Neyers Vineyards

Vintner Tales

July 15, 2020

The Growing Seasons We Don’t Remember Are Always the Best Ones

By Bruce Neyers

Neyers Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard looking west

Neyers Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard looking west towards the setting sun in June 2020

For the past three years, Neyers wines have been sold through the Heritage Group at Trinchero Family Estates, a small team of talented wine specialists headed up by Scott Stubbs. They’re scattered around the country, and have done a remarkable job of seeing to it that our wines reach the intended consumers. For the past few months especially, they have overcome seemingly impossible odds doing their jobs. I’d like to give them all a medal.

One of the team’s brightest stars is also one of their newest, a regional salesman named Brandon Becker. Brandon is based in Texas, and on several occasions over the past year Barbara and I have enjoyed sharing both a bottle of wine with him over a meal. Our most recent encounter was at a virtual wine tasting held at a private country club in Houston. Brandon served several Neyers wines while I talked about them. Each wine was accompanied by a dish prepared according to a recipe provided by Barbara.

Barbara had suggested we taste the 2016 Neyers Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon with fresh spring asparagus with hollandaise sauce, a dish she had served on Father’s Day. The crowd seemed to like it, but after the tasting was over Brandon mentioned that in Texas they would serve that wine with a steak. I mentioned Brandon’s observation to Barbara, and by the time I arrived home later that night, she had dropped into our local butcher shop and picked up a boneless rib eye. She grilled it medium-rare over mesquite charcoal, then served it alongside her famous potatoes Lameloise — more about them in the future — and a grilled ear of corn. ‘Happy Father’s Day,’ she said.

I went to the cellar and grabbed an interesting bottle of 2015 red Bordeaux. I wanted to drink it with a bottle of our 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Neyers Ranch’, a wine that’s in an especially good place right now. During the meal, I was reminded of a conversation I had with winemaking consultant Thomas Brown at the Wine Speak conference in Paso Robles. I asked Thomas what it was about the 2016 vintage in the Napa Valley that made it so remarkable. ‘The vintages we don’t remember are always the best ones,’ Thomas said. ‘Those we forget have very little weather-related drama during the growing season. I’m permanently scarred by some other years, but very happy to have little or no memories from 2016.’ Well said, I thought.

Last fall The Wine Spectator had this to say about the wine:
“Not shy on ripeness, with lush fig, boysenberry and blackberry notes coursing through. Well-focused, this is girded by graphite and anise details that lend form and a refined structure through the finish. Drink now through 2027. 1,027 cases made.” 91 POINTS – James Molesworth

Rib-eye steak cooking on a grill

A boneless rib-eye steak from Sunshine Foods in Saint Helena grills over a mesquite charcoal fire

I’m delighted to see that we still have six-packs of the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Neyers Ranch available for sale.

Cabernet Sauvignon clusters a few weeks after flowering

Cabernet Sauvignon clusters a few weeks after flowering in June 2020