Excitement generated by the outstanding wines produced from the 2013 crush led to record-setting results at Premiere Napa Valley last weekend.
The winter auction — exclusively for restaurateurs, retailers and wholesalers — staged by the local 500-plus-member trade association, Napa Valley Vintners, netted $6 million — up by $100,000 over last year when the take nearly doubled the tally from 2012.
Premiere Napa Valley is always a first glimpse into what the future of a vintage has in store for us. The events this past week confirmed what we’ve been hearing from our vintner and winemaker friends for a while … that 2013 is another outstanding vintage across the board for the Napa Valley. The wines in general were intense, complex and delicious.
Last week’s Premiere Napa Valley (PNV), the fundraising auction for the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), brought in a record $6.05 million, just surpassing last year’s previous record of $5.9 million. Napa Valley wineries donated five-, 10-, or 20-case lots that were then exclusively auctioned off to the trade. The barrel tasting and auction at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena capped off a bacchanalian week in the Napa Valley just as the vines were beginning to spring back to life for the 2015 vintage. The average wholesale price per bottle sold was an astounding $286.
The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards had plenty of Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte on hand at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., on Jan. 16. It was Nicolas Feuillate’s third year as the event’s Champagne sponsor. New to the CCMAs was Coombsville’s Arrow & Branch winery, whose Napa Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc were served as well.
When a winery is built with a story of love and passion, I pay attention. Such is the case with Napa Valley winery Arrow & Branch. Last week, I had the great privilege of representing this winery on the Sip and Sail Wine Cruise put on by The Right Blend. It was a spectacular evening of wine tasting framed by the magnificent skyline of the San Francisco Bay basking in a pink sunset.
Owners Steve and Seanne Contursi fell in love with the wines of Bordeaux on a trip in 1985. They then sought out their Coombsville vineyard property in 2007 in order to produce Bordeaux style wines in the Napa Valley. With winemaker Jennifer Williams at the helm, Arrow & Branch has set a standard for red blends.
The name “Arrow & Branch” has unique begins coming from Steve Contursi’s passion for collecting coins which started at a young age. As an adult, Steve has made his name as a professional collector having started Rare Coin Wholesalers and RCW Financial, even making the international news when he sold a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar for a world record of $7.85 Million dollars. On the reverse of most US coins is an eagle holding an arrow and an olive branch which inspired the winery’s name and is an homage to Steve’s first passion.
The Red Blend On the Bay cruise last week, I had the pleasure of pouring their 2010 Red Wineand the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines are exceptional and with a little areation drink smoothly now but can also be aged for a number of years. The Cabernet is bold and has rich tannins along with lots of classic cassis and red fruits. The Red Blend is mainly composed of Cabernet Franc and Merlot for a smooth rendition of a Bordeaux Blend. A favorite for both myself and everyone who tried it. At $125 a bottle, I would expect nothing less. The Cabernet comes in at lower price point and the crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc even lower.
I recommend grabbing a few bottles of these wines which are perfect for letting Mom know you care or for your upcoming Mother’s Day Celebration.
The brilliant 2010 Proprietary Red is composed of 60% Cabernet Franc, 26% Merlot and the rest other Bordeaux grape varietals. Fragrant notes of boysenberries, blueberries and acacia flowers are followed by a dense, rich, medium to full-bodied wine with striking purity and elegance as well as sweet tannins. This lovely 2010 can be drunk now and over the next decade.
These wines missed the Napa report, so I’m including them with these Sonoma reviews. An interesting small production boutique winery, Arrow & Branch uses at least 60% Cabernet Franc in its blends (the fruit had previously been sold to Tony Soter for his Napa operation prior to him purchasing an estate in Oregon)
The 2010 Proprietary Red is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 26% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. A beautiful nose of blueberries, raspberries, violets and forest floor are followed by a medium to full-bodied, dense wine with striking purity, plenty of ripe fruit and an ethereal sense of elegance and lightness for such intense flavors. There is not a hard edge to be found in this luscious wine that should drink nicely for 12-15 years.
This is a project of Jennifer Williams, a young, talented winemaker, who is using some old vine Cabernet Franc from a vineyard once exploited by Tony Soter before he moved to Oregon. These are interesting, complex wines, and consumers who believe Napa Valley cannot produce elegant, finesse-filled reds should check them out.