During #wbc10, Julie Crafton, communications coordinator of Napa Valley Vintners, led several of us up to her room with the promise of trying some small, boutique Napa wines and we were not disappointed.  She told me that #tastenapa was coming to Texas in October and I marked my calendar on July 1 hoping against hope that work travel wouldn’t keep me away.

Those of you that know me (or know me through this blog) know that I am a big fan of both Napa wines and Twitter.  I was feeling a little melancholy knowing I couldn’t return to the Valley this year, so I was very excited about this event.  As the event approached, I was able to get a sneak preview through the Tweets of @winewonkette and @houston wino from Another Wine Blog, who share my palate.  I took copious notes and formulated my game day plan as I literally could have tasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 plus wines. 

Because I have a day job, I arrived at CityPlace Center much later than those in the trade and was able to get some additional intel.  As I made my way around the packed room, two things were reinforced. The first was how many wine makers were in the room, which overscored how much Napa wine we drink here in Dallas.  Not surprising considering we are the land of the steakhouse, but winemaker after winemaker told me how profitable a market Texas is for them.

John Anthony

Winemaker John Anthony

O’Shaughnessy

Betty O’Shaughnessy of O’Shaughnessy Vineyards

The second is how much I adore Napa wines. Granted, a Stags Leap Cast 23 was my first wine “a ha” moment, and the wine didn’t disappoint.  My favorites included the Meander Napa Valley Cabernet 07 ($65); the Larkin Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc 07 (both $60), the 07 Gemstone (price not released, but averaged $140 online), the O’Shaughnessy Mount Veeder Cabernet ($95), the John Anthony 06 Cabernet Sauvignon ($55) and Waterstone’s  07 “Study in Blue” ($45). 

Conquerel

Brenda Coqueral from Coqueral Family Estates

I also really enjoyed meeting Brenda from Coqueral Family Estates, a fellow Texan who caught the vineyard “bug” and moved to Calistoga to make wine with her husband.  They focus exclusively on the Sauvignon Blanc grape and make three wines.  My favorite was the Terroir Coquerel at $37.   

Peju

Herta Behensky “HB” Peju from Peju Vineyards

And, I must give a special shout out of the 2004 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon H.B. Vineyard, Rutherford, Napa Valley, which was fantastic.  The wine spent 30 months in French Oak and I believe I savored every drop, especially for the $225 library wine price.  I enjoyed my conversation with Herta Behensky “HB” Peju, who must have spent 20 minutes with me discussing her wines, the Valley and her perspective on winemaking.  A delightful and talented winemaker who has made some of Napa’s great wines since 1982.

Look for these vintages coming to your favorite wine bar, restaurant or wine store soon. Let me know your favorites or the Napa wines you wish you could get in Texas. Your voice (and dollar) matter and based on the attendance, our wholesalers, distributors and suppliers are listening.