subscribe: Posts | Comments      Facebook      Email Steve

Friday twofer: Awards and great Napa food and wine


Wine Enthusiast this morning announced the nominees for the 2012 Wine Star Awards. Here in the Golden State, California, they include Francis Ford Coppola, David B. Kent of The Wine Group and Joseph E. Gallo, of E&J Gallo, for Person of the Year [that’s 3 separate nominations], Philippe Melka as winemaker of the year, Raymond Vineyards, Yao Family Wines and Rodney Strong Vineyards as American Winery of the Year [in 3 nominations], Kermit Lynch as Importer of the Year, K&L Wine Merchants as Retailer of the Year, Dennis Kelly of The French Laundry and Shelley Lindgren of A16 (San Francisco) for Sommelier of the Year, Leslie Rudd, Cameron Hughes and Michael Mondavi, in 3 nominations, for Innovator of the Year, and Napa Valley as Wine Region of the Year.

That’s quite an impressive list. Winners will be announced later this year, so stay tuned.

* * *

Muchos gracias to Ovid Winery and particularly to GM Janet Pagano and winemaker Austin Peterson for the lovely tour, tasting and luncheon yesterday. It was fun to run into Jeff Nead, of the great San Francisco-based P.R. firm, Glowdow Nead, with whom I laughed over memories of a very crazy visit to Telluride, years ago.

I wanted to visit Ovid because during my blind tasting of Pritchard Hill wines earlier this year theirs had done so well. Austin Peterson is a young, talented guy, part of a youthful contingent of Napa Valley winemakers that includes Cory Empting at Harlan Estate, Andy Erickson at Dalla Valle and Nick Gislason, at Screaming Eagle, who all look young enough to be freshmen in the Lit 101 class at City College. Or maybe it’s because everyone looks young nowadays, to me!

Here’s the lunch menu. Eat your heart out.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Plum Relish [hand made by Janet]

Romano Beans with Mint

Fresh Creamed Sweet Corn [Janet’s special ingredient is lime juice and lime zest.]

Heirloom Tomatoes with Ricotta Salsa [dressed with Ovid’s olive oil]

Gravenstein Apple Crisp [from Ovid’s orchard] with homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Ovid is making hella good wines. The main red, a Bordeaux blend of 4 varieties, is simply outstanding, at the top of the Napa heap. Austin also makes a second wine, Experiment, that can vary in blend in any given year. The 2009 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was, in a word, stunning.

Have a great, safe weekend and I’ll be back here on Monday morning!

  1. Steve, the 2009 Ovid Experiment is actually 75% cab sauv and 25% cab franc.

  2. Kyle: Well, Austin told us it was 100% Cab!

  3. Huh. Was it the P4.9? Maybe it was a different “Experiment.” Though, if he just said “cab,” that is true… just two different varieties of cabernet! My understanding is that the 09 Experiment is 75.41% cab sauv clone 337 and 24.59% cab franc clone 332. It is written on the label, so I’d bet Austin was pouring you something different… Lovely wines produced up there nonetheless.

  4. Kyle, I’m pretty sure he said 100% CS.

  5. Well, then it either wasn’t the P4.9 offered to the public or Austin was mistaken.

  6. Any explanation for the nomination of Coppola as person of the year? Coppola’s wines are overoaked and dreadful, and an even greater disappointment in light of the legendary vineyards they have access to.

    And Yao as American Winery of the year? Seriously?

  7. Richard:

    The explanation is most likely his “saving” of the Inglenook, which includes far more than the recent acquisition of the brand name.

  8. Tom Merle, it’s also his Sonoma project, which is unique in all of California.

Leave a Reply


Recent Comments

Recent Posts