1992 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Anniversary Release – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (6/16/2011)

Brooding and powerful with balanced and long lasting waves of flavor – dried cranberries, cherries, bitter-sweet chocolate, pencil lead, creosote. Exceptional wine at its peak and no sign of decline. 1992 Napa is a great vintage and this was a wonderful wine to celebrate my own 1992 vintage son, who graduated high school today. (95 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

2007 Cabot Vineyards Confluence – USA, California, North Coast, Humboldt County (6/9/2011)

Really opened up with aggressive decanting and swirling to give raspberry and bacon aromas. The red fruit flavors dominate the flavor with a medium finish. Cellar for 2-3 more years and I think it will flesh out even more. (90 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

This sounds really cool: touring Italian vineyards on a Vespa.  Sasha, are you listening?  My B-Day is in September. Link to New York Time’s travel article

Several folks have asked how our vineyards have faired after the wet, cool spring.  Below is the Client Newsletter sent by Barbour Vineyards, the vineyard management team that farms Butterdragon Hill.  My personal experience was when I walked the vineyards last week, there seemed to be a lot less fruit than I recall from previous years.

Barbour Vineyards

Q2 2011

Client Newsletter

The growing season is in full swing.  Luckily, the weather warmed up and all clients, including those on the mountains, will be through bloom by the end of June.

We now have some insight into crop yields for 2011.  We’ve seen light to moderate shatter in most of the valley and the impact appears to be dependent on when the vineyard was going through bloom during the late-May/early-June rains.  The rain caused caps to stick rather than going through flowering, which prevented berries from forming.  So, the blocks that bloomed earliest have good set with less shatter.  The blocks that were in mid-bloom during the rain experienced the most impact.  With the weather now dry [ed: this newsletter was written before this week’s rainy day], vineyards currently going through bloom also have less shatter. More details below in the Growing Season Update article…..

Bottom line is we should expect yields lighter than usual this year in general.

2011 Growing Season Update

In addition to the news on potentially poor set mentioned in the article above, below are additional observations for the season:

Are We Behind?   It looks as though we are currently running two weeks behind normal which is slightly better than the 2010 season.  Should the normal temperatures continue, we could easily catch up.

Fruit Set Certain varieties such as Malbec and Petit Verdot are experiencing poor set.  Our observations indicate Petit Verdot has been perhaps hardest hit. Cabernet Sauvignon seems to be faring a little better, and we will have a more complete understanding of yields by mid-July.

Spray Schedules Because the onset of summer was delayed, we are anticipating an extension to the spray season.  The mild temperatures during May to mid-June, combined with high humidity increased the mildew danger.  A few weeks ago, we tightened our spray schedule for powdery mildew control.  There was a period of several weeks where we were unable to get into vineyards due to rain and some minor infections were noted in the foliage.  In those vineyards, treatment was successfully completed.  Although we are making every effort to keep costs down, please note an additional pass was/or may be required to ensure mildew is in control.

Vigorous Canopy Growth For the third year in a row, late rains left us with abundant foliar growth.  This will likely result in additional canopy manipulation to keep vines open for light penetration and air movement – crucial for fruit ripening and development as well as controlling fungal disease.

What’s Happening in Your Vineyard?

The following activities will be happening in your vineyard for the next several weeks:


Again, depending on weather, we may need to make more than one pass over the coming months to complete each one of those tasks.

A LOOK AHEAD…..The forecast is for average summer temperatures going forward.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed this becomes reality.

We took a bottle of this to Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen (St Helena) over the weekend. Great stuff if I do say so myself. If you passed on the 03 vintage in Napa, you owe yourself another look. This and other wines of the vintage have really hit their stride and are drinking incredibly well right now.


Mary Baker is a writer and marketer whom I know from wine blogs.  Last year she and her family needed to provide end-of-life care for her mother.  According to Mary, “It was a beautiful and empowering time.  It was also physically tiring, emotionally draining, and confusing.”  Mary recognized a need for an online forum where families can share information and resources with others who are facing (or have faced) similar situations.

She has applied for a Pepsi Refresh Project grant of $5000 to pay for site development and get it off the ground.  Please go to the Pepsi Refresh Project site and vote for her idea so she will be able to compete this important resource for families. You can vote once each day, every day in June.

Bring Your Loved One Home – Providing information and practical assistance for home hospice and palliative care.


You’d be hard pressed to find better meats than those offered by Bryan Flannery of Bryan’s Fine Foods in Corte Madera and San Francisco.  He’s a great guy too, well in-tune with food, wine, and the joys that go with sharing them with other fun loving folks.

Read what happens when a big corporation and their legal team starts going after the little guy in this hilarious account of David sparring with Goliath.

Greetings from the LA Wine Festival where I’m pouring our 2007 Butterdragon Hill and 2007 Baconbrook.  We’ve participated for years to benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  I usually send the wine down and volunteers from CTF pour while spreading information about the fight against these genetic disorders that affect so many children.  This time, I get to work alongside the CTF crew.

It seems like a great time to share the video below of our niece, Rose Match Suna.  She was the 2010 Ambassador for CTF and we’re very proud of her.

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3060 White Sulphur Springs Rd
St Helena, CA 94574
t: (707) 200-3510
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