Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Husic Vineyards

The guest of honor at the most recent Board Meeting was Frank Husic, owner of Husic Vineyards. Frank was in town as part of a Florida-wide jaunt to promote his wines. I sat next to Frank at the dinner and gained the following insights into his winery and products.

Frank had always had a dream of owning a vineyard so when the opportunity presented itself he bought Napa land "at the very top of the market." The land that he bought was, according to Frank, very well suited to the production of quality grapes because it was on a 40-degree hillside slope (shortly after the purchase, the county passed an ordinance prohibiting the growing of grapes on hillsides with slopes in excess of 30 degrees), it was next to Stags Leap Wine Cellar Fay Vineyard, and, finally, the land had never been used for agricultural purposes (according to Frank, all deposits and no withdrawals).

The Husic 9-acre property is divided into three plots designated as Julie's Knoll, FJs Terrace, and Paris's Terrace (Julie is Frank's wife and FJ and Paris are their kids.). The soil is of a heavy volcanic type and the micro climate consists of hot days with an afternoon cooling breeze coming in from Suisun Bay.

The Husic vision is the production of wines with a French feel: Burgundy for the white and Bordeaux for the reds. Winemaker Celia Masyczek (of Scarecrow and Corra (her own label) fame) is responsible for implementing this vision. The current portfolio consists of two Cabernet Sauvignons and the Chardonnay. Grapes for the Chardonnay are sourced from the Robert Young vineyard on Pritchard Hill.

The flagship wine is the Husic Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The first vintage of the Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon was 2001. The wine was entered into a Cult Cab tasting competition (which included the likes of Screaming Eagle) and came in second. Parker rated the initial vintage a 95 and it sold out pretty quickly. The '02 - '04 vintages received similar scores and similarly favorable receptions in the marketplace. Now, according to Frank, the market has cratered and "he has a lot of '05 and '06 on his hands."

The 2006 vintage (1060 cases) is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot aged in 90% new French oak. This wine presented well with strong hints of chocolate, berries, cedar and sandalwood. This wine retails for about $110. The second label is called Palm Terrace and is made from the wine remaining after the flagship blend has been completed. This wine retails for about $40.

Frank is very proud of his wines and felt that they stood up admirably to the wines at the Board Meeting, wines which included Sine Qua Non, Corra, and Shafer Hillside Select. I had been introduced to the Husic Cab by Adam while we were having dinner at Luma one night and I liked it so much that I immediately ordered some bottles for my cellar. Being an ABAC (anything but American Chardonnay) guy, I was very impressed with the Chardonnay. The only American Chardonnays that I drink (for what its worth) are Ramey's Hyde Vineyard and Dumol (from either vineyard) and the Husic is in the ballpark. For my taste, it needs a little more acidity and a little less burn but it has a definite Burgundian feel.

1 comment:

  1. If I'm not mistaken I think andy erickson is the wine maker for screaming eagle