Monday, May 24, 2010

Wine Allotments

Funny how getting notified that one of my annual wine allocations from either Napa or Sonoma always brings a smile to my lips. Living here now allows me moments of decadent culinary pleasures and such rarified liquid pleasures that I truly feel blessed.

I can say that so honestly now. Here I am in New York City today; downtown even, and running around my old neighborhood eating and drinking like a king.  Yet here I am writing about all of those pleasures that I enjoy so very much when I am back in St. Helena.  

I took a ride with my kids and their friend Jason last week up to Dry Creek to pick up my 2008 Zinfandel from A. Rafanelli. Getting those kids to jump in the car and cruise through Napa, Knights, Alexander Valley and then into Geyserville and Dry Creek Sonoma wasn't as easy as it looks. A bribe was offered. Stopping at the Candy Store on the square in Healdsburg for a sugar fix and the promise of real good Mexican food was accepted faster than I expected.

The ride over on a Saturday morning brought less traffic than imagined. The roads were clear, the music and scenery perfect. Leaving the kids outside I went inside to get my wine and naturally a few tastes of all the new releases. The Zins were of course just the way I like them. Full bodied, balanced dark fruit and the proper acidity that promised me it would behave in a few years and deliver back to me the most authentic Dry Creek Zinfandel imaginable.

I love these wines and 2008 looks like a very special, dark concentrated wine with a special night of barbeque in its future. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tasting Room

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a new marketing concept that I believe can revitalize both the wholesale and retail wine business. A brilliantly executed marketing tool called Tasting Room.Com. What they are able to do is take any finished wine and then in an airless chamber open and accurately refill that wine into very small sample size bottles without losing any of that wines integrity. Now you may wonder why would anyone need a sample of wine that small and so creatively packaged and then presented in these clever foam presentation boxes that look as if regulation 750 ml bottles were put through some sort of a Willi Wonka miniaturizing machine and came out the size of of an airline pour? The answer here is pure marketing genius.
The wines are handled so they stay true to the winemakers original condition and NOW, you the consumer, can sample six (6) selections from a wineries portfolio before you have to plunk down some hefty $$$ money and see if those wines are worth the price. Now if your lucky enough to be out here in wine country thats one thing, but since most people buy their wines from their local establishments, here's a great way to sample first before ordering online direct from your favorite or soon to be favorite winery. These kits offer you a chance to taste six (6) different wines from select portfolios for about the same price as one bottle of wine. You then can order directly from those wineries hopefully establishing new direct relationships with them that will bring you the wine drinker many long term benefits that only the enjoyment of wine can bring.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Dinner in St Helena

One of the most wonderful things about living in the Napa Valley is enjoying a supper with friends. Sharing the sun setting over the vineyards from the backyard view from the magnificent home of our dear friends J & C, the "good life" couldn't be more real for the 10 of us who enjoyed this very special moment of great food, superb Napa wines and the company of interesting people. These are the days that we all have worked so hard for. This was a special moment of friendships combined with steaks, cous-cous, caesar salads, decadent desserts laced with raspberries and great vintage of Napa wines that seem to go down way to easy. This is why I am here in this valley at this juncture of my life. This is why I will stay here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Spring Rain here in Napa Valley seems more natural and more like a necessary nurturing to the environment. I never had that feeling about the rain back in NYC. The incessant stop and start of it, the sound of the heavy drops landing in patters of repeated thuds on the soil never bothers me here as it did when I would have looked out my window back east and thought "do I really have to go out in that!"
It's raining and the sun is peeking out this morning, are there rainbows in the forecast?
The forecast actually is for sunny skies starting tomorrow and that just might be the last of the rain until the Fall. Maybe it's a good day to plant all those organic tomatoes and basil plants I have just acquired from Yountville. Seems that grapes aren't the only thing that grows beautifully here in the Napa Valley.