One of the best days of the year in wine country occurs in late February when The Napa Valley Vintners holds its annual “Premiere Auction” for leading members of the wine trade. More than five hundred wine merchants, restaurateurs, and distributors congregate in the old barrel room of the historic Greystone Cellars in St. Helena to taste barrel samples from 200 of Napa Valley’s best wine producers. After spending the morning tasting the various lots, the trade gathers in the Auction Room to bid for the wines that they would like to purchase (usually for delivery 12-18 months later).
At the auction in 2010, COHO’s lot was our 2008 SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon-“Upper Block”. We were very excited when the purchase price paid for the wine was amongst the top twenty highest priced lots, on a per case basis, fetching $3,600 per case. The wine for the auction was a unique cuvee, being 100% Cabernet Sauvignon coming exclusively from the original planting on the vineyard.
Today we are pleased to release the COHO 2008 SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon to our mailing list. This final blend is slightly different than the auction wine, but equally enjoyable and well-made. In addition to the upper block Cabernet Sauvignon, we have blended in 9% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot from the new lower block of the vineyard. The other varietals provide additional richness and density to the wine. Sadly, the yields in 2008 were low and we produced only 312 cases, so the wine will have limited availability. The good news, though, is the price to you is $55 per bottle (and not the $300 paid in auction).
Speaking of good value, two months ago one of Napa’s top wine shops held a blind tasting where the taster was given three sets of wines (two wines in each set) with the objective to guess which wine cost $50 or $150. The COHO 2008 Headwaters ($42) was one of the wines in the tasting, and it was paired with a very famous “red blend” from California that actually sells for $175.
The owner of the shop reported that all but one taster choose the COHO 2008 Headwaters as the more expensive wine in its pairing. The 2008 Headwaters is so complex and delicious it’s not hard to understand why almost all the tasters thought it might cost three times more than it actually does. We held back a small quantity of the 2008 Headwaters so that we would have some available to sell now as the weather is cooling, and of course at the $42 price.
We also have a small amount of both the COHO 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and the COHO 2008 Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir. The next few months provide a cornucopia of wonderful “harvest” foods for us to enjoy, from the fields, sea, and sky. Pinot Noir is the perfect accompaniment to an immense variety of these foods. Also available are limited quantities of both the 2005 and 2007 Michael Black Vineyard Merlot (sadly there isn’t a 2008) and 2005 SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.
To incentivize you to get your “red wine season” off to a strong start, we will deduct 15% of the purchase price for all orders over $500.00. This special pricing will be good through October 31st, 2011.
The 2009 vintage from Northern California is already starting to get a lot of positive hype in the wine-press, and deservedly so. We look forward to begin releasing some of the COHO wines from the 2009 vintage towards the end of the year. Until then we hope you will enjoy all the pleasures of the season, and include lots of wonderful COHO wines in your dining plans.
Brooks and Beth Painter Gary Lipp and Sheila Barry