Two from aMaurice Cellars

Hello friends. Quick note on timing first, since I know that’s important this time of year. We expect this wine to be delivered on Wednesday, so it should be available for each of our two remaining pickup days in 2013.

Now, one of the more dazzling lineups to come out of the cooler 2010 vintage in Washington was that of Anna Schafer for aMaurice. We offered her Boushey Vineyard Grenache back in July of this year, and it became a real hit with our list members. I’ll include a reoffer at the bottom today, and we’ll also dive back into Anna’s lineup of 2010s, which have subsequently received some lovely critical praise as well.

2010 aMaurice Cellars “The Graves” (BDX Blend)

The Graves is the latest Bordeaux-style blend (46/31/23 Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc) bottled under aMaurice’s Artist Series label (Anna was an art history major, and these labels are consistently gorgeous; here is the 2010). Over the past few years, this bottling – and the aMaurice portfolio in general – has developed a coherent house style: high-pitched and perfumed, silky and elegant.

It helps that Anna continues to work with some of the finest fruit grown in the state. This comes from old vines (1972 and 1985-planted) at Bacchus, Dionysus, Weinbau, and Gamache vineyards. It sees two years in French oak, 40% new, and it begins with lovely floral notes – lilac, cherry blossom, violet – overlaying black cherry fruit. In the mouth, this remains perfumed, with pollen-dusted red fruit gliding across the palate on a bed of fine tannins. The texture is precisely managed, with the silken-fruited middle rolling into a dusty/leafy tannin finish. This kind of high-toned, floral take on Bordeaux varietals is rare in Washington. I think we’re all more accustomed to the darker, more brooding versions, but that only makes this stand out that much more.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ****/***** (Excellent/Exceptional).”

2010 aMaurice Cellars Malbec Gamache Vineyard

Anna is an old hand with Washington Malbec, and in my mind, it’s the bottling that put aMaurice on the map. After several vintages working Malbec harvests in Argentina with Paul Hobbs of Vina Cobos, Anna released her first vintage of Washington Malbec (2005). That wine inspired Stephen Tanzer to declare it “certainly one of the finest malbecs I’ve tasted to date from North America.” High praise indeed, from a critic not prone to high praise. Since then, Anna’s Malbecs have only continued to improve, culminating with this lovely 2010, which comes entirely from Gamache Vineyard.

It is inky purple to the eye, a total glass-stainer where even the bubbles are purple. No problem with color extraction here. Actually, make that no problem with any type of extraction period. This is a big, rich, fruity mouthful of Malbec, all rocks and boysenberries. My note called the wine “a reverse mullet: party up front, business in the back.” What I meant (I think) is that the attack and middle are driven by all that robust Malbec fruit and ferrous mineral, but as it moves into the finish, it gets more serious, picking up structure and heft, the chewy tannins redolent of dark flowers. Always one of the most fascinating Malbecs to come out of Washington.

First come first served up to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive on Wednesday, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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