Check out our free shipping on fine wines today!

“I tried to make wine once, and mold grew all over the top of my Zin in no time. I’m not a winemaker. I have a green thumb, but I’m not a winemaker,” I recently said to Chuck Custodio, of Trahan Winery. “I guess that was my mistake. I’m a marketer, and I’m sticking to it.”

We laughed…

I had just called Chuck to see if he would like to participate in Suisun Valley’s upcoming Love Story event on November 18, 2011, and the above was part of our conversation. He’s always fun in conversations…

As I’ve seen in so many instances, winemakers have red hands… especially during harvest.

EXAMPLE: Once, we took our son-in-law Heath Hoffman, who’s a winemaker, to dinner in San Francisco. We were at Rubicon having dinner, and I noticed how the staff was treating him, which was basically like he was a second class citizen. He was getting very little respect, like he’d be really soiling their white linens. It was during harvest, and the stains on his hands from winemaking were very evident. It’s impossible to remove those stains completely during crush. It would take bleach, and who’s going to be bleaching their hands? I intuitively realized what was going one, so when the next waitserver came to our table, I asked Heath, “So, how’s harvest going, and what did you just bring in?” He said, “Napa Cab.” All of a sudden, gracious hospitality returned to our table… Let’s see, as I remember it, that was NOT one of my 20+ percent gratuity nights.

I’ve always adored Chuck Custodio, but only from afar. I’ve never been public about this fascinating character on my blog. I first met him in Suisun Valley. Jose and I began working with Suisun in 2003, when the grape growers had just formed what’s now called the Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association (SVVGA). After we had worked with them for a few years, I realized, in 2007, that it was the 25th anniversary of their American Viticultural Area’s (AVA) distinction.

In US viticultural history, this 25 years is a real benchmark for recognized regionality, as areas are now just coming to their silver anniversary. Suisun, however, was one of the very first, so that in my world it was really worth celebrating. Other worldly regions can certainly chuckle at our “25 years,” because they’ve never suffered from vinous oppression like we have in the states. Prohibition really slowed us down in that regard. As the true Wild West, which would be all of the United States from the day the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the United States winemaking history is very young by world standards.

A party was planned to celebrate those 25 years, and Roger King (president of SVVGA) invited a few of his winemaking friends. It was in those days of first celebrating their AVA, for the first and in subsequent years, that I had met Chuck and had phone conversations with him about his participation. Tasting his wines at this event was always a treat.

ABOUT Trahan Winery:

Located in the town of Napa, Trahan is a small, family owned and operated wine company, which is dedicated to creating incredible wines from only the highest of quality grapes. The vineyards that they choose to work with are hand farmed by small growers, who are dedicated to producing only extraordinary fruit. The family’s mission (and passion) is to bring joy into the lives and others through their fine wines.

The proprietary team is made up of  Chuck Custodio (winemaker), Janna Custodio (Chuck’s wife/partner), Elizabeth Trahan Berry ~ Liz (mother of Chuck), and Sadie (the “Minister of Fun” Labrador). This is truly a family dedicated to winemaking for a very classy clientele.

Each wine offered by Trahan is no more than 325 cases. [The math: 24 cases/barrel / 300 cases = 12.5 barrels.]

  • 2007 Trahan Merlot – Rutherford ~ 200 cases
  • 2007 Trahan Cabernet Sauvignon – Suisun Valley ~ 325 cases
  • 2007 Trahan Petit Verdot – Suisun Valley ~ 250 cases
  • 2008 Trahan Pinot Noir – Carneros ~ 275 cases
  • 2008 Trahan Sadie’s Red Wine – California ~ 200 cases
  • 2007 Trahan Petit Verdot – Suisun Valley ~ 250 cases

The math on his production for 2007 was only about 43 barrels (1025 cases) to babysit throughout that year’s vintage cycle. The next year Chuck brought in 20 more barrels (40  cases). To say that this wine is very special is an understatement.

I really enjoy their label art work. Petite Verdot has logo appeal, their three intertwining circles. (I image that Sadie is at the heart of their union.) The rest of their labels depict their passions and to whom they need to pay homage… Including Sadie with a Trahan cork in her mouth, and dedicated field workers.

I don’t have any tasting notes that I’ve taken on the wines to share with you, because I’ve never taken notes at any of the Suisun Valley events. I’m always the one behind the camera. Have you ever tried to take images and taste food and wine at the same time? It’s impossible. I do have memories of Trahan wines being rich, smooth, and beautiful representations of their variety, when I finally did put the camera down for a few minutes, but when you have a camera, you’re “on call.”

This is one small producer that if you were wanting to impress someone with a great palate and an understanding of winemakers with passion, Trahan would be a great offering. He’s highly recommended…

Enhanced by Zemanta