2016 Domaine Curry ‘Femme 31’ Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
As you might surmise after getting to know us over the past 41 years, we’re probably never going to be the first wine store or restaurant to jump on the celebrity wine bandwagon. Just because someone’s famous and likes wine, doesn’t mean their ‘brand’ should necessarily extend to making one. There are enough hardworking farmers and winemakers out there trying to make names of their own, after all. But, after tasting our friend and local celeb Ayesha Curry’s entrant into the luxury wine sweepstakes, we might just have to reconsider that stance. Her stuff is good! Really good.
First, some background. Walnut Creek resident Ayesha Curry is so much more than Steph’s wife: she’s a renaissance woman involved in scores of charitable and culinary projects. She’s got a cooking show, a cookbook, a television show and even a chain of restaurants on her plate (as it were). Is it any wonder that her interests run also to wine? She went about it the right way, too, using her chef contacts to reach out to our good friend John Schwartz at Amuse Bouche. John, another Walnut Creek guy, is the mind behind several very serious and very well-known Napa Valley labels and was understandably reluctant at first to take on a project like this, until, after meeting the Currys, including Sydel, Steph’s younger sister, he realized how committed they were and how much they really wanted involve themselves in the entire process. The sisters-in-law admitted to a mutual love of voluptuous Napa Cabs and challenged John to create something with the richness, polish and sophistication they wanted associated with their name. It was also made clear from the very beginning that this was not about basketball star Steph, but rather Domaine Curry would be a love letter to the hard working women in Ayesha’s family and, by extension, women everywhere. Femme 31 refers to a passage in Proverbs praising a ‘capable woman’s’ ability to ‘use the fruit of her hands to plant a vineyard.’ And so it was! The 200-case debut effort from the 2015 vintage sold out immediately to an exclusive mailing list and one or two spots John recommended in the Napa Valley. Now we’ve agreed that there should be some closer to home, and the Currys have agreed. The just-released 2016 is truly gorgeous. Made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the Currys tasted every last barrel John had and, with the help of Coupe de Foudre winemaker and Duckhorn alum Kent Jarman dialed in the blend themselves. And yes, they went ‘large,’ creating a very rich, very bold wine packed with chocolate, Kirsch and graphite flavors. But there’s a certain coolness and sense of lift to the wine that really takes it beyond most of the even $150 Cabs we’re tasting these days. Like I said before……it’s really, really good.