Driving out to Fresno, CA by way of Highway 99-South, you drive through a little town called Madera. This town has an abundance of wineries for such a small population; and while some are “ehhhh”, there are a few stellar examples of uniqe, small batch wines. One of these such wineries is Birdstone Winery. It is off Avenue 9 (most of the exits in Madera are Avenue Some-#) almost all the way to Highway 41. There is one small wine trail sign near the turn for the winery, but make sure to bring a map and watch the streets you drive by.
This winery produces mostly red wines, with a very nice Chardonnay for those wimps who cannot take a good red. Their bottles are mostly under $20, which makes this our favorite stop for everyday and gifting wine. Jack and I are still debating on which wine we like the best, but our three favorites are: Sangiovese, Barbera, and Tempranillo. Last time we were there we got to meet the owner/winemaker and do a barrel tasting of a Cabernet Sauvignon. My first barrel tasting, YAY! They also have a worker there named Matt, who was very nice. He also “forgot” where we were in the tasting list and had to start us over again. Three times! If you happen to go there, ask for the story about the Red Headed Step Child Chardonnay; it is a great story even if the wine is all sold out.
Sangiovese – This is a lighter red wine, as the afficiandos already know, but unlike most Sangio’s that you buy at BevMo, this one has flavor. It is not watered down at all, and has a nice and light finish for how much flavor is on the tongue. This is our favorite Sangio that we have ever tasted, and we prove that by buying a couple bottles each time we go there. Those couple of bottles are usually gone within a week.
Barbera – This is the first time that we tasted a Barbera, and we liked it. It reminded me alot of a good Pinot Noir on the body and finish, but a blended Grenache on the lightness of the overall taste. It did not leave a chalky feeling on my tongue; this surprised me when it tastes so heavy. I could not drink this wine everyday, Jack can, but it would go great with a rich pasta or a red meat.
Tempranillo – I was hesitant to try this wine because I have been dissatisfied with them in the past, but this one was a nice middle ground between the Sangio and the Barbera. If I didn’t know better, I would think it was a blend of the two. Lighter yet stronger, it was a very nice wine.