by Heather Puffer
While Mother Nature continues to bring on summer here in New England, she was pretty angry out on the West Coast and made her presence known with a 6.0 quake that rocked Napa Valley last week.
While reading and watching the news, I was reminded of the similarities between the Cape and Napa Valley—a strong sense of community, the importance of tourism and numerous small businesses. About three quarters of Napa Valley’s 500 wineries are small producers that make less than 10,000 cases per year and a little more than half of Napa producers make less than 5,000 cases. For a small winery, those ruined barrels (each barrel holds about 25 cases of wine, and some wines sell for $1,300 per case) are a devastating loss of revenue, hard work and experience that went into those vintages. And there is no time to cry over spilled wine, the 2014 harvest is upon them. So, my two picks for this post are wines from Napa Valley:
Annabella Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is from a larger Napa producer, but is a great value at $17. This wine offers up flavors of currant, blackberry, black cherry, spice and vanilla. It’s smooth enough to drink on its own or pair up with a steak or burger while grilling weather hangs on. (Special thanks to Jenny for reminding me of this wine.)
Matthiasson Quake Cuvee, yet to be made! It will be a special, limited release Napa red négociant red blend (purchased grapes from small estates) for $48. The wine will be made by Steve Matthiasson who received the “Winemaker of the Year” award from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2014. Pre-orders are being accepted through September 15, 2014 with an estimated ship date in Spring 2015. Sales from this wine will help to raise recovery funds for the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief fund.
Do you have a favorite Napa Valley wine or boutique winery? Please share! I’m always on the lookout for great wines by small producers with a passion for their craft. And who knows? While the upcoming cooking schools feature Mediterranean cuisine (and I’m a huge fan of drinking the wine of the region), I might just sneak in a New World wine here and there.