Schlein Vineyard is another of our Napa favorite wine producers. I met owner Phil Schlein and Ira Zuckerman when I was in Napa two years ago for the wine writers symposium at Meadowood. Two guys with big hearts, making wine for all the right reasons. And like Phil and Ira, their wines skip the overdone fanfare that some Napa wines thrive on, instead showing straightforward, no agenda unadulterated beauty. Named for property manager Emilio Perez as a salute to he and his fellow workers, Emilio’s Terrace, 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a sturdy blast of red fruit, ripe raspberry with a critically acclaimed, Broadway finish. It’s the wine you keep talking about well-after the curtain comes down. Then, there’s the Moon Schlein, 2002, Merlot with a soft, matinee finish. Unfolding with smokey darkness, chocolate-covered bright blueberry against the density of my mom’s homemade matzoth balls and the crispicity of latkes made with, you guessed it, extra de-virginized canola oil. Marvelous!
Prayers go out to a very special Ira for new strength everyday.