Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ma(i)sonry, May 14, 2013

Winery - 8 / Wines - 7
Range:  1 to 9 (9 is best, 5 is average)
Historic stone building flush with art and sculpture.  Wine flights from many wineries.

Ma(i)sonry is not a winery operation or a tasting room dedicated to a single winery.  Rather, it is a collective of several area wineries and offers a number of tasting options.  They offer flights of individual winery’s offerings or flights of related wines from different producers.  They also provide you with the opportunity to select a flight of your own from the many wines that they are pouring on any given day.  The name is a clever play on words and situation: mason is a stone worker, drawing on the beautiful stonework used to create this tasting room, while maison is French for house or home, reflecting the feeling one has in the gardens and tasting alcoves that make up this place.  If you appreciate three-dimensional art, you’ll really enjoy your visit to Ma(i)sonry.  Everywhere you turn you’ll find individual works of art ranging from palm-sized pieces to outdoor sculpture, all of which is offered for sale.

Ma(i)sonry's historic stone building
The Ma(i)sonry building sits on the main drive on the north end of Yountville and looks as though it may have been there for one hundred years or more.  The recently restored building is constructed entirely of stone and mortar, exposed both inside and out.  A number of windows admit an abundance of natural light.  A simple, finished concrete floor offsets the stonework inside, and a number of older furnishings lend a look of authenticity to this otherwise newly renovated building.  Surrounding the building on one side and to the rear are gardens, neatly divided into semi-private tasting spots featuring differing exposures to the sun and shade.  Both the inside and outside are furnished with artwork, with the outdoor pieces featuring weather tolerant sculptures.   Because of the glorious weather, I opted for a shady alcove under the trees in the garden to taste my wine selections.

Inside the Ma(i)sonry building
I had chosen to come to Ma(i)sonry to taste one wine in particular – the 2009 Lail Vineyards J. Daniel Cuvee.  Ma(i)sonry offered the most convenient option to do so.  So, I constructed a flight of wines from their menu, starting with the 2010 Blackbird Arise (a Merlot-based blend), then the 2009 Fisher Coach Insignia, and the 2009 Lail J. Daniel Cuvee.  For my fourth pour, I invited my pourer to recommend a wine, and I enjoyed a tasting of the 2010 Entre Nous Cabernet, which was my favorite of the flight.  Be forewarned that when arranging your own flight, two-ounce pours will be given, which is about twice what most wineries offer.  You should allow extra time for your body to process the wine, or sample fewer wines.

Based on this experience, I would rate the tasting room as an 8 and the wines offered as a 7.  This is consistent with my prior visit to Ma(i)sonry.

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