Dear Wine Friends:
Happy New Year of the Dragon, a time the Chinese calendar tells us is marked by good fortune. Those born under this sign are said to be innovative and passionate in all their endeavors.
At Jarvis, this new year portends to be one of good fortune. Over the next few months, we will be playing an integral role in what is perhaps the country's premier wine event, Auction Napa Valley.
On June 1, some 2,000 people will converge on Jarvis Estate for the Barrel Tasting and Auction, a curtain-raiser for the weekend's festivities showcasing the great food and wine that defines this valley. On Saturday June 2, the main auction will move to Meadowood in St. Helena. What you will find if you visit Jarvis for the event is a winery transformed. Massive billowy canopies will be erected in the meadow heading up to the cave where some of the region's most renowned chefs will offer tastes of their signature creations.
But the main attraction will occur inside the cave. The Barrel Chai, the largest man-made underground winery chamber in the world, will be turned
into a giant marketplace featuring barrels of the top wine
from Jarvis and 99 of our Napa brethren. Guests will have the opportunity to taste the still-aging wine from the barrel and then place bids on their favorites. The bidding is often furious as participants vie for a chance to purchase some of Napa's best bottles, wines that won't be released for several years. The 10 highest bidders for each lot will receive a case of that wine once it's bottled.
You'll find a lot more details about the Barrel Tasting and Auction in our Winter Wine Notes where you can also read about the Year of the Dragon. Click on the dragon to read the latest notes.
The Auction Moves Down South
|Auction Napa Valley is in its 32nd year but this is the first time the event has come to Jarvis. In the past, the venue has been further north. In recent years, the Barrel Tasting and Auction (the event Jarvis is hosting) has been staged at Francis Ford Coppola's Rubicon Estate in Rutherford, at the Mondavi Estate in Oakville and last year, at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.|
This year, the Napa Valley Vintners decided to move the event down south to Jarvis. One of the reasons Jarvis was selected; our strict commitment to environmental protection. In addition to telling the world about the great wines of the Napa Valley, the Vintner's Association has been spreading the word about how serious its members are about green business practices. Jarvis offers several examples of this trend.
The Vintner's noted that with our entire winery underground, our environmental footprint was minimal. We're also entirely solar powered, have an electric car charging station in our parking meadow and have received Napa Green certification.
A Staggering Sum
When it comes to wine events, Auction Napa Valley has no equal. For the guests, it's an opportunity to spend a weekend sampling some of the world's greatest wines while rubbing elbows with the men and women who make them.
The Barrel Auction at the Napa Valley Wine Auction
But Napa' s biggest event has higher purpose. The money raised benefits local charities. In fact, over the years, the Napa auction has raised more than $100 million for Napa social services.
Along with many other organizations large and small, the recipients last year included Queen of the Valley Medical Center Foundation, Community Health Clinic Ole and the Napa Valley Hospice.
More than $7 million was raised in 2011, a far cry from the auction's first year when the event collected $140,000. It isn't hard to understand the sums when you see some of the bids that roll in. At the live auction, which traditionally takes place on Saturday at the Meadowood resort, the lots can fetch as much as $200,000 or $300,000.
Tickets are available for this year's auction though the supply is limited. A four-day passport that includes a winery dinner on Thursday night, the Barrel Auction on Friday and the Saturday event at Meadowood, cost $2,500 each. A three-day passport is available for $1,000.
And if space allows, a limited number of tickets that will gain you entry into the festivities at Jarvis will be available for $350. Since this is a Napa Valley Vintners event, tickets and more information can be found only at the Napa Valley Vintners website, napavintners.com
It might be an understatement to say that Auction Napa Valley is perhaps the country's most popular wine event. Tickets to the 2011 Barrel Auction went on sales in March of that year. They sold out in seven minutes. We are honored to be playing such an integral role in this great event and we hope to see many of you there.
There is certainly a lot happening at Jarvis in 2012, so before the year completely unfolds, we would like to wish you all, as told to us by our Chinese friends, congratulations for making it through another year and may you experience prosperity in the new one.
New Finch Hollow Releases
Both Filtered and Unfiltered
The 2009 Finch Hollow is a beautiful Chardonnay, exhibiting wonderful notes of ripe figs, honeysuckle and tropical fruits. Unfortunately, there isn't much of it to go around with less than 300 cases produced.
This single-vineyard Chardonnay is named after the birds that live near the vineyards. In the early years, after we were able to net all the vineyards, we noticed we got a lot more fruit from this one particular site. We paid tribute to the birds by naming the vineyard after them.
Recognizing the extraordinary fruit coming from the Finch Hollow Vineyard, Wine Consultant Dimitri Tchelistcheff had the idea to offer an unfiltered, unfined version for wine connoisseurs. He deployed a new technique, using the same Louis Latour barrels, but bottling the upper half of the barrel as an unfiltered Chardonnay and then continuing as usual to lightly filter the wine from the bottom half.