Context here I know would be helpful.
This revolves around an industry tasting I recently attended. On top of being so overly joyous that we finally had a sunny day to coincide with the warmer weather put me in a good mood right away. I’m going to stray a little from the title here for effect.
It seems very difficult for me to get away from pouring at tastings. I’ve mentioned a couple of instances where I have arrived only to be asked, or I volunteered, to “help out” and pour wine. No exception at this tasting either. Walk in see a friend of mine and she promptly asks if I’m here to pour. I acknowledged in the negative (fancy way of saying no), whereby she proceeds to tell me the distributor may need more people to pour as they seemed to have no shows, or what actually happened, was just a couple late arrivals. So off I go and find someone who looks to be in charge. I see this woman standing near me with a badge showing she is a District Manager, sounds like someone in charge. I explain who I am and what I do (at least my auspicious position of “Wine Ambassador”) and offer my services. Like a true manager, she finds the person who is in charge of the tasting and sends him over to me. Long story short (when do I ever do that?), he thinks he may have everything covered, and in less than an hour, he came back to confirm all was good. So I’m back to drinking, err tasting!
Back to developing context. Now I’ve done many a tasting and for the most part, two things are pretty common. One, the shop or organizers will number the tables so as to provide easy access to finding specific wines. Two, those in attendance will, most generally, begin at the first table. I’ve even had people ask if they need to start at the first table, answer – no! While the question to some might seem obvious, I have no problem with people asking as there could be a method to the madness of how the wines are arranged.
Okay, so now I come to the reason for my title, “Saving the Best for Last – Or First.” I walk in, sign in, write out my label name tag, which I later had to replace as I lost the first, grab a glass, open the tasting sheet, see that there are an astounding 69 tables to attack, walk to that first table and see the number 69! Before going further (I know, when am I getting the point of all this?) it makes sense, using the above reference and numbering system to get folks starting at the first table, to want to nudge people to seek out table one in this case, leading them away from the door and entrance to avoid a logjam just as you enter. Never confirmed that was why, but it works so I’m going with that.
Back to table 69. I see a winery name that I recognize but have rarely ever seen or even tried in all of my years. THAT is a shame, especially after trying some of the wines. The last one in particular. The 2014 Salvestrin “3D” Cabernet Sauvignon Salvestrin ~ Dr. Crane Vineyard. This 94+ Wine Advocate stunner was amazing. That Big, Bold, Rich flavor I love in Napa Cabs, while retaining a certain “approachability” to the wine. Want to find out more, click here for the technical notes. The 2012 Vintage being the first vintage using the Salvestrin ~ Dr. Crane Vineyard as a vineyard designation on the 3D Cab.
For those not familiar with the Dr. Crane Vineyards, this is one of a few of what I like to call “First Growth” vineyards in Napa Valley. To name drop a couple of others you have Las Piedras, Bourn, and the most notable, To Kalon. While most of these iconic vineyards are most associated with the Beckstoffer Family, it was interesting to find out that the Dr. Crane Vineyard that Salvestrin owns was actually purchased as 23 acres of Dr. Crane’s original vineyard in 1932 by the founding husband and wife, John and Emma Salvestrin. One other interesting fact I was told is that the grapes from Dr. Crane Vineyards sell for MORE THAN the To Kalon Vineyard, which did surprise me given the popularity of the To Kalon vineyard.
Family owned since 1932 as a contributing vineyard and then in 1994 when their first wine under the family name was released, this small production winery is one that will be on my radar from this point forward. Oh, one last item. I did find out that the 3D is in reference to the three daughters, the 4th Generation of the family winery.
Before closing this addition for this tasting (yes, there is more to come from this tasting as I had many eventful experiences) I want to say that while the Salvestrin 3D Cab was exceptional, there were many other wines of quality and distinction. For effect, I used the term “best” as creative license, not to necessarily mean that other wines were not as good. I can’t afford to ruffle any feathers at this point.
So stay tuned to more issues of “Wine Tasting Tell All” for more on this tasting.