This past weekend was devoted to the 2015 Premiere Napa Valley. It is always an amazing experience but this one was bittersweet for me because it is very likely the last for a very long time that I was involved with one of the lots. Our lot for Robert Mondavi Winery was lot #13 made up of all 5 red Bordeaux varieties grown in Monastery Block in To Kalon. The week’s celebration started off for me on Tuesday with hosting 3 writers at the “Down and Dirty” session of the Wine Writer’s symposium which was also held this week. We took them through the winery and then showed them how to stir Chardonnay lees in one of our Reserve Chardonnay lots.
The next event that I attended was Friday afternoon at Far Niente where many of the wineries of Oakville came together to show off their wines to prospective bidders. I was able to taste quite a few of these wines before the crowds showed up. Harlan is always a favorite of mine as is Opus One. Other lesser known favorites included the Detert Cabernet Franc and Franciscan’s Malbec based auction lot. I was very happy with our lot as well and many tasters seemed to agree. That night, my husband and I went over to Raymond Vineyards for the NapaGras party. Brian works for Raymond and was able to introduce me to Jean Charles Boisset, the host and life of the party. I was excited to go given the party’s reputation for being an experience to say the least and it completely lived up to the hype with good wines, fantastic food, off the wall performances, all set to a thumping, rhythmic beat of club music that mimicked one of my personal playlists very well.
Saturday’s main event flew by quickly for me. I didn’t arrive in the tasting hall until noon and at that point I only had 30 minutes to quickly taste around the room. The highlights were Tim Mondavi’s Continuum, Brand (also from Prichard Hill), Stag’s Leap Winery, Hoopes Vineyard, and Corison Winery. Unfortunately the Shafer was completely poured out by the time I arrived so I didn’t get the chance to taste that one. I also tasted Spiriterra Vineyards Muscadine offering, a sweet, white wine in 375mL bottles that was one of the finest Muscadines that I have had the pleasure of tasting. Having tasted quite a few awful ones, I feel I can speak with some authority on this. After that round of speed tasting, I ran upstairs to grab lunch and settle in to the auction room for the short wait to the Mondavi lot auction. By lot #9 my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking. It’s the ultimate judgement of your wines and for me it feels like baring your soul for the masses. It’s personal. You spend so much time with these wines. The 2013 vintage was my first and only Cabernet vintage from grape to bottle at the winery so I was very anxious to see how it would be received. The auction felt like it took only seconds, it was over so quickly. After the fall of the gavel our lot went for $60,000. It is a very respectable sum and I’m happy people enjoyed it.
This week, I’m off to Vancouver, British Columbia for the Vancouver International Wine Festival and the following week we pack up and leave for New York. Life goes on and it is busy!