The SOMM Journal

August / September 2015

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Page 90 of 132

90 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 V { new releases } NAPA CELLARS CELEBRATES THE LAUNCH OF ITS "V" COLLECTION OF PREMIUM, LIMITED-PRODUCTION WINES by Elyse Glickman SINCE 2006, WHEN TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES PURCHASED Napa Cellars, winemaker Joe Shirley has helped Napa Cellars garner a strong reputation among discerning sommeliers and California wine connoisseurs as a vintner whose wines embody Napa's most distinctive terroir and climates. This past May, Napa Cellars began pushing things a step further with the introduction of a small production tier, the "V" Collection. In this new line, "V" (which stands for "Five," based on the winery's original five acres) represents many things—vivaciousness, vivid- ness and vitality—which can be seen, smelled and tasted in every sip. "V" can also stand for the virtues the wines possess. These sub-appella- tion, single varietal wines pay tribute to the original five acres upon which Napa Cellars winery was first established in 1968. According to Joe Shirley, Napa Cellars' principal winemaker, the 2013 Carneros Chardonnay, 2013 Carneros Pinot Noir and the 2012 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon, are collectively the outgrowth of challenges he faced with the varying amount of fruit available for winemaking that changed every year. Most importantly, they represent a victorious triumph over one of the biggest challenges winemakers face as a result of the weather's unpredictability. Before the V Collection, the winery did produce a single vineyard–des- ignated reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and reserve Chardonnay. Even with these well-received wines, Shirley and his team couldn't grow beyond the yields of those specific vineyards. "There was not a lot of flexibility. A year after you pick the grapes, you can't just go out and buy more of the same vineyard designate. At the same time, our core Cabernet and Chardonnay programs, sourced throughout the valley, were experiencing phenomenal growth. What this meant was that we had access to an ever expanding lineup of different Cabernets and Chardonnays." What ensued was winemaker Shirley cherry-picking for literally hun- dreds of potential lots for this new reserve line-up. "The V Collection ended up being true reserve wines in the sense that we were skimming 1.2 percent of the best Cabernet, 1.2 percent of the best Chardonnay and 1.8 percent of the Pinot Noir we made, the best 25 barrels of each, and putting them into their own special production," Shirley says with pride. "These wines represent the best of the Napa Valley, as they are varietally authentic and accurate in respect to the variety and the origin of the grapes. They represent the cream of the crop of the lots we get in a given year, the wines that express the most intensity and complexity, and the best of what we have to offer." High "V" Winemaker Joe Shirley in the Napa Cellars vineyards. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES

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