It’s the week before the Napa Valley Vintners' annual Auction Napa Valley, which is always one of the highlights of the year for me. In addition to our annual candlelight dinner in the caves for top bidders next week, I am really looking forward to the barrel auction next Friday. One hundred participating wineries each offer ten cases of their best wines for sale during an all-day silent auction. The wines are all available for tasting straight from the barrel, paired with nibblers from a who’s who of Napa’s top restaurants. It’s an amazing opportunity to taste some of the very best wines in the valley, and of course it’s great fun to craft the Pride barrel lot. For the past several years, I have made a unique blend that showcases the absolute best that our Spring Mountain estate can produce.
This year’s offering was selected from a small corner of our Rock Arch block, a 31-year old block of an unknown clone of cabernet sauvignon on a distinctive trellising system utilizing vertical cordons to create a perfect environment of dappled light for each cluster. The uppermost corner of the block, a small, triangular section of short rows, has historically yielded the ripest and most concentrated wine from the entire estate, an intense, blue-black wine with incredible structure and density which has always been a strong component of our Reserve cabernet sauvignon. For the first time ever, we have decided to bottle just ten cases of this wine in its pure, unblended form. Notes of cassis, dark sweet cherries, ripe plum and espresso frame a formidable wine with supple, unctuous body and a minutes-long finish.
The wine will only be available to the top ten bidders at 2011 Auction Napa Valley, and will surely be a showpiece within any serious wine collection. For those who can’t make it to the exciting event, you can follow all the action via twitter with #ANV11 or check out the online auction on the Napa Valley Vintners' website.