Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Outing of 2010

After enjoying the break during the usual holiday activities, I was anxious to get back out and hit the ground running on my first exploration for 2010. It has been one of the most interesting starts of any year that I can remember on several fronts. Hard to put in exact words, but the overall 'vibe' in this first week has revolved around 'Karmic' type activities and experiences. Not to get too spiritually out there, but there has been an odd "cause & effect" type theme that has continually played itself out so far and I am just rolling with it as seemingly negative activity turned to positive results have proven to be 'fruitful', so to speak...this outing did not veer from this.

After putting out the usual fires from the morning, I got a bit of a late start. Strangely, while preparing for the planned direction of the day, I received an email from an acquaintance I had met over the weekend about his new job with a winery and wanted to taste me on the wines. We were able to quickly make a lunch meeting plan at a new local joint called the Norman Rose Tavern here in downtown Napa. I was excited to try the new spot out along with the new wine tasting introduction.

After surveying the room and greeting various recognizable faces, some obviously more receptive than others (see Karmic activity above), we proceeded to wait for our table taking notice of the buzz in the (crowded) room with several other wine industry personnel saying the usual warm "hi and byes". This was definitely THE new hot spot in town and great choice.

I was meeting with Michael Magee, representative of "MadoroM" wines. Michael continues to refer to it as the "best red wine in Napa you've never heard about". Right up my alley! MadoroM is a collaboration between Andy and Melissa Amador and winemaker Mike Blom. As often is the case with "under the radar" wines, their story is unique and interesting...their wines extraordinary. Andy comes from a hunting & fishing background and has come up with one of the most intriguing concepts of creating a red wine called 'Camouflage' that showcases hunters and their 'kills' on the back label and a well-designed subtle camouflage front label.

With their first vintage in 2000, I was amazed I had not come across this wine before. I tasted the 2006 'Camaflouge' Red and the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Camouflage is a juicy red blend of Cab/Syrah/Cab Franc/Merlot that was outright delicious. And, at $38 retail, I was ready to place an order right there, but the '06 is mostly sold out and '07 just released. We moved on to the '05 Cab ($80), and for a 100% Cabernet, extremely approachable and easy drinking...the 34 months in barrel had been kind to this wine. Almost a bit 'minty' on the nose, but with plenty of good ripe fruit that paired perfectly with our lamb burgers. They also have a Merlot that I did not taste, but surely a winner as well. I look forward to having these wines again with our tasting panel evaluations for the next catalog coming in February.

After a few business stops, I ended up at Patz & Hall winery in the Napa Corporate Center where a few tasting rooms reside that you'd never know to visit. Patz & Hall is a very well-established wine known for their Chardonnays and Pinots. I tasted through several of their '07 single-vineyard Pinots from Sonoma Coast enjoying all of them. My two favorites were the Jenkins Ranch and the Gaps Crown vineyard Pinots. The "tasting salon" as they call it was most impressive with a very well-designed contemporary feel that you'd remiss not to visit.

Although I did not get to taste a great number of wines on this day, it was definitely one of 'quality vs. quantity' and was equally enjoyable.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the featured MadoroM wines mentioned above, I offer the one-week only special Chief Wino Explores discount of 20% and comp shipping good until Jan. 14 with a special coupon code of CWE20 (3 bottle minimum). Contact me directly here.

Until the next sip, swirl ya' later!

Chief Wino

1 comment:

Eric Zachary Ryder said...

Hey James. Say Hi to Andy and Meliisa for me - we used to be neighbors on Reno Ct! Good call on PAtz and Hall- there's not a bad Pinot to be had there.