Tag Archives: Mosquito Fleet Winery

2013 Harvest: Reports from the field

 

Cab Franc

Brynn writes:

Every year around this time I see posts on Facebook and email updates from our local winemakers. Many of them are making regular trips to Eastern Washington to harvest grapes and check the conditions of their vineyard blocks to determine the best time to pull the clusters from the vines.

I’ve always wanted to get a report from them about how harvest is going and to hear their initial projections about the vintage, but never want to bother them since I know they’re busy and running on minimal sleep. This year I took a chance and sent an email to the winemakers of Bainbridge Island (Amelia Wynn Winery, Eagle Harbor Wine Company, Eleven Winery, Fletcher Bay Winery, Rolling Bay Winery) and Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair to see if they’d be interested in sending me email updates of how things are going in the field.

I haven’t heard back from everyone, but a number of the winemakers wrote back almost immediately — some with reports from the field, others saying they would be sending me updates as harvest went along. My plan is to compose periodic blog posts that includes their reports from the field — either as a direct copy and paste from what they sent me, or my summary of what they have to say.

I was surprised to hear that a number of white grapes have been harvested and are already back on the peninsula fermenting. Matt Albee, winemaker for Eleven Winery, said his Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio grapes were about two weeks ahead of schedule this year.

Below is a list of the wineries I’ve heard back from and quick summaries of how things are going. As you’ll see, Amelia Wynn winemaker Paul Bianchi has supplied a great report from the field. I’ve copied and pasted his emails so you can see the life of the local winemaker around this time of year.

Amelia Wynn (Email from winemaker Paul Bianchi sent Sept. 17):

Timing is everything at harvest and plans take shape over weeks. When it’s time to pull the trigger the vintner puts the vineyard on notice for an agreed upon harvest date.

The players are: vineyard owner, vineyard manager (if not the owner), picking crew being paid by the pound, the custom crush facility (if used) and most importantly the truck rental agency because you need a big truck if you’re hauling more than 5,000 lbs.

This Sunday (Sept. 15) in Walla Walla it was 95 degrees with 20 mph drying winds. Not a good day for grapes. So the green light was given to pick on Tuesday (Sept. 16). Predicted light showers turned out to be heavier than anticipated, complicating the day.

All grape bins were covered and because the crush schedule got screwed up, our Merlot was to be destemmed around 11 p.m., making for a very long day for the crush crew. We have to be at Artifex at 8 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 18) to pick up the destemmed grapes and then drive west to Prosser to press the Cab Franc and Viognier. The latter I need to pick up at the Elerding vineyard.

The pick date for the Viognier was established last week and all players were put in motion. The Cab Franc was given a green light Sept. 16 to be picked on the same day as the Viognier.  The intent is to make a 500 mile truck rental, two nights on the road, and use of commercial equipment as efficient as possible.

What has gone down toward the end of the 2013 harvest is: A record-setting hot summer has skidded to a slow walk with a cooling trend that is in fact a relief because the  grape varieties were rippening too close together as a result of the high temperatures. With a cooling period the wineries can pace the harvest dates so work in the winery is not chaotic.

When I return to the island tomorrow night (Sept. 18), I will have the following grapes fermenting or preparing to ferment:  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cab Franc Rose, Viognier and two clones of Merlot from Walla Walla.

Here’s a summary of what winemaker Paul Bianchi’s days looked like Monday/Tuesday:

  • Monday: catching the 8:10 p.m. ferry and arriving in Prosser at midnight, staying at the Best Western.
  • In the morning dropping off bins for Cab Franc, which will be picked and pressed on Wednesday (Sept. 18) for a Rosé. Also dropped off two 275 gal juice totes where the cab franc will be pressed as well as 4,000 lbs of Viognier.
  • Drove on to Walla Walla where we will pick up 3 tons of Merlot and have destemmed at Artifex, a custom crush facility.
  • Sept. 18 back on the road to Prosser where we will pick up 2 tons of Viognier at Elerding vineyard and then to Kestral winery where the Cab Franc and Viognier will be slowly pressed in a membrane press.

Eleven Winery (Email summary from winemaker Matt Albee, sent Sept. 16):

I have Sauv Blanc and Pinot Grigio fermenting, and am leaving tonight (Sept. 16) to pick Viognier tomorrow (Sept. 17); Roussanne/Marsanne and Syrah on Thursday (Sept. 19).

The very hot summer perhaps favors later-ripening varieties like Cabs and Mourvedre, but so far everything is good quality!

We picked Sauvignon Blanc on Aug. 29, Pinot Grigio on Sept. 9 (originally scheduled for Sept. 4, but pushed back due to forecast of rain, which ended up not hitting our vineyard). This week we will see if last week’s extreme heat had much impact. There seems to have been a lot of rain for September in Eastern WA, but my sources have largely been spared (whew!).

Fletcher Bay Winery (Email from winemaker Jim Wilford, sent Sept. 16):

My plans for harvest this year include: Tara Rouge ( Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon), a Walla Walla Cab Sauv, a Red Moutain Zinfandel, a dry Rose, Semillion and a Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio is being picked, everything else is still on the vine.

Perennial Vintners (From winemaker Mike Lempriere’s newsletter):

The 2013 harvest is looking fantastic! It will be our largest local harvest to date. The Frambelle is done fermenting, it’s tasting superb already.  We will be getting an excellent harvest of Melon de Bourgogne, so mid-2014 we’ll have our signature wine available again!
The vineyard is mostly done with for the year, at this point we’re mostly just waiting for Mother Nature to finish the job of ripening. We do still have to spray for Botrytis mold, but other than that it’s just trying to catch up on weeding.  It’s a beautiful time to visit the vineyard as the grapes have gone through veraison, meaning they ‘re ripening and turning color.
From Facebook: Mike said they harvested the Siegerrebe Sept. 8.

Mosquito Fleet Winery (Email from winemaker Brian Petersen, sent Sept. 16):

Crush has just begun for us here at MFW and we are excited! We brought in a couple tons of our first white: A Viognier from Elephant Mountain. The fruit is very nice, tremendous flavors and great acids.

We will only be producing around 100 cases of Viognier this year. Partially fermented in stainless steel tank and partial barrel fermentation, which we will ferment and age sur lie and go through malolactic fermentation.

This Thursday (Sept. 19) we are bringing in Merlot from Double Canyon Vineyard and on Saturday (Sept. 21) we will bring in our first Malbec off Elephant Mountain as well. We are looking forward to this too.

We have increased our Pepper Bridge Vineyard fruit and we are now sourcing Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from there as well. The PB Merlot will be ready in about a week.

Then it’s Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional for our Port.

It will get very, very busy here shortly.

Memorial Day wine tastings of award-winning wines

Brynn writes:

From Bainbridge to Belfair, a number of Kitsap’s wineries are open this weekend for people to taste some great wine and enjoy good company.

Here’s an added bonus, a number of the Bainbridge Island wineries and Belfair’s Mosquito Fleet Winery were recently recognized by the Seattle Wine Awards.

The Bainbridge wineries will be open all weekend, some even on Monday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information or to see a map of where they are located visit bainbridgewineries.com.

Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair will be open Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. (and will continue to be open Saturdays from now until September). Sunday the winery will be open for its annual Spring Barrel Tasting event from noon to 4 p.m. Five wines will be offered and several barrels of the 2011 wines will be tapped. Winemaker Brian Petersen will be there to talk about changes from barrel to barrel and vineyard to vineyard. Pizza, cheeses and chocolates will also be served.

To attend the Sunday tasting, reserve your spot through the winery’s website, www.mosquitofleetwinery.com, or by calling the winemaker at 360-710 0855.

Here’s a list of the local 2013 Seattle Wine Award winners:

Amelia Wynn
  • Gold: Viognier; Columbia Valley Cuvée; Red Mountain Sangiovese
  • Silver: Rose

Eagle Harbor Wine Co.

  • Gold: Raptor

Eleven

  • Double Gold: Sweet Sarah dessert wine; Malbec
  • Gold: Viognier; La Ronde
  • Silver: Angelica dessert wine

Mosquito Fleet Winery (Belfair)

  • Double Gold: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gold: Cabernet Franc; Petit Verdot
  • Bronze: Griffersen Reserve (port); Meritage;

Perennial Vintners

  • Bronze: Frambelle Raspberry
Rolling Bay Winery
  • Double Gold:Cabernet Sauvignon

Saturday a perfect day for wine tasting

Brynn writes:

I’m sure by now you’re all well aware that this weekend is supposed to be awesome, filled with warmth and blue, sunny skies.

What better way to enjoy our sneak peek at summer than with a glass (or two, or three) of a good wine.

Rolling Bay Winery on Bainbridge Island is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5:30 p.m. Their winery is a beautiful location just off Rolling Bay with outdoor tables, picturesque gardens and views of Seattle. See their website for more details.

Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair is opening its barrel room Saturday for people to taste its latest wines. This weekend marks the start of wine tasting season for the winery, which will open its doors every Saturday from now until September from noon to 5 p.m.

A recent email from the winery lists a calendar of events happening over the summer. If you’re super organized like me, you might want to write these dates down for future planning:

Spring has come fast and furious for us at MFW. We’ve been tasting and blending our 2011 wines and are excited to share them with you! We’ve also been busy creating a calendar of events to enjoy with you and your family and friends this summer. Check out some of  the upcoming events:

  • May 4: Barrell Room opens every Saturday for wine tastings Noon – 5pm (May-Sept)
  • May 17: Bainbridge Island: wine tasting and book signing. Author Richard Blumenthal will be at The Chapel on Echo Bay to discuss his book “Maritime Place Names”.  Come and learn all the interesting reasons why Washington waters and places are named the way they are. Time:  7- 10 p.m.
  • May 17: Gig Harbor: Wine Tasting at The Wine Studio from 5-9 p.m.
  • May 18: Winemakers dinner at Alderbrook Resort the breathtaking Hood Canal. Social hour begins at 6:30 / Dinner at 7 p.m.; $129 per person.
  • May 26: Barrel tasting 2-5 p.m. with winemaker, Brian Petersen.  Sample a variety of wines in various barrels. Learn about the importance of barrel selection and how it affects the flavors.  $25 per person.
  • June 27: Winemaker’s dinner at the Winery in the barrel room with one of our favorite chefs, Dustin Joseph of the Art House Café in Tacoma. $100 per person menu BTA. Enjoy a gourmet five course meal and wine with the owners of Mosquito Fleet Winery. Seating is limited.
  • July 5: Winery open for tastings 4-8 p.m. Bring your family and visiting guests down for a taste!
  • Aug 8: Salsa dancing lesson in the Barrel Room.  This is gonna be one HOT August night!! Bring your partner and a little attitude and we’ll bring the wine and appies! Tickets will be available soon.
  • Sept 10: Bottling day. We’ll be bottling our 2011wines for your future enjoyment.

What we’re drinking: Mosquito Fleet Winery

Mary writes:

This weekend is the second-annual wine release party at Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair (21 Od Belfair Highway) and we highly recommend you make the visit. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. the winery will be open for people to taste the six newly released 2010 wines, paired with chocolates, cheeses and listen to live music. The cost is $10 but it’s waived with a wine purchase.

Brian Petersen of Mosquito Fleet Winery invited us to barrel taste these wine twice now, and we’re grateful for this learning opportunity.

Barrel tastings are more about the grape than the final blend in the bottle. It’s wine in a basic elemental state, still showing all of its angular youthfulness. What the final blend will taste like at this point is left to imagination and many months of tasting and blending until the winemaker has achieved the final product.

Barrels are one of the tools that winemakers use to spice up the wine. Barrels, in addition to a few other techniques, are sort of the salt and pepper of the winemaking world.

The staves of the barrel are generally toasted to some degree. Light, medium, medium plus and heavy are the different levels of toast that a winemaker will ask for when ordering barrels. The barrel heads are also sometimes toasted. With “toasted heads” more flavors are imparted in to the wine.

With barrel toasting, strong tannins aren’t as easily extracted while the wine ages in the barrel. Considering some tannic, heavy reds may spend two to three years in a barrel, judicious use of oak is needed.

Our first invite to attend a barrel tasting at Mosquito Fleet was last spring. Brynn was unable to attend because she’d just had the baby, so I went down solo. It was one of nicest, educational barrel tastings I’ve attended. Six months later we were invited back — this time Brynn came along, and so did the baby — and it gave me the chance to taste what six months of aging did for the wine before the final blend and bottling.

The following are notes from the spring and fall tastings:

2010 Pepperbridge Cabernet: We began with this in the barrel which was 100 percent cabernet sourced from Walla Walla’s Pepperbridge Vineyard. Winemaker Brian Petersen planned to eventually blend it with a little cabernet franc before bottling. This medium-bodied wine had a bracing amount of acidity with raspberry fruit. It was aging in a barrel with medium plus toast on its staves and barrel heads.

2010 Syrah: In barrel more body, less chunk; bright raspberry fruit and nice spicy finish. Very bright.

2010 Syrah: This was blended with 19 percent mourvedre and 7 percent cabernet. In puncheon saturated color. Stinky nose, nice up-front fruit; thick with an astringent finish.

2010 Petite Verdot: In barrel with minor amounts of mourvèdre and syrah. Bready nose up front from aging sur-lie. Brilliant purple robe, long legs, spicy raspberry with a hint of herbs and spice. The nose needs to develop.

2010 Cab Franc:From Pepperbridge Vineyard. In barrel there was of raspberry and black berry fruit. Soft. Not the final blend.

2010 Meritage: In the barrel there was 100 percent cabernet from Pepperbridge Vineyard. Pepperbridge fruit adds some bracing tannins that will soften with age. Brix at harvest was 24.2 with a PH of 3.8 and alcohol 13.9 percent. Elevage for 22 months on new French oak with a small amount of  American oak. Beautiful nose of red and black fruits, nice balance, medium-bodied with a red fruit finish and a bit of mocha.

Touriga Nacional Port 2010: Made with two of the six port grapes — 82 percent Touriga Nacional and 18 percent Tinta Roriz from Two Mountains Vineyard on Elephant Mountain. Brix at harvest was 23.5 with a PH of 3.81 and alcohol of 21 percent RRS 8.6 percent. Elevage 24 months on French oak; bottled November 2012. There are 72 demi cases 6/500ml. Black-red color, sweet nose with caramel and alcohol, black cherry. This is a thick rich, well-balanced, fabulous wine.

You’re invited: Mosquito Fleet Winery release party

Brynn writes:

Wine release party season is fast upon us as area wineries prepare to share their hard work with the drinking public.

Belfair-based Mosquito Fleet Winery is opening its doors the weekend of Feb. 9 and 10 for its release party celebration to showcase the release of its 2010 vintage wines. This is the winery’s second release. We attended the winery’s inaugural release party last year and were thoroughly impressed. We also had a chance last fall to taste some of the winery’s 2010 vintages while they were still in the works and again were extremely excited to taste the “final” bottled product.

(Click here for our story about last year’s release party; click here for a story about Mosquito Fleet Winery; click here for our review of MFW Cab).

Doors will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. For $10 you can taste the winery’s six wines. The fee is waived with purchase.

Here’s info sent by the winery with details of what to expect at the weekend celebration:

The crew at Mosquito Fleet is intent on rolling out an enjoyable spread of chocolates and cheeses. They have hired Chef Dustin Joseph of the ‘Art House Café’ to create food pairings for each of their six wines.

In addition, Mosquito Fleet contracted with Oh Chocolates of Mercer Island to create truffles using the winery’s own ‘Port style’ desert wine. The winery is also bringing in a different band on each day to play for guests.

Doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 5:00 pm both days. They will be serving six wines, five still wines and a dessert wine that will be served in small Swiss chocolate cups. The cost is only $10 per person with the winery waiving that fee with the purchase of a bottle of wine.

Mosquito Fleet Winery has operated for four years, but has only released one vintage (2009) thus far.  The 2010 varietals will be their second release.

“We are certainly wanting to remain patient and not release the wines before they are ready. We want to continue maximizing wine quality and creating a good first impression for the consumer,” said winemaker and co-owner Brian Petersen.

The MFW 2009 vintage sold out in a matter of months and received tremendous accolade. The winery believes the soon-to-be released 2010 wines are even better and the four owners anticipate tremendous sales this year as well.

The February release consists of only 1,000 cases and some varietals are extremely limited. With the tremendous local support and many commercial accounts clamoring to get their hands on this year’s production, it could go quickly.

“We are excited about the growing demand. We believe it’s a result of prioritizing quality over quantity… a stronghold of the Mosquito Fleet Winery philosophy,” Petersen said.

Spring barrel tasting in Belfair

Brynn writes:

I shared this earlier this week (or maybe it was last week) on Facebook, but wanted to also post it here so people were aware of a wine tasting event this Saturday in Belfair.

Mosquito Fleet Winery is opening its barrels for the public to taste at its first spring barrel tasting event. If you forgot, we wrote about Mosquito Fleet and its inaugural tasting in February. Mary and I were impressed with the wines coming from first-time winemaker Brian Petersen. Here’s our post from the tasting.

And here’s the press release from Mosquito Fleet about Saturday’s barrel tasting:

This May 12th event, hosted by the owners of Mosquito Fleet Winery, is an experience not to be missed. You will be led through tastes of the upcoming vintages. From our recently blended 2010 Meritage to our velvety Syrah and our classic Cabernet Sauvignon, you will have the opportunity to taste these young wines and imagine how much more decadent they will become as their character continues to develop.

The impact that our artisan choices and hand-crafted efforts have on our wines is tremendous. Our winemaker will talk through his barrel selections, utilization of specific yeasts, and the cellar practices that help make Mosquito Fleet wines so special.

The flavors and overall experience will nod a tribute to the Puget Sound’s famed Mosquito Fleet and the impact they had on our area.

Just as the Mosquito Fleet brought communities and people together, this tasting opportunity may be the gateway to re-connect with old friendships, forge some new ones, and partake in the most recently discovered gem of the South Sound….Mosquito Fleet Winery!

We look forward to sharing a vintner’s voyage with you!

Please register by purchasing a Barrel Tasting Coupon from our online store.

Details:

  • What: Spring barrel tasting
  • When: Saturday, May 12; 12 to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Mosquito Fleet Winery, 21 NE Old Belfair Highway, Belfair
  • Info: Jacy 360-340-1862
  • Tickets: $25, available at mosquitofleetwinery.com

What we’re drinking: Mosquito Fleet Winery Cab

Brynn writes:

Call us lazy, but yes we’re talking about Mosquito Fleet Winery, again. That’s because we were impressed with what we got to sip — especially for the first release from a winemaker who was trying his hand at winemaking for the first time.

We’ve opted to review the fledgling winery’s cabernet sauvignon, which was sourced from the highly acclaimed Pepper Bridge Vineyards — located in Walla Walla.

As we said before, this cab is reminiscent of Pepper Bridge’s cab. It has a beautiful nose full of oak and spices. It’s also a wine with a lot of complexity, which made it fun to sample. We’d sip, let the flavors linger over our palates, try some of the cheese, bread, olives and chocolate covered cherries, and then sip again. With time (and exposure to air) the wine continued to evolve, opening up new flavors that we didn’t notice before.

We especially liked the wine paired with the chocolate covered cherries, largely because the tartness of the cherry softened the edges of the wine, which had a slight astringent quality — not uncommon for wines with a lot of tannins. Because this wine is still quite young — it was harvested in 2009 — it’s one that will definitely mellow with time spent in the cellar.

There were no flaws in this wine, all the elements and components are there, it just needs more time to age and open up.

Here’s winemaker Brian Petersen’s tasting notes:

Dark fruit, berry, vanilla and Carmel notes with balanced acidity and silky tannins on the finish.

The story behind Belfair’s Mosquito Fleet Winery

Brynn writes:

Mosquito Fleet Winery came to life three years ago in a Belfair warehouse. That’s when the first shipment of grapes made its way from various Eastern Washington vineyards across the Cascade Mountain range and into the industrial space where the winery’s four owners and numerous volunteers anxiously waited to partake in the winery’s inaugural crush.

A lot has changed since that first crush party. Most noticeable is the transformation of the warehouse, which doubling as the winery, opened to the public for the first time last week for an inaugural release party.

What once housed crushing equipment, including a destemmer and fermentation containers, is now lined with twinkling white lights, fishing nets and other nautical décor, stacked oak barrels filled with wine and photos of the winery’s first days. Winemaker Brian Petersen credits his wife Jacquie and business partner and close friend Jacy Griffin for the transformation. Griffin’s husband Scott is the fourth owner of the winery.

“They had a vision for how it could be and they hit it out of the park,” Petersen said of the décor selections and attention to detail — like Reidel stemware and specialized decanters used to bring out the wine’s flavors before it was poured for guests.

Another, less obvious transformation, is the amount of wine stored in the barrels. At its inception in 2009, the Petersens and Griffins purchased enough grapes to produce 200 cases. That’s on par with most small-scale wineries opening these days with a focus on quality handcrafted wine over quantity.

But where the winery diverges from the norm is its growth between its 2009 vintage and its 2010 vintage. Instead of making a gradual increase in production over time as wine sales grew — the most common path taken — Mosquito Fleet’s production jumped from 200 cases in its first year to 1,000 cases for its 2010 harvest. The winery replicated that number with its 2011 harvest.

“We typically aren’t known for our patience,” Petersen said. “It’s go big or go home.”

Brian Petersen and Jacy Griffin offer barrel samples of the Touriga Nacional Port

If he isn’t already, Petersen should be known for his persistence. A chiropractor by day, Petersen set out on a mission to not only learn what he needed to create top-notch wines — attending a series of winemaking classes at UC Davis and picking the brains of some of the state’s most respected winemakers — but he also became determined to get his hands on grapes from some of the state’s most well-known vineyards.

When others may have turned away after being told there was no fruit available, Petersen didn’t let up until he got what he wanted.

Mosquito Fleet sources grapes from Elephant Mountain and Copeland Vineyard, located in the Rattlesnake Hills appellation in Yakima, and Double Canyon Vineyard located in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation. Double Canyon is adjacent to Champoux Vineyards, one of the state’s most highly regarded vineyards known for consistently producing some of the state’s best cabernet sauvignon. While it doesn’t carry the Champoux name, the grapes Mosquito Fleet receives share the terroir that sets Champoux’s vines above the rest, Petersen said.

The winery added fruit from Kiona Vineyards in the Red Mountain appellation for its most recent vintages.

But the vineyard Petersen is probably most excited about is his block within Pepper Bridge Vineyards, which is known for producing some of the most sought after fruit not only in the state, but also the Northwest. The winery’s cabernet sauvignon is 100 percent sourced from Pepper Bridge and after one sip the similarities are evident. Like Pepper Bridge’s cab, Mosquito Fleet’s cab is a deep purple color with tight tannins evident on the finish.

Considering it’s the winery’s first release — along with a Meritage Blend that is Petersen’s take on a left-bank Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot — it’s evident the “go big or go home” motto has worked in the favor of the Petersens and Griffins who have maintained all along that they want to be known for producing quality wines.

In 2010 Mosquito Fleet will again release a cab and Meritage Blend, but it will also add cabernet franc, petit verdot and a syrah, mourvedre, cab blend to its line up. The winery will also release limited quantities of its Touriga Nacional Port 2010, which is a blend of 18 percent Tinta Roriz and 82 percent Touriga Nacional — considered to be Portugal’s finest red wine grape.

Mosquito Fleet’s owners have done a good job of marketing their product. A private inaugural release party drew close to 200 people last week and the winery saw around 250 people come through its doors on Saturday, the one and only day it opened to the public.

“The fact that we were able to pull 450 people through our doors for the first time we opened our winery was amazing,” Petersen said. “The feedback we got was tremendous.”

The strong response solidifies efforts to market Mosquito Fleet Winery as a community winery, Petersen said.

While he wondered whether they would sell out of the 2009 vintage after the initial opening, there are still some wines left. But because of the limited supply, the winery won’t open again to the public, at least not until 2013 when it’s time for the release of the 2010 vintage. Instead wines can be purchased at the winery’s website, or in the near future at an area wine shop. They’re also in the process of working with local wine shops and restaurants to feature the wines.

Mosquito Fleet Winery’s 2009 Releases

Meritage Blend:

  • 63 percent cabernet sauvignon
  • 32 percent merlot
  • 3 percent cabernet franc
  • 2 percent petit verdot

Vineyards: Double Canyon Vineyard, Le Vignes de Marcoux, Elephant Mountain
Elevage: Aged 22 months on new oak, 83 percent French, 17 percent American
Cases: 89

Cabernet Sauvignon:

  • 100 percent cabernet sauvignon

Vineyard: Pepper Bridge Vineyard, Walla Walla
Elevage: Aged 22 months on new oak, 87 percent French, 3 percent American
Cases: 118

Touriga Nacional Port 2010:

  • 82 percent Touriga Nacional
  • 18 percent Tinta Roriz

Vineyard: Two Mountain Winery’s estate Copeland Vineyard and Elephant Mountain
Elevage: Aged 24 months on French oak; expected bottling November 2012
Cases: 72 demi cases (selling in advance of release)

Hurry, Mosquito Fleet Winery is only open one day

Brynn writes:

Tonight Mary and I had the privilege of being invited to the private inaugural release party for Mosquito Fleet Winery.

We, along with more than 200 other wine lovers, filled the Belfair winery to get a taste of its three 2009 releases. Being that it was the first time the public was tasting the varietals, you can imagine how excited winery owners Brian and Jacquie Petersen and Scott and Jacy Griffin were to showcase their hard work.

The three wines being poured were a Meritage Blend, Petersen’s take on a left bank Bordeaux-style wine; a 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon; and a barrel tasting of a 2010 Touriga Nacional Port.

We were impressed with everything we tried. Sourced from Pepper Bridge Vineyards, the Cab definitely carried the signature Pepper Bridge flavor profile. The nose on this wine was amazing. With each sip we uncovered more layers of flavor — this is definitely a complex wine. Being it was harvested in 2009, you can tell the wine is still quite young, so it’s one we’d recommend buying now and cellaring for a few years to let some of the flavors mellow.

In contrast the Meritage felt flat initially — in hindsight we should have tasted this first. After letting it sit on our palates and letting it breathe, we discovered this wine had a softer, rounder mouthfeel than the acidic Cab. There were hints of Carmel on the nose and with more exposure to the air, notes of cherry on the nose and the finish became much stronger. This wine, like the Cab, is one that should age well with time.

The last wine we had a chance to sample was the Touriga Nacional Port, which seeing that it came straight from the barrel, obviously was still quite young. Its characteristics were similar to the Cab in that there were layers of complexity. I noticed pomegranate on the nose and finish, while Mary experienced Carmel and herbal spices. Also like the cab, this wine needs more time to age, but all the components are there to make a truly excellent wine. The grapes for this wine are grown in Washington, but have Portuguese origins. This wine won’t be bottled until November, so for now they’re selling advance bottles.

Because this is the first release from the winery, quantities are limited. In fact they’re so limited — they only made 200 cases in 2009 — Petersen expects they’re likely to sell out after their grand opening Saturday. (Yes Saturday as in tomorrow). So if you’re interested in checking out the winery and trying their wines — which we highly recommend you do —you better make your way to Belfair between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow. We’d recommend getting there earlier rather than later.

If you miss out tomorrow they will be offering their wines through the website but they won’t be opening the winery after Saturday for tastings until the next round of wines are ready for release. Which will be next year when the 2010 vintage is ready. And instead of 200 cases, there will be 1,000 cases up for grabs.

The winery is located at 21 Old Belfair Highway, across from the QFC in a warehouse space next door to Seabeck Pizza.

Finally, here’s a little blurb on the winery itself from its Facebook fan page:

Mosquito Fleet Winery is a relatively new winery going into it’s fourth year of production. We are located at the tip of Hood Canal in Belfair, Washington, only miles from the state’s first bonded winery, The St. Charles Winery of Stretch Island. We are a small winery that prides ourselves in developing Bordeaux-styled wines aged for 20-24 months in French oak barrels. With our 2011 crush behind us, we are now eagerly awaiting our first release of our ’09 Vintage in February of 2012. Cheers!!!