We have been been friends with Bruce & Barbara Neyers for a long time AND have been HUGE fans of their wines also for a long time. I distinctly & clearly remember at a Trade Wine tasting held at the Halekulani Hotel, Bruce came to me with a bottle of his 1992 Neyers Merlot in hand. It was that good! And, it still serves as a benchmark of what Californian Merlot can be.
I recently has an opportunity to sample 3 of their wines & walked away again VERY impressed with each.
2011 Neyers Chardonnay “304”
Neyers winemaker Tadeo Borchardt, is really at the top of his game, making some of the very best, most interesting wines out of California today. It is so inspiring to see such a young talent find his stride & the “zone” for his craft.
Owner, Bruce Neyers is & has been the National Sales Manager for Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants for many, many years. It is then no surprise to me that his own wine project, Neyers Vineyards, would over the years continually infuse Old World knowledge, methods & techniques into how they farm their grapes & how they craft their wines.
On a trip through France, & specifically the Chablis region in this case, Tadeo was inspired by the wonderfully mineral driven, remarkably light & crisp white wines he tasted there from such illustrious producers as Lavantureu &, Savary.
This “304” bottling is a homage to French Chablis, its producers & its wines. I don’t think there is anything like it out of California. Furthermore, such lighter, crisper, mineral driven wines are ideal for warm weather sipping.
The key is finding the right grapes to best accomplish this difficult task….at least doing it well. The first vintage, Tadeo was able to find the right kind of fruit, grown around a rock outcropping down in southern Carneros. He has since thankfully found similar grapes from other parcels…all with the same kind of extreme stressful, meager growing conditions, which is apropos for lower alcohol, mineral driven, crisp, complete Chardonnay.
A Toast to Bruce & Tadeo for bringing their dream to life!
“For years, I’ve loved the light, elegant bottlings of Chardonnay from the Chablis area of Burgundy. These wines speak of the soil. They rarely spend time in oak barrels, but are fermented and aged in neutral tanks made from stainless steel or cement. We call our wine of this style Chardonnay ‘304’, & is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, and given maximum exposure to the natural yeast lees during the process. The wine is bright, crisp, fresh and delicate”.
2010 Neyers Cabernet Sauvignon
I know wine can be about fashion & “what’s IN”. The current craze is BIG, dramatic, lavish, opulent, resoundingly oaked red wines. That’s all fine & dandy! For me, however, this is a real Cabernet Sauvignon thoroughbred…..the way it should be, in my opinion. NO fruit bomb here! Stylistically, it lies somewhere between the New World & the Old World. Just the other night I was fortunate to try the 2001 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon. It reminded me of the Old Days, when Cabernets were earthy, firm, structured & more about real balance. As I noted in that blog….I miss the Old Days…& those kinds of wines. Well here is a more contemporary style of those kinds of wines….BUT much more elegant, classy, well textured AND balanced (naturally).
Here is what Bruce Neyers recently wrote to me about this fabulous wine–
“The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon comes entirely from the two parcels we call Cabernet Sauvignon North and Cabernet Sauvignon South, on our Conn Valley Ranch. They were both planted by Dave Abreu in 1992 using a mix of 110R and 3309 Rootstock, budded to Thorvilas budwood, material that originated in the John Daniels block of Inglenook, and was brought back from Ch. Margaux in the early nineteen-forties by John Daniels after his stay at Ch. Margaux as a guest of the Ginestet family. The vines are planted 3′ by 6′ are are mostly pruned in bi-lateral cordon, although we are toying now with the idea of converting at least some of it to cane pruning. The finished wine is about 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot, cropped at about 2 tons per acre. the berries are de-stemmed, then fermented on the skins with indigenous wild yeast for about 60 days. The tank is drained and pressed and the wine is racked to 60-gallon French oak barrels, 25% new, for about 16 months. It’s a blend of several oak types, and several toast levels. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered“.
The blend for this year is 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon all from their organically farmed estate vineyard out in the Conn Valley. As you will recall, the Merlot comes from the basalt soils (compacted volcanic ash). Yes, this is the wine, albeit a newer release, which originally caught my attention back in the mid 90’s. I still feel today this is one of the 2 best Merlots produced in California. Nothing tooty fruity in this bottle. In fact it is, like many top echelon Bordeaux, much more about soil & character with a little more full-ness from the generous Californian sunshine. A TRUE Standout!