Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day Three: Perspective from Corison Winery

I truly created this blog with the intent to update everyday, but tasting wine is extremely time consuming!!

Lucky for me, I worked at a steakhouse this summer in NYC, which led to my inherently California-connected boss to pass on his connections to me for use on this trip. I had met Cathy Corison during a wine tasting this summer, and was very interested in her approach, and her history in the business! In fact, she is one of the first woman winemakers to come out of Napa Valley with such a resume.

When entering the business, a prominent male in the industry told her that she couldn't make wine because she was female, even though she had the same accreditation as many of the men int he industry at that time. Not discouraged--and probably a little peeved--Cathy found work at wine house Chappellet Winery--a high-end producer in Napa that worked with legendary Andre Tchelistcheff as their original consultant. In addition to making wine for Chappellet, she helped produce wines for York Creek, Long Meadow Ranch, and Staglin Family Vineyards. When she felt her career in creating wine for others had reached it's plateau, she moved on to open her own vineyard (another taboo at the time!) on a great piece of property in the heart of Napa Valley. Cathy says of her first vintage--1987--"There was wine inside me that needed to be made."

Since our group is all females, it was interesting to me to watch everyone else's reaction to her accomplishments, and to read the level of intimidation! By the end of the week, the other girls were proud to say we had visited Corison on our free day. People would say, "oh, isn't she great? She really has her own style... old world, bold, true to herself more than anything/anyone else..." It's true; Cathy's Cabernets stand out against many of the other Napa Cabs we tried this week as Old World, earthy, expressive, and long-lived; and they're of course delicious.

The best part is, she did it all when everyone else said she probably couldn't...that, and she's a badass!

Wines: We did some of her limited production and a library tasting
Cabernet Sauvignon Rose "Corazon" 2008--earthy, sherry-like
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2000--blackberry jam, pencil, leather, smooth tannin
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2001--grip. more fruit, dried fruit, restrained but elegant, "feminine"
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2002--dark tea and rasberry, bell pepper, complex, smooth concentrated,persistent, time to age, austere, "male"
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2003--dark fruit, spice, bell pepper, medium tannins, ready to drink, elegant
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2006--great right now. medium+ tannins with just a hint of age on the nose, typical Cab aromas of bell pepper, dark fruit, and slight tobacco
"Kronos Vineyard" 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 2006--Aged in French Oak for 22 months, then bottle aged two years. Earth, concentrated forest fruit, vanilla stick, pepper. Layered and complex.

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