… and like the post office, this wine delivers!
This posting has two conflicts of interest. I am hopeful that, as such, they cancel each other out, resulting in a balanced story.
For starters, the winemakers, Dave Berry and Henry Schlangen, are personal friends. They did not threaten me with bodily harm more than twice to say nice things about them.
Secondly, when Dave and Henry asked me what to name their new wine, I chaired three professional branding sessions and ultimately suggested the name, which they chose for their wine: 94574, the Zip Code for St. Helena, where the wine is produced.
For the record, they did not pay cash for my services and I am fearful that they forgot our handshake deal: I am due 50% of all future revenues.
By day, Dave Berry runs a steel business, and Henry Schlangen sells real estate, two professions, which don’t require a whole lot of passion to keep them afloat.
So the passion-seekers turned to a common pursuit, wine, and, two years ago, decided to produce Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, two of their favorite beverages..
“Why dip your toe in the water when you can plunge in head first, not knowing – or caring – whether there are rocks or sharks in the water?” Dave asks rhetorically.
So the pair bought into a 50-acre parcel along with a small group of investors; Dave and Henry get five tons of fresh, ripe, startling delicious Sauvignon Blanc from the San Mateo Ranch on Mee Lane, in Rutherford.
2009, their first vintage, was released Saturday at 750 Wines, on Adams St., in St. Helena. The stainless-steel fermented wine was barrel aged for a brief spell in neutral French oak and did not go through secondary (malolactic) fermentation.
Here are my original tasting notes from my first bottle exposure to 94574:
Ahh, this is a striking, strident, Sauvignon Blanc with tons of character and joie.
The wine reminds me of a streaker running naked across a co-ed quad at a major northeastern university in the middle of winter; (A) because it can, and (B) because you can’t catch it.
Put another way: the taste and swallow, while ephemeral, linger in the mind for a long, long time, bringing smiles and a sense of prurient pleasure.
This wine has loads of personality. Look for a striking initial attack, then some fabulous, rich mid-palate fireworks, followed by a forceful, and delicious finish, which draws you back for more.
Why don’t they make 32-ounce bottles of 94574? I must have had a short fill, because I found that I wanted more after my bottle was drained.
My final tasting note may sound odd, but I detect honeysuckle, jonquils and even a hint of cumin on the end. And if YOU can’t taste it, don’t knock it – it's there!
392 cases produced. The wine retails for $18.
Dave, Henry, Liz and Genevieve are keeping a low sales profile their first year in business. In addition to placing their wine at 750 Wines, 94574 is only on the shelf at Sunshine Foods Market in St. Helena.
As for restaurants, 94574 is being poured by the glass at Auberge du Soleil, which is one helluva coup for a frisky, first-year-out-of-the-gate wine. Good going, team!
Wanna know more about 94574? Be patient! As the 94574 web site isn’t ready for prime time, make note of it now for future reference: http://94574wine.com.