Amelia Bleu 2009 Ashlyn’s Vineyard barbera

A man, suspected to be Sean Sulligutt, was dolled up in a goat suit and recently spotted amongst a herd of wild mountain goats in northern Utah. While this is a common activity for wine bloggers attending a wine conference in Oregon, wildlife officials were concerned that the imbecile wine enthusiast might be a victim of the upcoming open season on wine bloggers, errr… goats. Ahh, same shit. A Utah wildlife official stated, “My very first concern is the wine blogger doesn’t understand the risks of faking it to be part of the herd. There’s a saying within the winemakers about wine bloggers that ‘You don’t pay for the wines, you don’t get real honest with your readers. You go too far in extracting free wines (under the guise of being from the local wine commission) from wineries, you end up with a two-inch penis that’s shorter than your fugly girlfriend’s.’” A few firewalkers at a recent Tony Robbins’ motivational seminar got burned from walking across a field of hot coals, suffering second- and third-degree burns on their naïve feet. This comes on the heels of a recent incident where readers of the Sunday fishwrap, err… newspaper, got burned by a shitty wine columnist paid-off for horking the cheaper wines made by Washington’s second largest producer. And finally this bit of true news, a Snohomish County councilman, Brian ‘Sean’ Sullivan, was arrested for drunken driving after blowing a 0.16 for the po-po. After apparently failing field sobriety tests, the asexual allegedly offered up his mangina to the officer, along with a cache of partially drunk Walla Walla wines (courtesy of the local wine commission’s latest ‘tasting party’) in exchange for a warning. He was later deported to Orygun…

Amelia Bleu was started in 2009 by the dynamic duo of secretary Douglas Brian (age 44) and el presidente Heather Janel (Rankin) Roberts (age 38). Both have previous experience in the tech industry (a common thread around here in Woodinville) before forming Roberts Family Enterprises on January 30, 2009. Heather, a WWU graduate in business and IT, took early retirement to care for the family and run their third child… the winery. They have two wonderfully loved-on daughters in Amelia Bleu and Ashlyn (10 and 8). Whatever the decision process (flip of the coin, lucky number, or pet toss (I jest)), Amelia got the winery named after her and Ashlyn got the vineyard. Oh, did I mention they have a six-acre vineyard just outside the AVA line in Chelan? Yeah, it came with the summer home they purchased and it just so happened that the vines were almost three years old (production age). The soil there is coarse, sandy sediment with quartz and mica. The vineyard is planted to four varieties: syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and barbera. 2009 was the estate’s first harvest, although they did make a 2008 Columbia Valley riesling (RS 1.2%, $18 tasting room) from purchased grapes. They currently reside in an upscale community in Sammamish. Winery production is currently around a massive 500 cases/year so don’t expect anyone outside the Puget Sound plexus of wineries to know about Amelia Bleu winery, although they did recently open a tasting room formerly occupied by Michael Florentino Winery in the D-block in the warehouse district. They do own US Trademark 77935468 (2-14-10) so be careful in trying to duplicate their success.

And that brings to mind the many changes going on in the Woodinville warehouse district. Geez, wasn’t it just a few years ago when only Austin Robaire and Mark Ryan were the winery ‘big boyz’ there? Here’s the current lineup should you dare venture out to my backyard:                                                                                                                                                     A-500 Alta Cellars                                                                                                                                  A-800 Davenport Cellars                                                                                                                      B-400 Pondera Winery                                                                                                                         B-500 Des Voigne Cellars                                                                                                                     B-600 J & A’s Winery                                                                                                                            C-300 XSV                                                                                                                                               C-500 Gorman Winery                                                                                                                          C-700 Hestia Cellars                                                                                                                               C-800 Bunnell Family/Newhouse Family Vineyards/Wine O’Clock/Riveraerie                     C-900 Kestrel Vintners                                                                                                                          C-1200 Gecko Wine Company/Michael Florentino                                                                        D-300 Anton Ville Winery                                                                                                                   D-500 Amelia Bleu                                                                                                                                D-500A Vortex Cellars                                                                                                                          D-600 Patterson Cellars                                                                                                                       D-600A DeArmond Family                                                                                                                  D-600B Hand Of God Wines                                                                                                               D-700 Piccola Cellars                                                                                                                            D-1200 Haystack Needle Winery                                                                                                        E-400 Sparkman Cellars                                                                                                                      E-600 Guardian Cellars                                                                                                                        E-700 Live Wire (Darby)                                                                                                                      E-800 Barrage Cellars                                                                                                                           F-100 Baer Winery                                                                                                                                  F-300 Flying Dreams (moving to Tempest Sol’s location)

The adjoining strip known as “19495 144th Ave NE” houses these wineries:                             A-100 William Church Winery                                                                                                            A-110 Cuillin Hills Winery                                                                                                                    A-115 Elevation Cellars                                                                                                                         A-120 Tenor Wines                                                                                                                                A-140 Tempest Sol (leaving soon)                                                                                                       B-205 Page Cellars                                                                                                                                 B-210 Red Sky Winery                                                                                                                          B-220 Obelisco Estate                                                                                                                            B-235 Robert Ramsay Cellars (say hi to Sara for me)                                                                    B-240 Smasne Cellars/Gard Vintners/Farm Boy

Across the street at 19510 144th Ave NE has an emerging group of wineries: Alleromb Winery, Ancestry Cellars, Lauren Ashton Cellars, and William Grassie Wine Estates.

Amelia Bleu showcases four wines: 2008 riesling, 2009 Riverenza estate red wine ($22), a 2009 estate merlot (fall release but in a keg right now), and this estate wine. So, the questions begs… does the “Columbia Valley” required labeling hurt sales compared to IF they qualified for “Lake Chelan AVA” instead? Ya know, considering the overall meh-quality of wines currently coming out of that AVA, I’d have to say that the ubiquitous power of the Columbia Valley name is the preferred choice at this time, taking full advantage (by association) of the great wines from the Wahluke Slope, Rattlesnake Hills, Snipes Mountain, Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, and Walla Walla Valley that wine drinkers in-the-know are so familiar with. Also remember, this wine will only go to in-Staters, so all the more reason to go with the more familiar AVA name. Of course, that may change once Lake Chelan gets their shit together and starts making consistently great wines instead of catering to the tourist crowds.

Food pairing was Lay’s Hickory BBQ potato chips, dark chocolate-covered soybeans, and Pasta Nova’s sensational Tim’s chicken cacciatore. Passed. Pasta Nova… the best Italian cuisine in Woodinville. Don’t even bother telling me about anyone else; I’ve had those so I do know.

Tasted at 64-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: garnet-edged magenta. Nose: raspberry jam on wheat toast. Mouthfeel: high-toned tangy fruit with a tart sensation off to the sides. Tail trail: 6 seconds. Flavors: hibiscus, pomegranate, cloves, and blueberries. High acids, low tannins. A good Tuesday night diversion.

Alcohol: 13.9% (tastes higher, like a 14.3%). 100 cases. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 88. Value: $16. Paid: $22.  “In honor of our brothers, who both lost their battles with cancer, 5% of profits from this wine will be donated to cancer research.” Music pairing: “Get Up Offa That Thing” by Rev. James Brown. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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4 Responses to Amelia Bleu 2009 Ashlyn’s Vineyard barbera

  1. csabernethy says:

    Since Amelia Bleu’s only tasting room is in Woodinville, it probably doesn’t matter if they use Columbia Valley or the Chelan AVA designation (if and when they are able to). If their winery and tasting room were near Chelan, it would be a different story, My main reason for wanting the connection to Chelan is that it would identify their grapes as coming from a cooler climate than exists through much of Columbia Valley. Barbera is a varietal they are trying hard to grow in Chelan. The only barberas I have tasted with grapes from the Chelan AVA are Patterson and Hard Row to Hoe – have you tried either of these yet? I thought those two wines were very different, with Patterson’s being closer to what you describe in your tasting notes. Which boundary of the Chelan AVA did they just miss with their vineyards – north or south?

  2. wawineman says:

    East. Right along the Columbia.
    You bring up a good point. Casual wine drinkers wouldn’t know the difference here in Woodinville. Chelan is a tale of two heat units. The south side is cooler but the north side is in the top tier of heat for all AVAs. A look at the recent data for this season shows south Lake Chelan is slightly behind Rattlesnake Hills but ahead of Walla Walla Valley, Snipes Mountain, and Yakima Valley (Prosser).
    Barbera is a hole in my tasting notes. I believe Columbia Winery was the only other barbera I reviewed. You watch– after mourvedre and the other Rhones go through their fad followers, barbera will be the next “it” wine. Very food friendly with low tannins and high acid. Italians win again. Give the lemmings a few more years to catch up.
    Lake Chelan has a major identity problem… the north vs. the south. I nominate there should be a South Lake Chelan AVA for the cooler varieties and a North Lake Chelan AVA for the hotter. And, I strongly suspect the north side’s barbera tastes less herbal than the south side.
    You keep buying all those great Cooper Wine Company wines and I will grow some cojones and join you at Libby’s Lazy Lizard Lounge. Btw, I loved Richland. I’ll be back again.

  3. Amelia Bleu says:

    @WAWINEMAN… Thanks for tasting the Barbera and taking the time give us,Amelia Bleu, some ink! Our vineyard is slightly off the Chelan AVA boundry, but as you state the Columbia Valley AVA is more recognized. Our vineyard overlooking the Columbia to the East of Chelan gets more heat units than the North and South side of the lake. Even with this 6 acre vineyard we get micro climates and the Barbera does very well where we have it on our vineyard. We try our best to provide the best product we can from what the vineyard gives us, and we are very excited with how the Barbera turned out even with the 88 score:) If you come in I will give you the WAWINEMAN discount on a case purchase:)

  4. wawineman says:

    You do what only a winemaker (or a really super hot chick who gives me ‘the wink’) can do to the wineman… face turn beet-red. If only there was a regular rating for tasting room experiences, then yours would score very high.
    In all honesty, wines I rate 88-89 are where the good weeknight sippers reside. No termite juice or jelly rolls. Your barbera just happened to pull the lucky number and got paired with Woodinville’s best Italian cuisine. Of course, having a good tasting room experience tends to spill over and influence an upgrade in dinner choice. That doesn’t always happen in my travels to wineries.
    Your barbera will only get better as the vines mature. Not too many wineries presently produce barbera, but just you wait…
    Case discount!? I must find a way to sneak back in…

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