Last week I read a story in the New York Times about 1960s rocker Norman Greenbaum.
Some of you will recall he wrote the one-hit wonder, "Spirit In The Sky," in 1969, which by the way was a great vintage for Napa Cabernet and a washout in Bordeaux.
Those too young to remember the song in its heyday may have heard it in one of many movies—Ocean’s 11 and Apollo 13 are two that come to mind.
I think about one-hit wine wonders from time to time, too.
The other day when I drove past the winery that once housed Shown & Sons, I recalled what a great 1978 Cabernet Dick Shown produced. Rich and plush, with chocolate-covered cherry flavors and velvety tannins, it was a fantastic expression of Rutherford fruit.
The 1979, on the other hand, was disappointing. It turned out herbaceous and it wasn’t long before Shown & Sons was out of business.
Joe Heitz bought the winery and vineyard, on Silverado Trail near the Rutherford Crossroad, and he changed the name to Heitz Cellar Trailside Vineyard. Heitz produces Cabernet, just as the former owners did.
In 1981, Belvedere Winery bottled the greatest Winery Lake Pinot ever made. Ripe, smooth, fleshy, elegant and stylish. Those of us who drank this wine were absolutely stunned by its complexity and finesse.
The wine convinced many—growers, winemakers and critics—that Carneros would be the "Promised Land for Pinot Noir."
The 1982, however, was weedy and herbaceous and well off the pace of its predecessor. By 1986, Rene di Rosa, Winery Lake Vineyard’s founder, sold the vineyard in Carneros to Sterling Vineyards, which still produces a Winery Lake Pinot.
Tell me about your favorite one-hit wine wonders.