Should We Have Offered to Pay More???
When we were kids, our grandfather always reminded us that a deal is good only if it's good for both sides. That's why we don't feel so great about today's missive.
Well over a year ago, with Napa's Cabernet market still in shambles, we came to an agreement with Tom Eddy on what would prove to be one of the top-rated mountain Cabernet bargains of the crisis years. Eddy, like so many others, was stuck, and the WineAccess membership made off like bandits.
The 2009 growing season would be the third superb vintage of Robert Parker's Napa Valley Trifecta. Particularly for those who pushed the envelope on maturity in the vineyards, the harvest would take place before the rain began to fall on October 12. Tom Eddy, one of Napa's most storied winemaking pioneers, compared 2009 to the monumental 2007 vintage, though the '09 tannins were softer and rounder.
Eddy's 2009 Elodian Cabernet Sauvignon, drawn from three of the most sought-after vineyards in Napa's mountains, would be the winemaker's finest performance of the decade.
On Mt. Veeder, Eddy went to Brandlin Ranch, the preferred source for many of the mountain's highest fliers. Brandlin Ranch's own 2009 would earn 92+ points from Parker, owing to the massive, black-fruit concentration that sits right at the core of the 2009 Elodian.
Off of Diamond Mountain, Tom contracted with blue-chip Bella Vista. Supple and sleek like Brandlin Ranch, but with higher toned plush red fruits in lieu of the classic black, Elodian's explosive dark red fruit aromatics are most attributable to the sun-drenched exposition of Bella Vista.
The third mountain ingredient was drawn from Jan Krupp's Stagecoach Vineyard, high up Atlas Peak. Stagecoach turns out some of the most powerfully concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon in the valley. "Almost too powerful," Eddy cautioned. "I love the Stagecoach fruit, but I'm careful with it. Concentration is tremendous, but in most vintages, if you push too hard on maceration, the tannins can be gritty. But 2009 wasn't like most vintages. The tannins were soft, even on Stagecoach. So, instead of backing off, I stepped on the gas."
Opaque purple to the edge, with explosive aromas of blackberry preserves, black cherry and raspberry, the 2009 Elodian is gently infused with new wood cedar. Rich and powerful on the attack, with terrific mouthfeel and density, after 30 months in French cooperage those Stagecoach tannins turned to butter -- gently bracketing all the 2009 mountain opulence with supple backbone.
When this deal was first cut in the beginning of 2012, the wheels were still wobbly on the economy. With three hundred cases still unspoken for, Tom turned to WineAccess, agreeing to both an initial offering and a Redux. The agreement seemed fair at the time, even if it now appears to be terribly one-sided.
Is today's offer fair? No. Should we have offered to pay more? We thought about it. Should we have asked the WineAccess membership to do the same? We considered that too.
But then, we thought otherwise.