At the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium (yeah, I know… that topic again?!??), the Napa Valley Vintners (a non-profit trade organization that promotes its members wines and the region as a wine powerhouse generally) hooked us (the attendees) up with wines produced by their various association members. A couple of random bottles of what-have-you in the SWAG bag, basically (I think mine contained a Cakebread Cab and Lieff Cab as well).
At one of the “Postprandial Hospitality” (read: “after-party”) tastings, a few attendees noticed a slew of goodie bags stacked in the corner of the room. They were, apparently, extras, and we were encouraged to grab wines out of them as samples if we liked.
I used it as an opportunity to rummage for labels that I hadn’t had opportunity to taste yet – which is becoming more difficult for me when it comes to California wine – and managed to find a few intriguing bottles. One of which was a wine named FOURTEEN from 13 Appellations.
Clever, I thought, probably mixes juice from all of the Napa AVAs. Then it was back to the madness of the Symposium and Premier Napa Valley. FOURTEEN was relegated to a bag, then a box, then to the OAK airport luggage system and the belly of at least two different Southwest airplanes before being shelved unscathed into my basement.
Of course, I’m late to the party (as usual) and it turns out that 13 Appellations has been doing this since 2002, dedicating the wine to the late husband of one of their partners, Kristi Seitz of Brookdale Vineyards. Leave it to me to casually bump into a budding Napa Valley institution, as it were.
Whatever, I was just lookin’ for some tasty juice, alright?!??
Anyway… After retrieving the bottle of FOURTEEN several days later from its temporary cellar banishment, I became much more intrigued about the concept of this wine. After all, this is something that could bring together some of the best aspects of Napa’s diverse soil and temperature profiles; or it could be something that tries so hard to be everything that it ends up being a nothing; instead of transmitting a sense of all Napa places, it might convey a sense of being from nowhere in particular.
So, which is it? How is this wine?…