June 25th was a wonderful kick-off to the summer season in the Napa Valley as some of our favorite members and private clients joined us for a whole lot of fun! Our gathering started with a taste of the Brut Rose bubbles and vineyard stroll at Feld Vineyard in Carneros. Long-time, customer, friends and now new grower partners Larry and Kelle graciously hosted us at their beautiful vineyard property where I led guests on a walkabout in the Pinot Noir rows. The 2019 was the first vintage where the Feld's grapes have made a contribution to our Carneros Pinot Noir. And did it really contribute by adding a big structure note with added depth. I have been helping in the vineyard development and newly added plantings there. The next two vintages ('20 & "21) will become more important. The vineyard this year looks even more promising!! While some vineyards are looking at smaller yields this year, the Feld Vineyard is not one of those. Seeing a good amount of fruit that may require some thinning this year.
A summer dinner was served by our friends at NapaSport who thoughtfully paired three pureCru summer release wines with delicious courses. I shared a surprise pour of the 2017 M. Coz that paired magically with the chocolate dessert. One of the evenings show stoppers was my new release “2021 AMT White Blend” as everyone had great things to say about this unique wine. It is primarily made from Torrontes which is a new discovery for most. It is from a unique visionary grower in the newer Alta Mesa appellation. I am still getting calls and notes from members who are really enjoying this new dry and different white wine discovery!
And more summer fun is planned for this weekend! We hope to see many of you at Festival Napa Valley - the Taste of Napa Valley event this Saturday at Vista Collina. pureCru wines is a sponsor and I have hand selected some special pureCru wines ideal for summer sipping that include the 2016 PureCoz, 2017 Purety, 2017 CFM and the first of its kind 2021 AMT White Blend.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer season filled with special moments and delicious wines! Save the date for our member gathering this fall set for September 17th. Watch for member event invitations to release early August and reach out if you would like to request a private tasting appointment this summer.
I hope that you are enjoying this wonderful springtime weather. I am excited to share some good news in today's Journal post.
There has been a lot of buzz about my new sparkling wine so thought I would share some updates. The pureCru Brut Rosé Cuvee XXI sparkling wine was made to test as a proof of concept and has been undergoing testing in all forms of the wine marketplace, where it is now proving to be extremely well received. I am honored to share that my first pureCru sparkling wine release took home “Best of Class” and 98 points at the recent Los Angeles International Wine Competition.
Today, the first of its kind, pureCru Brut Rosé, will be offered as a special allocation to our members and private clients. We only made 200 cases of this limited-release wine and our members always get first-access. I am looking forward to my next sparking release that you will hear about in the future.
This is my first sparkling wine release since the mid-1980’s and my way - a very unique creation, a “single stream fermentation” wine. It started with an early August Sangiovese harvest at Lodi’s Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard, weeks before grapes were picked for making red wine. From this single vineyard, single varietal, single vintage origin, the grapes were moved from vine to bottle without the usual secondary fermentation. The fruit was de-stemmed into the press in Napa Valley, where the broken berries were left to develop the desired color. The juice was then inoculated to start fermentation, and midway through this stage the fermenting juice was moved to a state-of-the-art sparkling winery in Lodi and transferred to a custom tank that provided a precisely measured point to curtail the fermentation and capture the remaining CO2 and the bubbles as the fermentation concluded. The closed system allowed me to rack, filter and bottle this natural sparkling wine without losing the effervescence from the initial fermentation, thus there was no need for dosage or the traditional two step fermentation process. This method required an unusual amount of my care and observation but allowed the retention of all of Sangiovese’s natural fruit essence and the acidity that makes this an ideal grape for this sparkling Rosé.
My inspiration for this new concept both from the uncommon and wonderful aromatics of this grape during fermentation and the great character that I have seen in making dry still wine Rosés from it. It was my goal to capture the pure, natural essence of the grape in a Brut form. You can find detailed wine notes below.
Until next time, enjoy the good life, and thank you for your support of pureCru Wines.
Wine Notes: The hue is almost electric pink with beautiful effervescence and a very tiny bead. The pure fruit essence and exceptional balance are on display for the nose and palate. Intense cherry blossom and raspberry aromatics lead to a creamy mouthfeel with supple, polished flavors of tart cherry and pomegranate and a long, dry, full-bodied finish.
Brut in style with less than 1% natural residual grape sugar
pH of 3.29
100% Sangiovese from Mohr-Fry Ranch Vineyard
Total production: 200 cases
Oh what a year it’s been here at pureCru Winery as I released new wines including a special dedication Cabernet Sauvignon "The Prab" to our dear friend who passed away as well as a new bottling of our 2017 CFM Cabernet Franc-Merlot that will be released to our club members early next year!
I have also enjoyed my time mentoring up-and-coming winemakers including Paul Scotto. We have been working on some fun new projects and spending time with our grower friends in Napa, Sonoma, and Lodi as we work with the "old" and some new varietals including Torrontes for the spring
We are excited to release a first-of-its-kind pureCru wine next spring! Our members and private clients will be invited to a Spring Release Party in Napa on March 12th as we reveal this new wine.
This holiday season, I will be enjoying several multi-course dinners with a very diverse collection of wines, where I will be hosted by some close friends and club members over the next 10 days (lucky me!). In between these dinner gatherings, I will spend a little time with a couple of my dear friends and most "mature" family members known as the "Aunts". So there will be some old traditions with some new holiday traditions. I will be selecting all styles of wine (including a couple of new and not yet released "Prototypes" to fit the various cuisines from Rose (ideal with Turkey and Ham) with the Purety Meritage White going with everything through Pinot Noir and into the Reserve Cab Franc, pureCoz and M.Coz to handle the heavier fare. This is kind of like having 3 or 4 "Thanksgivings" through Christmas to end this year and welcome the next!
I wish our pureCru friends and partners much joy this holiday season and in the year ahead. Salute' Eat and drink well. Enjoy every minute, cherish everyone, and stay safe. I look forward to making more memories together in 2022.
Saturday, October 16th delivered the perfect weather to enjoy our pureCru 2021 Harvest Celebration at the crush pad in Napa. Private clients and long-time friends joined us for a day of festivities at our winery located in the mountains, east of the city of Napa. Invited guests enjoyed an "Exploration of Cabernet Franc" with a tasting of the 2016 current release, a barrel sample of the 2021 juice just two weeks in fermentation, and a library tasting of the 2013. Small bites from Tarla Napa paired perfectly with the wines as I shared stories from each of these vintages. We also toured the old cave for the barrel tasting and had a walkabout in the vineyard areas.
I enjoyed showing our guests the inner workings of the production winery and answering some fun questions! The interaction with this group was festive and energizing. As a special treat, we concluded the event with a preview of "The Prab” allocation wine that I made as a special memorial, dedicated to our old partner and doctor friend, Prab. This wine is a one-time release bottling of his favorite blends of the two rarest clones of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Napa Valley, including the Secret Clone. Guests were offered a limited allocation of what was only a two-barrel production.
As I wrap up my 42nd harvest, I reflect back on what has been another unique vintage shaped by our drought conditions here. 2021 has given us very small yields both in the vineyards and in the juice to skin ratios among most of the fruit. But the results, although smaller than desired, will produce wines of great density and intensity of fruit concentration and character. Expect this vintage to be terrific, maybe even monumental albeit limited in numbers. Many of the reds are already showing great balance destined to be dynamic and flavorful!
This was truly the perfect day in Napa wine country. The pureCru team and I look forward to hosting our next member event in early spring with a surprise release.
Cheers to everyone!
Harvest is going strong, and every day is a new tale with the 2021 vintage. So far it all looks a lot better than 2020. We are experiencing small crops for many grapes, but the quality looks very high. Harvest started early but a cool spell has slowed things down a bit. In August, we picked Sauvignon Blanc and Sangiovese for Rose. The first reds we picked were Pinot Noir from Carneros on September 2nd, followed by more Pinot and some other fun reds.
I’ll let you in on a secret (or two): we are working on a unique new wine that we hope to have out before the holidays. Can’t say more yet, but it should rock! Stay tuned! Also, 2021 will mark the first harvest from my new Oak Knoll District Estate of Secret Clone Cabernet Sauvignon (pictured above). It is small in its first year (we’re looking at higher yields over the next few years) and where the wine goes won’t be determined for some time, but it promises to be exciting.
Summer is already upon us! We are excited to announce the Summer 2021 Wine Club shipment. It will be coming just before the start of the 2021 Harvest, as we usually start harvesting the white grapes in August.
Here in Napa Valley, we are on the brink of having herd immunity and are fully opening up life again. Napa Valley hasn't been a bad place to be stranded but we all look forward to getting out. We are also looking forward to welcoming back all of our visitors to the Valley.
"What do the grapes look like?" is always a big question this time of the year. A year ago it looked like the beginning of a perfect vintage. Of course, it didn't work out that way as we were hit with late summer fires that caused the largest disruption of any harvest in the history of Napa. Total volume was off by 40% with grape prices dropping for the vintage. A lot of grapes were left unpicked because of both potential or actual smoke taint.
White grapes, where the juice was pressed off the skins, came through outstanding and balanced for the most part. The red grapes were another story, inconsistent depending on where exactly they were grown in Napa. The southern part of Pope Valley seemed to come through it all very well as it was mostly protected by favorable winds and the mountains around Lake Hennessey and Howell Mountain. This is and has been a key source of grapes for me since the ’90s. But we had to reject Cabernet, Merlot, and Petite Verdot from other areas. For now, we will hope a relatively dry winter won't see us return to the problems of 2020.
As for this club shipment, we are doing the two MC Signature classics: the new 2016 MC Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2017 MC Signature Chardonnay. These are being released at just the perfect time. Both are intensely focused and well-balanced.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is from a virtually perfect vintage. This is not one to miss and considering the Club price, compare it to any other red in the 3-digit dollar range.
The 2017 Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll District is much like a red wine. Aged for 15+ months in specially made French oak barrels exclusively designed for me and the wines I make, it’s close to Meursault from Burgundy. I call this a Red Wine drinkers’ white wine. It’s a Chardonnay not to be afraid of, one you do not want to miss that will age and develop for at least a decade.
The Red Wine Club option will include the last shot at a club favorite, the 2013 Cabernet Franc Merlot is being included at a special Club-only price. This is the last CFM for a while as the next vintage release has not yet been determined.
I know you will enjoy this selection.
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