It’s Time for Wine and Other Things

By Monty and Sara Preiser

Two Wineries Come of Age: It is trite, but true. A new label arrives on the shelves of Napa’s wine shops almost every few days. Sampling them all has become next to impossible. Perhaps not so surprisingly, though, but for a rare few, most are from vines that are not fully matured or the wine is still too young in the aging process to really make us swoon. It usually takes a bit of time to finally show your best stuff – much like a young actor who shows promise but whose great talent will be overwhelmingly apparent a few years later. Today we want to mention two of our favorite wineries that are more than ready for prime time.

Arrow&Branch: Steve and Seanne Contursi fell in love while in Bordeaux, so it was written in the stars that these Laguna Beach residents would someday own a vineyard in what is now one of the world’s best wine growing appellations (Napa Valley’s Coombsville). People like to point out that the Contursis bought the famed Tony Soter property, but to our palates Aarow&Branch is producing wines more than equal to those that previously came from there. Give the new team its due for improving on the already excellent.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($95): Though their first release, this wine already makes an impact. It has two advantages — older vines from a stellar vineyard (Stagecoach), and an excellent veteran winemaker in Jennifer Williams. This Cab is layered and complex with all sorts of espresso and tobacco moving from front to back before being overtaken by distinct cedar and spice flavors.

2010 Red Wine ($125): We always have a smile on our face when we find a fine wine dominated by Cabernet Franc. This one has 67% of this beautiful variety, 26% Merlot, plus a little Cab and Petit Verdot. You can literally identify each varietal as you savor each sip. Raspberries and strawberries from the Franc, blueberries from the Verdot, and structure from the Cab make this a hard to resist bottle.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($35): A wine that approaches brilliance, it is composed of 73% Sauvignon Blanc and 27% Sauvignon Blanc Musque. About 3Ž4 of the juice sees oak, which, more often than not, adds immeasurable beauty and body to an SB. Grapefruit and a little orange form the core of the wine, and the acidity ensures crispness and a relatively long finish. Buy it.