For those of you that know me, I want to reassure you that the title has nothing to do about my age, well, at least not too much to do about it. What I'm really talking about is that this year there have been so many great vintages released from so many areas of the world. As a wine buyer, I am faced with the daunting task of going through these wines and trying to determine which ones do I want to stock in the shop. The easy way, and what I wish I could do, is just buy them all. Unfortunately, last time I checked, at least my resources, didn't allow for such a lavish buying spree.
So you may ask, just what is out there that has attracted both my attention and the attention of so many out there in the wine world. The first and, one of the most obvious ones, is the 2012 vintage from Napa Valley. While there have been some very good, many even considered great, vintages of recent years, I tend to go back to the 2007's to find a vintage of similar quality. Again, I take nothing away from the 2009 & 2010 vintage years. They had some awesome wines. But 2007, like 2012, seemed to be a year when you would have really had to mess things up to make bad wine. The 2012's started, as is usually the case and as they are one of the first higher end wines to come out each year, with the Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon. I know that not everyone is a Caymus fan, but if you believe the likes of Robert Parker, who scored the wine 96 points, you have to give the wine its' due. I've had it, and find it to be a wonderful wine. I might not go to the Classic Wine score, but easily in the mid to low 90's. (Okay, here's a commercial. I just received word that they have re-released the 40th Anniversary Cab and the shop will be getting some more in soon). The list of phenomenal wines just continued to roll in. From Plumpjack, their Oakville cab and a second wine called Adaptation, both excellent in their own rights. James Stewart, from Stewart Cellars, comes in and shows me his cabernet and his reserve cab called Nomad. As I think I've mentioned before about these wines, gorgeous. Just recently, Rosemary Cakebread comes in to show me her 2012 Gallica Cabernet. Once again, I'm, if you can say this about wine, starstruck! 94 points by Parker. Anyone out there ever heard of Paylmeyer? I'm kidding, but their Proprietary Red, drank a month of so ago at a pre-release tasting, once again, you guessed it, it's on the shelf at the shop. From one of my wine reps, who has so many of these outstanding wines, brought me the 2012 Venge (if you watched my video a while back you remember the name by remembering Bengay, and yes, that was a vailed reference to my age) Bone Ash Cabernet. 98 points Parker. Some of the rest, which are my no means of any lesser quality, I just don't think you want me to write an entire book about the lot; Frank Family Reserve Cabernet, Lewis Cellars Cabernet, (the Reserve is still to be released), Orin Swift's Mercury Head, Shafer Cabernet 1.5 (the 2010 Hillside Select came out recently as well, 100 points by Parker), Tor To-Kalon Vineyard Cabernet and a host of others.
Washington state, another great vintage in the 2012's producing great wines; the DeLille Four Flags and the Longshadows Pirouette to name a few I took advantage of and brought into the shop. And boy, could I rattle off a bevy of superb Pinot Noirs from Oregon from 2012. Many bought, and I'm sure enjoyed, the Maison l'envoye Attache. Bergstrom is another, and my newest catch being the 96 point 2012 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir.
So far, I've only talked about reds. Guess what? The 2012 Chardonnays from Cali and, surprisingly, those from Oregon as well make the list of some of the notable wines of recent release.
If you haven't yet guessed, those are just the wines from the domestic side of things. With the recent releases from the 2010 Barolo and Brunellos along with 2010 and 2012 Rhone wines, I now have a whole additional side of wines that I need to consider. These wines are as difficult for me as were the domestic ones as I cut my teeth on some of the best Italian wines from the Classic 1997 vintage. I love Italian wines. I've tasted the likes of producers like Vietti, Paolo Scavino, Casanova di Neri, Altare, Cogno and Elio Grasso. Those are just the ones I've brought in, there are many others that show the promise of this vintage that either haven't been released or they are of such limited quantity that it's next to impossible to obtain any allocation. That doesn't stop me from trying though, just ask some of my wine reps. I can be a royal pain in their ass.
For those of you that my not be familiar with the wineries I've mentioned, I do wish to point out that most of them are not your "everyday" wine purchases, unless your last name is maybe Buffet or Gates. They represent some of the more exclusive and higher priced wines. Never fear. These same vintages and others to come will produce outstanding wines across the price spectrum. I'm committed to finding ANY great wine no matter price. As a wine geek, that is the nirvana of the wine world. Great wine at a great price. If you've been to the shop you have seen my wines near the register that are offered at prices, usually under $20, and hand picked my me for their quality. The Tomassi Rompicollo at $12.99 is a great example. Vinous Media recently rated this wine 93 points. I've had it, obviously, and found it to be that great example of quality and value. And to be fair, the Tabali Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc sitting up there with it is no slouch either. Same price and rated 91 points. Okay, the second commercial is over....
Lastly, I hope I've made my point about the trials and tribulations I face in buying wine these days. To be honest as well, I can say that it's a great problem to have, if you have to any problems at all. So drink up and feel free to let me know about those great wines you have enjoyed and maybe that'll be the next wine on the shelf, of course if it was a wine bought at the shop, then it's already there or been there.
I can't wait till I hear from my wine reps about the next wine I can't do without...So Much Wine, So Little Time!