Posts with the label "napa"


2020 - A Few Good Bottles

2020 - A Few Good Bottles

Tuesday 22nd December 2020
by Julian Campbell

This year, perhaps more than any other, solace has been found in transportative bottles of great wine.

Without recourse to travelling, it has come down to the willingness of producers to send samples, and in that regard I’ve been blessed with some very accommodating winemakers who have been happy to fire bottles across the seas for me to taste in the comfort and (occasional) peace of my own home. In truth, there are many bottles that stand out as bright sparks of excitement in the muddle of 2020; Germany features heavily, so does Champagne, a little bit of South Africa, plenty of California, a handful of momentous, or just perfectly timed Burgundies and one particularly lovely bottle of single vineyard St Joseph that sang next to chicken with clementines, fennel and Pernod. What follows is a handful of especially bright spots – wines that made, to paraphrase Mr. McCartney, all our troubles seem so far away…

Places Endure – An ode to Cain

Places Endure – An ode to Cain

Thursday 29th October 2020
by Mark Dearing

Places Endure - An ode to Cain 

It was with particular poignancy that we drank a recent bottle of Cain. At home, in a convivial setting, we were reminded of just how confidently the Cain wines celebrate originality. In fact, this estate is known - feted even - by the more thoughtful of tasters, for producing a slightly wilder style of wine. These are Bordeaux blends layered with intricate fruits, earthy herbs, and spicy ferric notes – not your average Napa. In youth, what some commentators might describe as “strident” tannins in the Californian context, we view as classicism – true ripeness allied to freshness – an approach that yields sophisticated wines of presence, with nimble, wind-swept acidities and smooth, engaging fruit flavours. 

Cain Concept 2010 – Placing the Benchlands

Cain Concept 2010 – Placing the Benchlands

Tuesday 21st July 2020
by Julian Campbell

The inimitable Chris Howell from Cain Vineyards uses google maps to place both Cain Five and Cain Concept, two of Napa’s most interesting wines…


A Tasting with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards

A Tasting with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards

Friday 6th July 2018
by Julian Campbell

We’ve been championing the wines from the ultra-remote Peay vineyard for a few years now. Planted in 1998, the vineyard turns 20 this year and quality levels have never been higher. 

The lion’s share of production goes to Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay and Syrah (alongside minute quantities of other varieties that don’t make it across the pond). The vineyard is nestled amongst huge redwoods, 600 feet above sea level, four miles from the coast and within the inversion layer. Effectively within the fog line, this a truly cool Californian vineyard whose year round temperatures are moderated in a meaningful way by the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Contrary to being further in-land, out on the coast the higher you get the warmer it becomes. At 600 feet you hit something of a sweet spot, cool enough to moderate ripening but not so affected by fog as to be constantly battling mildew.  Being 600 feet lower than the lowest vineyards in the nearby Fort Ross and Seaview AVA, (home to the likes of Hirsch, Flowers and Martinelli) means that average yearly temperatures are 12-13 degrees lower at the Peay’s vineyard. That’s a meaningful drop. It is hardly surprising they were repeatedly told that ripening grapes would be a struggle out here and indeed today their tiny yields are testament to this perilous spot. Truly, this is winemaking on the edge.

New Producer: Napa Knockout - Massimo di Costanzo

New Producer: Napa Knockout - Massimo di Costanzo

Thursday 1st September 2016
by Julian Campbell

Massimo di Costanzo is the up-and-coming talent from Napa Valley, whose wines have really impressed. Making wine in tiny quantities, the adage good things come in small packages, or in this case parcels, has never be so astute. The 2013 vintage is one Napa knockout you will not want to miss out on...

We asked Massimo a few questions to give us a real insight into the innermost workings of this exquisite winery and just why, for Massimo, the simplicity of wine and the culture of wine is as much a necessity as it is a way of life. Read on to find out more...