In a previous post, I wrote about the Livermore Valley and their strengths of having amazing weather for grape growing. This is especially true for the grapes used for your big, bold wines. The intense California heat, just as in Napa, gets the grapes to their peak ripening point, but the cool winds cutting through the rolling hills helps cool the grapes down before they bake on the vine. This swing in diurnal temperatures allows an intense wine like a Cabernet to mellow out during the cooler evenings and build up the much needed acidity in the grapes.
When I heard that Nottingham Cellars was clearing out their Flagship wine, I had to jump on it for RoCo. A couple of years ago, I blindly tasted a fellow Certified Sommelier on Supremacy and they exclaimed “That’s a Napa Cabernet if I ever had one! It’s juicy, weighty, the tannins are there, yeah that’s Napa. High level producer. Maybe Oakville? Like $200 range.” His face when I showed him the bottle was of utter shock. “Wait, that’s from Livermore?” he exclaimed. At that moment, I knew we had a winner and I have continued to keep my eye on this wine (and also make sure I always have some in the cellar). The wine is normally around the $100 range, but we were able to get it for you at an amazing deal.
As conversations about diversity and social justice continue across the country, several members of Livermore’s winemaking community have done more than just talk. Nottingham isn’t just clearing this out because they weren’t happy with the wine. They have decided to discontinue its flagship label and donate 15% of sales to support the local Oakland chapter of 100 Black Men of America, an international mentoring and scholarship program. The intent of Supremacy was to highlight the supreme winemaking in the Livermore Valley but Colin Cranor and team thought about it and decided the verbiage is not the appropriate representation of what they are going for and in turn have started the campaign to #EndSupremacy.
Truth is, the wine is fantastic and the 2016 vintage shines! I opened a bottle and drank it over the span of 3 days to see how it would taste having pulled the cork and letting air in. Each day was better than the previous. On the 3rd day, the wine was so smooth and easy to drink, I couldn’t believe it. I’m not saying you need to wait 3 days to drink this, far from that. But I would recommend you pour some into your glass, let it get some air, then pour the rest in a decanter of some sort to get more air while you enjoy your first glass. Take note of how the wine changes hour by hour, bottle by bottle. You won’t regret it!
Nick Mallon, Certified Sommelier