly into the long, rich, dark cherry-flavored finish. 96pts WA
2001 Lopez de Heredia, Viña Tondonia Reserva $110
75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo
Library Release

“The 2001 Vina Tondonia Reserva is bridled with a lovely nose of decayed red fruit, fireside hearth, a touch of mulberry and small red cherry. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, crisp red fruits (wild strawberry and cranberry) with a sharp, vibrant, tense, tannic finish that has immense precision. There is a slight saline note lingering in the mouth after the wine has (regretfully) departed. Drink now-2030+. ” 95 points Wine Advocate
2008 La Fiorita, Brunello di Montalcino $145 Magnum
Alluring from start to finish, this boasts cherry, earth, spice and mineral flavors. Firmly structured, remaining vibrant and long on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2026.
1.5 Liters
2014 Chateau Giscours, Margaux $100
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 20% Merlot
3rd Growth Bordeaux. This is a lovely Margaux that should drink well for 20 years. This shows a caressing feel from the start, with alluring black tea and incense notes weaving around lightly macerated plum, blackberry and black currant fruit flavors. A floral accent gilds the finish. Pretty wine.
2005 Chateau Lagrange, Saint Julien $165
72% Cab Sauv, 26% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot
The 2005 Lagrange has a vigorous bouquet with blackberry, cedar, tobacco aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannins and full mid-palate presence. There is a sense of boldness towards the finish that should stand it in good stead for long-term ageing. Superb.
2017 Dellas, Hermitage Les Bessards $150
The Delas 2017 Hermitage Les Bessards boasts rich, deep cassis fruit accented by hints of crushed stone and pencil shavings. It’s full-bodied, ripe yet firm, with great energy, freshness and length on the spice-tinged finish with peppery spice, red berries and cured-meat notes.. While relatively approachable young, it should age well for up to two decades. –97 points Wine Advodate
2019 Terre del Marchesato, Famiglia Fuselli Franchesato $100
100% Cabernet Franc
Top class Cabernet Franc, this Tuscan red delivers ripe Amarena cherry, dark wild berries and plum on the nose, slightly balsamic and spicy on the aftertaste. Fresh and juicy on the palate, with strong but well integrated tannins and a harmonious, nice finish.
2019 Woodward Canyon, Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon $105
93% Cabernet Sauv., 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec
Intermingling aromas of baking spice, cedar, graphite and ripe blackberries develop in the glass. Flavors of black fruits blend beautifully with pencil, cigar box and exotic spice of new French oak. The texture is soft but firm with beautifully integrated tannins offering a rich, long finish.

We’re getting ready.

We are as busy as Santa’s elves this coming week at Madrona Wine Merchants. But we have time to pop the corks on a few wines that we think might make great gifts or go with that holiday dinner. Here is what we have planned but we will be opening things throughout the coming week so keep your eyes open.


2020 Col Sandago, Wildbacher Brut Rosé $22
A distinct bubbly from Northern Italy. Delicate, fresh and alarmingly easy. Pale pink, laced with cherry and black forest fruits, a twist of bitters and a suggestion of fragrant rose.
12% alcohol by volume
2020 Juan Gil “Bluegray” Priorat Red Blend $22
40% Garnacha (Grenache), 30% Cariñena (Carignan), 20% Syrah, 10% Merlot
From Priorat’s blue slate soils, this Tinto is very much alive with aromas of blackberries and cherries and delicate notes of nutmeg and star anise on the nose. The wine is very elegant with well integrated tannins with dried Mediterranean herbs such as thyme with a lingering finish.
2018 Maison Brotte, Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hauts de Barville $42
70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah
Rich symphony of red fruits (strawberry dominates), spices, truffles and guarrigue. Rich and unctuous, with long lasting aromas of red fruits and spices, the cuvée will seduce the amateurs of fruit in its youth, and those who will age the wine (up to 10 years) to savor its full potential and unique truffles and garrigue notes.
Kopke, 10 year old Tawny $20
A blend of different vintage, barrel aged tawny ports with the average age being 10 years old. Elegant and complex, it shows aromas of spice, with prevailing notes of dried fruit and elegant hints of wood and honey. Smooth and round on the palate, it shows complexity amidst intense flavors of dried fruit.

The 375 ml bottle would fit nicely into someone’s stocking.


2013 Vinosia, Rajamagra Taurasi Reserva$55


Looking for a special present? This top of the line bottling from Vinosia fits the bill. Taurasi is to aglianico what Barolo is to nebbiolo. Made with grapes from the village of Paternopoli, it is a deep and long-lived Taurasi. Full bodied, intense and complex with flavors and aromas of blackberries, sour cherries, vanilla, and leather with notes of cocoa, espresso on the finish. The wine is 10 years old but will last much longer.