There is a saying in wine, “it takes a lot of money to make a little money in wine.” It is not a business you get into because you are looking for an economical profession. It is a business you jump into because you are curious; because at one time or another, you tasted something that ignited your palate and challenged your mind. Wine is an industry of passion.
There are typically three paths into wine, either you are born into it, you come to know it as an adult, often changing careers to pursue a path in the field, or somewhere in between, with many winemakers changing plans while in college to pursue a career chasing the grape. In any path, that passion has to be the key. You have to love wine in the soul of your being, otherwise, the challenges presented in taking grapes to the bottle are can become too unbearable to handle.
Once again our friends in California wine country, and throughout the Northwest, are battling wildfires that are not only destroying an entire harvest, but entire wineries, estates, homes, and communities.
This week’s Glass Fire in Northern Napa has scorched over 40,000 acres of land, taking out dozens of structures and wineries, including damaging our beloved Meadowood Resort, Bremer, Chateau Boswell, Spring Mountain Vineyard, and the gorgeous, glorious Newton Winery and Vineyards, that fire footage show is completely destroyed.
But, the resilient wine country communities will rebuild, as they have done in the past and continue to do. We are in the midst of harvest, traditionally the most glorious time of the year where the air smells like ripe fruit and yeast. Now, it smells like smoke.
Duckhorn “The Discussion” Red Wine ($155) spurred out of a conversation between the Duckhorns and their winemaker forty years ago. The thought had been to create a Cuvee from their premium estate fruit, but what would that wine look like, what would the blend be and what style did they want? As a premium New World winery, based in the heart of Cabernet Sauvignon country, it was obvious that the blend should be a Cab heavy, fruit-forward wine. But, the Duckhorns had always appreciated more subtle wines, with bold but finessed tannic structure, with concentration and texture, but also balance and elegance, and they wanted it to be a true blend, keeping a healthy portion of Merlot in the wine.
Today, the wine exemplifies the goals laid out almost forty years ago. Blending 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot from properties dotted throughout Napa, and aged 18 months in New French oak, then another six months in neutral oak, the full-bodied wine is dense, strucutured, and powerful. Ripe blue and blackberry flavors are followed with roasted espresso, cocoa, leather, and spice, creating a fruit-filled, yet also earthiness to dense wine. With a bit of time to aerate, the tannins soften, leading to a prolonged, velvety finish.
Praying the affected properties have lots of insurance, and the stamina to rebuild. We send you hopes for rain, calm winds, and lots of aloha. If you would like to help, donations can be made to the Napa Valley Community Foundation, here.