JM Cellars: Best Saturday Tastings in Woodinville?

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Woodinville winery JM Cellars has the best Saturday tastings in the area. It must be true because I heard that declaration at an event at a different winery last weekend! Unfortunately, we have had no luck in getting to the JM Cellars tastings ourselves. But it’s not for lack of trying.

My nephew Mathew (who has an excellent palate) and I stopped by JM Cellars a few Saturdays ago, but sadly, we arrived late and the official tasting was over. With a special shout-out to assistant winemaker Tim Drake, we did try a 2005 Merlot, which had depth in its Red Mountain flavors bursting with cherries. (JM Cellars’ 2003 Merlot was named one of the top twelve Merlots in America by Wine and Spirits magazine.)

But we didn’t get a chance to taste JM’s red blends — and regular readers of this blog know that my palate is all about red blends. I love the names of some of JM Cellars wines, too: Their flagship wine Tre Fanciulli (tray-fan-CHEW-lee) and Bramble Bump Red. We can’t wait to finally get to a tasting (on time!) to try them.

But Saturdays are tough for us to go wine tasting; we typically go on Sundays. So we were looking forward to stopping by JM Cellars during St. Nick’s weekend next month in Woodinville. Again, no such luck. The winery won’t be represented there. So, hopefully, we’ll be able to attend the YWCA Childcare Endowment Fund Benefit on Nov. 16 at Wright Exhibition Space in Seattle. They’ll definitely be pouring there, along with others. And it’s for a good cause. For more details, check out my What’s Going On posts on Thursdays.

Have you gone to Saturday tastings at JM Cellars? Write a comment and tell me what I’ve been missing!


Matthews Cellars has it all

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Matthews Cellars‘ tasting room in Woodinville has a winning combination — robust Bordeaux-style wines and the friendliest tasting room people around. Whenever I drop by, I experience some fine wines and learn the latest news in Woodinville wine country. In addition to pouring some ridiculously good reds over the last few years, the friendly folks at Matthews Cellars told us to be sure to visit Brian Carter Cellars, JM Cellars, Page Cellars and William Church Winery, to name a few. Now that’s Woodinville wine country spirit!

I recently visited Matthews Cellars’ tasting room with my nephew Mathew (only one “t” in his name), and they didn’t even mind that his cute little dog Edie trotted in behind us. Everybody in the tasting room fell in love with Edie, and Mathew and I both fell head-over-heels with Matthews’ 2001 Columbia Valley Red Wine.

This library wine is a premium Bordeaux-style red blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 13% Cab Franc, 4% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot. Winemaker Matthew Loso sourced fruit from “only the most prestigious vineyards in the Columbia Valley and Red Mountain appellations.” And it shows. My tasting notes were very brief: “Elegant. Rich. Velvety. Love it!” (I was too busy sipping, chatting, enjoying the fuss over Edie, my cool nephew and the fun conversation to write more elaborate notes.)

The 2001 Columbia Valley Red Wine is drinkable now through 2016. I know because one of the coolest things that Matthews Cellars’ Web site offers is a Library page that lists all the library wines and their years of drinkability. I wish all winery Web sites offered that feature. (Transparent plug: Trust me when I give Web site advice. My business, Write for Wine, creates Web site content for wineries, wine bars, distributors and other organizations in the wine industry. I’ve been working in interactive media since 1994.)

Back to Matthews Cellars — I also give very high marks to Matthews Cellars 2003 Conner Lee Cabernet Franc–a deep ruby 100% Cab Franc that is only available in a 3-bottle wooden box (3-750 ml. bottles) for $330.00.  This wine is both sensuous and elegant, and a must-have for Cab Franc lovers. It will be high on my holiday gift wish list!


WWD: BLT from Woodhouse Family Cellars

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Last June, I wrote a blog post about BLT Barrel Select, a superb, subtle and structured red blend from Woodhouse Family Cellars. The BLT Barrel Select is 75 percent Cabernet and 25 percent Malbec. But it was only available for sale in Washington state in June for members of Woodhouse Family Cellars’ wine club. The only other place you could find it was at New York’s BLT Restaurants: BLT Steak, BLT Fish and BLT Prime.

A few weeks ago, I found a bottle that I had stashed in the back of our cellar. So we opened it up to have with our spaghetti dinner. It was just as good as I remembered it. Better really, with eight more months on the shelf.

And the good news continues — BLT is for sale again at Woodhouse Family Cellars. We were at a wine club release party last night, and my nephew from Vancouver bought a few bottles. Next time you’re in Woodinville, stop by Woodhouse’s tasting room. You’ll be glad you did!


Washington Wine Weekend

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We had an important family event this past weekend in Vancouver, so we had several occasions to drink some really good reds — and all from Washington state, I’m proud to say. First, my nephew Mathew opened up a bottle of Matthews Cellars 2003 Conner Lee Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve, which was awarded 96 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. It was heaven.

Much later, my sister poured a gem from the library collection at L’Ecole 41 – a 2001 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which was so amazing that it defies words.

Our contributions to our wine weekend came from Woodhouse Family Cellars – an excellent smoky and spicy 2003 Malbec – and from JM Cellars – their flagship 2005 Tre Fanciulli, which is one of our favorites (and sold out!) and their awesome blend, 2006 Bramble Bump Red.

Truth be told, we poured the JM Cellars wines back at home in Seattle last night. Nonetheless, they carried on the fine tastes of the other excellent wines that accompanied our weekend.


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