Hello friends. I tasted Anna Schafer’s autumn-release lineup back in July and have been chomping at the bit to write about and offer the wines ever since. Our focus today is going to be on the new vintage of a long-time list-member favorite – Anna’s Artist Series – but we’ll also make room for her plush, delicious Viognier, and her first Boushey Syrah since the 2011 vintage.
Anna has developed a wonderful, coherent house style for aMaurice – high-pitched and perfumed, silky and elegant – that has been rapturously received by our list members over the years. Perhaps no wine displays that style better than the Artist Series, which helps explain why we’ve offered every vintage since the 2007 (The Horiuchi).
Anna was an art history major, and these labels are consistently gorgeous; here is the 2013. So too is the wine inside, and 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. The blend is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Merlot, and it spent two years in French oak, 40% new.
The nose is double-take expressive, with a full field of wildflowers over a core of blackberry/black plum fruit and bass notes of asphalt and silty minerals. “Propulsive” is my first note on the palate. This is just full of life and energy, full of verve. The bright fresh fruit, the inner-mouth perfume, the adult sense of finishing cherry-pit bitters: all so damned seductive, so charming. As this rolled into its long, delicious finish, chewy and redolent of green tea, I thought to myself: no surprise that Jeb Dunnuck gave it as strong a review as any aMaurice wine to date.
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”
I think I liked this for the same reasons as Jeb. Words like “classic” and “textbook.” This is very typical Washington Viognier (75% Gamache Vineyard, 25% Alder Ridge), with plenty of plumpness (14.4% listed alc) to the notes of stone fruits and creamsicle and ginger, all overlain with a garden’s worth of white flowers. It’s rich, supple, ultimately honest Viognier.
Anna hasn’t made this wine since the 2011 vintage, and it has been missed. This is among the best-priced Boushey Syrahs on the market, and certainly among the most charming. It pours into the glass inky black-purple and explodes back out with a nose of boysenberry fruit, black olive, and smoky bacon fat. Subtleties of violet only serve to ramp up the complexity further. The palate continues the theme, with smoked meats paired to deep/dark berry fruit. Gorgeous texturally, chockful of character and class, this is a polished, expressive version of an exceptional Syrah vineyard.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.