Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coombsville is Coolsville

Last Sunday I went to a little harvest party for the release of Meteor Vineyards 2007 Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon in Coombsville. This southeast section of Napa used to be relatively unknown. Practically off the grid. But it's possible the days of Coombsville being just under the radar are over. Coombsville is Coolsville in many ways.

Located on a rocky knoll in sight of Mt. George, the soils around Meteor are an unusual combination of volcanic and clay, with a heap of cobblestones thrown in giving the vines a unique foundation to grow in.

Coombsville is Coolsville with a mild climate and consistent temperatures that keep the growing season long and the fruit less prone to the heat spikes common in surrounding AVA’s. That means the grapes benefit from a long hang time and get the chance to grow up to be the grapes they were meant to be.

Maybe that’s where the idea of the zip line came in? If hang time was good for grapes maybe it would be good for people too. That concept was put to the test with the Meteor Zip Line.

I did not partake of the zip line due to the fact I was wearing a skirt and I could just imagine it billowing up over my head as I crashed into an oak tree at end of the line. But next time I hope to do the Coombsville Sip n' Zip. You’ve probably never seen a zip line at a regular harvest party have you? Like I said, Coombsville is Coolsville.

Adjacent to the Meteor vineyard is an exquisite residence constructed entirely of glass, stone, hardwoods and rammed earth. At first glance it looks like an elaborate structure from the elite levels of Angry Birds. Airy, open, and in harmony with the land, it’s the perfect complement to the vineyards that surround it. I mention the residence because it’s here that you see attention to detail is everything.

For example, only a mad genius would think to embed a circuit board artifact in the Fu-Tung Cheng countertops, but crazy cool touches like that are everywhere in the home just waiting to be discovered. And that philosophy of nuance and integrated detail shown in the house also seems to be what vineyard owners Barry Schuler and his wife Tracy had in mind when they collaborated with winemakers Bill and Dawnine Dyer to create their wines.

The wines I tasted at Meteor were all 100% Cabernet Sauvignon estate grown. I tasted the 2007 Perseid new release and the 2006 Special Family Reserve that was recently featured in Savuer magazine. I also got to taste the 2005 Special Family Reserve. The Meteor Estate Special Family Reserves are extremely limited production wines with just a few barrels made of each.

The 2007 nose changed quite a bit in my glass as it opened up from bright plumy notes to a rich tobacco scent. I tasted fresh blackberry and a bit of violet and clover on the palate with good tannins. I’d certainly love to try this wine again in a few years but it was quite successful in the moment.

The 2005 and 2006 Special Family Reserves were beautiful. Full, steady, and balanced, the structure reminded me of a chord progression--a Lou Reed riff—deep, dark, and haunting. I’d like to play these lush notes over and over.

Schuler may be a kingpin of the investment and tech world, but beneath his business savvy is the soul of an artist. Actually, he is an artist, a potter, and it seems to me that Meteor wines reflect the same careful hand shaping and artistry as his ceramic pieces.

Also at the party were a selection of Coombsville wines from other producers in the area. I wish I had taken more careful notes because I tried several that were outstanding. The Coombsville folks all seem very supportive of each other’s winemaking efforts. Who knows, maybe there’s a serious feud going on somewhere, but it all seemed very Kumbaya to me. Must be that Coombsville is Coolsville vibe at work.

SIDE NOTE: Some wine bloggers may be wondering how the heck I got invited to such a cool Coombsville event at Meteor. Well I guess you could say it’s because of Twitter.

I first met Mr. Schuler at a meeting with AOL back in the dark ages of the early Internet. Before he became the CEO of AOL, Barry led their Interactive Services group and I was working for a company that was soon to launch Travelocity. I think in the meeting he showed us the door and told us to get lost. Just kidding, to be perfectly honest I really don’t remember the details of the meeting. But I do remember he seemed like someone who was going to make interesting things happen.

Fast forward to 2009-- Barry gave the keynote at the Wine Bloggers conference. Now he owned a vineyard and was making wine and I was a wine drinker blogger. We followed each other on twitter. Everything had come full circle.

So kids, it pays to connect on twitter but even more than that, it helps to have had a real job at least once in your life.


  1. And all along I thot I had introduced you two;-) Now I know.

    Loved your Sip & Zip. I'm thinking wine deliveries.

  2. I think Coombsville is Coolsville also! I can't wait to come back and explore this little area full of great surprises! Thanks for the post!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...