The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 16 of 112

16 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2015 PREMIERE NAPA VALLEY (PNV), THE TRADE-ONLY barrel auction held by the Napa Valley Vintners, brought in a record $6 million on February 21 in St. Helena, California, just surpassing last year's record of $5.9 million. "The record results speak for the wonderful support of Napa Valley as a world-class growing region," said Emma Swain, Vice Chairman of the NVV Board of Directors, PNV Chair and CEO of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery. Two hundred twenty-five lots of one-of-a-kind barrel samples were auctioned off in 5-, 10-, or 20-case lots exclu- sively to restaurateurs and retailers at the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus. The average wholesale price per bottle sold was $286. The top bidder was Total Wine & More, which purchased 25 lots for a total of $836,000. The highest-priced lot, both in total dollars and in dollars per bottle, was BRAND Napa Valley's 2013 "Double Barrel Elevation 1588" Cabernet Sauvignon, purchased by Gregor Greber of Veraison AG, a corporate finance firm based in Zurich, Switzerland, who said, "We wanted this wine because of the people behind it, the terroir and the winemaking style." By far the majority of the wines were 2013 Cabernet Sauvignons or Cabernet blends. Although I didn't make it through even half of the offerings at tasting prior to the auction, my favorites lots (in alphabetical order) were the Arrow & Branch 2013 Red Wine, BRAND Napa Valley 2013 "Double Barrel Elevation 1588" Cabernet Sauvignon, Continuum 2013 Proprietary Red Blend, Cairdean 2013 Acquaintance Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Fairchild 2013 "Stones No. 2" Cabernet Sauvignon, Gandona 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Notre Vin 2013 "Twin Brothers" Cabernet Sauvignon, Pulido-Walker 2013 "The Possible II" Cabernet Sauvignon and Schramsberg 1989 "J. Schram" Late Disgorged Sparkling Wine. I was especially impressed with the wines from Pritchard Hill and Coombsville AVA. Generally speaking, the 2013 vintage is strong for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Most of the wines were marked by good fruit flavors, bright acidity, and strong tannins. The 2013 wines tended to be less opulent than those from 2012, and more restrained. Overall, the 2013 Napa vintage appears to be excellent. —Kyle Schlachter { shop talk } 123_TastingP_4.25x6_Bike ad.indd 1 7/9/14 2:20 PM Premiere Napa Valley Sets New Record PHOTO: BOB MCCLENAHAN FOR NAPA VALLEY VINTNERS The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone was home to the 2015 Barrel Tasting and Auction.

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