When someone pays $40 million for a boutique winery in Napa Valley, as someone apparently did last month, it essentially means that everyone is for sale. Who would turn down $40 million for a 12-acre, 600-case operation, even if the Cabernet sells for $600 a bottle?
As rumors of the sale spread, several names were mentioned. When I asked a few owners about the numbers, and whether they would sell for that kind of price, all said they'd definitely consider it.
I've been noticing a trend among California's two priciest red grapes in recent years. Productions are getting smaller and smaller; the number of labels is getting larger and larger.
There are perhaps 800 individual bottlings of Napa Valley Cabernet, according to our best guesstimates, the important thing being that that's a lot of competing brands (including labels cannibalizing their own sales with competing cuvées).
Here’s another striking figure: Sonoma County may have 500 individual bottlings of Pinot Noir. The numbers continue to grow rather rapidly. Consider that some wineries (Siduri, Kosta Browne, Lynmar) already have close to a dozen individual bottlings.
Pinot lovers have never had it this good.
We're finishing our tastings of mostly 2009s and, the trending is amazing: We've already rated more outstanding 2009s than in any other vintage. So far, more than 50 percent of the wines reviewed have been outstanding or better, an unprecedented number.