' Summer 2013

Several interesting news stories in the wine press recently caught my attention. The first was when Christian Moueix declared that starting with the 2011 vintage, the varietal composition of Chateau Pétrus would forever be 100% Merlot. Then last week at auction, three bottles of 2000 Chateau Pétrus sold for more than $10,000. When I read about how revered Merlot from Pomerol is, it surprises me how many consumers still suffer from the “Sideways Syndrome” (fear of ordering Merlot and appearing stupid). I’m pleased to announce a cure…the release of COHO 2010 Michael Black Vineyard Merlot.
I’ve been privileged to work with (and drink) the Merlot wines produced from the Michael Black Vineyard since 1999. Back then Paul Hobbs made the wines, and they were deeply flavored, highly -structured, delicious, and always a tough sell (even pre-Sideways). I could never understand why customers who loved Paul’s highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon wines were rarely interested in even trying the Michael Black (“sorry, I don’t do Merlot”).

Despite this knowledge I jumped at the chance for COHO to become the sole producer of the Michael Black Vineyard Merlot in 2004, and am thankful for this good fortune every day. My partner Brooks Painter, the COHO winemaker, makes deeply flavored, highly-structured, and delicious wines from this vineyard and though it’s still not an “easy” sell, the more people who taste it understand how special the wines produced from the Michael Black Vineyard are. By the way, the 2010 Michael Black Vineyard Merlot is 100% Merlot and the release price is $55.00 per bottle. I don’t know what this wine may be worth in auction years from now, but I’m pretty sure that to open a bottle with good friends and family, and enjoy it with a delicious meal is priceless.

I also enjoyed reading a piece by Harvey Steinman online at the Wine Spectator site about some U.S. vintners labeling their vineyard designated wines by the vineyard name only, without the dominate varietal type, like they do in Bordeaux (Pétrus anyone?). When describing Headwaters I call it a Bordeaux blend, and this got me thinking about how best to categorize the wine from SummitVine Ranch.

In 2004 the first year that SummitVine Ranch produced a wine it was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, as the original section of the vineyard was planted to only Cabernet Sauvignon. For the next several vintages, during which time a new section of vineyard was being planted, the SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was blended with small amounts of Merlot and Petite Verdot from vineyards we work with in Coombsville.

Since 2008 the lower (new) section of vineyard has been producing not only more Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Now with the release of the 2010 SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, for the third vintage in a row, all the fruit is estate grown, and for all practical purposes is as much a Bordeaux blend as it is a Cabernet Sauvignon. The varietal composition is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. I don’t know that we are ready to drop the varietal designation “Cabernet Sauvignon” just yet, but this 2010 vintage certainly shows the depth of character and nuance that each of the other three varietals add to the main ingredient. The release price of the 2010 SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is $58.00 per bottle.

Also still available for purchase at our site are the 2010 Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir, 2009 and 2010 Headwaters and 18 bottles of the 2009 SummitVine Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. We have also added a new Recent Press section under the Wines tab.

As we are approaching summer with warm to hot weather across the country, COHO has a new summer shipping policy. For shipping within California, we continue to use Golden State Overnight service so the wines are not exposed to long periods of potential hot weather in transit. We ship GSO to Nevada and Arizona as well, but this generally takes two days. These orders will ship on Mondays-Wednesday.

For the rest of the country we have switched to FedEx Ground and 2 Day Air shipping. Ground service will only ship on Mondays through the summer and will be delivered to East Coast locations on Fridays or Saturdays. To insure that your wines arrive sound and cellar worthy we recommend 2 day Air service which will ship Monday-Wednesday.

A recent packaging innovation that helps protect your wine shipment in hot weather is called “Nordic” packs. The packs are comprised of an outer “styro-lock” section with special slots that hold non-sweat ice packs that won’t damage labels during transit. Testing has shown that these packs are very effective in locking in cool temperatures for up to 5 days. Also the material inside the ice packs is environmentally friendly, and if you choose not to re-freeze the packs for future use, you can cut them open and safely pour the liquid down the drain.

As a special incentive to for you, all orders of 6 or more bottles shipping outside of California will be shipped in the Nordic packs compliments of COHO. Normal price for these packs is up to $15.00. This incentive will be in effect until September 15, 2013.

On behalf of all the COHO partners, Brooks and Beth Painter, and my wife Sheila Barry, I want to wish you a summer filled with all the adventures you desire, and lots of delicious COHO wines to enjoy when you relive them around the dining table.

Gary Lipp


To unsubscribe, click here.