I've been meaning to check out this winery, after noting their curious and beautiful labels. It turns out the labels are a collection of vintage artists (many deceased), but some of the artwork are creations of the winemaker herself. The tasting room is beautiful and cozy, surrounded with an art gallery of previous vintage labels.
Anna Schafer is the winemaker at aMaurice, a winery dedicated to grandfather Albert Maurice Schafer. The estate vineyard sits on the valley of Mill Creek in the Walla Walla Valley, producing essentially bordeaux varietals. They also contract with several vineyards including Gamache Vineyard (Wahluke Slope), Boushey Vineyard ( Yakima Valley), Bacchus and Dionysus (Columbia Valley), Weinbau Vineyard (Wahluke Slope), Conner Lee (Wahluke Slope).
Terri, the tasting room manager was incredibly helpful and a blast to chat with. Fortunately for me, they ran out of whites and only poured reds that day!
Tasting notes are from aMaurice.
2016 Boushey Vineyard Grenache
Umm…why is your Grenache so light in color? Because traditionally, Grenache should be translucent enough to read your watch through it. As we have said in the past, do not be fooled by the color. There is quite a bit of skin and stem tannin holding the flavor of this Grenache. Layers of dried herbs like bay and rosemary sit on top the orange peel and cherry. The medium acidity offers a nice balance and finish.
Rating 4.5 - sweet spices, nutmeg
2014 Estate Syrah "Fred"
The 2014 Fred is a brighter and more high toned than its predecessors. It is obvious from the moment it leaves the bottle with its bright red complexion. It still showcases the usual lavender oil and bright nose of the Tablas Creek clone, but it is expressing more red fruit notes. Bouncy and bright in the mouth while round and plush tannins maintain through to the end.
2018 Estate Blend "Night Owl"
72% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 14% Petit Verdot
Dark ruby red. The nose arrives with currants, minerality and then is followed closely by notes of the forest floor. The flavors are dense and packed but need quite a bit of air to reveal themselves. Blackberries, Christmas spice, and cherry flood the palate and float to the finish. The tannins are concentrated in the middle, then smooth and long on the finish. This wine will evolve and last for many years to come.
2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon "Owl and Crown"
More Pauillac notes of cassis, tobacco, and cedar pencil emerge from the medium-bodied 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Owl & Crown, which has a balanced, pure, elegant texture, ripe tannins, and a great finish. - Jeb Dunnuck Price $75
2016 Estate Malbec "Amparo"
Well. Well. Well. Malbec. It is that Labrador retriever who lives in your neighborhood and barks all the time only to discover he just loves everyone *that* much. Fairly difficult to farm, hard to watch ferment because of its awkward H2S spikes while the yeast knows full well, they are sitting on a massive pile of yeast assumable nitrogen. Then it finds the bottle and like a giant lap dog, sits on the palate so comfortably. The 2016 Malbec Amparo is 100% Malbec that spent 23 months in 40% new French. Blueberries and violets dance with a slight cranberry note and pillow oak tannins.
Rating ? (not sure why i missed this, but i'm sure it was amazing)
aMaurice wines were all great. There wines all had a touch of gentle sweetness that was very approachable, and without being overly oaked. They carry a broad range of vintages, which is always nice. I am sad to hear they are being purchased and from the sounds of it, a new label will arise. I will need to return to scrounge up whatever is left! I hope Anna makes wine some other way, or some other place!