The I like this grape. team is often asked: what wine should one bring to a particular event or for a certain person in their life? Send us your burning questions and we'll have one of our wildly talented #SommNextDoor team members or wine aficionados answer. Recently, we were asked by a young hot-shot attorney from Orange County, California:
"What wine should I take to my boss's house? He's having a small dinner with a few young attorneys from the firm. I think he likes California cabernets."
For this question, we asked Paul Hodgins (the "Critic" on Wine Mom & the Critic) and bonafide #SommNextDoor, Samantha (Sam) Stowell to weigh in:
Young attorney wants to impress the big guy at his own house! I would go with a full-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon out of Napa that is produced by Delgadillo Cellars, which is a part of the Mexican American Vintners Association. I got to know Ignacio Delgadillo, who goes by Iggy, and his father of the same name. Ignacio Sr. started in the wine game after years and years working as a vineyard manager on other wineries in Napa. He eventually decided to make wine for himself and opened Delgadillo Cellars 30 years ago.
So Ignacio Sr starts producing wine, and they put into barrels to age. The wines hit 36 months and he starts doing barrel samples (i.e. tasting out of barrels before bottling). It's just not good enough yet. Five, seven, nine years go by! Ignacio and Iggy will wait until it is absolutely prime time to release their wines. This past November of 2016 I tasted the current release: a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.
It's fabulous! Velvety, super soft, totally luscious, still had tannins, still had acid. It was beautiful, absolutely stunning. I appreciated the story behind it and the dedication they have to the craft. They simply won't compromise. The Cabernet starts at $95, and they have a red table wine that's about $40.
Top: Samantha Stowell. Bottom: Paul Hodgins. In a car on the way to a tasting. (Someone's gotta do it. The wines aren't going to taste themselves.)
If I was a young attorney trying to impress the bosses, I would go with something that's really "culty". A bottle that only a few people know about. You don't want to go with something obvious like Screaming Eagle. That's too big to be culty. Find something that nobody else knows about. I would go with something like Arrow & Branch. The winery is owned by an Orange County couple. They live in Laguna Beach, Steve & Seanne Contursi. Robert Parker goes ape-shit over their wine.
Arrow & Branch does Bordeaux blends. But they also do kind of odd one-offs, like 100% Cabernet Franc - which is incredibly silky and smooth and not like any other Cabernet Franc you've tasted. Expensive and hard to find, it's got a story behind it, and it's got a local connection. This is a winning bottle for a fancy law firm's partner dinner!