Maison Bleue delivers stellar Rhone varietals in WA

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website:

For winemaker, Jon Martinez, deciding to focus on Rhone grapes in Washington State was a no-brainer. Years ago, he traveled to Rhone and fell in love with the wines of that region – and Washington State is one of the top regions in the USA to grow Rhone varietals.

His passion for the craft has garnered this relatively new winemaker very nice accolades in the form of wine ratings – and thankfully, it hasn’t gone to his head. His even-handed approach to making wine is as refreshing as his wines are.

2009 JaJa – W.E.P. Rating: 100%

Technical Data: 

  • Blend: 50% Grenach / 50% Syrah from Boushey and Upland vineyards
  • Harvest Date: Sept. 21, October 1-16th
  • Brix at harvest: 24.5-25.7
  • ph: 3.5
  • TA: 6.5 g/L
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Price: $20

Nose: Spiced blueberry pie filling, marionberry, blackpepper, forest floor and funk.

Taste: Stellar acids – STELLAR – that combine with the fruit in a sort of “Wonder-twin-powers-activate” kind of way. The blueberry, elderberry and marionberry glide gently across the mid palate. The finish lingers with notes of chocolate, leather, spice, tobacco, cassis and even more spices. This is a classic Rhone-blend wine done in the new world but in an old-world, food-friendly fashion. A total no-brainer wine to pick when you want a wine that compliments the meal and doesn’t over-power it.

2009 La Montagnette Grenache – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data: 

  • Harvest Date: Sept. 21, October 1-16th
  • Brix at harvest: 24.5-25.7
  • ph: 3.56
  • TA: 6.3 g/L
  • Alcohol: 14.8%
  • Price: $35

Nose: Wet carpet with a slight hint of black cherry shampoo – pot-roast broth, currant, cigar wrapper, white pepper, spice and blueberry.

Taste: Nice waves of black currant, spiced-chocolate cake, cloves, shoe polish, blueberry, black cherries for days that have been soaking in a tub full of white pepper. Stellar acidity freshens the mid-palate in a way that begs you to eat another bite of food with it. Nice finish that hangs out for days – overall a very solid effort.

2009 Graviere – W.E.P. Rating: 95%

Technical Data: 

  • Harvest Date: Sept. 21, October 1-8th
  • Blend: 25% Grenache, 50% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre
  • Brix at harvest: 24-26
  • ph: 3.58
  • TA: 6.5 g/L
  • Alcohol: 14.6%
  • Price: $40

Nose: Spiced blueberries, black raspberries, marionberry and cola. Also get some notes of cocoa, raisins and a splash of “new car scent” – the real scent, not that cheap aftermarket spray you get at Autozone.

Taste: A tidal wave explosion of holiday-spiced berries along with components of rhubarb, leather straps and casis. Good mid palate that features solid acids that compliment the fruit very well. Solid finish that lingers on the palate quite nicely – a very nice effort.