I wanted to get you some thoughts from my most recent trip to California and thought this internal memo I sent to my staff upon touching down back in New York this weekend summed it up well:
The reason I just took this brief trip to Napa/Sonoma was for a few reasons…
- It has been a few years since we actively showed up to taste in Napa/Sonoma (Jeremy was there briefly in March) and it is so important to the Zachys brand that we be present in the important wine regions of the world so they can hear what our clients are looking for and what is currently working best at Zachys.
- I had been told that both 2010 and 2011 were difficult vintages due to rain and excessive heat. It is never more important to be there than with vintages like this. At the end of the day, the truly gifted vineyard managers and winemakers made the necessary decisions/choices to produce good wines in these vintages. It was my job to get a feel for who was successful and who was not.
- There is always unique purchasing opportunities for us that only come from spending some time out there, knocking on some doors and shaking a few trees to see what falls out
A few highlights of the trip for me where….
• Meeting a rockstar winemaker (Thomas Brown) who was a totally grounded guy and LOVES to drink old Barolo. Thomas is making the wines at Outpost and Schrader just to name a few.
• How do you avoid the issue of drinking and driving in Calistoga? Ride bikes of course!! It was a hoot riding beach crusers to and from dinner on Monday night with the wine bag over our shoulder. No crashes.
• Formerly connected with Aubert and Peter Michael…L’Angevin is making some sensational wines including their 2009 Chardonnays
• The ORIN SWIFT wine making team are INCREDIBLE entrepreneurs who have some big news about to hit the wine market in a new value brand they think is going to set the wine world on their ear.
• There will be a new BOOKSTER Cabernet in the market by Fall that we will be selling for $29.99 and it will totally over deliver.
• BOOKSTER Pinot Noir will be coming back this fall along with the new release (2010) of BOOKSTER Chardonnay
• I met a group of new-generation winemakers in West Sonoma that are truly passionate about making wines with European finesse and in many cases with European varietals. It was a BIG eye opener for me and there will be much to come on this in the next month or two. This group included Pax Mahle of WIND GAP and Duncan Meyers & Nate Roberts of ARNOT-ROBERTS who were both making GREAT wines!!!
• I was shocked at how much the winemaking generation out there today loves drinking old Barolo….maybe those California guys are not so bad after all!!
• While dining out I have found 4 or 5 very exciting new Italian wines that for one reason or another are only being imported on the West Coast….not for long….I am in the process of hunting them down.
• Finally, the 2012 growing season has gotten off to an INSANE start with many of the vineyards already 2+ weeks ahead of an average growing season and lots of smiles all around at the prospects for the vintage.
Stay tuned for a lot of exciting offers to come.
All my best,
I think I am going to be the first to admit the fact that I have never been a huge fan of tequila. This could quite possibly be due to the fact that I had too many warm shots of bad tequila at a younger age (Notice I am not divulging what stage of my life this was!!)
Every year in February my father-in-law, Don Zacharia, brings his entire family away for a family reunion of sorts. These trips are full of lots of fun and laughter and a FULL dose of family. Two years ago we went to Riviera Maya in Mexico, and on our final night of the trip we wanted to raise a glass to celebrate a successful week together without any mishaps. The local wine list was handed to me and Don told me to pick out “something good” that we could purchase.
Nothing against the local Mexican wines…I made the executive decision that better for the 10 of us to do a shot of the best tequila they had (I knew based on where I was this would be a much smarter decision)
I called the waitress over and inquired on what was the BEST tequila they had to offer. She brought 2 bottles over proclaiming each to be great and I chose based on the “cool ceramic bottle” not being familiar with either she was recommending.
WOW was it good!!! Like aged cognac or smooth single malt scotch good. I was SO SORRY that I drank it down as quickly as I did as this did not require any salt or lemon as it was SOOOOOO smooth and delicious.
Ever since my return from the trip I have been on the lookout for this tequila…NO LUCK. Last year we hired a young woman (Violet Garcia) who came to us from the spirits side of the business and has a real affinity for premium tequilas. Not knowing the name of the tequila I put her on the task of hunting it down based purely on the look of the bottle and my description of the smoothness and approximate age.
VOILA!!! Two weeks ago she found it as it is just being imported into the U.S. market for the very first time.
Spring Hits & All I Care About Is France’s Loire Valley.
When it finally starts to get warm out and can enjoy dinner on the patio, all I care about are clean crisp wines. The Loire Valley is my go to category and the rest of the team at Zachys can attest…I turn into to “Mr. Loire” at this time of year.
Check out what makes the Loire Valley my go to destination as I taste through three exceptional values from the 2010 Vintage!