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The Paring Red

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Country/State California




Type Red Blend

Read About the Wine

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I’ve waited a long time to talk to you about this wine.

I start in 1986 with Jean Phillip, a real estate agent in Oakville, California. With a dash of insight and a bolt of intuition, she purchased a 57-acre property in Napa’s Oakville viticultural district. She considered its acquisition a lark. Yes, the property had vines, but the fruit was all sold off, except for one tiny acre — or approximately 80 vines — of Cabernet. That Cabernet, with the 1992 vintage, became one of the top wines of Napa, if not the world. The current release of that wine sells for approximately $3,000 a bottle.

Jean sold the land (for an offer she couldn’t refuse) in 2006 to Stan Kroenke. Now you might know about Stan, and safe to say that this wasn’t his first rodeo. In fact, in terms of wine, it’s his second — his other winery being the highly successful estate of Jonata, in Southern California.  

Now here’s the non-disclosure part. What’s an $8 billion-net-worth guy to do when his $3,000-a-bottle winery and his $150-a-bottle winery make barrels of wine from their estates that just don’t match their price tags? The answer? Quietly park said wine in a non-associated label, combining the best of both estates, and helping it find a happy, non-disclosed home. And that’s this wine, The Paring.

So to be blunt, the joke is in the name. The Paring is wine from the non-disclosed Napa property and wine from Jonata “paired” together. Why? Because every estate has some barrels that they just can’t use, but don’t want to sell off to the competition. They don’t want to dilute their brand, and they don’t want everyone to see their laundry hanging on the line either. Hence the legal restraints.  

Yet me being me, and things being as they are, a small amount of this wine slipped into my jazz hands. How could I resist? Here’s a review to check out:

“The [blank] is another wine with 100-point potential…. As one might expect, the purity of the cassis, which is always a hallmark of this estate and wine, is well-displayed in this beauty. Dense purple in color, it offers up some floral notes intermixed with damp earth, blackcurrant jam, blackberry and hints of licorice and incense. This reminds me somewhat of the 2010. Full-bodied, rich, but perfectly balanced, it’s another terrific example of this iconic estate. It should drink well for 30 or more years.”

That’s Robert Parker describing Stan's other wine. Is The Paring equal to this magnificent review? I honestly can’t say. What I can say is that this wine is crazy good, and while it’s not $1,300 a bottle, it still rocks my world.