Tag Archive | Woodinville

A Cop Makes Wine: 2007 Guardian Cellars Syrah

After a long day at work (lately they have all been long days), I came home and put together a dinner of baked Bratwurst and veggies.  Jon told me I could open whatever wine I wanted, so I went exploring in the wine fridge and came out with a 2007 Syrah by Guardian Cellars.

Guardian is a relative newcomer to the Woodinville, WA wine scene, opening the doors to its tasting room in 2007 with the 2003 and 2004 vintages.  They sold out on opening day.  They have increased production over the years, from 300 cases to 5,000 cases in 2012, but it continues to be a labor of love for Jerry, a local police officer who makes all of the wine himself.  His wife manages the tasting room, which closes down for periods of time when they sell out of the current releases.

Guardian wines consistently get high scores, which is no surprise considering I haven’t tried a Guardian wine that I didn’t love.  Jerry makes several big, bold reds, with complex flavors that are nicely balanced and tannins that aren’t overwhelming.  Each of the wines, while robust, is also smooth and approachable.

Although they have found success in their second careers, they are still as friendly as ever, giving each customer special attention in the tasting room and making you feel like a friend.  They have decorated the space with concert posters, detailing musical tastes that are in line with Jon’s, and the modern style is trendy and minimalist without feeling cold.  It is a great place to hang out over a glass of wine.  And if it isn’t super-busy, Jerry will happily show you around the production area, where all the wine-making action takes place.


The 2007 Syrah comes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard grapes, and was aged in 75% new French oak for 18 months.  It has blackberries and smoke on the nose, and follows with flavors of berry, wood and spice on the palate, with just a hint of that same smoke.  If you can find a bottle, you won’t be disappointed.  Wow.

2008 Michael Florentino Miscolato

Tomorrow is Cabernet Day!  But tonight I’m not drinking a Cab.  For two reasons – Cab is not a favorite varietal of mine, and we are still working on the bottle that Jon opened last night.  It’s a red, at least, a blend, but it doesn’t even have any Cab in it.  I doubt I will drink Cabernet tomorrow either.  I’m a terrible follower of Cabernet Day, apparently…

Tonight, I’m drinking the 2008 Michael Florentino Miscolato Red Blend.  Michael Florentino is a small, boutique winery with a tasting room in the warehouse wine district in Woodinville – the first vintage was 2007.  They make wine with several grapes that are not frequently seen in this area, both as blended wines and single varietals.  Their approach is to create fruit forward wines with balanced tannins and light spice.  Right up my alley!

Michael Florentino - Their Labels Look Like This

Michael Florentino – Their Labels Look Like This

The Miscolato is blended with two thirds Grenache and the balance a mixture of Tempranillo, Syrah and Counoise.  It is a rich Bing Cherry color, and on the nose you get heavy aromas of earth and smoke (I didn’t really pick up any fruit on this one).  When you taste it, you get the same flavors of earth, smoke and a little spice, but it is balanced with the flavor of plums and black raspberry.  This wine packs a punch at 14.6% alcohol, but you don’t feel overwhelmed by the alcohol when you are drinking it.  I had mine after dinner, and the tannins are light enough and well balanced so you can drink it without food.

This was our only bottle, purchased at the 2013 Anacortes Wine Festival, but if you find your way down to Woodinville, they are certainly worth a visit.  Although sadly, you might not find the 2008 Miscolato, as they only produced 112 cases and I think they are already sold out.  But they have a Cabernet!

Matthews Estate Sauvignon Blanc and a Little Italian Prosecco

This has been a long week.  Jon and I took a President’s Day weekend trip and arrived home on Monday evening (multi-part blog post coming soon – I promise!)  My boss is on vacation (a very over-due vacation), so I’ve been in charge this week, and as a result work has been a bit more busy than usual, and then we had some other stuff going on too.  So this weekend has been a well-deserved break.

On Friday night, I opened a bottle of 2010 Matthews Estate Sauvignon Blanc.  We purchased this bottle during a trip down to Woodinville last year, and I think that Matthews does a great job with their Sauvignon Blanc.  It is actually blended with 6% Semillon, so it isn’t 100% Sauvignon Blanc, but you would never know it from the taste.  This is a crisp wine, with a light acidity and minerality, and hint of floral taste.  It went well with the cheap pork roast and hominy that I quickly cooked last night, but I imagine I’d have been happy pairing it with any type of food.  Jon and I finished the bottle off tonight (Saturday), and it went nicely with today’s shrimp tacos too!

2010 Matthews Estate Sauvignon Blanc

After my one glass of remaining Sauvignon Blanc, I wanted something more this evening, so I opened a bottle of Italian Prosecco Spumante by Villa Carlotti.  I had never had an Italian sparkling wine before, and this bottle was a gift from my former boss after we settled a union contract last year.  As I hadn’t tried it before, I did a little research, so here’s your wine education for the day.  Prosecco is the grape – apparently also called Glera… I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of either.  Spumante is the Italian word for the full-sparkling type of production.  There is also a semi-sparkling method of production called frizzante.  Weirdly, you can also buy inexpensive frizzantes in cans in Italy (that just seems wrong to me, but hey, what do I know?)  Due to the fact that Prosecco is secondary-aged in stainless tanks, this makes it much less expensive than its French sparkling cousin – Champagne.  Prosecco is also the typical ingredient in a Bellini, if you are partial to those.

At any rate, the Villa Carlotti Prosecco Spumante is a very dry sparkling wine with a light taste of pear, and a hint of Golden Delicious apple.  Based on internet prices, it seems this wine is fairly inexpensive… between $7 and $11 a bottle, so it would be a great everyday drinking wine.  Could be perfect for Mimosas on a Sunday morning!  Or Bellinis!  I should google the recipe….

The Italians make great wine!

I’m home from my conference in Yakima, and surprise, surprise, it has been raining.  The story of my life this spring.  So, this evening, I’m drinking a wine that reminds me of sunnier places – Italy.  It’s a Facelli Winery Cabernet Franc.  Facelli is located in Woodinville, Washington, and we visited the tasting room in September 2010.  It was on that trip that we picked up this particular bottle.

This Cabernet Franc has a chocolate and cherry nose, and it tastes like tart dark cherries and raspberry.  The tartness is a characteristic of the Italian wines, and is one of the things I really like about it.  One of my favorite things about the Facelli wines is that they don’t have the heavy oak that so many of Jon’s favorite wines have.

All in all, this is a wonderful light red – it would be great with a pasta dinner!

Michael Florentino Couniose

The other night, Jon and I decided to open a bottle of the Michael Florentino Couniose. Michael Florentino has a tasting room in Woodinville and we visited last September. I was drawn to the Couniose because it is a varietal that you hardly ever see – in fact I hadn’t heard of it before that day. This wine is delicious! It is a fairly strong, heavy red wine, but has enough fruit to balance it out. I guess it could be described as jammy, but in a good way. So often when you hear the word “jammy” lately, critics are using it to describe a wine that is all fruit with no structure. I love a big fruity wine with structure, and this one delivers. It doesn’t have the heavy oak that so frequently turns me off in a red wine. I would certainly return to this wine again, but you never know with the specialty varietals if the winemaker will make them a second year. Let’s hope they do.