Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cosentino Winery – Yountville, California

 Vineyard Across the Street from Cosentino Winery and Mustards Restaurant

Having spent the previous Saturday scouting out the Napa Valley for the best place to photograph mustard flower laden vineyards, visiting a winery in St. Helena and another in Calistoga, I decided to return to spend several hours focusing on just taking more pictures. The difficulty was, having visited 121 wineries in the valley since the year 2000 there were few wineries with the wild flowers that I had not already visited. But, I couldn’t leave the valley without visiting at least one tasting room. So, I decided to visit Cosentino Winery which is adjacent to the Mustards restaurant and across from one of the most flower laden vineyards with very gnarly vines.

Cosentino Winery was founded by Mitch Cosentino in 1980 with its inaugural vintage released in 1981. The wines were produced from small lots of grapes acquired from some of the leading growers of California’s North Coast counties including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Sacramento Counties under the labels of Cosentino Wine Company and Crystal Valley Cellars. Today they produce a limited production of wines with a focus on Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as well as two Meritage blends (The Poet and The Novelist). They also produce Burgundian varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as Sangiovese and Zinfandel. In 1989 Cosentino’s release of “The Poet” (1986 vintage), was one of America’s first designated and licensed Meritage Bordeaux-blend wines. Today, there are over 200 other wineries producing Meritage style wines.

In 1990 Cosentino Winery moved to its current located in Yountville and began its quest to establish long term relationships with the valley’s top vineyards. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s Cosentino Winery grew in quality and reputation. But then due to financial difficulty the 70,000-case winery closed its doors and was subsequently purchased by the Santa Rosa-based Vintage Wine Estates. They then brought back the founder Mitch Cosentino to help stabilize the brand.[1]

While visiting I sampled the following wines:

The first pour was the 2011 Barrel Select Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. On the nose this wine is very fresh and fruit-forward with aromas of strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, cinnamon and spice. On the palate it is medium bodied, with medium + acidity and it has a very long finish. If you prefer your Pinots to be on the earthy, mushroomy side (as I do) this wine is not for you but if you like fresh, bright, crisp fruity Pinots this wine will suit your palate. This wine sells for $40 a bottle.

The second sample was the 2006 Estate Merlot. On the nose this wine has explosive fruit with pronounced aromas of black cherries, ripe plums, and milk chocolate. On the palate it is extremely soft and round with good acidity and a medium length finish. This wine is so approachable and easy-to-drink that it would be very easy to finish an entire bottle. If you know someone who says they don’t like red wines because of the harshness of tannins, then this wine is for them. Personally, I would prefer more tannin, more backbone and a wine that has enough structure to stand up for a hearty steak. This wine sells for $50 a bottle.

The third wine was the 2008 “Poet”, a Meritage blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet franc, 15% Merlot. In comparison to the previous pours, the nose on this wine wasn’t very expressive with muted aromas of black currants, black cherries and a faint hint of mint. On the palate it is shockingly soft with medium (-) tannins, medium acidity and a medium length finish. I was underwhelmed by this wine that previously sold for $65 a bottle but now sells for $45.

The final wine was the 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I picked up subtle notes of black cherries, black currants and a hint of mint. On the palate it is fruit forward, slightly sweet, extremely soft but it has good acidity and a medium (+) length finish. A nice wine but there are many like it on the market for far less than $80 a bottle.

Overall, I would characterize Cosentino’s wines as fruit-forward, soft, and easily approachable. But for me they are too soft and lack the structure and back bone that I look for and expect from expensive Napa Valley premium wines.

To visit or for more information:

Cosentino Winery

7415 Saint Helena Highway

Yountville, CA, 94599

Local Telephone: (707) 921-2809

Toll Free: 1-800-764-1220

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