Red Blend •Estate Grown
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Madison Cellars.
Mission Codename: Circus Maximus
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate the Paso Robles
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Madison Cellars
Wine Subject: 2004 Maximus Blend
Winemaker: Jon Korecki
Our Operatives have been calling for great California red blends and we listened, sending Agent Red back to Paso Robles, California, where he discovers today’s gem of a wine from Madison Cellars.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark ruby red color that retains its concentration of color right to its edges, indicating
Smell – Fragrant, fruity and floral, with great notes of cherry, raspberry and blackberry with subtle cedar, oak, vanilla and spice
Feel – Very soft and elegant with a balanced roundness in the front of the mouth and a gentle tannic bite mid-palate, the Merlot contributing to the great mouth-feel
Taste – The Cabernet Franc makes itself known here and delivers its delicious classic cherry, plum and blackberry flavors up front with violet and rose. The Merlot and cab is present as well, rounding out the flavors with dark fruit and warm woods
Finish – Long and robust, then tapering with a really delicate sweetness and a slight dryness
Conclusion – Since you have been keeping tabs on my mission reports, you know that I LOVE Cabernet Franc and I LOVE great blends. Not every blend is for me and sometimes combinations just don’t work, but when they do, yum, as is the case with this surprise find from Madison Cellars.
As a Wine Spy, I have a great responsibility to our Operatives. You demand that I seek out and procure the best wines that I can, and I strive to deliver for you each time.
When I was sent to Paso Robles to find the Best Red Blend, I knew that I had a daunting task ahead of me. This region, the largest grape growing region in San Luis Obispo County, is world famous for producing some of the finest reds South of Napa or Sonoma Counties. With so many great wineries and wines to choose from I pondered my mission – and the notion of “best” or “greatest”. Immediately, the Latin word, “Maximus” sprang into my mind. A quick cross-reference of our W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) yielded one result when I plugged in the parameters, “Maximus” and “Paso Robles”: The Maximus red blend from Madison Cellars.
With a wine objective clearly in mind, I knew that I had to conduct a formal tasting. I called upon a newly acquired asset, codename: Agent Black. Black is a double agent that works with a handfull of the best wineries in this south of Monterey region, promoting their wines. She finds the best of those and filters them my way. When I asked her about Madison’s Maximus, she informed me that bottles were already en route to me at my secret lair! A brilliant cooincidence that only reinforced Black’s value as an asset.
The wine arrived a day later and I cellared them for 3 days, to allow them to settle before opening. This is a practice, by the way, that I would recommend to all of our Operatives.
On ‘opening day’, I popped a bottle and poured it right into my glass. Without allowing for any time in the air, I sniffed and sipped right away…. and was impressed! The wine had great balance and feel, with deep aromatics and tasty flavors that I knew would only improve with a few hours of decanting. I finished my glass, taking detailed notes, and then decanted the rest. A few hours later I was rewarded with an even better wine! On the nose, the aromas deepened and became more distinctive. On the palate, flavors became layered, delivering distinct characteristics of the varietals used in the wine. Delicious.
All of the fruit in this wine is estate grown, and the people of the winery are young and energetic; their enthusiasm and their passion finds its way easily into their great wines.
You know that I am a big Merlot fan (great Merlot can have the best mouth-feel) and a bigger Cabernet Sauvignon fan. Of course, my “stranded on a desert island” is Cabernet Franc, so the balance and layered character of this wine really hits me in all the right places.
There is a real sense of attention to detail in this wine. This brings to mind the phrase, Maximus in minimus, Latin for Great in all little things.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Madison Cellars Estate vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
If I may be so bold; this wine is the nectar of the gods. It demonstrates a finesse rarely found in wines from the Paso Robles area. It exhibits the strong fruit forward style common today, but with well integrated tannins that do not overpower, the wine delivers in a complex and unabashed manor all the bold flavors and body one would expect in a high end Bordeaux blend. This wine boasts intense and complex fruit aromas of cherry and blackberry. The wine exhibits a beautiful deep ruby red color. Similar to the merlot, the medium toasted oak provides subtle notes of vanilla and cola. A smooth wine with bold tannins, and a finish lingering with hints of licorice and mint.
Made from 100% estate grown fruit. This perfected Bordeaux blend is made of 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc.
- Rootstock: Own-rooted, affording maximum terrior transference
- Location/Soil: Clay loam and loam soils, on the west and southeast facing sides of the vineyard
- Harvest Dates: September 19th through October 16th, 2004
Fermentation: Primary fermentation in open top fermenters with three daily punch downs. Secondary fermentation in barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
Total Acidity: .66
Residual Sugar: 0.0%
Barrel Aging: Barrel aged for 21 months in French and American oak of which 32% was new French.
Date Bottled: July 14th 2006
Date Released: May 2007