Another one from shipments this month, folks in our red wine clubs are receiving this Singer Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The Song 2014
I’ll get to some information on the winemaker, but first, a word on where the wine comes from: Coombsville.
When I first opened Uncorked Ventures, about 6 years ago, Coombsville was just getting talked about as a destination for Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s located in south-east Napa, really the end of the wider AVA. The location puts it comfortably next to San Pablo Bay, perhaps the coldest spot associated with Napa Valley (largely the locals don’t count Los Carneros since its both shared with Sonoma and is largely dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay).
In any case, Coombsville became it’s own AVA officially in 2011, it’s a labor intensive practice that requires not only vintners and growers wanting the designation, but a multi step checklist to show how this specific region differs from others and its neighbors. Stuff like soil samples are necessities and add to not only the cost of pursuing an AVA designation, but also the time it takes to receive it.
Coombsville showed up on our radar for two reasons originally. First, it was painfully obvious that this is where the region was moving. Colder weather, darker fruit because of a longer more moderate growing season and higher acidity level in the resulting wine. Second, grape prices in the wider Napa Valley have gone crazy. Not a little crazy, but really damn crazy. So smaller wineries and winemakers were forced to get with this trend faster than perhaps they all would have wanted, after all a Rutherford designation still sells a lot of wine, but they were ahead of the curve and the results from critics and consumers has been overall, spectacular.
2014 was the first of the vintages where the drought really came to play. This was a much, much faster growing season than the 2013 vintage and IMO, despite the continued hype surrounding every Napa vintage, these were a bit less intense in flavor profiles than we’re accustomed to because of the shorter growing season. Of course, that’s not the worst case scenario and people will surely buy 2014’s without hesitation. This is also where Coombsville’s longer hang time comes to bear and I think dramatically helps the end result.
Lastly, a word on the winery here. Barry Singer started making wine the old fashioned way. One of the things I love about the wine industry is that there are two separate and divergent ways to learn to make wine. First, folks go through viticulture programs like the one at UC Davis. Second, a lot of guys like Barry decide that they like wine an awful lot and get sucked into the industry one way or another. For him, it was the want to learn about wine, so he took a job in a cellar in Napa. Winemakers are a collaborative lot and there’s always help available. In that way, a ton of winemakers learn to make wine in an internship or trade type fashion-something that we often bemoan not existing in American society any longer. These are the folks I often end up working with have an interesting take on the industry as its their second career and are often not bound by the specific process they learned in school. Instead, they’re more likely to consider themselves artists. Barry falls into that category.
Over the years, production spaces and production levels have gotten bigger and better. Production levels have increased to close to 500 cases and the wines are now made, instead of in a Napa Valley garage, at a different, larger, winery that rents some space like a custom crush facility might.
Lastly, there aren’t a lot of major critics scores on Singer Cellars wines. After all, to have a review done in many publications-you have to have your wine in a majority of their markets. If you’re making about 500 cases, that’s impossible.
Here’s the Sommelier Files review:
With a balanced mixture of red and black fruits, this playful yet stylish wine is loaded with attractive aromas and bright flavors of red cherry, fresh currants, blackberry, roasted espresso, vanilla, tobacco, and cedar. The luscious texture is further complemented with an admirable burst of vibrant acidity and a long dry finish. It’s a great wine to share with friends, family, and holds up well when opened for a few days too. 140 cases.
Food pairings: Gourmet pizzas, grilled veggies, pulled pork, lamb sliders, beef bourguignon. Overall, a fabulous food-friendly wine—especially for the price!
Lastly, one thing to note on this wine. There’s a certain depth on the finish, see if you can pick up the charcoal notes that I sense at the finish-it’s something that I sense in a lot of good Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a fun wine this Singer Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The Song 2014.