Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cabernet Split

It’s a kick as a winery owner to see what wines people gravitate toward.  There are so many that love that more classic California style of Chardonnay like Stuhlmuller or Costello, with the butter and oak suggestion the whole way through, then you have your more old-world Chard lover who’ll take the Winemakers’ Cellar Chardonnay out of the tasting room by the palate!  And Zinfandel, well, we make eight different Zinfandels year to year, and those preferences are all over the board.  The Zins are hard to keep track of, frankly, on where the trends are and who likes what— of course you have the Maple Vineyard loyalists who’ll take the vineyard designate and Bill’s block over anything, then I notice people who only love our Proprietor’s and Bernier, or the Pritchett Peaks® Zinfandel from Rockpile…  Again, it’s hard to keep track of.

One particular split that I’ve always found interesting is the fans of the flagship Taylor Vineyard Cabernet versus the Alexander Valley Cabernet from the Cooney Vineyard.  This friendly ‘rivalry’, I guess you could call it, has proven again and again to be the most opinionated and fierce.  People who like the Taylor seem to be those that like that big California Cabernet but with a little more swagger and finesse to its taste and overall palate.  People who prefer the Cooney seem to me to be the Cabernet drinkers who like that gritty, dark, chewy and chunky style of Cab.  It never fails, literally every time a group comes in and someone behind the bar pours the Taylor and Cooney side-by-side, the camps are split.  And, I’ve always found this fascinating.  It’s fun to see people split into smaller groups in their thoughts and opinions about the two Cabernets.  Of course there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just fun, for them and for me.


Wine is about getting together, with family and friends, loved ones, and finding what you like.  The playful rivalries are fun, too.  Nothing brings a little antagonism out like Taylor and Cooney.  I mean, I see it again and again.  Between my employees, between myself and some of the tasting room staff…  The jokes start flying, we start laughing and having little debates on which is better, and we move on.  All in the life of someone living the wine life. 

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