I think at this point, it comes as no surprise that I like the wines from Carmel Valley and Georis Winery, in particular. They’re my favorite winery, in fact, from my favorite appellation. So, what could be just as awesome as my favorite winery’s, appellation-specific wine? A new wine from the winemaker from my favorite winery in my favorite appellation, of course! Damien Georis, winemaker for Georis Winery (no relation…maybe) has released the second chapter of his personal label, Madeleine.
Damien Georis has been the winemaker for Georis Winery for the last 3 vintages. As the story goes, Walter Georis, Renaissance man (surfer, surf musician, artist, restaurateur, winegrower) and art/music/wine leader in Carmel Valley needed a new winemaker. Like anyone else searching for anything these days…he Googled it, on a whim.
He was pleasantly surprised to find another Georis in the wine world and one that was working at Château Olivier, Premier Grands Cru Classé, in the Graves region of Bordeaux, no less! He gave a ring to the Château and found that Damien had also had a stop at Château Nénin in Pomerol, only the premier wine-growing region for Merlot, which also happens to be Walter’s favorite variety and wine region, as well. A ‘Georis a Georis’ bond was formed and by 2005, Damien was installed in the Valley as the new winemaker for Walter’s own Château.
Also around that time, Damien got the itch to produce his own line of wines. Taking inspiration from the quote philosopher and theologian Thomas d’Aquin: “La sobriété n’est pas abstinence, c’est la mesure de cette boisson délicieuse” (roughly: Sobriety is not abstinence, it is the measurement of this delicious drink), he endeavored to make the best red wine from the best fruit available for each vintage…Madeleine was born.
I tasted the first vintage 2005 briefly, while at one of the many glorious Georis wine club events up at the winery in 2007. I’m already a big fan of Cab Franc, but this medley of red/black fruit, silky mouthfeel and earthy undertones made me a believer of this inaugural vintage! The second vintage is a different take on, more of an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the 2006 Chapitire II, that I received as a sample from Damien the last time we were at the Georis tasting room. This was somehow an improvement on the luxurious ’05, however. It featured that same decadent mouthfeel, yet had the balance that I look for in a truly fine wine, with its deep depths of fruit that feature red, black and even blue flavors, coming from the Syrah. The oak is integrating nicely already and the tannin and acidity scream for a dish from one of Walter’s many great establishments. The finish is long and peppery, with some tasty black cherry at the very end. At only $18 a bottle, this has some crazy QPR, grab some while you can as he typically only has a few barrels each vintage! Future plans for Madeleine include a wider range of wines and a French wine import endeavor…Damien shall be busy, indeed!