Old favorite's you don't recognize anymore?

I started buying Copain wines around 1999-2000.  After a recent email exchange with the tasting room there I wondered if I've ever seen a winery change so drastically.  I still have an email exchange with Wells Guthrie from @ 2005 getting his advice on using foils on my bottles vs the "don't bother us make an appointment through the website", reply I got this week.  The changes around 2008 I understood.  The raise in single vineyard prices and the introduction of lower cost blends was a survival strategy of those times.  I did stop my regular purchases, it was the single vineyard Rhones I really wanted and they became too expensive for me.  The introduction of Pinot Noir and 'Chasing Sideways', I understood that also.  I didn't like it but I understood it.

I know Wells is gone now, and the winery was sold to K.J., but really almost nothing of what it was from a culture, style and personality perspective remains that I can tell.  I've had other favorites go through ownership changes, Betz comes to mind, and retain the culture and personality of the winery.  Ridge has changed ownership structures a few times and gone through a lot of changes in the last 20 years but I've never felt like it wasn't Ridge or didn't have the spirit of Ridge.  Just last month a csr at Ridge tracked down a 2008 Chardonnay for me to replace a corked bottle.  I had no expectation of getting the same vintage, but he found one, held it until the weather was good and sent a replacement, emailing me through the entire process with updates - a very Ridge thing to do.

How about everyone else?  Any that changed for better or worse you can call out?

Original Post

Clos du val has gone through a bunch of changes.  Their customer service has always been good but they're clearly marketing the upper end of napa.  And I guess why not monetize your holdings, except gone are the days where I can get a 25$ pure napa cab varietal that doesn't have notes of foley and similar ilk. 

Nice job by Ridge CSR to do that for you.  If there is a regret in wine collecting is not being on the Ridge mailing list when I started.

Just speaking of what I have heard and limited tasting, Opus One is not the same quality they were in the '90s.

g-man posted:

Clos du val has gone through a bunch of changes.  Their customer service has always been good but they're clearly marketing the upper end of napa.  And I guess why not monetize your holdings, except gone are the days where I can get a 25$ pure napa cab varietal that doesn't have notes of foley and similar ilk. 

I was up there this summer, hoping to get a photo of the front of the building with all the ivy growing over it...except it was totally under construction  They are tearing it apart to create a new open patio space.  The drawings they had inside made it look exactly like Alpha Omega, and when I was told about it, they mentioned the designers were the same ones that did...wait for it...Alpha Omega.  But to be fair, I ended up doing a tasting while I was there and the customer service was great.  They even had some old library wines you could taste and buy (way too much of a premium...I'd rather take my shot at some at auction than pay 130$ for their stag's leap cab from 2005).  

Merus tasting is a joke.  3 wines 2 are second label 1 ounce of each for 50 bucks.  The guy Marc at the tasting is a younger guy which acts as if he was born and raised working in the vineyard .  He moved to the valley in 2013.  Acted as if he knew everything,

NapaCat I agree with you 100% on Merus and Buccella.  I was at Merus last week as my friend was picking up some wine fom Sebastiani which now owns Merus.  The guy there Marc who poured us 3 wines two of their second label and the 2014 Merus acted like a complete know it all.  I figured he was born and raised in Napa as he seemed to act like he knew everything.  He was about 32 so when I asked him if he was born and raised in the valley he said he moved out to wine country in 2013 which I almost laughed out loud.  I was so surprised that someone actually put him in a position where he is the face of the brand.  The Merus wines on the list and winery prices are almost double then current auction prices.  So after the tasting which was about 3 ounces of wine he said if you are not buying anything its 50 bucks.  We paid 100 bucks for 6 ounces of wine 4 ounces which were from a second label wine.   Since I know people in the valley this was one of the few wineries I actually had to pay for a tasting at.  The guy came off as a clown to me anyone who knoews wine also knows pricing no one is gonna pay 170 a bottle all in for wines you can buy for 100.

When I contacted Buccella about a tasting they said one tasting fee is waived with each case of wine you purchased.  I laughed at the lady and said wow that is kind so of I spend 2,200 You will waive one 75 dollar tasting fee.

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time there was this guy who made wine out of Santa Cruz as a hobby while he held an IT job.  He made great wine (still does), but back then he was cool.  He (actually they) even sent me an extra magnum of wine to celebrate my daughter's bat mitzvah when I bought about 6 cases from them for the event. 

Now he's all snobby and like "I'm a winemaker" and he boasts about owning his own nail gun.  He flaunts his true knowledge all over the wine board I frequent.   Also prices have increased with about the cost of living over the last 10 years or so, which is really nervy.  

I just borrow the nail gun.   My big contribution to the neighborhood tool exchange is a pallet jack and portable wood chipper.  The usual rental rate is 2 bottles of beer upon return of the borrowed tool.  A shot of bourbon is sometimes also included in the rental fee.  If its a particularly big job a manhattan might be made.  It took me a few years but I do have the guys in the neighborhood drinking manhattans.  They're still consumed out of a solo cup, but it is a manhattan. 

I should note also so there's no confusion that the beer, bourbon, and or manny is always consumed at the place the tool was borrowed from, so it's more a pay it forward thing than an actual rental fee.  It does act as a powerful incentive though to return the borrowed tool.  If a project takes a few days there's also an inspection fee.  That involves providing beer to anyone who stops by to see how progress is going.  Normally bourbon is not included in an inspection, unless there's some around.

It was a mix of Bulleit Rye and Wild Turkey 101.  I'll give you a quote from one neighbor to another neighbor as relayed to me: "You have to stop bringing that 101 shit over to Paul's, bring a good bourbon".  There's a party tonight in the neighborhood, I'll let you know what bourbon comes out although now the usual suspects in addition to the Bulleit and 101 are Eagle's Rare, Basil Hayden and Woodford Reserve.  I suspect there will be a good amount of Basil Hayden tonight, it's my usual birthday bourbon.  

There's a wide variety of beers as well, the usual Bud, (which after not having for 25+ years, I found actually revolting), Coors Light plus 805 and Corona.  There's a good IPA drinking group, and people bring me Goose Island a lot probably because I tell a story about Chicago every time I drink it.  For wine, well it's mine, but another winemaker just moved into the neighborhood so that might expand a little.  My Syrah and Crimson Cab are the favorites, although one guy will only drink KJ Chardonnay.  That with the fact that he can't be left unattended with the BBQ for any amount of time makes him highly suspect.

terps posted:

NapaCat I agree with you 100% on Merus and Buccella.  I was at Merus last week as my friend was picking up some wine fom Sebastiani which now owns Merus.  The guy there Marc who poured us 3 wines two of their second label and the 2014 Merus acted like a complete know it all.  I figured he was born and raised in Napa as he seemed to act like he knew everything.  He was about 32 so when I asked him if he was born and raised in the valley he said he moved out to wine country in 2013 which I almost laughed out loud.  I was so surprised that someone actually put him in a position where he is the face of the brand.  The Merus wines on the list and winery prices are almost double then current auction prices.  So after the tasting which was about 3 ounces of wine he said if you are not buying anything its 50 bucks.  We paid 100 bucks for 6 ounces of wine 4 ounces which were from a second label wine.   Since I know people in the valley this was one of the few wineries I actually had to pay for a tasting at.  The guy came off as a clown to me anyone who knoews wine also knows pricing no one is gonna pay 170 a bottle all in for wines you can buy for 100.

When I contacted Buccella about a tasting they said one tasting fee is waived with each case of wine you purchased.  I laughed at the lady and said wow that is kind so of I spend 2,200 You will waive one 75 dollar tasting fee.

 

 

 

 

Terps,

I know that guy...total douche.  Just like the experience there now.  Used to be very good.  And Buccella would not even take back a corked bottle.  Good wine for sure...but turns me off.

A case purchase to wave the tasting fee is ridiculous.  Recently contacted Dakota Shy (whose mailing list I am on).  Wanted to take a small group for a tasting...fee waived with a $500 purchase.    I'll typically buy more than that...but putting a minimum on it really turned me off.

 

 

stefaniawine posted:There's a good IPA drinking group, and people bring me Goose Island a lot probably because I tell a story about Chicago every time I drink it. 
 

Well, it's been made in NY City for sometime ("NY City!"} and owed by Anheuser-Busch.  And of course our own Ballast Point has been owned by Constellation Brands for years. I will not drink craft beer owed by (I hate to say it) Big Brewing.

stefaniawine posted:

I started buying Copain wines around 1999-2000.  After a recent email exchange with the tasting room there I wondered if I've ever seen a winery change so drastically.  I still have an email exchange with Wells Guthrie from @ 2005 getting his advice on using foils on my bottles vs the "don't bother us make an appointment through the website", reply I got this week.  The changes around 2008 I understood.  The raise in single vineyard prices and the introduction of lower cost blends was a survival strategy of those times.  I did stop my regular purchases, it was the single vineyard Rhones I really wanted and they became too expensive for me.  The introduction of Pinot Noir and 'Chasing Sideways', I understood that also.  I didn't like it but I understood it.

I know Wells is gone now, and the winery was sold to K.J., but really almost nothing of what it was from a culture, style and personality perspective remains that I can tell.  I've had other favorites go through ownership changes, Betz comes to mind, and retain the culture and personality of the winery.  Ridge has changed ownership structures a few times and gone through a lot of changes in the last 20 years but I've never felt like it wasn't Ridge or didn't have the spirit of Ridge.  Just last month a csr at Ridge tracked down a 2008 Chardonnay for me to replace a corked bottle.  I had no expectation of getting the same vintage, but he found one, held it until the weather was good and sent a replacement, emailing me through the entire process with updates - a very Ridge thing to do.

How about everyone else?  Any that changed for better or worse you can call out?

I agree completely.  I miss Wells and I, too, was on their list for the Rhones.  But I am not buying anymore, either.

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