JM Cellars’ John Bigelow

One of the highlights of Taste Washington a couple of weeks ago was finally meeting John Bigelow, the winemaker at one of our favorite Woodinville wineries, JM Cellars. John and his wife Peggy are co-owners of this family winery, located in the so-called Hollywood area of Woodinville.

Regular readers know that we’ve always said there are three things that draw us to wineries – great wine, great people and great events. JM Cellars has them all.

For a couple of years now, we’ve loved wine from JM Cellars — Tre Fanciulli, Cuvee and Bramble Bump Red, to name just a few. We also have attended many wonderful release parties at the tasting room. In fact, we first heard about JM Cellars at another winery where other people were raving about JM’s Saturday tastings.

And Paige and Lisa in the tasting room are definitely great people! They’ve welcomed us with open arms (literally!) whenever we’ve visited and we adore them. But in all this time, we never had an opportunity to chat with the winemaker himself.

We had heard the stories — John was a successful executive in the software industry and a wine enthusiast, when he decided to shift gears and study the technology of winemaking. In 1999, he made 350 cases of Tre Fanciulli, which became the flagship wine to launch JM Cellars.

We drank a bottle of 2006 Tre a couple of nights ago and it was even better than the 2005 vintage, which generated 93 points from Wine Enthusiast. Tre, as you might expect from the name, is a blend of three varietals — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. But the wine also is named after the three sons of John and Peggy. It truly is a family-operated winery.

So it was a delight to finally meet John at Taste Washington and hear first-hand about his passion for the grape. After the event, he wrote me a note to thank me — not just for my blog posts about JM Cellars, but about my support for Washington state wines in general. Now that’s a class act!