Dowdell Napa Valley Soda Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
After our wine-dinner, we did another cellar dive and Dan pulled out this unique single label limited release Napa Cabernet that he picked up at auction.
This label was marketed by Wilson Daniels a wine marketing firm who 'use education and brand-building to develop mutually rewarding, long-term relationships and strategic partnerships with luxury producers' to market and promote 'high profile fine wines featuring top terroir, that are benchmarks in their region'.
One boutique merchant wrote in their promotion of this wine, 'We believe the project was initiated for a specific buyer in mind. That didn’t pan out and the wine wound up in limbo. Very little made to market. We just discovered it and we bought every single bottle we could get.'
Essentially, someone had excess fruit, or wine, or as they said, proceeded on a wine production project that then needed marketing, promotion and distribution, developing a label and a brand. Since they were not owner producers, not producing 'estate' wines, these projects are often 'one-hit wonders', or less, if and when they don't live up to their hype or lofty expectations. They are fun and interesting experiments and experiences - just don't get attached to them as you may not see a follow on encore
This was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from a single block of the former Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa, on the lower reaches of the Vaca Range above Silverado Trail, north of Atlas Peak, south of Howell Mountain.
The Stagecoach Vineyard is one of the most storied legendary vineyards in Napa Valley. Stagecoach fruit has sourced scores of premium and ultra premium bottlings by many top
winemakers and labels over the years. The property was recently sold to E.J. Gallo which has
caused much consternation through the Napa wine community and makes this independent bottling even more unique as a single vintage release appellation specific designated bottling, not likely to be repeated again? Cellartracker records indicate three vintages released - but only reviews for this 2014. With the only vintage reference on the rear label, who knows?
This label was crafted by notable winemaker Thomas Brown. According to The Terroirist Wine Journal, "Thomas Brown is the nation's hottest winemaker." He has received many 100-point scores from Robert Parker and James Laube. He was Food & Wine Magazine’ "Winemaker of the Year." He has lead or advised winemaking at Chiarello, Schrader, Outpost, Maybach, Revana, TOR, C. Mondavi, Jones Family, Harris Estate, Hestan, Seaver, Black Sears, Casa Piena and more.
I wrote about Thomas Brown and Chiarello in an earlier blogpost.
This was aged for 19 months in 3 kinds of French Oak - Tonnellerie, Remond and Berthomieu.
This is packaged in an ultra-premium oversize, heavy glass bottle with a super deep punt. Unfortunately, the wine does not quite live up to the presentation of the packaging.
Dark blackish inky purple, medium-full bodied, this wine is more defined by what it is not, rather than what it is, not overly dramatic or inspiring, not overblown, over-extracted or over-oaked, smooth, soft, balanced blackberry and black raspberry fruits with notes of cassis and tar, a touch of leather and spice turning to hints of aromatic floral notes and creme caramel on a smooth tannin laced lingering finish.
RM 90 points.