Boutique Napa Valley winemaker Pott Wines is now available in Ohio. We got a first look at this limited-release wine, and also had a chance to talk to the laid-back vintner Aaron Pott, at an event hosted by Vanguard Wines last week.
Ask Aaron Pott how he got into wine, and he'll tell you this story: He was 10, and at a restaurant in Paris with his family. When he ordered milk, the waiter instead brought him wine because milk, Pott was told, is for babies.
It's an unconventional story for a touted Napa winemaker with an unconventional attitude toward wine. In wine circles Pott is known for his skill as a vintner-he's consulted with Napa Valley labels from Quixote Winery to Bello Family Vineyards to Fisher Vineyards-but also for his outgoing and laid-back personality.
The latter is something I got to witness firsthand at a recent meet-the-winemaker lunch hosted by local distributor Vanguard Wines. Full of jokes and playful stories behind each wine, Pott acts more like a chill brewery than lauded Napa winemaker. The event was to celebrate the release of Pott's personal label into Ohio-a feat Vanguard president Eric Stewart has been working on for years, he says. Limited production kept Pott's wines at bay. Even now, these Napa wines are only available in five other states.
Stewart recommends these wines to those looking to start a collection at modest price point. They're unstuffy and accessible, he says.
Here's what is now available, in limited release, at local wine shops and on restaurant menus:
2013 20m3 Viognier ($60): A 100 percent viognier from the Stagecoach Vineyard. This style of white produced in Napa can often be heavy and clawing, Pott says. His goal here: to produce a floral, light and aromatic viognier, which is precisely how this wine drinks.
2012 Original Gangster Grenache ($90): A 100 percent Grenache from Stagecoach Vineyard, Pott calls his wine a "fun project," producing a limited amount. The wine will only be available in 2012, 2013 and 2014 vintages. "I love Grenache in all forms," Pott says. "It's not meant to be too weighty; just pleasurable on the palate."
2012 La Carte et le Territoire Red Wine ($125): The inspiration behind this blend was simple: Pott "wanted to create a blend that would kick a**." A mix of cabernet franc and merlot from Young Inglewood Vineyard, a rich, well drained area in St. Helena. "You really taste the facets of the terrior here," Pott says. "It's dense and intense."
2012 Kaliholmanok Cabernet Sauvignon ($125): This wine was named for the indigenous Wappo native Americans who once lived atop Spring Mountain, the region where this wine is produced. It's a cool-climate cab with lots of blueberry and blackberry notes that'll easily hold for the next decade if you're looking for a great wine to cellar.
2012 Her Majesty's Secret Service Cabernet Sauvignon ($125): There's an intensity and richness to this 100 percent cabernet sauvignon from Stagecoach Vineyard. Expect black fruits like cassis and blackberry, and woody undertones like cedar and truffle. "There's a little bit of greenness; an important part of cabernet sauvignon," Pott says.