Remember the moment, just a few months ago, when the Super Bowl descended upon our beautiful little Silicon Valley and chaos instilled? At least, I assume all hell broke loose. A few of us decided to head up north to enjoy the tranquility Napa tends to offer… at least in the winter months. Summer is a different story, and any of you that either live there or visit will know what I’m talking about.
But on this day, Super Bowl day, it was perfect. We had just about every winery to ourselves. The highlight of the day being our visit to James Cole… well actually the true highlight was getting to see my aunt, uncle and cousin (which was not at all long enough), but the second highlight to the day was the amazing treatment we received at James Cole Winery. It was pretty epic!
One of the bottles that came home with us was this 2012 James Cole Petit Verdot, Napa Valley. I was hesitant to give it a go this early. While there at the winery, we happened to spy them decanting the wine a few times. This can mean a few things – one of them being that the wine is still to young and tight.
You will find this wine to have a high amount of tannins, which is a key factor in allowing this wine to age really well. Over time the tannins will mellow out and the wine will shine like the bright star that it is. However, if patience is not your strong suit and you want to drink a bottle like this before it’s ready, you will be left a little disappointed with the flavors in your glass.
This is why decanting can be very helpful. It speeds up that “resting period”, forcing air into the wine which in turn causes the tannins to relax and the nuances of the wine to open up.
So what would alter a wine’s hibernation process towards a breathtakingly aged gem? The higher level of alcohol, which this guy is showing. There’s a good amount of heat on the palate. Most of us would think this is pretty fantastic, right? The more alcohol the better is what I like to say… well what my younger self used to say. Now my current self has to worry about what that potent juice will do to my liver in 10 years! Ugh!
Since my motto is, life is far too short to wait for tomorrow (or wait for a wine to age), when today is here, right now. I say decant away. I want to drink my wine and I want to drink it now! Which is why I will never know if this wine had the power to age. I enjoyed every last drop and it was just as epic as the tasting at the winery!
Here’s our thoughts and breakdown of the wine…
2012 James Cole Petit Verdot, Napa Valley ($75)
Nose: The nose on this wine is very unique. I captured cedar box, rose, dry grass and olive wood.
Palate: A full-bodied, powerhouse red wine, with chewy tannins. We pulled flavors of cherry, blueberry and black currant.
The bottle: I love the powerful simplicity of this label. At first glance the emblem on the label looks like a long horned bull, right? I made the same mistake until further inspection showed it to actually be a diver. The branding style matches the very utilitarian look of the winery itself.
The Winery: This small production winery is owned by husband and wife duo, James and Colleen (Cole). They purchased their property and planted the first vineyards in 2000, but officially opened the tasting room in 2007. Reservations are required to taste at the tasting room.
Overall: I really loved this wine! It had a great range of flavors and power. I’m a huge fan of Petit Verdot, so this was right up my alley. The prices were a bit more than I would prefer to pay for a bottle of wine, so I wouldn’t make it a habit to drink regularly. I do believe there are wines that are just as good, for a bit less cash. None the less, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to go back to visit and probably stock up on a few more bottles. There’s just something about this wine that I can’t get out of my head!