I met a guy wearing an "I Love Boxed Wines" T-shirt the other day at the gas station, while we were filling our tanks. This being Napa, I asked him if he worked in the wine business, thinking that perhaps he was promoting a wine company.
"No," he replied, "I just like boxed wine." Enough to promote it on the front of his shirt. I smiled at his casual reply. No wine snoot here. Just someone who knows what he likes and when it comes to boxed wines, or wine in a box, there's plenty to like.
The overall strength of the 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet vintage adds another layer of intrigue for fans of this wine region. The 2009s (many of which have been reviewed and published in our Insider newsletter, with many more to come) are the latest in a series of excellent vintages dating to 2004.
With all the recent political crossfiring, finger pointing and rhetoric about jobs created, lost and outsourced, etc., the health of the California wine industry is an increasingly bright spot in the U.S. economy.
After a brief hiatus, Jean Phillips is weighing a return to winemaking. The former owner of Screaming Eagle bought a new vineyard a year ago, six years after selling her tiny winery and vineyard.
Phillips' purchase of the former Pillar Rock vineyard in the Stags Leap District immediately fueled speculation that she would start a new label. True to form, she remains as private as ever, yet she allowed in an exchange of text messages that she has wine on her mind, even if it's in the distant future.
It had been decades since I tried the 1969 Chappellet Napa Valley Cabernet. The last bottle I tasted had expired. Not this time around.
The other day, over lunch at their winery, Donn and Molly Chappellet uncorked their 1969, their first commercial wine, for a taste of history. It captured the wine in all its glory.
Paired alongside the 1999 and 2009 versions from the family's Pritchard Hill vineyard, the '69 looked nearly identical in color to the two younger vintages, still very dark red ruby-garnet, with little if any browning. It had retained its rich core of dark berry, tobacco and cedar and could have easily passed as a timeless Latour.