Yesterday I did what some people think I do every day. I hung out with winemakers.
At 9 a.m. I met Celia Welch Masyczek to barrel sample her 2006 Corra Napa Valley Cabernet (more on Corra tomorrow), and then, since she’s making her wine at Keever, a new winery in Yountville, I met the Keevers, toured their winery, saw their vineyard and tasted their wines. (Hear Olga Keever describes the property in my video.)
Then I drove by Carmen Policy’s new Tuscan-style villa, also in Yountville. The former NFL executive, who helped build the San Francisco 49ers dynasty (which now seems like a distant memory) is making his own wine and I hope to talk to him soon about that and his winery plans.
At 11:30 I met with Aaron Pott, who is making wine and consulting for several Napa wineries, which I’ll discuss soon as well. We had a fun visit and somewhat odd lunch; he poured two St.-Emilions (a 1995 Château La Tour Figeac and a 1993 Château Troplong-Mondot) he made while working in Bordeaux in the 1990s and we dined on deep-fried alligator tots.
Keever is a small operation, with about 5 acres of Cabernet in vines and a handsome new winery. Owners Bill and Olga Keever are new to wine, having retired from careers in telecommunications. (Bill was CEO of Vodafone Asia.) Their son, Jason, is learning the winemaking ropes from Masyczek.
Their property is located south of the Yountville Veterans Home, on the west side of the valley, and yesterday it offered a spectacular view of fall colors in Napa Valley. From their vantage point, the valley floor was a patch-quilt mix of autumn colors—reds, oranges, yellows and greens—as the leaves clung to the vines for their last hurrah.
I tasted all four of their Cabernets yesterday, and a new Bordeaux-style blend, and later tasted three of the same wines in a blind tasting at my office. The 2003 tasted much better than when I reviewed it two years ago. It’s spicy, with fragrant currant, earth and herbal scents.
The 2004 (about $60) is bolder and richer, with plush currant, berry and mocha-laced oak scents. The 2005 splits the difference between the other two years. It’s not as rich and deep as 2004, but sleeker and more elegant, with excellent balance, depth and range of flavor. It is the current wine being offered for sale for $68. I was also very impressed by a taste, from barrel, of their 2006 vintage. It was their best wine of the day; very dark and concentrated, with layers of fruit, and it reminded me of how well the 2006 Cabernets I’ve tried lately have demonstrated their depth and density.
Iren Jenny — Orinda, California — November 17, 2007 10:19am ET
Peter Pham — November 29, 2007 3:01am ET
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