Friday, February 15, 2013

"Giddy as a School Kid" - A Vintner Perspective on Premiere Napa Valley (#PNV13)

Selling wine on the road to restaurants and retailers can be a tough gig from time to time. That said, there is no better time of year to work for a Napa Valley winery than just ahead of Premiere Napa Valley. There is an instant rapport when I walk into an account and see the Napa Valley Vintners' envelope on the desk of a buyer. Three things happen after I ask if they’re excited about Premiere Napa Valley; the first of which is a very physical reaction. The look is best described as a giddy school kid thinking about a summertime break. Next up, “Does Titus have a lot at Premiere this year?” Lastly they apprehensively ask, “What other lots are you excited about?”

I certainly share that giddy school kid look as I start thinking about all the fantastic, one of a kind wines that will be at Premiere. It never ceases to amaze me the care that goes into creating lots as small as five cases and as big as twenty. These lots represent the best of the best from a particular vintage and will never be recreated. The lucky retailers and restaurants that win these lots will truly have something very unique.

“Does Titus have a lot at Premiere this year?” This year, 2013, I am proud to say that Titus Vineyards will have a five case lot available at Premiere Napa Valley 2013, #PNV13. Titus Vineyards farms two estate vineyards. The main forty acres of estate vineyards are planted adjacent to a 1910 ranch house and include all five Bordeaux varietals as well as Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Sauvignon Blanc. For #PNV13 Titus Vineyards focused on the six and a half acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted at the Ehlers Lane estate. The vineyard is planted in thin, rocky soil atop a volcanic tufa hill, and its row orientation offers beneficial airflow. This five case lot of Cabernet Sauvignon is called Undici Opportunita which is Eleven Opportunity in Italian. The Cabernet from this site was the best fruit to show off opportunities the 2011 vintage offered. This Premiere Napa Valley lot will be sure to have bidders taking notice.

People often wonder if wineries are in constant competition, not liking to talk about or try other wines besides their own. The truth of the matter is that no one in the wine industry would be working in it if we did not like wine. We are the best people to ask ‘what other wines are good out there.' We will likely be honest - even to a fault sometimes. Everyone in Napa Valley is happy to champion the efforts of their friends and neighbors. The only time you may not see that is if we are trying to hoard it for ourselves...or knock off a ‘by the glass’ placement for our own.

One of the first wineries that comes to mind is St Supery Estate Vineyards and Winery. Their twenty case #PNV13 lot of estate, Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show off the best of the best from their Rutherford estate vineyards. Planted over twenty five years ago, this California Organic Certified vineyard’s top three blocks were chosen to craft this delicious blend, and I had an opportunity to preview the lot. Subtle oak is present from aging twenty two months in French Oak. The color is a deep, shimmering purple that stains the tears inside the glass. Black cherry, blackberry and complementing oak spill out of the pronounced nose. The palate is supple with focused fruit and the tannins are well integrated. I wouldn’t mind having a glass of this right now. This is going to be an even better wine with time, and is certainly one of the lots to taste if you are at #PNV13. If you are not at Premiere Napa Valley 2013, you may get a chance to try this wine when your favorite retailer or restaurant wins the lot - so stay tuned.

I do hope I get the chance to preview more of these excellent lots, and am able to share additional insider info soon. Keep checking back with the Napa Valley Vintners for the best, up to date inside track to Napa Valley.

Cheers -

Christophe Smith
#PNV13 Social Media Crew
Titus Vineyards

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