by Lolis Eric Elie, columnist
Posted on NOLA.com
May 22, 2008
It's not hard to figure out what a particular area of
That's the task that the makers of Fourteen set for themselves.
Steve Reynolds and his wife had been making wine since 1999 at his Reynolds Family Winery. His friend Mike Seitz was a viticulturist, consulting for and farming with lots of vineyards in the area.
"Mike wanted to learn more about winemaking to be a better grower, and I wanted to learn more about growing to be a better winemaker," Reynolds recalled. "It was one of those margarita nights, and you know we all solve the world's problems after we've had a few drinks. Mike said, 'What if we made a little United Nations of Napa? What if we made the first wine that actually represented the entire valley?'
The idea was to blend wine from each of the sub regions, or appellations, of
In 2003, Seitz died, but the concept of this wine still bears his mark. His widow, Kristi, has joined Reynolds, as well as
"We actually control the growing all the way through," Reynolds said. "In a lot of situations, we get to pick the rows that we want. In some cases we can farm the rows a little different."
The winemakers take four barrels of wine from each of the 14 appellations. After a year, they blend half of this wine together, two barrels from each appellation. They taste the resulting wine and then add wine from the remaining barrels until they have the desired taste.
Most of us choose a
"When the majority of people look for a
"Stag's Leap has a lot of the cherry, chocolate and jamminess, a lot of those fruit characteristics. The Rutherford Cabernet has that as well," he said. "Those two combined build the backbone of this wine with a core of
"As I get down to the cooler regions, they are going to be lighter in style and higher in acidity. Wild Horse and Los Carneros district, maybe the new Oak Knoll district -- I would look at those as being a little more acidic.
"I look to Diamond and
Buying four barrels from 14 appellations, Reynolds and his partners are able to produce between 800 to 900 cases of their wine, depending on how much wine they actually use from each vineyard. The first three editions of the wine have sold out. But Reynolds will be pouring the 2005 vintage at a seminar as part of this week's New Orleans Wine and Food Experience.
"14," Reynolds' seminar, will take place Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Riverview Room of the Hotel Monteleone. For information on this and other NOWFE events, call (504) 529-WINE (9463) or visit www.nowfe.com. For information on Fourteen wine, visit www.13appellations.com.