Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Black Cat Vineyard

One of the great things about living in Northern California is the access that you are granted to the small production wines that rarely find their way into mainstream America's mouths. And the best thing about most of these wineries is that the people involved are so freakin' cool. Not long after I hit the wine scene in Napa, I was introduced to the owner of Black Cat Vineyard, a small winery based in Southern Napa. Aside from the fact that the wines are amazing, I was completely captivated by owner and winemaker, Tracey Reichow.

Tracey is somewhere in her 50's, I'm guessing, and totally beautiful in a laid-back way. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and usually wears jeans and work sneaks. However, her style is the only thing about her that comes across as laid back. She seems the epitome of a Type-A personality - friendly, uber-intelligent, fast paced and a complete control freak about her products. She does everything for her wines - farms all of the grapes, runs a team of hand-harvesters, and takes care of all of the pressing down and racking (not an easy task, by the way).

Yeah, all of that is cool. But this was the kicker for me.
Intimidated by the thought of ordering wine for the table at a restaurant? Don't sweat it - she's come up with a simple matrix (oxymoron as far as I'm concerned, but perfectly natural for her) with how to figure out what varietal to order and how much to spend by quickly sizing up your dinner companions.

So impressed was I by all of this, I developed a state of crush/awe/envy that led me to agree to help her sell her wines in the Bay Area. So for the last two months I've been lucky enough to broker her 2005 Syrah and 2005 Cabernet/Syrah Cuvee blend.

The Syrah especially is smoky, juicy, and delicious. Tracey very specifically makes her wines to age, and each of them are candidates for decanting, and could easily go another ten years in the cellar as the aggressive fruit settles down and t
he subtleties become fully realized. With less than 200 cases of each produced, these wines are truly collector's items.

In short, for those of you who love discovering new, small production wineries, this is definitely one to check out. She ships to most states, info is all on the website. Tell her I sent you, and be sure to buy enough to age a few bottles - you won't regret it.

*Me, giggling excitedly as Tracey explains her vineyards to my friends.


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