Napa Valley Vintners come to town

By Jim Boyce

Napa Valley Vintners held a trade tasting on Monday, April 7 at Central Party Institute for Foreign Affairs in Beijing. Most of the 11 producers on hand provided a sample each of a red and a white wine. I stuck to the latter, my favorites being Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2005 (dark fruit, slight bitterness and tingle at the end that reminded me of coffee), Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (toast, blackberries), Saintsbury Pinot Noir 2006 (red cherries, touch of savoriness – sea salt?) and, most interesting, Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Single Cellar 2001 (with mint on the nose and in the body).

The producers were Buehler Vineyards, Cain Vineyard & Winery, Cakebread Cellars, Chappellet Winery & Vineyard, Heitz Wine Cellars, Helena View Johnston Vineyards, Oakville Ranch Vineyards, Page Wine Cellars, Saintsbury, St. Supery Vineyards & Winery, and Viader Vineyards & Winery.

Besides Beijing, the tour takes in four other Asian cities, each of which will receive larger delegations: Shanghai (one day, 14 producers, trade and public tastings), Hong Kong (one day, 16 producers, trade tasting), Tokyo (three days, 20 producers, trade and public tastings) and Osaka (one day, 18 producers, trade tasting).

The Napa Valley Vintners is involved in wine education, auctions, and sustainable farming. It aims to protect Napa Valley as a place name. In others, if a bottle doesn’t include wine from Napa, it shouldn’t use the name on the label. Given the valley’s reputation and small production, these wines tend to be pricey.

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