The next day was Sunday and it was an early pick up in Sonoma at the Eldorado Hotel on the Square.
My clients were to couples from Texas and Kentucky. Both the men were Doctors with their wives who had known each other for years. As soon as we got in the car I asked them what wine we were after and the answer was Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Yikes! I was informed we had a appointment at Opus One for their daily tour so we were going to the heart of the Napa Valley, which is unfortunately far too warm to grow Pinot Noir.
Opus One puts on a good tour which lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. They show you that they spare no expense to build a top quality wine using French Oak barrels for one time only. This, along with aging the wine, winds up costing them a whopping $100 a bottle, hence the cost of the wine to the consumer is $165 a bottle. While the tour takes place they give you a nice sized glass of their wine. Most of the people I bring to taste are fairly disturbed by the reality of buying wine at those prices, they enjoy the wine, but are put off at the cost of it.
My position is this: when I get clients here I take them to the places I think the wine is something they cannot readily get where they live and where the price to quality value is most wonderful. For these reasons we went right across the street to The Napa Wine Company. Paul Torres has placed a new web site up , Cult Wine Central, which illustrates the type of wine they sell there. I is wine which has such a small production that it is not distributed, hence the name CWC. This is a wine-room unlike others. It has some 25 producers in the room with over 100 possible wines to pour. They decided to publish a tasting menu once a week as they have too many wines to open all of them at once. This menu has a white flight, a medium red flight and a big red flight. I have always said great wine starts with great fruit and if you want the best price, buy wine from the people that make it from their own fruit. In other words if one makes wine with fruit they grew they are not paying another for it so they can sell the wine at a lower price than those that pay for their fruit and then make the wine. This is what makes the Napa Wine company great. They haves wines made by the producers, small producers who can obviously do a better job growing that fruit as they only have a little to care for. They have many wine makers who talk to each other hence there is a synergistic quality working to produce better wines. The Wine Room has a track record which includes some of the top wineries in the Valley starting at the NWC, names like Staglin, Lewis, Bryant Family and Larkmead.
The Doctor that was looking for Cabernet was in heaven in the NWC and joined the club to receive wine four times a year. While we were there, the Oakville Market was spotted across the street and it was decided we would stop there for lunch. We had to be quick as I had made an appointment at Honig for a 1:30 tasting so we grabbed some sandwiches and ate them on the way to Honig. We had a wonderful tasting at Honig where the clients sat outside and wine was brought to their tables to taste and discuss. The Honig's two Cabernets were really appreciated by the Cabernet lover and the Pinot lovers bought the late harvest Sav Blanc which is fabulous.
Now we switched gears and decided to go after some wine that the Pinot couple would like and I took them to Sinsky where Pinot Noir is the focus. They tasted and commented favorably on the fact Sinsky gives food with their tasting but did not purchase.
Now I am on the spot as I want all my customers to get what they want, so we headed to the Carneros where Pinot is king. We stopped at Bouchaine where the wine maker was the one who started Acacia and he really knows Pinot Noir! It was a hit with both couples and several cases were purchased.
This was it for the day and we returned to Sonoma Square and the Eldorado Hotel, another tour over.