Most of us from San Juan Island know that Mike Corliss, owner of Corliss Estate, Tranche Estate and Secret Squirrel wines bought San Juan Vineyards. Mike also is owner of Investco Financial Corp. Investico is involved in some huge real estate developments and purchasing. With his wife Lauri they have purchased land for vineyards in Red Mountain, the Blue Mountains and close to Red Mountain they own Black Rock Vineyard. In 2015 they purchased Celilo Vineyard which is famous for its white grape production. Some of the best Chardonnay I have ever tasted has come from this vineyard.

It’s obvious that Mike Corliss has deep pockets which is evidenced in what he has already accomplished at San Juan Vineyards. I drive by it nearly every day and the attention they are giving the vineyards is obvious. They have recently completed an extensive remodel of the tasting room which I have yet to see. I am sure we will see many more improvements in the coming years. They will focus on estate fruit which for now is Madeleine Angevine and Siegerrebe. Word on the street is they are looking to plant other varietals including another attempt at growing Pinot Noir. At one time, Yvonne had an acre of Pinot Noir planted out there which has since been pulled up. I certainly think planting it once again is a great idea considering the resources at Mikes disposal. I would like it if they considered planted some Gruner Veltliner which I feel would do quite well in this region.

I am very excited about what is going on at San Juan Vineyards. Chris Lawler who came on as wine maker for Yvonne just prior to the change of ownership has moved on, and I have yet to hear who Mike will replace him with. Chris had one vintage under his belt before he left, and he did a nice job with what he had. The Madeleine Angevine he was responsible for was one of the best I’ve tasted coming from that vineyard. It will be interesting to see what style of wine Mike and Lauri shoot for from the estate fruit. They certainly have proved themselves capable of making some great wines at Corliss Estates and Tranche. The Secret Squirrel wines are also very consumer friendly consisting of a GSM red and a Rhone style white. I hope to do a feature article on San Juan Vineyards and hopefully and interview with Mike and Lauri Corliss. We will see if they are game.

Joshua Maloney recently sent me four of his vineyard designate cabs hoping I would review them on You Tube which is exactly what I did. You can check them out in Part 1 & Part 2. The interesting part of the Maloney Wine review is something I couldn’t share with the audience. Over the next four days, I continued to check each of them out to see how they would do after being opened for a while. They simply got better each day. Only one of them seemed a little tired on the fourth day, but it was hardly noticeable. The structure of the cabs is amazing and it just goes to show that Josh is striving to create wines that will age. I emailed Josh to ask him some questions, and it looks like he is doing quite well since his abrupt departure from Milbrandt. He is working on a project to create Cabs that are appellation specific and at a lower cost. I am very excited for him and look forward to seeing what he has to offer in the future.

Stan The Wine Man

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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