Back Room Wines
is Changing Hands
Please welcome the future owners of BRW
The business started in 2000 with one desk in a downtown office shared with 2 buddies in other lines of work. Then the store on Franklin Street opened in summer 2002 with my Dad coming up from Tucson to help get it ready for business. In 2008 Back Room moved to the nexus of Downtown Napa, at First & Main Streets, into "snazzy digs," replete with much more wine and more everything else.
The evolution continues in 2017 with the sale of Back Room Wines from me, Dan Dawson, to Felicia and Prashant Patel of Napa.
The sale should be complete a week from Monday, May 8.
Yes, friends in wine, I'm selling the shop. It's been a good time, and like a good house guest, you need to move along while everyone is still happy.
Allow me to answer a few questions that may be rolling around in your brain. 1) Back Room Wines will continue to be Back Room Wines, and sell the coolest, best small-production wines from near and far. 2) The wine culture of careful, provocative wine selections, and unique tasting events, will continue. 3) What am I going to do? I address this question at the bottom of the email.
The themes of today's featured wines is nostalgia and value. The four wines below are rooted deep in my 25 year wine career in Napa Valley. You may well know these wines from previous vintages. As for value, BRW always has, and always will, deliver the best wines you can get for the money. Consider the four great value wines below. 2 whites, 2 reds. Each comes with a twist of nostalgia.
Guess The Grape - Blind Tasting
TOMORROW: Thursday, April 27, 5 to 8
Try to identify five wines, each classic representations of the grape and/or place. All "testable" varieties and regions. Great tasting for wine students. More info here.
This Friday, April 28, 5 to 8 P.M.
The rain seems to be behind us. Blossoms and flowers are out. It's warming up. Time to DRINK PINK. Six Rose wine line-up for you this Friday night. Provence, Rhone, Beaujolais, Languedoc and Cal Roses poured, $15/tasting.
Today's four featured wines have been staples of Back Room Wines for years. A couple take me back to my first days in the wine business in the early 1990s. Great values, delicious wines, and a perfect variety (light white, rich white, bold red, bolder red).
The mixed case, 3 bottles of each, is highly recommended.
Y ROUSSEAU Colombard
"Old Vines" Russian River Valley 2016 $20/bottle
Make Y Rousseau your first wine of the day
Buy Y Rousseau Colombard here
and you're off to a great
It's the perfect "Sauvignon Blanc alternative" wine.
Yannick Rousseau launched his eponymous wine label in 2008, the same year Back Room moved and expanded. We've carried every vintage since that 2008, and the streak continues as we tasted this 2016 Y Rousseau Colombard just yesterday. Bingo.
The 45 year old, dry-farmed Colombard vines grow in the cool confines of Sonoma's Russian River Valley. Colombard's cradle is Yannick's homeland: Gascony, France (it's also the home of Armagnac). We compare it to Sauvignon Blanc because of its similar bright acidity, melon and orchard fruits with no oak taste. It also steers away from SB's herb & grass character. Great sipper by itself as well as with grilled and fried fish.
POSEIDON Chardonnay "Estate Grown" Carneros, Napa Valley 2015 $24/bottle
You could say the Poseidon Chardonnay and its sister labels (most notably Obsidian Ridge) have grown up with Back Room Wines. 2003 was the first vintage for Poseidon, owned/made by the Molnar brothers and wine director Michael Terrien. Always very good, and, in all sincerity, the 2015 Poseidon is the best one yet.
It is named POSEIDON because the
vineyard's right next to the San Pablo Bay in the Carneros. The land was purchased by Nicholas Molnar in the early 1970s, and young sons Peter and Arpad Molnar planted the vineyard in 1983. This is whole cluster pressed, barrel ferment/aged (30% new Hungarian oak), full malolactic.
The butter & oak flavors are keenly integrated into the layers of fruit. Smell & taste fresh pears/apples/melons with a pinch of brown spices, perky acidity and a finish of sweet butter, pie crust and apple orchard.
You like a full bodied Chardonnay? We recommend this.
Like a lighter style? We recommend this. It's really quite something!
GREEN & RED Zinfandel "Chiles Canyon Vineyards" Napa Valley 2014 $24/bottle
Every vintage I taste, and undoubtedly like, the latest Green & Red Zinfandel, I think back to my first year as a Wine Buyer in 2004. I still remember the 2002 Green & Red Zinfandel. Smell, flavor, texture, depth, fruit, spice, balance, power, grace. That $16 bottle of Zinfandel helped me calibrate my definition of really good wine.
23 years later, Jay and Pam Heminway are still making fantastic Zinfandel from their Estate vineyards in eastern Napa Valley. And, to this day, they represent the finest value in Napa Valley red wine.
Pours out dark ruby red. Smell & taste black cherry compote, black pepper, allspice, blueberry pie, toasty barrel and vanilla from the oak. It's a mouthful: very ripe but not quite jammy. Full bodied and well structured while still letting the fruit shine.
Buy Green & Red Zinfandel here
Buy Stellareese Cabernet here
STELLAREESE Cabernet Sauvignon
Calistoga, Napa Valley 2013 $42
(Bet you saw this one comin' Rachel...)
In the '90s, many in the Calistoga community, of which I was part,
were inspired by everyone's friend, Greg Brown. He started T-Vine Cellars I think the same year I moved to Napa Valley: 1992. His wines were fabulous, and to me the definition of next generation California wine. They brimmed with fresh fruit flavors + silky tannins and kisses of sweet spice from the grapes and the oak.
Greg left us a few years ago. Like a lot of folks around here, I only miss him when I think about him.
Luckily, we have Stellareese Cabernet, owned and made by Geoff and Rachel STELLAREESE Davies. Rachel worked with Greg from 2004 to 2010. She learned her craft from Greg Brown, and the Cab shows it.
"Marcey's Vineyard" is a tiny, organic vineyard in Calistoga. The wine sports ripe, slightly jammy black cherry smells and flavors along with cocoa, vanilla bean, a pinch of tarragon & sage and pomegranate syrup smells & flavors. It's very rich, full-bodied and layered. Last tasted in March, the tannins had smoothed out since its fall 2016 release date. It's drinking great now. Definitely one of the best $42 Napa Cabs you'll ever find. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 400 cases made.
Dan's Nostalgic Mixed Case
3 bottles of each wine above:
HOW TO ORDER
Email replies, phone orders and walk-ins only!
Reply to this email, call us toll-free at 877-322-2576,
or just come on in to purchase. THANK YOU!
I'm taking a break. I like to call it a sabbatical. Learn how to live NOT working 6 long days a week. Spend more time with my family, work on the house and my body & mind. While I can't retire quite yet, I can take some time to figure out what I want to do next.
This is not good bye. Not yet. I will be around for a couple of months helping the Patels and long-time colleague Sean Nelson (he's staying on) get settled into running the biz.
I have one more newsletter in me.
Next week I'll tell you more about the vision the Patels have for BRW. Thanks for all of your support.
Drink more Cotes du Rhone. Dan
Daniel Dawson, Sean Nelson,
BACK ROOM WINES
(707) 226-1378 TOLL FREE 877-322-2576