Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I love wine.woot.com. I don't buy every week from them, but they always seem to have some pretty sweet stuff. If you do not know woot.com, it is an awesome website that sells 1 thing a day. Normally they sell something at an awesome price until they run out of inventory. Wine.woot and shirt.woot are their associated sister sites that sell wine and t-shirts in a similar fashion. The special wine this week happens to be Corison Kronos Cab. Now, I'm a big value guy and $85 bucks for a bottle of cab is far from being the best value in the toughest of times. However, if you have $85 and you LOVE (not like, but LOVE) big redheads, I say pony up. Despite the whopper of a price tag, it is one of the very best cabs you can get your hands on.
The thing that is also awesome about this site is that the winemaker normally shows up on the blogs and answers almost all the questions about their wine. The questions aren't normally very easy and it takes a lot for someone to try to justify and explain their product amongst a group of such divergent and dissenting opinions (ahem, like most serious wine drinkers/snobs). It is super educational - especially when there are intense discussions on technical approaches, terroir, philosophy, and history.

Here is a sample of Cathy Corison's blog entries on woot. This one is in response to the price of her Corison Kronos (normally at least $120):

Some thoughts on wine pricing. It is very expensive to make Cabernet like this, especially Kronos Vineyard.

I am the luckiest winemaker around to have this gnarly old vineyard on the Rutherford bench, but as a business proposition it makes no sense at all. It is one of the last old Cabernet vineyards in the Napa Valley- planted to St. George rootstock in the early 1970’s. Somehow it fell through the cracks in the rush toward AXR-1, which was much more productive and made great wine (only one problem, however, one of its parents is V. vinifera, the European wine grape variety, which rendered it insufficiently resistant to Phylloxera, a root louse that kills grapevines by feeding on their roots). Scattered, scraggly clusters of BB-sized berries are typical and responsible for the pitiful yield.I get a whopping 1½ ton/acre, and that’s a 13-year average. With modern spacing, trellising and rootstocks I could easily get 3 tons/acre on this dirt and still make world-class wine. That said, it has been a gift to make wine from these veterans. One of the last vineyards to be picked in the Napa Valley each year, it limps up to 24 Brix with inky color, amazing intensity and complexity which results in a lush wine with between 13.5 and 14% alcohol and great balance.

I use only French oak and though I don’t want you to taste the wood, I couldn’t make this wine without an annual infusion of 50% new barrels. At the dollar’s weakest moment a while back, those babies were $1,200 apiece!
Napa Valley benchland Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are rare in the world of wine and very expensive.
The wine spends two years in barrel and then two years in bottle before I release it. No sane business person would inventory something for four years before selling it.
The attention we take to detail is expensive too. $20 Cabernet is made with much less expensive grapes in much bigger lots taking many shortcuts. I enjoy both, saving the rare, expensive wine for special occasions.

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