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Madrona Vineyards

Madrona Vineyards Madroña Vineyards takes its name from the majestic old madrone tree which still stands in the middle of the vineyard. The warm days and cool nights of the historic El Dorado grape-growing region have proven to produce fruit with excellent balance and intense varietal character. At an elevation of 3,000 feet (one of the highest vineyards in California), it can truly claim the distinction of offering mountain-grown wines. Over twenty years old, the 35-acre estate vineyards are now in their prime. Originally planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Johannisberg Riesling, the family has since added Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Gewürtztraminer. An old-world philosophy prevails at Madroña with nearly all aspects of vineyard production still done by hand. This intensive handwork coupled with an integrated-pest-management system fosters low-impact agriculture while producing wine grapes of the highest quality.

Madroña Vineyards is located 45 miles East of Sacramento on U.S. Highway 50 in the heart of Apple Hill and the California Gold Country. From Highway 50, take the Carson Road exit (5 miles east of Placerville), go west on Carson Road 1/4 mile, turn right through High Hill Ranch. From the winery it is only a 55-mile drive to South Lake Tahoe and the mountain resorts.

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2560 High Hill Road, Camino, CA, US, 95709 Email:
Phone: 530-644-5948 Web:
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  Cabernet Franc
The palate is altogether something different if you’re expecting a nice light wine. Instead, the color is deep and dark, and the palate is big, extracted and mouth-filling with a cornucopia of fresh cherry and blueberry fruit. And surprisingly, the finish of pepper spice is soft with just a bit of the rustic tannin we expect from Cabernet Franc of this quality. And as arguable one of the most versatile food-pairing wines, each dish will flush out fascinating characters hidden in this complex variety.
  Cabernet Sauvignon
Have you ever tasted a wine so perfect that cosmically all the planets must be aligned? The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of those times where even Pluto seems to be in the alignment. The nose is classic Cabernet, centered upon deep dark cherry and intense plum fruit. Orbiting gracefully are high tones of strawberry and raspberry layered with vanilla, cedar and brown sugar. And like a comet passing through, herbal notes and subtle green olive characters add a complexity only Cabernet can achieve. And then you taste it! Immediately, a blast of ripe cherry and current fruit explodes on the palate, while subtle impacts of blackberry entice the taste buds. Luscious plum and toasty oak characters fill the mid-palate and linger long into the finish. And with a rich, smooth and balanced palate, this Cabernet has the elegance and silky texture of an aged wine with the compact fruit of a something half its age.
The nose is exquisite with copious amounts of apple, pear and coconut folded into rich layers of cream and butter. But don’t stop there. Another whiff and wafts of vanilla custard, bread pudding, crème brulée, roasted hazelnuts and citrus zest entice the senses to partake more. And then the palate, balanced seemingly magically between richness and brightness, makes it’s hard to believe this is Chardonnay. Not only could this unctuous nectar of the gods, this mélange of ripe apple and fresh cream, this unique blend of pink grapefruit and cinnamon/nut spice be enjoyed before a great feast, but it could be the wine of choice with each dish as well. Needless to say, it is unusual for a Chardonnay to excel on multiple levels.
  Dry Riesling
Basically, there is no mistaking this wine for anything but Riesling, on all facets, except the palate. The 2004 vintage has only 0.5% residual sugar (just below threshold for many tasters) with a pH of 3.36. This wine should be bright and tart! But instead with an acidity of 0.47%, this balanced Riesling is lush and rich with an unctuous viscosity reserved for California Chardonnay. But this is Riesling, isn’t it? The nose is loaded with ripe Bartlett pear, juicy pineapple and home-canned peach nectar. And that’s when it’s cold. Let the wine warm up a bit and it opens to fresh honeysuckle and an intense yet intriguing Mandarin orange component. That’s the hallmark of ripe Riesling fruit! The palate fruit is classically focused with Granny Smith apple characters layering notes of cantaloupe and honeydew melon. The mid-palate with its elegantly rounded texture carries seamlessly to the complex finish of mango and subtle clover honey. With just a hint of Botrytis and a refreshing sweet/tart twinge, this wine is 100% Riesling!
  El Tinto - Lot 23
When tasting a bottle of red plonk, one normally expects to wince a little knowing that the price paid for the everyday table wine generally reflects the quality to endure. Not so with our 2001 El Tinto Lot 23. Not only does this wine sport the great vintage of “2001,” it is also a varietal El Dorado Zinfandel! The nose immediately jumps out with complex Zinfandelness, filled with deep plum and ripe cherry fruit. A dash of black pepper and sprig of spice round out the youthful yet mature aromas of this classic Zin. It’s the palate, however, that truly makes this wine an exquisite find. Wonderfully smooth and rich with a medium-bodied texture, this Zinfandel is spice-oriented while never losing touch with the dark cherry essence of the variety. With just a hint of oak and a home-canned cherry finish lingering on the senses, this wine will surprise even the most price-conscious connoisseur.
From the first whiff of the aromas to the tingle of the lingering finish, it’s obvious the 2004 vintage is something special. The nose is incredibly complex, highlighting notes of gooseberry, peaches and orange marmalade, and that’s just the beginning. Allow the wine to get accustomed to its surroundings, and it opens up with a classic rose perfume character, framed by subtle hints of tropical piña colada. Let the wine sit in the glass a little more, and the layers of depth in the aromas just keep unfolding. The palate is equally enticing, traveling that fine line of being bright yet rich, with its dryness only accentuating the inherent elegance that Gewürztraminer can have. Ripe ruby grapefruit characters abound balanced by a dash of fresh tart mango and lychee fruit. Add to this a full-bodied finish that is surprisingly refreshing, and you have just enjoyed Gewürztraminer in all its wonder. Serve this wine ever-so-slightly chilled, and enjoy how it opens up and changes over the course of the meal. Not only is Gewürzt our preferred wine with spicy Thai and Jamaican dishes, it is the quintessential wine for smoked salmon and a traditional Thanksgiving turkey. To make Gewürztraminer with this purity and complexity, however, it means we work with it very carefully. Thus, so as to not strip the delicate characters away, we have not fined this wine. It may, with time, become slightly cloudy or throw a sediment. Enjoy it knowing that you are tasting the wine at it’s finest.
  Late Harvest Zinfandel
If you can remember back to one of our earliest vintages, this wine is incredibly reminiscent of the famed 1981 Late Harvest Zinfandel. The nose is all Zin! Big and bold, the anise, cinnamon, cedar and clove meld together, presenting a classic pot-pourri of Zinfandel spice. And then enters the fruit. Bright raspberry, luscious cherry, fresh currant and juicy strawberry balance each other so perfectly that the characters build seamlessly to that first sip. And then it happens—the wine hits the senses. The palate is lush with tree-ripened plum and cherry fruit with just a hint of prune for complexity. The sweetness balances the tannins and that little note of heat on the finish, showcasing a wine rich in character with an elegance to boot. Consider it the proverbial cowboy in a tuxedo!
  Mélange de Trois
From the first sniff, it is easy to tell that this wine is something special, and not Chardonnay. The nose is loaded with sweet cream, honey and apricot characters framed by ripe cantaloupe and subtle tangerine fruit. The palate is rich, but not overbearing, with notes of honeydew, candied pear and elegant caramel. Bursts of cream, roasted hazelnuts and vanilla spice linger intensely on the finish, inviting the taste buds to enjoy the wine just a little longer. The 2003 Mélange de Trois is a beautiful wine made not for sipping, but instead for food. Chilled slightly, it pairs well with pork, fish and chicken dishes where the richness warrants a wine of this caliber. And don’t be afraid to lay a bottle down for awhile. It is known to age well!
The big and full-bodied texture of this wine is balanced and exciting. The palate respects its heritage with bounteous amounts of black cherry and tree-ripened plum fruit. Add to this a cornucopia of sweet berry flavors and just settle in for the finish. Long and lingering, the richness envelops the senses, engaging the tastebuds even more. This wine is ideal with grilled meats and hearty dishes, perhaps spiced with hints of sage and rosemary.
Complexity on the nose is just the start. Ripe strawberry fruit layered with juicy plum characters dominate at the get-go. But wait, sniff again, and all of a sudden the subtle spice and pepper emerges, intertwined with a wonderful note of caramel candy. As the wine hits the palate, however, the mouthfeel is big and bold with, wait ... an elegant nature. Home-canned cherries (which we grew up eating) is the essence of the fruit balanced, once again, with that enticing spice character, lingering with cloves and a hint of a rustic edge. The tannins (Nebbiolo’s calling card) are untamed, yet surprising friendly, no doubt a benefit of the extended barrel and bottle aging. Nonetheless, this is definitely a food wine. Enjoy it with a wide variety of pastas and grilled meats as we think it will stand up to almost anything. Just remember. You’re drinking something special!
  New World Port
Deep, dark blackberry preserves hit you first on the nose, leaving you swimming in a sea of complex clove, vanilla and pepper spice. And that’s just the nose. The palate is luscious, overflowing with dark chocolate, Bing cherry and more ever-present blackberries. This finish lingers for what many would consider to be an eternity with, you guessed it, blackberries. Never alcoholic and never cloyingly sweet, this is one Port that is a true pleasure to drink. Ideal with Stilton or blue cheese, almonds, walnuts and the occasional perfect chocolate.
  New-World Port
Luscious blueberry and ripe blackberry fill the palate, and the sweetness of the wine just intensifies the characters. The spice on the mid-palate and nose surrounds itself with notes of nutmeg and cinnamon and a hint of woodiness. Sit back and relax while this wine blossoms, or enjoy its intensity with strong cheeses such as stilton. But definitely give yourself the time to relax and enjoy! Alvarahao—Intense color with incredible canned cherry fruit and a luscious mid-palate. Touriga Nacional—Good color with a spicy nose and a lingering blackberry finish. Sousao—Intense color, great berry fruit and a structured backbone. Tinta Cao—Great color, good body and deep plum characters. Tinta Roriz—Interesting complex nose with a well-balanced palate. Bastardo—Horrible color (light brown at best), but extremely intriguing as a variety. It marries all the other varieties, acting as a bridge between characters. Tinta Amarella—Very small production, which is always field blended. Each of the individual port lots was a great stand-alone port this year, but still the whole is greater (and more complex) than the sum of its parts!
Intensely fruity yet inherently complex, this blend of Bordeaux varieties has a nose overflowing with juniper spice. Let the glass stand for a moment, and the berry aromas begin to blossom. Next comes cranberry, then bright cherry, followed by tart raspberry and finally ripe blackberry, showcasing a density and freshness usually reserved for young Zinfandel. Sprinkle in hints of shaved vanilla, and the masterpiece of the nose is complete. However, the multi-dimensional experience has just begun. When talking about people or wine, complexity and youth are seldom considered in the same thought. But the 2000 Quintet has endless cherry and fresh berry characters shuffled with hints of “classic” Cabernet herbaceousness. The finish is long and lingering with a pinch of oak and a dash of vanilla.. And the palate of this wine is just coming into its own with an elegant structure and youthful tannins that suggest a long and interesting life.
  Reserve Chardonnay
Madroña Reserve Chardonnay is a full-bodied, creamy wine, with lots of toasty oak. Partial barrel fermentation in only the sweetest of French oak is neatly married with cool tank fermented Chardonnay, both of which are aged "sur lie" until close to bottling. A partial malolactic fermentation softens the palate adding a creaminess to the mouthfeel and making this a more age-worthy Chardonnay than its lighter style counterparts.
  Reserve Mélange
The Reserve Mélange (“Blend” in French) is our example of the perfect harmony of the three major white Rhône varieties, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier. Marsanne, the heavyweight of team, provides the rich, full-bodied voluptuous curves on the palate with hints of honeydew melon. The nose of tropical fruit comes entirely from the Roussanne and Viognier, each delivering its own personality to the blend. The percentages between the varieties may change each vintage as we achieve the ideal balance for the distinctive wine our mountain vineyards produce.
  Reserve Syrah
If I were to write a description of this Syrah, I would start with the easy aspects. The wine has such a wonderful dark garnet color that light barely escapes it density. And this density carries easily into the full-bodied palate, framed by moderate, young tannins. But if I try to describe its characters, my senses are overwhelmed. The nose starts with an initial earthiness which evolves into gamy aromas. Take another sniff, and the nose is filled with black pepper, anise and dill. Move your nose slightly, and the fruit jumps out with intense cherry rounded out by ripe blackberry characters. These transform into luscious blueberry with notes of vanilla custard and sweet candy. (And this was all before I decided I should taste the wine.) The sensations on the palate are equally enticing, with an initial blast of great Syrah fruit—a glorious mix of sweet boysenberry and dark black cherry. And then the characters just start cascading down with hints of white pepper, plums, black currants and this flavor of smoked bacon cured over a fire of cherry wood. Never does one character dominate another in this wine, making sure that each person’s experience will be truly unique. As was mine!
  Reserve Zinfandel
Once again, Madroña’s Reserve Zinfandel proves that not all foothill Zins are overripe, raisiny, sweet wines. Instead, the emphasis on balance and varietal purity is the hallmark of the 2002 vintage. Complex spicy aromas fill the glass of this multi-dimensional wine with classic black pepper taking center stage. Hints of incense cedar, raw clove and dense cigar smoke loiter nearby as deep boysenberry and pomegranate fruit encompass the nose. The palate is supple and inviting with a wonderful fresh-strawberry-jam character that only builds with each taste. Ripe Bing cherry fills in the edges, balancing an ever-enticing black pepper/white pepper montage. An incredibly even palate with just a slight note of toasty oak on the finish makes this Zinfandel a full-bodied delight to enjoy with hearty dishes and grilled meats alike.
  Reserve Zinfandel
If you’ve ever had a California Zin and determined that the variety is one-dimensional with over-the-top fruit and alcohol, let us introduce you to Madroña’s Reserve Zinfandel. Not only does the 2003 vintage hallmark the complexity we expect out of the variety, but it also highlights that Zinfandel can be an amazing food companion. Although we believe in blending when it comes to Zinfandel, this particular vintage is 99.98% Zinfandel, and showcases Zin characters harvested from four of our estate vineyards. The nose hints at the wine’s complexity with this ying and yang relationship of tart and sweet cherry. Throw in some spices, a dash of coffee, a pinch of chocolate and a drop of soy sauce, and you’re starting to get close to the intricacy of aromas. Toss in a couple cedar shavings and top it off with a fresh ripe strawberry, and you’re ready to taste. The palate is dense and rich, yet wonderfully balanced. Dark cherry dominates the fruit while subtle background notes of briary blackberry and bright raspberry intermingle with a bit of exotic spice. The sensation of luscious fruit is balanced by slightly rustic tannins, allowing the finish of bittersweet chocolate to steal the show.
Starting in the land of incredibly intense aromas, you travel through deep luscious pears, spicy honey and ripe apricot while meandering the fine line of fusil oil and tropical coconut. You land on lemon zest and it sends you whizzing by hints of botrytis to the intoxicatingly wonderful land of the impeccably balanced palate. One step forward, the wine’s rich. Two steps back, the wine’s dry and refreshing. Saunter ten steps ahead into the land of complexity and a cornucopia of fresh white peaches, tree-ripened Barlett pears and old-time candied apples greets the senses. Two more steps and you’ve reached the finish, showcasing a sweet-tart fruit lingering well past the borders of the game. Take another sip and play again. Everyone’s a winner in “Riesling Land.”
  Select Harvest Riesling
This was a wonderful year for producing a late-harvest Riesling. A bloom of botrytis early in the harvest season flourished, allowing for picking at optimum characters rather than racing to beat an oncoming storm. For increased color, flavor and sugar extraction we cold-soaked the juice on its skins for 24 hours. The result is a golden dessert wine with intense apricot, honey and peach intermingled with complex citrus and tart apple fruit. Still sweet, but lighter in style than past vintages, this wine is superbly balanced and is the perfect compliment to most fruity desserts. Serve chilled.
The 2003 vintage truly showcases the harmonious effect these two varieties can achieve. The nose has intense, bright fruit flowing with ripe boysenberry, tart cranberry and a wonderful intermingling of Ranier cherry and black currant characters. Add to this a hint of vanilla spice, and it’s hard to tell where the Syrah starts and where the Cabernet finishes. And if the aromas are a perfect union, the palate has an equally wonderful blast of fruit up front letting you know this wine is no slouch. High-tone cherry fruit form the foundation of the palate, with young, rustic tannins providing the support. The same thread of vanilla oak from the nose marries the characters even more, ushering the senses to that last lingering note of smokiness, just a small stamp of Syrah individuality. Enjoy this wine with any grilled meat dish or make the commitment and age it out a bit. In any case, this is one relationship worth investing in.
From the get-go, the nose ropes you in. The aromas start simply enough with cranberry and tart cherry characters, but with the blink of eye, everything changes. First ripe plum develops, then some black pepper and cloves, then molasses, and finally a deep blackberry/raspberry candy character charges, daring you to taste the wine. The first shot continues with that intense blackberry fruit on the fore-palate. But ever present is an intriguing hint of spice that seamlessly bridges the mid-palate essence of high-tone wild raspberry and dark plum. And finally lingering is that sweet chocolate-covered-cherry-candied-spice finish that only Zinfandel can carry off. Rustic yet elegant, and enticingly dense with color, this exciting blend will only develop with time. So the next time you’re grilling up spicy ribs or stewing fresh birria, let this Zin show you who’s boss. You’ll be surprised.


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