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Las Madres Winemaker Lunch 2012

This past Wednesday, we were fortunate to attend the 2012 Las Madres Winemaker Lunch. The intent of the lunch is to get all winemakers using grapes from the Las Madres Vineyard together to discuss and taste barrel samples from the current vintage, in this case, 2011. We also had the opportunity to taste through previous vintages in bottle.

Las Madres is a beautiful vineyard located on the Sonoma side of Carneros. In our opinion, the cold climate Syrah that come from the property are some of the best examples you could find anywhere in California, and might add, at some of the most attractive prices. We highly recommend the wines to our customers. The 2011 wines all showed a relatively consistent, creamy, ripe and clean style.

2011 Las Madres Barrel Samples
2011 Apsara Las Madres Syrah – Made by Robin Akhurst, the barrel sample just went through malolactic, as did all other samples. His wine made with once used french oak white wine barrels, equal parts clone 174 and 300. Thought it was a clean, very well made wine, not over the top, a wonderful expression of cold climate syrah.
2011 Vie Las Madres Syrah –  Bryan Kane’s wine used indigenous yeast to ferment, co fermented with about 3% Viognier. It was approximately 60% clone 174, 40% clone 300. Year after year, Vie has always showed well, and has a good grasp on this vineyard. Find their wines more compact and nuanced, tend to have a slightly darker fruit quality to them, yet well within the vineyard profile.
2011 Vanite Las Madres Syrah –  Brenda Martin’s wine used 100% new french oak, co-fermented with about 8% Viognier. A very good wine where the aromatics leap from the glass. Think it will be quite age worthy and one I hope to revisit in the future!  Was a distinct wine and showed uniqueness, primarily due to the Viognier.
2011 Myriad Cellars Las Madres Syrah –  Mike Smith’s Myriad and Quivet were our first introduction to Las Madres Syrah. 100% clone 174, no cold soak. This was a big, clean, pure, intense wine. Thought it was excellent, and highly curious to revisit with time in the bottle.
2011 Quivet Cellars Las Madres Syrah –  100% clone 300, Mike Smith’s other Syrah showed distinctly different. It does not have the intense round fruit of the Myriad, more reserved with a touch of oak that added a little spice and elegance to the wine. A fantastic effort that I thought showed slightly better than the Myriad.
2011 Eric Kent Cellars Las Madres Syrah – .  Kent Humphrey’s wine, approximately  60% clone 174 and 40% clone 300 with 60% whole cluster. A lovely standout for someone who likes a stemy quality to their wine. Thought it was exceptional and like where the wine is headed. Based on previous tastings of whole cluster inclusion, found it works very well with wines from the Las Madres Vineyard. Look forward to see how the wine evolves over the coming years in bottle.
2011 Lois Rae Cellars Las Madres Syrah –  Mark Finver’s 1st commercial vintage from the Las Madres Vineyard, the wine showed slightly less dense than the other wines, but highly approachable. Comparing Marks wine to last year, the wine making has matured considerably and he is on the right track to producing an enjoyable wine!
2011 Orin Swift Cellars – Dave Phinney and Kevin Fox’s wine was probably one of the most closed on the table. It did not want to come out of its shell and was one of the more challenging to see where it was headed. A wine that will have to be revisited in time. It was balanced, which should bode well for the future.
Las Madres Lunch Wines
2002 Las Madres Garagiste – Made by Armando Ceja and John Painter, 3rd leaf 50/50 clone 174 and 300. A very young wine, spritzy, a curious early effort!
2004 Nicholson Ranch Las Madres –  Made by Thomas Brown, a very hot Carneros summer, did not find this wine showed well. Plums, prunes and raisin notes.
2004 Nicholson Ranch Consentido Las Madres – A fantastic wine, thought it was well integrated, good fruit, complex, my favorite bottled wine with a lot of life ahead of it.
2005 Nicholson Ranch Las Madres –  Made by Thomas Brown and Mike Smith.  60% whole cluster. Second favorite bottle tasted, round, expressive Las Madres fruit, easy drinking, and yet, still very youthful. Could easily continue to age for some time.
2006 Myriad Las Madres Syrah –  The Myriad Syrah remained consistent to their style, clean, ripe, big fruit, nothing out a place. Year after year, a beautiful wine.
2008 Vie Las Madres Syrah –  As a producer, Vie has previously had a style more unique to the producer than the vintage, leaner toward darker fruits, slightly more restrained. Was a little surprised how ripe the fruit was in this wine! Very nice, however different than expectations.
Sadly, did not taste the 2010 Apsara Cellars Las Madres Syrah, 2010 Lois Rae Garagiste, or 2006 Eno Wines “In Your Own Time” Syrah while enjoying the wonder lunch offered by Las Madres Vineyard owners, John and Jean Painer.
This was a fantastic event! Great food, great company, and great wine! Our second time attending this tasting, cheers to joining the third!
Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine