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Corley Family Napa Valley

Chris Corley
 
December 29, 2019 | Chris Corley

Retrospective '10 Years' | State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon | Vintage 2009

As we near the end of 2019, we're reminded of all the great wines we've tasted over the past year. It's fun to taste past vintages at selected time points on the vintage continuum. For example, in 2019, we've been enjoying wines from 2014 (5 years), 2009 (10 years), 2004 (15 years), and 1999 (20 years). Since we have jusr a few days left in this year, I'll write about a couple of these wines, and will plan to share more thoughts on the wines in this 5/10/15/20 cycle as be embark on a new vintage journey in 2020.

This special vineyard is on State Lane in the Yountville appellation. In 1982, we purchased 15 acres of the historic State Lane Vineyard from Beringer. For many years, the wines from this vineyard have been the foundation for our Corley 'Reserve' Cabernet Sauvignon, and also our Monticello 'Jefferson Cuvee' Cabernet Sauvignon. For many of those years, this vineyard as one of our largest blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, and produced wine of such depth and intensity that it has served us well as a primary building block for our most robust Cabernet Sauvignon offerings.

In 2004, we bottled the first 100% single vineyard offering from State Lane Vineyard. This small bottling was isolated from 6 barrels from this vineyard for that year. We continue to bottle these small single vineyard offerings, and Vintage 2019 will represent our sixteenth consecutive vintage of State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottlings have grown slightly, but remain very limited. Over 16 vintages, the bottlings have grown from just 6 barrels per vintage to 20 barrels per vintage.

State Lane Vineyard has long been one of my favorite vineyards for building blends. Its intensely dark color, rich tannin structure, and long finish makes it a perfect wine to build upon. The State Lane Vineyard provides the broad shoulders for other lots and varietals to stand upon. When selecting the barrels for a single vineyard offering, the parameters are a little different though. The Single Vineyard wine will be 100% from this vineyard. There is no blending, just barrel selection. We need to be thoughtful in selecting barrels that will provide us the right balance of depth, complexity, and intensity ... but also the right amount of resolve and smoothness on the palate. With the Corley 'State lane Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon, I expect these wines to age for 20+ years, so they can tend to be a little firm in their youth. The tannins mellow over time, and I find these wines from this vineyard really are in a magnificent plateau of sweet spot between years 5-15.

Last night, we enjoyed a bottle of the Corley Cabernet Sauvignon 'State Lane Vineyard', Vintage 2009. We paired it with a Filet Mignon and New York Strip. Both cuts were fantastic with the wine. At 10 years, the wine was still displaying much youth, and we cold see the early signs of maturity, particularly on the softening of the tannins in the midpalate and finish. The color reamins inky and dark, and on the nose the wine still has ample youthful aromas of blackberry, currant and hints of spice. On the palate, the wine has a wonderful balance of rich midpalate voluptuousness, framed by modest tannins that have aged very gracefully over the past ten years. The finish is long and lingering. This vineyard tends to shine brightly at ten years, and this bottle of 2009 was no exception. 

If you're interested in learning more about our State Lane Vineyard, and our latest release of Vintage 2015, which received 95 points from Decanter magazine ... please visit us at www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com/product/-2015-State-Lane-Vineyard-Cabernet-Sauvignon

Time Posted: Dec 29, 2019 at 2:18 PM
Chris Corley
 
December 11, 2019 | Chris Corley

Forging Relationships in Wine : Asia

I just returned from a trip to Asia. I visited two countries, one of which we currently enjoy a wonderful following for our wines, and another which will be a new market for us in 2020. As is true for all of the markets that we sell in, great relationships really are the key to success. From our own perspective, we make really good wines and sell them at fair prices. I'll concede that, these days, there are a lot of wineries that make really good wines and sell them at fair prices. So what differentiates us from them? There are many factors, but for this post I'm going to focus on great relationships.

We've been selling wine in Taiwan for about 6 years. We enjoy a robust following for our wines, in particular our CORLEY Single Vineyard series Cabernet Sauvignon offerings, and our MONTICELLO Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon. Our customers are very knowledgable about not only our wines, but also many other wines of Napa Valley. I've put a lot of energy into this market over the last 6 years. I visit a couple of times a year, and we present the MONTICELLO and CORLEY wines at wine dinners and tasting events. These events give me valuable facetime with our existing customers and introductions to new customers. Over the years, our customers become increasingly familiar with our various offerings and at this point, we are able to discuss more specific aspects of the wines, for example differences in vintages within our Single Vineyard series, or general underlying characteristics of the different vineyard offerings from sub-appellations, suchs Oak Knoll District, Yountville, Rutherford, and St. Helena.

More importantly than simply building our brand recognition, these dinners and events give us an opportunity to forge, develop and maintain great relationships, even if we are physically separated by 6000 miles of Pacific Ocean. It takes a considerable effort and time to travel this distance, and our customers appreciate that. From my perspective, the effort and time is an investment in the relationships with a high return. We have valuable shared experiences over time. Making great wines and selling them for fair prices is necessary, tablestakes really. Forging, developing and maintaining great relationships is as well.

While I've spent a lot of time in Taiwan over the last 6 years, I've just visited the Philippines for the first time. It was a brief trip to Manila to visit with some potential importers. I'm very excited about the opportunities, and am optimistic that we'll begin to distribute our wines in the Philippines in 2020. While there is a modest supply of Napa Valley wines in the Philippines now, there is currently more focus on European wines. 

Our hosts, Chef Philip Golding and Donatella Chua put out a wonderful spread of charcuterie. Chef Philip prepared some fantastic meats on the fly, and guided us through some expert pairings with our wines at their ChefWorks headquarters in Manila. We had a great tasting, delicious pairings, and forged the beginnings of what I believe will be a wonderful and prosperous relationship.

Sharing our wines, and the history of our family winery with customers and friends is a great pleasure of mine. Doing so abroad is very invigorating as well. I love the learning experience, learning about new foods, and the resulting pairings that I was not previously aware of. I've learned that our CORLEY 'Reserve' Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with the spicy side of the double-sided Taiwanese HotPot, and our MONTICELLO 'Jefferson Cuvee' Cabernet Sauvignon does well with the other side.

Any time we can teach and learn at the same time is a valuable opportunity in life, and these trips to Asia presenting our wines, and forging relationships, certainly provide ample opportunity for both.

Time Posted: Dec 11, 2019 at 10:52 PM
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