Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Surreal World of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The world of Napa Cabernet Sauvignons can be surreal. Take the case of the 2004 Levy & McClellan Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that's breaking all sorts of records (someday some media publication will keep track of esoteric wine stats the way it's done in U.S. professional sports). Meanwhile, the wine blogosphere has been abuzz with this wine and if you happan to have a wine blog yourself you probably shouldn't be caught not posting something about it.

Consider the following:
The 2004 vintage is the first commercial release.
The scheduled release of this first vintage is next year.
It is said that production is set at 300 cases.
Every bottle appears to be already spoken for.
The release price is set at $350/bottle, which appears to be the highest release price of any debut vintage Napa Cabernet, perhaps of any wine on its first release.
No wine critic has even tasted it yet, much less given it a score.
The 6-acre vineyard was planted in 1999, so the 2004 vintage is from 5-year-old vines. This also implies that this piece of land has not produced any wine ever before.
A 3-bottle lot closed at auction today at $2,500.00.

So what is this wine that costs $350 a bottle on its first release, which no one except the proprietor/winemakers has ever tasted, which is already sold out a year before its eventual release, which already sold at auction at over $800/bottle a year before release, and which hundreds, if not thousands, of willing buyers are still begging for an allocation?

Wouldn't you agree with me that the world of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon can be surreal?

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