On Friday, October 28th we picked our last grapes of this year’s harvest. Every harvest is unique and special, but this one a little more so, as it was COHO’s 10th! When you start a small business, there are milestones along the way to mark your progress. For COHO a most exciting one was actually picking grapes that first year (2002) and making wine. Our first wines went to market in January 2004 to fine wine merchants and restaurants around California. And even more fun than getting those first orders were the re-orders, giving us some indication that consumers were trying and enjoying the wines.
Many of these wine shops marketed COHO to wine lovers around the country via the internet or by phone, and it was a thrill when a consumer from outside California would call to say they tried one of our wines and “loved them”. Talk about a significant milestone: those calls would keep smiles firmly affixed across our faces (and they still do).
COHO had a little setback in October 2005 when the warehouse our wine was stored was set afire. But our belief in the quality of our wines and the encouragement of our customers helped us get through it. In late fall of 2007 we had new wines available to sell, and new markets to open. Our old customer base welcomed us back and many new friends have found and enjoyed COHO wines ever since.
COHO wines are now available in fine wine shops and restaurants in 22 states, and direct to consumers through our website in an additional 10 markets (and expanding to a few more soon). It’s been a wonderful first ten years for COHO, and with each additional year that COHO makes wine we promise you three things: COHO will produce balanced, supple, flavorful wines that are delicious to drink; COHO will price our wines to over-deliver in quality and enjoyment; and that we (the four COHO partners) will always appreciate the support and good will that we get from you our customers and friends.
A quick word about this year’s harvest: Some cold, wet weather in the late spring created challenges to setting an ideal-sized crop. The summer growing season was mild and even (no heat spikes), allowing for good flavor development. Our Pinot Noir was picked in late September and is already showing lots of flavor. Earlier than usual rains hit in early October, followed by cooler weather that helped dry the grapes, but did little to elevate the flavor potential. However, the last three weeks of October were mostly sunny and warm imbuing our Bordeaux varietals with ripe fruit tones. In general the wines are going to be fabulous, lower alcohol than in an average year, but with great color; very elegant and balanced.
NEW RELEASES – for NOVEMBER
Making Pinot Noir is often considered a winemaker’s pursuit of a holy grail. To achieve a wine with rich, yet nuanced flavors, silky texture, and an underlying hint of earthiness depends so much on where the wine is grown. In 2009, our pursuit led us to the Galante Vineyard located in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley. The COHO 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has pure black cherry and ripe plum aromas, with hints of fragrant dried hibiscus, cedar, and cigar box. The rich entry on the palate continues all the way to the aftertaste, with supple tannins and a lush texture on the finish. COHO may never make the “perfect” Pinot Noir, but while we keep trying we will enjoy many a meal with this wine filling our glasses.
Red blends, particularly those comprised of Bordeaux varietals, have grown in popularity the last few years. We like to think that HEADWATERS has been one of the leaders in drawing positive attention to this ultimate expression of the winemaker’s art. Like a great chef, the winemaker carefully selects all the ingredients, in just the right proportions, to create a wine that seamlessly fills the palate with flavors and texture.
The primary source of the fruit for the COHO 2009 HEADWATERS remains the cool Coombsville region of Napa Valley. In near ideal conditions, the vineyards that we use for HEADWATERS produced exceptional fruit in 2009. This very special “terroir” provides deep and opaque red color, with supple red cherry/wild berry and cassis fruit both on the nose and in the mouth. This is a wine with great complexity and a silky, fine-grained texture.
The success we have enjoyed with our HEADWATERS wines over the past few years has allowed us to grow the production of this wine to almost 3,000 cases. This affords us the opportunity to increase your allocation so there is wine for you to enjoy now as well as to cellar.
To assist the stocking of your cellar with all the COHO wines we will continue to offer a 15% discount on all wine purchases over $500. This offer will last through the end of the year.
As always we want to thank you again for your continued support, and wish you and those you care about all the joys of the upcoming holiday season.
Brooks and Beth Painter Gary Lipp and Sheila Barry