Four years ago, Robert Parker wrote: “I do not know who these people are, but they knocked it out of the park with both their reds and whites.” He was talking about Kind Cellars, one of the greatest under-the-radar finds for blockbuster Napa Valley wines, period. Today, one of David Yorgensen’s mailing-list only gems (and French Laundry favorite) is up for grabs: The 2014 Kind Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Howell Mountain. Drawn off the famed Henry Brothers Ranch perched at 1,900 feet, Parker called it, “full-bodied, unctuously textured,” and a “prodigious effort,” in his glowing 96-point review. We’ve pried 13 cases away for Wine Access clients. So, first, hit “buy,” and then read our resurrected story about Kind Cellars, and what we thought was a Parker prank. Lovers of rare mountain Napa Cab should not miss out on this!
On April 1, 1985, Sports Illustrated published a cover story about a walk-on at the NY Mets training camp, a pitcher who had already been deemed unhittable. Headlined “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch,” author George Plimpton reported that Hayden Siddhartha “Sidd” Finch had been raised in an English orphanage, had learned yoga in Tibet, and could throw a fastball 168 m.p.h.!
Finch wore just one shoe while pitching, a heavy hiker’s boot, Plimpton wrote. He threw his blazing fastball with pinpoint accuracy without warming up. The Mets scouting report gave Finch a “9” on fastball velocity and control — on a scale whose highest score was supposed to be “8.”
The photos accompanying Plimpton’s story featured Finch with a young Lenny Dykstra and chatting with Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.
Sidd Finch captured the minds of talk radio and TV talk show hosts across the country and became national news. The Mets already had Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling at the top of rotation. With the addition of Finch, who could pitch on just a day or two of rest, the World Series had seemingly already been decided.
Then, as many of us remember, a few days later Sports Illustrated acknowledged that Sidd Finch was a figment of Plimpton’s imagination, an April Fool’s prank that had shocked the nation.
Why retell this story today? Had we not met Dave Yorgensen in the fall of 2012, we may well have taken this Robert Parker quote as a journalistic prank of Sidd Finch proportion: “I do not know who these people are, but they knocked it out of the park with both their reds and whites.”
Yorgensen, who was making wine at O’Brien at the time, had crafted his first mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from the great 2012 vintage. The Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was drawn off the Henry Brothers Ranch on top of Howell Mountain, not far from Dave and Wendy Yorgensen’s home.
It was a glorious afternoon that ended with a thud reminiscent of a 168 m.p.h. fastball hitting square in the center of a catcher’s mitt. We were willing buyers, but his Syrah production totaled just 100 cases, and Dave Yorgensen wasn’t selling … but eventually he would. That was the first wine from Kind Cellars we offered.
As of today, there’s still practically no wine. After Parker’s 95-99-point reviews hit the web, nearly every bottle of the Yorgensens’ 2012 and 2013 production was spoken for, including several cases earmarked for Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. The mailing list has blown through the 2014 Cabernets, but luckily, a few cases were set aside for Wine Access.
— The Wine Access Wine Team
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