2011 Maison Bleue, La Montagnette, Upland Vineyard Grenache
Once again we were incredibly impressed when the distributor brought this wine in for us to taste. Since only 265 cases were produced, and the distributor received only about 20 of them, we immediately ordered it for the club. Maison Bleue’s owner and winemaker, Jon Martinez, started out as a dentist in Kansas City, but soon found himself studying enology at Virginia Tech, UC Davis, and WSU. He made an immediate impression on wine writers with his very first vintage, with his 2008 La Montagnette Grenache and 2009 Marsanne garnering high scores and critical acclaim. He has a particular affinity with the Rhône varietals of Upland Vineyard on Snipes Mountain, originally planted in 1917 and thus the oldest vineyard in Washington. Drinking beautifully now, his Grenache is redolent of raspberries and plums, with silky tannins, balanced acidity, and a very elegant, long finish. It would pair well with beef, lamb, wild game, grilled pork, and mild, firm, savory cheeses. It is $43 and extremely limited, as the winery has already sold out of it.
2011 Walla Walla Vintners, Sagemoor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Walla Walla Vintners has always been one of the most solid and reliable wineries in Washington. So, when we had a chance to grab this single vineyard bottling, a collaboration of winemakers Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri with one of the oldest vineyards in the state, we grabbed it. This powerful and smooth wine contains 78% Cabernet Sauvignon from Blocks 3 & 9, both planted in 1972, 12% Block 4 Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc from Block 2. Dark in color, with a meaty nose, layered with jammy fruit flavors, and with a focused finish, it can be enjoyed now or any time over the next ten years. Try it with rack of lamb or anything cooked in a Dijon mustard sauce. As with the Montagnette, this Cabernet is very limited. Walla Walla Vintners only made 196 cases and is completely sold out, although we can get a bit more from the distributor. It’s $45.