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Conversations with Friends, "My Favorite Wine" on the Wine Muse Podcast #winemuse plus a review of a'Maurice Cellars Syrah/Grenache

Companion Post for The Wine Muse February Podcast

There are so many wines and so little time, how do you know where to start?  The Wine Muse hosts Linda Rez and William Pollard invited four wine industry experts to the #ThirdThursday #WineMuse show to share their sentiments about their favorite wine LIVE.

Linda and I each brought or own bottle of wine for this show. Naturally, I brought a Washington Syrah from one of my favorite wineries, a'Maurice Cellars of Walla Walla. Linda had a bottle of Townshend Cellar Washington Reserve Red. This was one of our favorite podcasts. Time went far too quickly as our guests shared their thoughts about what the topic of "favorite wine" meant to them. We were quite taken with our guests, we want to invite each of them back again. And we'll allow more time for each of them.

Below is a list of our guests with their bios and links to their sites. I have also included tasting notes for the wine I tasted, the 2008 a'Maurice Cellars Syrah-Grenache.

There are not enough kind words to share about our talented guests, a huge thank you to each of you. My best advice is to listen to the podcast and enjoy the show.

As James the Wine Guy said, "Peace through wine."

- Cheers!

Guest List

Tina Morey 
Tina is from Protocol Wine Studios, she is a Certified Sommelier working on her Master of Wine. A self-described "wine peddler", Tina curates for the wine subscription services Le Metro Wine and Protocol wine studio. She has an educational online program of the same name, #WineStudio.
Favorite: Italy.
"Although quite the idealist, I do extol the notion of “it is what it is,” especially true for wine. I’ve always been in the food business, studying first as pastry chef and directing my own wedding cake company then onto Certified Sommelier and now on the winding road to Master of Wine. Peddling wine is a heck of a lot of fun though, especially when working on our curated wine subscription service Le Metro Wine and  PROTOCOL wine studio, our parent company, houses our educational online program #WineStudio where we engage our brains and palates and overall PROTOCOL is the ideal wine think-tank that allows the continuation of our wine studies so that we may be wine industry advocates." - Tina Morey

James Melendez
James is known as, James The Wine Guy, was the National Food and Wine Marketing Manager at Cost Plus World Market, and he's been a writer and contributor to several online sites, as well as chief contributor at he reviews wines on his youtube channel.
Favorite: Republic of Macedonia.

James Melendez a resident of San Francisco for the past 17 years.  He received his undergraduate education from The University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico and attended graduated school at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota completing a degree in Philanthropy and Development.  James has been a devotee of Vitis vinifera for quite sometime.  He worked at Cost Plus World Market as the National Food and Wine Marketing Manager; James has been a writer and contributor to several online sites well as chief contribution to James the Wine since 2006 and has published over 2,000 videos on his YouTube channel.  James has also created a taxonomy on Vitis vinifera and other wine grapes species.

Frank Morgan
Frank is the author of the DrinkWhatYouLike wine blog that chronicles his travel experiences and shares the wine news in Virginia. His site was recently named one of the top wine news blogs.  He also contributes at the local broadcasting station, Snooth, and several wine magazines.
Favorite: Loire Valley, France.
A Virginia native, Frank Morgan works in the Legal and Data Privacy group of a global aerospace company by day.  He is the author of the DrinkWhatYouLike wine blog, started six years ago to chronicle his wine travel experiences and to share stories of the wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Virginia.  His site was recently named one of the top wine news blogs by Millesima.  Morgan is also a contributor for local public broadcasting station, the wine site Snooth, writes a regular column for the Virginia Vineyards Association newsletter, and is the contributing editor of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine. Frank also hosts virtual wine tastings featuring Virginia Wine.

April Yap-Hennig
April is from The Sacred Drop she is a Certified Sommelier and holds a Masters in Viticulture and Enology from the University of La Rioja, Spain, and an MBA from Purdue University.  She's lived all around the world and is currently in Oregon working as Director of Marketing and Hospitality as well as a wine and travel writer for
Favorite: Rioja Alta, Spain.

April was born in Utah, raised in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador and has lived and worked in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Her love of wine started when she studied in La Rioja, Spain during her undergraduate studies. This is where she fell in love with the country, the region, the people, the culture, and finally the wine. Thus changing her life and eventually her career.  She is forging a new future in Oregon as our Director of Marketing and Hospitality as well as a wine and travel writer for

Photos of our February guests.

James the Wine Guy at Montinore Estate, Oregon.
April Yap-Hennig posing with me in Penticton, BC.

James and April taking wine photos in Oregon Wine Country.
Tina Morey in Virginia Wine Country.
Sitting next to Frank Morgan in Raleigh, NC (left side).


My Favorite Wine - a'Maurice Cellars 2008 Syrah/Grenache

Usually I drink a'Maurice Cellars wines and neglect the tasting notes. It was a fun change of pace to take notes as I sipped and savored this wine. A first. Linda and I had a wonderful conversation with a'Maurice Cellars winemaker last year, I hope you have time to listen to her too.
Tasting Notes:

Color: Dark plum core, violet rim.
Nose: Rich, dark, spicy plum, bacon fat, blackberry, blueberry, white pepper.
Palate: Pow with the fruit, focused mid-palate, fresh, violets, blueberry, grape hard candy, cola, light coffee, smooth fine tannin on tongue, polished. Encouraging opening. Like.

After 15 minutes: Gorgeous dark color. Aromas of violets, bacon fat, anise, mint, sandal wood. Excellent mouth feel, sandal wood, blueberry, clove, mint, gentle grip on the gums, friendly acid across the tongue.

After 30 minutes: A little brown sugar.
After an hour: Lovely fruit with violets, a drinking wine.
After 3 hours: Luscious, dark fruit, tar, green tea, licorice, brown sugar, vanilla, violets, lively on the tongue, dark chocolate, cherry, ginger bread, cola, tannin more prominent on the gums, dry on the long tasty finish. Would be excellent with Filet Mignon or Leg of Lamb.
After 5 hours: This wine was stunning. My tongue was inky black as I savored the last glass of this delicious Washington Syrah. Well done, well done.

Thoughts: Opened this bottle for The Wine Muse February podcast, "My favorite wine." I wanted to share my thoughts and bias towards Washington Syrah and winemaker Anna Schaffer. This was not the current vintage, 2010 and 2011 are current. Strongly Recommended.

Vineyards: Boushey, Lewis, a'Maurice Estate, Minick
Blend: 88% Syrah, 12% Grenache
Whole cluster fermentation
100% French oak 10% new, 12 months
Unfined and unfiltered
ABV: 14.1%
Closure: Natural cork
Winemaker Anna Schafer
SRP: $34
Produciton 231 cases

àMaurice Cellars
178 Vineyard Lane
Walla Walla, WA 99362
twitter: @amauricecellars

Related Post: a'Maurice Cellars 2009 Malbec Washingtons Best Malbec 

My Wine Muse February podcast configuration.


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