Sunday, September 19, 2010

Maison Bleue is on a role!

Six months ago, I had never even heard of the winery Maison Bleue, let alone it's talented winemaker Jon Martinez. The first time I even knew this winery existed was when I spotted it at the Taste of Washington. The funny part was I didn't even stop to taste the wine as I was saving my palate for evaluating the benchmark wines of the state! Even funnier was the fact that I'm pretty sure I didn't even take this winery seriously due to the drab label design that must have been attractive to Jon when he picked it.

It was at one of my Tuesday tasting group meetings that I became aware of the incredible talent of winemaker Jon Martinez. Doug and Heather brought the Boushey vineyard Grenache to taste blind and it was just amazing. I hadn't had another Grenache quite like it and was immediately intrigued. Not long after Debbie had him on the roster for our next winemaker event. To make a long story short, the wines of Maison Bleue turned out to be the hit of the event and all showed exceptionally well.

Not long after I had the opportunity to visit Jon at his winery in Prosser. I was visiting the area with other students from the winemaking program at SSCC and stopped in to taste the wines and get some insight from the winemaker. Jon started off by pouring us his late harvest Marsanne that just blew everyone away. This wine had loads of apple and pear peel, tons of citrus notes, and a floral character you could not ignore. Next we tasted Grenache from a cool site, Boushey vineyard, followed by the same varietal from a considerably warmer site, Alder ridge. The contrast of the two wines was very unique and highlighted the fact that Jon is a master of capturing the nuance of each site. Jon did the same with Syrah, starting us with a pour of Boushey vineyard Syrah, followed again by his Alder Ridge offering.

Just recently Jon has begun to receive acclaim from local and national critics and I think he is one to keep an eye on. If you are interested in trying one of his seamless wines, you will not be disappointed with his La Montagnette Grenache at under $20. If you are more into white wines, his Chardonnay is loaded with minerality and touched with just the right amount of oak.


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