Each of my visits to Fresno, a stop-off at two of Madera’s well-known producers, Ficklin and Quady, was part of my plans. Yet the temptations of Fresno’s chowroads made me overstay my visit and I ran out of time for the wine trail. However, this last Sunday I made the supreme sacrifice of foregoing lunch at Hunan Restaurant and handmade paletas, instead making my way up Hwy 99 to Madera.
First stop was Ficklin Vineyards, a short detour off the road to Firebaugh. Here’s a shot of the ivy-covered cellar.
The wine club had a special event this weekend, so on Sunday morning quite a few selections were open for tasting. I had the chance to try Old Vine Tinta (a ruby style port), Aged 10 Years Tawny, Aged 20 Years Tawny, 1991 Vintage Port, and Raspberry Passport. My favorite of the line-up was the 20 year old tawny, but I couldn’t justify the $41 for 375 ml.
Then up the road to Quady Winery, where I caught up to chowhounds Ruth Lafler and “windy” in the parking lot. I hope they’ll share their impressions too. Here’s the entrance to Quady’s tasting room and cellar.
Cynthia lead me through a tasting of everything available for sale. I skipped the Electra and the red version. Solid performance for all wines, and the most interesting ones for me were the infused wines Deviation, Vya Extra Dry and Vya Sweet, and the very fine amontillado-style Palomino Fino made from biodynamically farmed grapes. Cynthia was able to answer a wide range of technical questions, and when she didn’t the facts, didn’t try to BS me. I was impressed, that’s quite rare in tasting rooms.
13181 Road 24, Madera, CA
30246 Avenue 7 1 2, Madera, CA