Tag Archive | Yakima Valley wineries

2009 Maison Bleue JaJa White

Most wine junkies drinkers have their stories of that little tasting room that they happened upon, or visited on a whim, and were delighted by the result.  Here’s one of mine.

Maison Bleue is a winery that Jon and I happened upon during a trip to the Yakima Valley during Red Wine and Chocolate weekend in 2011.  I blogged about that day here.  We had the opportunity to meet the winemaker, Jon Martinez, and his story is pretty interesting!  You see, he used to be a dentist…  No, seriously!  Jon (the winemaker, not my husband) originally owned a dental practice in Missouri, but decided he wasn’t satisfied with that, so he began helping out a winemaker friend and taking courses in Enology.  He moved out to Washington to start his winery, which focuses on the Rhone varietals (and he throws in some Chardonnay).

When we were tasting the Maison Bleue lineup, we really enjoyed chatting with Jon and hearing his story.  For a man who has found success relatively quickly in the wine industry, he is humble and friendly, and his passion for his product shines through.  I hear that he is opening a new tasting room this spring in Walla Walla, and I hope one day to be able to check that one out too!

Tonight I’m sipping the 2009 JaJa White, a blend of 67% Roussanne, 28% Chardonnay and 5% Marsanne.  The wine is a very pale yellow, and it has a faint floral nose.  It tastes of crisp citrus with pear and floral tastes, with a light minerality.  There is a light oak on the finish, which gives it a wonderful complexity without overdoing the oak.  It is a fantastic wine!

2009 JaJa White, by Maison Bleue Winery

2009 JaJa White, by Maison Bleue Winery

Maison Bleue only produces about 2200 cases overall, but for a small winery, he is increasing his distribution pretty quickly.  I am frequently surprised at how often I see their wines in various wine shops I have visited, and he has distribution in several other states too!  So if you see any of his wines, I hope you will check them out!

Feeling Pious Tonight, so I Had Black Muscat!

We visited Piety Flats Winery on our Yakima wine tasting trip last year, and I really enjoyed their wines.  For more on our 2011 Yakima Valley trip…  At the time of our visit, we weren’t able to taste the Black Muscat because Piety Flats was sold out, but on the way home, when we stopped at the Thorp Fruit and Antique Stand, we found a bottle and purchased it.  It has been tucked away ever since.

I had never actually tried a Black Muscat, so I wasn’t sure what I was in for.  Black Muscat is one of more than a hundred types of Muscat grape, which are primarily used in table wines and dessert wines.  Due to the fact that there are so many types of Muscat grapes, it is believed that Muscat may be the oldest grape varietal.  And, interesting, it is also the grape that is used to distill Pisco, the liquor of choice in Chile and Peru (I never would have guessed that, because there is not any sweetness in Pisco!).

Upon pouring the 2008 Piety Flats Black Muscat into my glass, I was met with an aroma of strawberry and blackberry.  It has the color of a dark rose.  The nose lets you know to expect a sweetness at first taste.  The taste of this wine reminds me of the syrupy, sugary strawberries that are perfect on strawberry shortcake. Although it is certainly a sweet wine, it isn’t a dessert wine.

If you are looking for a sweet wine that doesn’t overpower, consider this one if you can find it.  It would be perfect on a hot summer day, paired with dark chocolate on the patio in the sunshine.  Can’t wait for summer!

Hippie Art and Pie!

This week the weather was a bit schizophrenic. Monday morning it was raining. Pouring really. And actually, surprisingly, this was an improvement because Sunday night it was pouring with high winds. So, pouring with no high winds is quite preferable. Then Monday afternoon we got sunshine. And Monday night we got snow. And Tuesday morning, sunshine again. And it alternated between rain with wind and rain without and blue sky for the rest of the week.  And some full moon with Northern Lights action thrown in too!  I didn’t see the Northern Lights but the full moon was gorgeous.  And now rain.  But the problem is, it’s March. And I’m tired of the endless rain. I want spring and summer and hot weather and semi-drought conditions. I want to have to open the windows to sleep at night because otherwise it’s too hot in the house. I want to not be paying a heart-stopping, depression-inducing gas bill each month. I do know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring is less than 2 weeks away, and each day we should be getting closer to the letup in the rain and cold. And in the meantime, I’ll just have to hold onto that.

Sunday was my mother in law’s birthday, so Jon and I went down to Whidbey Island to spend the day with her and his siblings. 3 of 4 of his sibs were able to make it (his other sister just moved to Florida). Jon’s mom wanted to go to Greenbank Farm, and I had never been, so I packed the camera for our trip. Greenbank Farm was a farm at the turn of the last century – the large main barn was built in 1904 (in case you forget it tells you in huge letters right here on the barn!). Now it houses a café, a few art galleries, a wine shop with tastings, and an eclectic cheese and specialty food shop where you can find something for everyone (it’s a little pricey though). The farm is now owned by the Port of Coupeville and runs through an agreement with a local non-profit.

Greenbank Farm

Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island

My overall impression was that it was fine, but nothing amazing. The art at the galleries is a bit eclectic for me… just a little too out there in terms of hippie, new age, mixed media type stuff. I would compare it to the clothing designs you see at a fashion show. Just because it is interesting to see it walking down the runway, doesn’t mean it is something that I should wear. And just because an artist makes a piece, doesn’t mean that it is something that I should put on my wall.  There was one outdoor sculpture I really liked though, right here….

Outdoor Bronze Sculpture at Greenbank Farm

The shining light at Greenbank Farm is the café. We sat down for a snack, and were treated to an excellent seafood chowder with cod, crab and Penn Cove mussels, in a light broth. And the pie! We got a rhubarb pie to go (sadly they were out of marionberry pie), and it was amazing. The crust was light and flaky, and the rhubarb was tart and perfectly cooked. Let me just say that it might be a good thing that I don’t live closer, because I’d be getting plump on pie!

We also visited the wine shop and had a few tastes – the selection is all Washington wine, with a big focus on Whidbey Island and a few Yakima Valley wineries. I didn’t see any of the Woodinville or Walla Walla wineries represented, which would be nice if they wanted to round out their collection. I had tried a large majority of their tasting menu already on other wine-tasting trips, so I just wasn’t wowed by the experience. Jon did try and buy a Port style Whidbey Island wine (he’s been really into Port style and dessert wines lately). After Greenbank Farm, we headed to downtown Coupeville to do a little shopping. We poked around the shops and galleries, and I even got a present for Jon for some upcoming birthday or Christmas (no Jon, I’m still not telling you what it is).

So my final verdict is that Greenbank Farm is good for a visit on occasion, especially if you want some pie, but there isn’t enough to do there to make it a regular trip. If you do go, be sure to try the pie, and let me know what you think of the art!