If you want to understand what a Robert Parker review has meant to the future of small Napa Valley wineries, consider the case of Mary Rocca. In 1999, she and her husband Eric Grigsby purchased a 12-acre knoll in the southern end of the valley. They soon brought in land rippers to break up the ground, but the rippers were no match for the rocky substrata. Then they turned to dynamite. The blasts were heard for miles up and down the Silverado Trail.
Then the couple upped the ante, recruiting winemaker Celia Welch from Staglin. It wouldn’t take long for Welch to craft some of the more striking Cabernet blends of the AVA.
We began purchasing Rocca Family Grigsby Vineyard and Collinetta Cabernets and Syrahs in the 2006 vintage. In our estimation, particularly as it relates to consistency, few small estates measured up. But for reasons that always befuddled us, our enthusiasm was rarely shared by the most influential wine critics in the world. It seemed as if even as Rocca raised the bar on quality, she was increasingly challenged by wholesalers who saw little merit in marketing unrated Napa Valley wines.
As some of you have noticed over the past year, we’ve offered a number of Rocca Family reds at deeply discounted prices. If you bought a case or two, trust us, you stole them. Why? Because after Robert Parker published his 2013 Napa Valley vintage report in December 2015 — in which FOUR new releases from Rocca Family Vineyards earned 93 or 95 points — Rocca is off to the races … and will never look back.
The 2013 Rocca Family Vineyards “Vespera” is a staggering blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Syrah, and 6% Merlot. Parker described “a deep, dark ruby/purple color, loads of blackberry, roasted meat, Mediterranean lavender and licorice are all present in this full-bodied, complex and sexy wine,” before piling on with the score that awakened two dozen wholesalers across the country.
Total production of 600 cases, 40 of which have been earmarked for WineAccess. 95 points from Parker, equaling Spottswoode ($300), Schrader ($150), Stag’s Leap ($120), and David Arthur Three Acre ($120). Offered for about 90 minutes this morning for $45/bottle. You snooze … sorry, you lose.
$45. 4 bottles. Fabulous! Dense and opaque, Bold black fruit nose and plenty of complexity and concentration. Finishes with leather and toast. This is Meritage at its absolute finest. It makes most other "pure" varietal wines seem simple.
Good juice. Lush, chewy tannins. Really enjoyed this!
Over powering alcohol . Unintegrated fruit. Maybe some years in the cellar will settle it down. Not what I expected from the hype.
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