What we’re drinking: San Juan Vineyards

Brynn writes:

Last summer the husband and I jetted away to the San Juan Islands to spend four days relaxing in peace at a family friend’s cabin on Brown Island (just across the way from Friday Harbor).

While we swam in the evenings and read our books from the deck overlooking the harbor, we spent our days exploring San Juan Island.
Returning from one exploration to Roche Harbor, we came across San Juan Vineyards.

It was a sunny day, so we thought it’d be fun to pop into the tasting room, try some wines and choose one to sip while sitting on their deck.

I tasted their Madeleine Angevine— one of the three varietals they grow in the 7 acres of planted vineyards they have at the winery. The other predominate grape varietal they grow on the island is Siegerrebe. (They also have an acre of Pinot Noir on island).

After trying the white we moved on to their reds — which are sourced from the Columbia Valley and Horse Heaven Hills AVAs in Eastern Washington.

We both enjoyed the winery’s 2007 Cabernet Franc enough to buy a bottle to take home. (We also bought a bottle of the Mad Ange too).

Fast forward 10 months. Last week I was preparing a sirloin steak with mushroom gravy and looking for wine that would be subtle enough to let the mushroom flavors come through, but sturdy enough to stand up to the richness of the sauce.

Enter San Juan’s Cab Franc.

The simple bouquet gave way to an earthy wine that matched perfectly with the mushrooms. The tannins were mellowed, balancing with a subdued fruitiness. The bouquet was minimal, but the flavor made up for it. The finish was subtle and not overpowering.

Here’s what the winemaker has to say about the wine:

This is our first production of Cabernet Franc, and it offers a nose of blueberry and cassis with earthy, forest floor fruit on the palate. The finish is balanced with nice tannin and fruit.

It is 100% Cabernet Franc from Alder Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills AVA, hand picked on October 3, 2007 with Brix at 26.

The 2007 Cabernet Franc received an outstanding review by Wine Press NorthWest. It has also received a gold medal with a Chairman’s award from the Riverside International Wine Competition in April, 2010. Along with the gold medal, it has recieved a silver medal from the Tri-Cities Wine Festival in November, 2009.

Bottling was on July 21, 2009 and 220 cases were bottled. Alcohol:14.5%. Retail is $20.00

While I’d recommend making the trek to San Juan Vineyard for the scenery and the relaxation that comes with being in the islands, if you don’t have the time to take two ferries to buy a bottle of wine, the Cab Franc is available at local wine shops and groceries.