Vineyard 29 is the embodiment of ultra-premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2002 Cab was a 300-case release. The 2003 Aida small vineyard Cabernet blend was only a 350-case production. Today, after working around the world, Bordeaux trained winemaker Philippe Melka of Vineyard 29 is one of the truly cutting edge winemakers in Napa Valley.
Owner Michael Polenske (who chatted with us with video camera rolling) was convinced Napa’s Oak Knoll District was underleveraged as a sweet spot for growing Merlot. In a few short years the critical acclaim attracted by his Merlot-dominated Blackbird Vineyards Proprietary Red has proven Polenske’s vision was spot on. The 2004 release by Black Vineyards winemaker Sarah Gott (of Quintessa fame) is ripe and vibrant.
“When a name-brand talent joins a new winery, the wines probably will be worth paying attention to,” writes Elin McCoy for Bloomberg News.
She further concluded of Blackbird Vineyards: “Discovering Blackbird Vineyards during a recent (Napa Valley) stay was a pleasant surprise. In this land of 150-plus cabernets, the winery’s deliciously plush, balanced and elegant 2004 red is 95 percent merlot.”
Lending his professorial charm to Vintelligence is none other than David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars, live on tape from Napa Valley. Click to watch his wonderful descriptions of Ramey wines including Russian River Chardonnay and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, both available in limited quantities through HinsdaleCellars.com.