Send Napa Some Love
Pull a cork in Solidarity this week.
It’s easy to think of “Napa” as a homogenous grouping of the wealthy and privileged, jaunting around in wine country, but as this weekend’s terrible earthquake showed, Napa is a small town just like any other that could use a little love sent it’s way right about now. In truth Napa ins’t the fancy pants burg most people assume—that would be St. Helena or Yountville or Calistoga— the troika of quaint towns north of the town of Napa that score considerably higher on the swanky index. Napa’s more likely to be home to the warehouses and the employees of the famed wineries that dot the Silvarado trail and Howell Mountain. It’s a problem the wine suffers from too—say Napa and immediately consumers think $150+ cult cabernet when the reality is there’s plenty of amazing wine all up-and-down the price scale and to prove it here’s a few to try in solidarity to those spending this week cleaning up their lives and to remind us what glorious wine comes out of the beautiful valley.
Plume Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $32 This joint venture from the Stewart Family of Quail’s gate and the Zepponi family of Napa continue to be one of the best entry points into what makes Napa Cab special: it’s lush, it’s ripe and it has solid hints of vanilla and cherries. This wine took the playbok of of a $60 Napa Cab, followed it, and then somehow sells if for $32. I don’t know how they do it, I just want to make sure they keep on doing it.
Hess Allomi Cabernet Saugvignon 2011 $37 I love Hess. I love their amazing art collection, I love their Argentinian winery (Bodega Colomé in the middle of nowhere, Salta Province) and I love buying a bottle of Hess Select on sale Safeway in Maui for $12 and knowing that it will never dissapoint. The grapes for the Select these days come from the Northcoast but if you inch up the price range you’ll find this beauty made with grapes from the very rugged Pope Valley Rd area, east of the Silverado trail. A little bigger than the Plume and a lot more savoury, with some nice menthol notes sprinkled in with the classic plum and cherries.
Shafer Napa Valley Merlot 2011 $77 Napa may equal Cabernet but let the savant’s loose on some Merlot and you get something very special: dark, spicy black cherries, witha ripeness that’s held in check by a dried herbaceousness. Even diehard high-acid Loire wine lovers will find soft warm solace here.