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'14 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

San Juan Vineyards

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reminder that April's Virtual Tasting will be the 2009 Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling. The tasting will take place on Wednesday April 28th from 7-9pm. Read more about it here.

San Juan Vineyards is located in Friday Harbor, Washington on San Juan Island. The winery’s tasting room is located in a schoolhouse established in 1896. San Juan Vineyards and winery were established exactly one hundred years later by Tim Judkins and the late Steve Swanberg. Yvonne Swanberg now runs the winery, “living out my late husband’s dream.”

San Juan Vineyards first vintage was in 2000 with thirty-five cases of Madeleine Angevine from their estate vineyard. This wine, along with the Siegerrebe, which is also from estate fruit, are the signature wines for the winery. They account for thirty percent of San Juan Vineyards’ overall production.

Due to the coastal location of the seven-acre estate vineyard, Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe, and Pinot Noir are the only grapes grown there. For the rest of its wines, the winery sources fruit from vineyards in eastern Washington, including Destiny Ridge, Alder Ridge, Kestrel, Red Willow, and Coyote Canyon.

Chris Primus, who joined the winery in 2006, serves as winemaker. Primus, who holds a Masters degree in chemical engineering, had previously worked in the wine industry in Oregon, including stints at Maysara and J Christopher Wines. Swanberg exudes excitement about Primus describing him as a “born winemaker.”

San Juan Vineyards produces 4,000 cases annually.

San Juan Vineyards Madeline Angevine Estate Grown Washington State 2008 $17

Rating: + (Good) Shows just a tinge of color. An enjoyable, aromatic wine with a complex, evolving nose with floral notes, Asian pear, mandarin oranges, spice, and mineral. Tart and austere on a palate that shows an abundance of citrus flavors but little fruit otherwise. 100% Madeline Angevine. San Juan Vineyards. Fermented in stainless steel. 11.2% alcohol. 0.05% Residual Sugar. 11.2% alcohol. 583 cases produced. Recommended.

San Juan Vineyards Cabernet Franc Horse Heaven Hills 2007 $20

Rating: + (Good) Toasted oak spices, pepper, anise, and light herbal streaks mark a lightly aromatic nose. Opens up and hangs on well balanced palate with cherries, spice, and chocolate. 100% Cabernet Franc. Alder Ridge Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills). Aged 20 months in French, American, and Hungarian oak. 14.5% alcohol. 220 cases produced. Recommended

San Juan Vineyards Riesling Yakima Valley 2008 $15

Rating: + (Good) Just a tinge of color. A pretty nose with sugared pink grapefruit, apricot, and mineral notes. Tingles the tongue with acidity on a very dry wine with crisp fruit flavors. Finish rolls and evolves. 100% Riesling. Smasne Brothers Vineyard. Fermented in stainless. 13.4% alcohol. 0.6% Residual Sugar. 233 cases produced.

San Juan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley 2006 $20

Rating: + (Good) Nose shows classic varietal aromas of cherry, herbal notes, and bell pepper. An even palate with an abundance of fruit. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Kestrel View Estates (Yakima Valley). Aged 20 months in French and Hungarian oak. 14.3% alcohol. 324 cases produced.

San Juan Vineyards Merlot Yakima Valley 2006 $23

Rating: . (Decent) Oak aromas are at the fore on the nose with dill, caramel, and spice accompanied by cherry, herbal notes, and a touch of licorice. A rich, thick wine on the taste with a lot of good things going on but the oak is a bit obtrusive. 100% Merlot. Kestrel View Estate Vineyard (Yakima Valley). Aged 20 months in French, American, and Hungarian oak. 14.3% alcohol. 351 cases produced.

San Juan Vineyards Chardonnay Yakima Valley 2008 $14

Rating: . (Decent) Light straw colored. Nose is marked by spice, butter, hay, and abundant oak aromas. Tart and acidic on the palate while retaining a rounded mouthfeel. A pleasant wine overall but the oak seems a bit too up front.100% Chardonnay. Kestrel Vineyard (Yakima Valley). Aged 9 months in French and American oak. 14.3% alcohol. 550 cases produced.

Samples provided by winery

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