Maison Bleue Winery 2008 Le Midi grenache

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on January 12, 2010:

This is the “younger” of the two grenaches I’m guzzling tonight so we’ll go with that theme to start off tonight’s odd news. A 19-year old from KC, MO apparently didn’t like her cheeseburger at McDonald’s so instead of filling out a comment card, she chose to throw a sign and a water dispenser over the counter and pushed three cash registers to the floor. St. Louis folks…always gotta be contrarians…now offering the un-Happy Meal. A 22-year old Wilkes-Barre drunkard pee’d on a nativity scene in a public square. What is the fascination with Generation Lost micturating on a religious scene? Wanna stand-out? Try explaining this as the reason he was expelled from school. And, most disturbing, there’s a singles group that is promoting cruises with a “cougar” theme. No, not that hapless, junior varsity team out in Pullman. The “new” definition of cougar is not some wild animal, but an older woman dating a much younger man. Got milf?
Maison Bleue’s winery is located in Prosser, off I-82/Hwy 12, in the Winemaker’s Loft. Jon Martinez, DDS, was a dentist from…hey, whadda ya know!, Kansas City, MO and moved over after catching the wine bug. His goal is to produce super-premium Rhone wines and albarino, my favorite seafood wine. MB has been open just over a year and has already opened a tasting room in Woodinville (shared with Isenhower Cellars), just south of Silver Lake Winery’s tasting room. You’ll know Jon when you meet him. He’s straight outta GQ magazine…tall, dark and too-phreakin’ good looking, oh and nice too. I tasted his standard grenache so I bit and ended up purchasing his single-vineyard bottling from Boushey Vineyard. Also, what sold me was perhaps the most beautiful label found in a Woodinville tasting room to date. The design, by artist Stefan Duncan, is a sleek imitation of a VanGogh painting. The colors of a festive moonlight streaming in the night-blue sky over the lower yellow mountains that overlook a farmhouse and vineyard and some spiny green trees and the simple block print lettering make for a memorable bottle to keep around. As a matter of fact, I have walked by this bottle everyday since I purchased it. The picture itself is a reminder of how uplifting a wine label can be.
As for the wine, I chose to challenge its contents in a side-by-side comparison with another wonderful winery, Dusted Valley Vintners, which you can read in my other review. Boushey Vineyard is known for its syrah grapes so I was captivated when this grenache boasted of its origin.
Grenache is not known for being a principal grape in Washington State wines, unlike in the southern Rhone (Chateauneuf-du-Pape) and southern Spain (Priorat), where the grape is known as garnacha. Grenache brings red fruits without the tannins to syrah-dominant blends. Oxidation ruins grenache wines so long-term aging is not an intelligent option, unless it is a fortified wine.
Color: thicker, deeper purple than DVV. Nose: lower notes of strawberry, raspberry, and candied cherry. Mouthfeel: middleweight and tarty. Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: raspberry up front, strawberry, cherry glaze. Smooth and flowing. Alcohol: 14.4%. Balance: softer, lower tones and consistent. Power: very little due to soft, spacious tannins. Dimension: two degrees deep. Finesse: like a fine gymnastic performance on the balance beam. Food pairing was reheated beef stew–highly recommended. Rated: 91. Value: $33. Paid: $29. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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