Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maison de Padget wines (Bavarian Cellars Tasting Room in Leavenworth)

I am in no way hurting for wine. As we see here, on my the first 3 bottles from the left are empty. I still have 9 bottles to finish. Yet here I am about to write about more wine. In my defense, I am trying desperately to make this all about local wines because I'm surrounded with great local wineries and I have totally bought every Washington wine the grocery store has to offer and for that matter, it is better to buy from the source than from the local food-mart, you know?

With this being a short week due to the holidays, I decided we should go to this huge antique mall in Cashmere right up the road. I am on a mission for a palmistry hand and a phrenology head, just in case you are feeling generous and have these lying around and would like to send them to me, here is what I'm looking for:

Pretty cool and slightly creepy, eh? Back to the story, since we were in Cashmere we decided to grab a bite to eat at Country Boys BBQ but they were closed for the holidays so we went ahead and drove into Leavenworth to get something light at the Gypsy Cafe. Very cool place indeed. While trekking back to the car stuffed to the brim with sandwiches and cobb salads we hit up the Bavarian Cellars Tasting Room on 9th street. Its a little hidden but a very neat place. The people who own the winery are based out of Yakima so this is only the tasting room. They have two brands (from what I can tell) Maison de Padgett and Horizon's Edge. Here is the website for Horizon's Edge but it comes up as Maison de Padgett by design and the text is all funky so either they are doing construction or the site has been hacked. I didn't get any red flags from my virus software and spy ware deal so I guess you should ask yourself, are you feeling lucky?

Alrighty, so two things I want to get clear right from the get go. First of all its $2 per person to taste. I'm completely okay with this because I've never understood how tasting rooms can get away with free tastings, it makes no sense to me. Then again I always end up buying a bottle of something so who am I to say. With that $2 I sampled 12 wines and we were both walking a little rosy cheeked down the road when we left. Don't worry though, we walked the warmth off before we drove home.

Second off, these wines are kitchy. There were some good wines, I even bought a bottle of the Gewürztraminer because it was good, the Chardonnay was also very nice. But the wines were overall unique. The labels are all very fantasy oriented (see pic below stolen from unarata's flicker account) and would make a fantastic gift for your geeky brother. As a slight disclaimer, I was president of my high school's Science Fiction club for my Junior and Senior year and I am obsessed with any book by Laurell K. Hamilton, Piers Anthony, and similar genre. I love that and wine, so it was an hour well spent in my book.

The guy who tended the counter was named Jim and was very friendly, a little on the quiet side but I was trying to make notes on the wines I was tasting so I think he was just giving me the opportunity to write. The tasting room was very small and would be crowded if you had more than half a dozen friends in with you. It looked like there was a little loft area where you could share a bottle with some friends in a more private setting but we were happy at the bar and didn't venture up. It was clean and not pretentious in the least, two qualitys that I must have to taste wines somewhere. Overall, the wines were quite reasonably priced and while most were outside my palate, I was pleased with a few as well. We tasted:

05 Chardonnay
05 Gewürztraminer
06 Succulent Sangovise
06 Funky Monkey Pinot Noir Ice Wine
07 Singing Toad Late Harvest White Wine
Lip Service Rose Wine (90/10 Muscat/Cab)
Fat Sow Table Wine (50/50 Cab/Pinot)
Raging Bull White Port
McHargue Malbec Port
Pillow Talk Vanilla Port
No Regrets Chocolate Port
Smoking Gun Coffee Port

Here is a picture of the Gewürztraminer that we bought, it was on sale for just under $10!

Notice the cool wax sealed cork?

I feel like I should pillage a quiet village somewhere...

The Chardonnay was wonderful! It had a really nice tingle, great acid, a very solid nose, a nice golden flax color, and a bitter aftertaste. I still haven't found a distinct classic "chard" wine yet that I have enjoyed enough to set the bar off of, but this was close.
The reason we got the Gewürztraminer instead of the Chardonnay is because it was so smooth and silky going down, it was like drinking lingerie. For a long time I was confused because Gewürztraminer translates into English as "spicy" wine but it never tastes spicy to me, but I think of spicy like Mexican or Thai food, not cloves/cinnamon/orange peel. So after doing a bit more research on this grape variety, its actually supposed to mean perfumed or aromatic wine which this totally was. The nose was so smooth, even though this is thought of as an autumn wine it made me think of spring and new growth and a warm wind and all sorts of nice things.

Some notes on the other wines:
*The Lip Service Rose Wine was SO SWEET! It was 8.4% S/E and I think that could be a dessert wine, they said no but I say yes.
*The Sangovise had a great color to it but it tasted a bit watered down and sour dishragy which I have tasted in a few other wines in this family, so maybe that is a good thing to some people but it is so not in my palate.
*The Fat Sow table wine was also a bit watered down tasting and the color faded when you tilted the cup, but I think it would make an alright table wine if you hit a sale on it. I like a strong wine that is almost a side dish with your meal, but if you want something to cut the palate then this would be alright.
*The McHargue Malbec Port was the quintessential taste and texture of a port to me and warmed my cockles quite nicely, which is saying a lot since the high today was 22F.

The wines with the most interesting flavors in them were by far the Pillow Talk Vanilla Port which was straight up bourbon balls and wedding cake and then the Funky Monkey Pinot Ice Wine that was faintly cough syrup-esque. The Smoking Gun Coffee Port had an amazing nose that was like walking into a coffee shop but it was completely lost on the nose. All of the ports and dessert wines were appropriately viscous and very sweet, even for a desert wine.

All in all I reccomend checking out this tasting room because it is unique and you get to taste a huge ammount of wines that have really unusual flavors. If you like sweet wines come in with a blank check, if you are into the dry tannens, you should still check it out. And buy the Gewürztraminer or Chardonnay.

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