Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hidden Gems

One of my wife’s favorite wines is Caymus Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90’s, Caymus would list the names of the vineyards from which they sourced their grapes. Being a wine geek, and trying to get more bang for the buck as Caymus leapt from a $16 price in 1993 (’91 vintage) to nearly $60 in 1997 (’95 vintage), I started searching for other wines made from and by these vineyards. That search led me to both Altamura Winery and Lewelling Vineyards. Lewelling is made by the Wight family - David is the wine maker, his brother Doug is the grapegrower, and brother Alan assists with blending decisions. They make two wines – a Napa Valley Cabernet and a Wight Vineyard Cabernet. These are both fabulous wines and are reasonably priced (if you can find them).

Other producers purchase grapes from the Wights and the family is also involved in other wine projects. One of these other projects is a wine called Trivium (Latin for “a place where three ways meet”). This is the project of three neighbors – Doug Wight (from Lewelling), Jack Stuart (of Silverado Vineyards fame – see my Ah-Ha Moments post), and Stuart Harrison (who helped start Opus One and Domaine Chandon and is currently working with the Mondavi family on their Continuum project (By the way, Stu is a Rollins grad giving an Orlando-area connection)). The wine is made from a specific block in the Wight vineyard designated Les Ivrettes (little tipsy ones), so named from the evidence (empty bottles) Doug found in the vineyard of parties the three men’s daughters had during their high-school years. This is a classic Napa Cabernet. By that I mean that it is made in the classic style reminiscent of wines from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Alcohol levels are lower, acid levels are higher, and, while approachable and enjoyable now, the wine is meant to age for a couple of years in order to be at its best.

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