We had a great evening @MetroWines with Suzanne Tate of TATE. Sometimes Napa Valley Wines are just too big. But TATE has the formula. Hearty, roust wines that are still elegant. And you might say that is just wine speak. But it's like a balance beam. Not so easy as you might think.
Based in St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery is a two person business, David and Suzanne Tate. That's it. David Tate is the primary winemaker but Suzanne adds her touch on occasion.
A native of British Columbia, David graduated Brock University with an Honors Degree in Enology and Viticulture. He has worked all over the wine making world for 22 years. In addition to making the wines under his own label, David remains the winemaker and manager at Barnett Vineyards, one of the most renowned boutique wineries in Napa Valley. Prior to his work with Barnett, David was assistant winemaker at Ridge Vineyards for five years. David has also worked in the Barossa Valley in Australia, Provence, and Canterbury, New Zealand.
I asked Suzanne what do you want people to know about your wines?
"All wines are from single vineyard micro plots. We have a history of working with small family farms to make small production wines," says Suzanne. "We offer about 1000 cases total each year."
Suzanne describes the 100% Merlot as having "not as much oak to express a purity of fruit."
The Cabernet is a "lunch Cab" says Suzanne, not as heavy as the bottle from Mt. Veder. The fruit is from the Bacchus Vineyard which grew wild from Prohibition until 2010! It is an ideal site on a 30% slope with volcanic soil.
The Mt. Veder 100% Cabernet has "subtle tannins and brooding blue notes," says Suzanne.
And then there's Howell Mountain, the REALLY BIG BOY. Only 75 cases of this masterpiece aged in French Oak for 22 months, 100% new. WOW. BIG. But, as aforestated, elegant.
Finally: This just in! Suzanne says she and David may be able to join us by SKYPE for a holiday wine tasting. We are thinking to call it "Home for the Holidays with the Tates!