Price: $11.99 at Total Wine
Style: The “Tom” (Medium body with some more complex flavors beyond just simple fruits.)
Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles”
A really nice nose on this one, mixing smoky cherry and raspberry aromas with some earthy undertones. In the mouth, this is juicy with crisp red fruit on the front of the palate, becoming noticeably drier and smokier on the back half. Short to medium finish with hints of vanilla. Although nothing amazing, this was certainly good and worth picking up a bottle. At $12, it’s a little out of our target zone… If this came up on sale for $8.99, I’d definitely pick up several.
If nothing else, grab a bottle of this for the origin story. See below…
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve researched the backstory of a winery only to learn more-or-less the same thing… the owner/winemaker was a rich guy who wanted a winery as a trophy – OR – the owner/winemaker was born into a family that’s been making wine for hundreds of years. But THIS one is finally different!
According to their website, Tony Cartlidge started out as a cement truck driver in Washington state. With an underlying passion for wine, he eventually quite his job and moved south to California to seek out a winery, any winery, that would give him a job and a foot in the door to pursuing his passion. Once establishing himself in Napa, he connected with Glenn Browne and started making garage wine…. a venture which seems to have worked out well them!
“The question that begs to be answered is why so many producers ignore what Cartlidge and Browne does better than just about anybody else in the state – produce fruit forward, pure, varietally correct, delicious wines.” —Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Of course, as is often the case, Tony and Glenn have since sold out, closing a deal with Vintage Wine Estates in 2011. (http://wineindustryinsight.com/?p=30384 )
It looks like Tony took the proceeds of that sale to start up a new venture, Dancing Crow, making Saugvignon Blanc from their new estate vineyard in Lake County. (http://napavalleyregister.com/star/wine/vintner-tony-cartlidge-s-second-act/article_e12e0908-fc9a-5251-a77a-64ed001877c1.html) I’ll have to give it a try some time! (http://dancingcrow.com/us/)
Tony and his crew at Dancing Crow. Credit: napavalleyregister.com