It's been an eventful few months in Napa, starting with our earthquake in late August. Sometimes it really is about location, location, location. Our winemaking facility and warehouse are both due east of the epicenter. Fortune smiled on us as the destructive energy of the quake moved to the northwest and spared us any damage. Unfortunately, not all our friends and colleagues were as lucky and some lost wine and property as a result. The best that can be said is that the quake was at 3:20 in the morning so there were no injuries at any wineries.
Mother Nature then gave us a reminder that there's little time to dwell, as an early grape harvest started the next week. Northern California is experiencing a worrisome drought, starting with very little rain in 2013 that lasted till mid-February of this year. Fortunately, a few good drenchings ensured that there was enough water for a healthy growing season.
Despite a warm and early start, temperatures remained moderate through most of the summer and gave the vines all they needed to produce flavorful, well-developed fruit that evolved weeks ahead of normal. A few heat spikes in September helped push things along and we brought all our grapes in just in time for the start of the baseball playoffs.
How will it all turn out (the vintage, not the baseball)? It’s way too early to say, but the fruit was picked with lots of flavor and has the potential to make delicious wines. We can pick up that discussion in a few years, but right now the focus is on 2011 and 2012.
2011 was a challenging growing year with very cool temperatures and more than a few rains (ah, the good old days…). Critics were quick to write it off, but truth be told those conditions often describe top European vintages, and somehow beautiful wines have emerged. I really like what COHO produced in 2011 and so far the most important critics (retail wine buyers) seem to agree.
Our 2011 Headwaters, Michael Black Vineyard Merlot
, and the previously released SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
can be characterized as having bright fruit aromatics, crisp, well-defined flavors, with excellent acidity and structure. All three of these wines are showing sumptuous flavors now and will continue to evolve as they mature.
I am also pleased to release the first of our wines from the more generous 2012
vintage, the Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir
. This wine is always an excellent example of what the French term terroir
means: the expression of place in a wine. Grown in the clay and loam soils of the Los Carneros appellation and influenced by the cooling fog from the San Pablo Bay, the Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir once again exudes spicy, black cherry aromas and flavors and the earthy, mineral complexity that makes it so appealing.
Our inventory of the 2011 Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir
and the 2010 Headwaters
is nearing the end, and I am pleased to offer you a special opportunity to purchase some of the remaining cases. Both wines are available in 12 bottle case lots for a 25% discount, which works out to $405.00 a case. They are both drinking well and will make excellent additions to your holiday parties or gift giving. Please note that the discount will be applied at checkout.
To close, I would like to say goodbye and thank you to my partner and COHO co-founder, Brooks Painter. As you may know, Brooks is the Director of Winemaking for V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa. The demands of those responsibilities continue to grow, leaving less time for Brooks to pursue his multitude of other passions, including COHO. It was a very difficult decision for him, but he and his wife, Beth, have sold their interest in COHO to my wife, Sheila, and me. Though we are sorry to see the Painters depart, we fully understand and support their decision.
As for the future of COHO, please be assured that the winemaking will be in more than capable hands with Phillip Corallo-Titus. Some of you may already have been enjoying Phillip's handiwork at Chappellet where he's been the winemaker for the last 28 years, or his own Titus wines. Every winemaker brings their own knowledge and perspective to the process but, like Brooks, Phillip strives to craft wines of elegance and balance. And I can promise that our commitment to make delicious, affordable wines will continue.
As always, thank you for your continued support of COHO.