Carl Kanowsky: Some worthwhile sacrifices for wine

Inside the St. Supery tasting room on Rodeo Drive In Beverly hills. Courtesy photo

Some days, the sacrifices I make for you, my loyal readers, are so overwhelming that I must give them voice. Yesterday was such an occasion.

I received an invitation to sample some wine from Premiere Napa Valley. Big yawn! Sometimes I so grow weary of sipping $150+ Cali Cabs. Maybe I should be doing something more exciting, like practicing law.

So, I drove down to Beverly Hills to St. Supery’s new tasting room located on some cheap land on a nothing street called Rodeo Drive. (And those people in Beverly Hills – they can’t even say Rodeo correctly. ROW-DAY-O? Please.)

As you can see from the photo, the setting was a little tight. And then I had to sample the best from Alpha Omega, Darioush, Frank Family, Reynolds Family, St. Supery, Spottswoode, Staglin, Silver Oak, Twomey, and ZD Wines.

Like I said, the sacrifices.

Alright, so it was great. Maybe I’ll be asked to make these type of sacrifices on a weekly basis.

The purpose of the tasting was to introduce members of the wine trade to the upcoming Napa Valley Wine Auctions. The first is on February 24, 2018 being held at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone for a 3-day gathering of celebration of fine wine for members of the wine trade.

At this Auction, attendees can bid on one-of-a-kind wine from over 200 Napa wineries. You see, each winery sets aside enough juice to bottle wine that is not available anywhere else other than the Auction. You can’t even buy these wines at the wineries themselves.

For instance, Alpha Omega is offering 120 bottles of its 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dr. To Kalon, Oakville. To Kalon is a legendary vineyard in Napa. Only a privileged few are able to buy grapes from here. According to Jancis Robinson, To Kalon fruit sells for as much as $50,000/ton, whereas other great Cab grapes from other vineyards sell for less than $6,000/ton. Beckstoffer Vineyards owns a portion of To Kalon, as well as having other outstanding sites, including Dr. Crane. Alpha Omega sells (at $200 or more per bottle) Cabs that are labelled either Beckstoffer To Kalon or Beckstoffer Dr. Crane. For the Auction, and only for this Auction, Alpha Omega blends fruit from both To Kalon and Dr. Crane. So, the only way you can own this blend from this winery is to buy it at the Auction in February.

And, let me tell you, this is an amazing wine. Spicy, berry-laden, deep purple, with aromas of smoke, earth and dark fruit, it offers incomprehensible tastes that last almost a minute. An outstanding wine that would retail for over $300/bottle – but you can’t go out to your local BevMo and get it.

If you’re not a member of the wine trade, don’t worry. You might have the chance to buy it at the Napa Valley Vintners’ June Auction. But be prepared – these wines go for steep prices. Last year, Alpha Omega’s lot sold for $35,050.

And to salve your aching pocketbook, the proceeds from the Auction go to more than 100 charities. Now, this is a worthwhile sacrifice.

© Carl J. Kanowsky
January 17, 2018

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