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Three wines tasted in Seattle

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I spent the evenings of my recent trip to Seattle reading late 20th century wine articles.  This, of course, requires wine to maintain focus and the first bottle I opened was a random grab.  I noticed two red wines at Whole Foods imported by Barrique Imports, a name new to me, so I grabbed the less expensive 2012 Clos de Caveau, Les Bateliers, Cotes du Rhone.  It was everything I could hope for, earthy and traditional with complex fruit.  And that is out of a hotel tumbler!  It drank great on the second night.  If you like the wines that I enjoy then buy many bottles of this.  I only hope it becomes available in DC.

The next night I was torn between Pike Place Market and Capitol Hill (which I did not visit last trip) so I headed east to Bar ferd’nand.  It was my first tim seeing the reconfigured space which happened to coincide with Wines of the PNW and in particular MTHRFCKN Memaloose.  Brian McCormick, farmer and cellarmaster at Memaloose, had driven up to pour several of his wines.  I first tasted Memaloose nearly four years ago when I tried the Cabernet Franc and Barbera based wines.  I could not resist a chat nor picking up a bottle.  For those back home this is available in DC and Virginia.  Say yes to Oregon Cabernet Franc and Barbera.  Finally, the 2012 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo is full-throttle Mencia.  Almost lust and certainly mouthfilling upon first pour, the wine balances out to become a selection for now and the cellar.  The Clos de Caveau was purchased at Whole Foods and the other two wines at Bar ferd’nand.

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2012 Clos de Caveau, Les Bateliers, Cotes du Rhone – $19
Imported by Barrique Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The attractive nose bore mixed red fruit and earthy aromas.  In the mouth the wine was almost prickly on the tongue, eventually becoming lively on the tongue tip.  It was immediately complex, earthy, and carrying both cedar and garrigue flavors.  While it is currently drinking great I suspect it will reach its peak in a year.  It was very similar on the second night just a touch firmer.  *** Now-2020.

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2012 Memaloose, Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Gorge – $25
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Idiot’s Grace vineyard.  It was fermented and aged in a mixture of oak and stainless steel.  Alcohol 13%.  Aromatic varietal notes with just the right hint of greenhouse.  With air this wine shows weighty, almost savory red and black fruit.  The greenhouse hint carries through shedding weight to become tart, tangy, and textured with grapey flavors and salivating acidity in the end.  ***  Now – 2018.

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2012 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo – $25
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  The flavors are not quite lush for there is texture, structure, and acidity.  With its dark fruit, this is Mencia unfurled that seems wanting to be drunk now but the building level of very fine, drying tannins hint at some future development.  It wraps up with graphite. What a strong mouth full of wine.  *** Now-2022.

An Aromatic Oregon Cabernet Franc

February 11, 2013 Leave a comment

I was excited to find a new post by Frank Morgan describing Results from the Oregon vs. Virginia Viognier and Cab Franc Tasting.  I thought I had just tasted Oregon Cabernet Franc for the first time but indeed it has been twice.  The first in September 2011 was the 2008 Memaloose, Estate Cabernet Franc and just a few weeks ago we tried the 2010 vintage of the same wine.  I have been pleased with the handful of Memaloose wines I have drunk and certainly include this one.  With air it developed a lovely nose, which I never anticipated to show orange peel and clove.  The Idiot’s Grace Vineyard was planted over several years starting in 2003.  It is a seven acre organic vineyard planted on soils of rich clay/loam at 300 feet.  This bottle was recommended by Michael of Soul Wine in Seattle where you may purchase it.

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2010 Memaloose, Estate Cabernet Franc, Idiot’s Grace Vineyard, Columbia Gorge – $25
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Idiot’s Grace Vineyard.  It was aged 14 months in neutral French oak and stainless steel.  Alcohol 13.0%.  The nose initially revealed a lot of pepper then with air perfumed red fruit, orange peel, and clove.  In the mouth there was lighter, rounder red fruit which became tart in the middle with watering acidity.  With air the wine puts on more tart, bright red fruit.  It almost tingles on the tongue tip.  *** Now-2017.

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A Pair of Washington Wines Tasted Last Month

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I am a big fan of the Syncline wines and am always tempted to buy them during my trips to Seattle.  But I do try to purchase wines I have not drunk before so when I saw a new vintage of the Subduction Red I grabbed it.  In addition, Michael the owner of Soul Wine, recommended I try that Memaloose.  I had previously enjoyed the 2008 Memaloose, Idiot’s Grace so I was more than willing to give this bottle a go.

Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, Image from grapeman(flickr)

These two wines were purchased at Soul Wines.  I will update this post with the prices when I am able to look at the receipt back home. I was a bit skeptical about trying an Italian blend from Oregon so was immediately surprised when I took my first taste. It was quite good right about of the bottle, well made, and pleasing to drink due to the low alcohol.  So if you want to surprise your friends or drink something Italian than purchase the Memaloose.  I recommend that you cellar the Syncline while drinking the Memaloose!

2010 Syncline, Subduction Red, Columbia Valley
This is a blend of 31% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 21% Grenache, 12% Cinsault, 7% Carignan, and 4% Counoise.  The wine is aged for 11 months in a combination of 5-10% new French oak and Nomblot tanks.  A rather purple color in the tumbler.  From an ever-changing blend this bottle was tighter, closed, and more tannic on the first night.  The second night it showed dense, tart red fruit, young red berries, and powdery, hard profile that was framed by fine tannins.  This clearly needs to be cellared but reveals hints of good potential! **(*) 2015-2019.

2009 McCormick Family Vineyards, Memaloose, York’s Reward Red Wine, Columbia Gorge
This wine is a blend of 64% Barbera, 32% Primitivo,  and 4%Dolcetto that was aged in 4-5 year old, neutral French oak barrels.  The organic fruit is sourced from their Idiot’s Grace Vineyard. It is a comfortable 12.7% ABV.  Some brighter red fruit, articulate, good texture, pleasing, and refreshing to drink. *** Now.