Philippe Bascaules (left) and Francis Ford Coppola at Inglenook
You might be reading this issue under the tent at the Napa Valley Wine Auction, so to provide some food for thought, we’ve taken a look at two of the valley’s legendary estates. Both are in transition, and both are looking back at the history of the wines—back to the 1970s, or the 1950s—to determine their path in the future.
David Darlington spent several weeks researching the history of Inglenook and Mayacamas, talking with the old guard and the new teams at both estates. Directed today by Francis Ford Coppola (proprietor of the historic property in Rutherford) and Charles Banks (who purchased the Mount Veeder estate from Bob Travers), the teams at these two estates are working to capture the best of old-school Napa Valley cabernet. But what does that mean in contemporary wine parlance, and is it really even possible? Darlington digs deep into the question, revealing a pivotal moment not only for these two properties, but also for Napa Valley cabernet as a whole.
That wine has become an icon of wealth and status, so you won’t find many Napa Valley cabernets on our list of the 100 Top Values for $15 or less. But if you’re a sophisticated drinker, you’ll fi nd plenty to love. There’s still a lot of underappreciated wine in the market, scoring at levels some critics might reserve for those Napa Valley legends. But you can fi nd a Muscadet icon for $14 (94 points for Louis Metaireau’s 2011 Petit Mouton) and a delicate, Georgian qvevri-aged mtsvane for $13 (93 points for Schuchmann’s 2011 Vinoterra). Nab these wines before they become chic and expensive.
Some of our favorite red-wine buys come from the south of France and Italy, where each local wine culture still produces traditional styles to match the local cuisine. We asked Silvestro Silvestori, who runs The Awaiting Table cooking school in Lecce, to write about Aglianico del Vulture from the perspective of both the food and the wine. His article focuses on the people of this remote and ancient vineland as they learn to make and sell their wine to the world market. It may have you reaching for an aglianico next time you’re looking for that robust, beautifully aged and satisfying red to match your steak this summer.
This story appears in the print issue of June 2014.
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