Our Exclusive SoCo 2015 Barrel Auction Selections, and What It Means for Bay Ridge
April 25, 2016 | David Marberger
Just like athletes or musicians, retailers in all categories fight, kick, scream and compete to get to the next level of success, to truly separate themselves from the others in the field in order to distinguish their unique talents and abilities. In many aspects of the word, the Sonoma Barrel Auction is the most shining example of just how far Bay Ridge will go in order to bring our customers a meaningful unique product or experience.
This event, and the wines that are produced for it, are a rare treat that no one else in the Mid-Atlantic region is searching out in order to share with their guest. It is that “next level.”
Our Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits family is not just a house band or fourth round draft pick – this is Grammy Award-winning, championship caliber stuff. This is true separation from what we do and what others do, or don’t do. This single event can prove to the wine-drinking community what we have known for years… no one does it better than Bay Ridge. To be invited to; to taste and discuss with the wine makers; to have the knowledge and ability to separate the really good from the truly amazing; and to have the courage to step out in front of the pack in order to show our abilities, is a testament and sign of just how far we dig and the commitment to our craft that we carry.
After our experience at last year’s inaugural SoCo Barrel Auction, we are extremely excited to go back for the 2016 auction this week and return with double the amount of wine as we did in 2015. It is our goal to go back year after year as personal shoppers for collectors of fine wine looking for five, 10 or 20 cases of “Never Before, Never Again!” wine for their cellars.
Our SoCo Barrel Auction 2015 Selections, Now Available
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery Jet Fuel MTB ($75 per bottle), WindRacer Bellflower Vineyard Pinot Noir ($120)
Being able to walk through the vineyards and interact with the winemakers always makes the buying experience more authentic. Barrel samples can be overwhelming but they are the most raw way to asses a wine.
Barrel samples are a challenging way of tasting wines. You are not only tasting for how the wine is at that moment, but also how the wine will be when “finished.” A number of times, the wine has just been “put together,” and you need to look for “signs” of potential. Good acidity, depth of fruit, presence of oak, length of finish, are all clues of the potential. When all said and done, the wines from Windracer, Ferrari-Carano and Rodney Strong (the latter still to come!) had all the boxes checked and separated themselves to what we were looking for in an auction lot.
Ferrari Carano Vineyards and Winery Jet Fuel MTB
This wine is not for the faint at heart. IT IS A HUGE WINE! When first tasting it, my very first thought was of a fresh baked, blueberry pie. Intense flavors, deep concentration and full-bodied. This is a “cut it with a knife and fork” type of wine – it will certainly stain your teeth. Part of the blend is from Tennant, which is a grape varietal that you just don’t see a lot of. Like I said, truly unique wines.
When reading through 70-plus wines, looking at growing location, blends, wineries, etc., sometimes something so simple as a name given to the wine pops. So when we saw the name “Jet Fuel” we were intrigued, to say the least. I mean come on – a wine name “Jet Fuel” – don’t you want to try it? Then seeing the unique blend, Malbec and Tannat, it was on a radar from the start, and it was in the wine… take off! It drinks like a glass of blueberry pie! Dark, deep red in the glass, ripe black fruits aromas. On the palate, baking spices, blueberries and blackberries. Its lingering finish makes you want more. And it will only get better with age – if you are able to keep it in your cellar and not on your table, that is! Pair with seared rib eye steak and sautéed shitake mushrooms.
As we read through the descriptions before the actual tasting we were all pretty excited about an intriguing mountain fruit blend called “Jet Fuel.” It was an odd blend of Malbec and Tannat – and after tasting it we knew we had to have it! Jet Fuel is like a glass of juicy blueberry pie! Rich and dense…bursting with ripe blueberries, cassis, cinnamon and nutmeg.This will cellar really well.
WindRacer Bellflower Vineyard Pinot Noir
One of the really cool things about going through the tasting experience with others – whether at the auction or just in the store – is that one of us may pick up and appreciate smaller details and nuances that the others just may not taste. While tasting this Pinot Noir, Katie and Phil were able to see through the rough edges of the non-aged, drawn right from the barrel, sample and tell the depth and quality from WindRacer. Bright red berry fruit with a hint of smoke and oak. Pinot Noir is still a very popular category of wine that we knew we would have an opportunity to entice lovers of this variety to enjoy.
We were not necessary looking for a Pinot Noir, but when we arrived at the WindRacer table to sample the single vineyard “Bellflower” Russian River Pinot Noir, the knowledgeable person offering samples spoke very passionately of the wine; a special, small parcel of land that produces some of the winemakers favorite grapes, that WindRacer had not bottled as a 100 oercent single vineyard wine. The bright acidity, the punch of oak, the character… so now, all of a sudden, we are looking at purchasing an auction lot of Pinot Noir! Beautiful crimson red in the glass, aromas of dark red fruit, raspberries, cherries. First taste greets you with beautiful acidity, and well integrated oak makes this a powerful Pinot Noir. Pair with grilled lamb chops or a lemon herb salmon.
The WindRacer Pinot Noir was actually a surprise. We went in looking for Cabernets and blends, but this Pinot Noir was too good to pass up. This is a big Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Black cherry, raspberry, and cloves are layered through the glass. Zippy acidity balances the fruit perfectly. Will also do well with some aging but is perfectly approachable now.