August 24, 2016
Now this is a difficult connection to make, but it’s an important one, so stay with me please.
I attended a dinner a few weeks ago, here in the Napa Valley, where Barbara and I were included with a group of – I thought – like-minded winery owners. All were assembled to show their wines to one another. Basically it turned out to be a get-together of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon producers, and as usual I was the odd man out.
I brought along my 2014 Carignan ‘Evangelho Vineyard’, and near the end of the evening opened it and passed it around, with more than a little bit of pride. After all, this is the same wine that my hero Maxime Magnon pronounced as equal to any Carignan he could recall tasting from France. It’s a wine that we at Neyers are proud of beyond description, and to me it stands as a great example of the potential and the realization we find working with the classic terroir of California.
One proprietor – a stranger to me actually – looked at me a little puzzled, and remarked that I must be crazy to make Carignan in the Napa Valley. I thought of Edgar Allen Poe, and some of the crazy characters I’ve met through him. Perhaps I am. Then this morning an e-mail came in from Rick Lilley, wine manager at Twelfth Street Grill in Honolulu, a restaurant with one of the most creative and selective programs in the world. Every one in the business works hard to get on Rick’s wine list. Neyers Vineyards had eight wines on that list – more than any other single winery – until this morning, that is, when Rick wrote me about the Evangelho Carignan:
‘Damn-it man! This is delicious!!! It finally arrived Thursday so I let it rest for a couple nights. Wanted to make sure I could sample without any shipment issues… well worth the wait my friend. Extraordinary effort here. I’ll need some for the list. Please pass along my compliments to Tadeo as well.’
No, we’re not crazy at Neyers Vineyards. To the contrary, taking on a mission like producing America’s most noteworthy Carignan is a project that is close to my heart. Little but important victories like this keep us moving in that direction. We still have a few cases of our 2014 Carignan ‘Evangelho’ available. If you haven’t tried it yet – or introduced it to your friends – you are missing an important chapter in your book.
This wine is made from grapes grown on vines that are 140 years old! All grapes are crushed by foot, not by machine, in order to avoid breaking stems.
2014 Carignan ‘Evangelho Vineyard’ – $35/bottle