We were lucky enough to score an invite to the "first taste" of Ovid (pronounced AH-VID) wines out of Napa Valley -- and I was lucky enough to be the one to represent CA Wine Merchants (thanks Winemonkey!). The wines are made by sought after winemaker Andy Erickson (of Screaming Eagle fame) and the tasting was at Per Se (double score!) in the Time Warner Center over lunch. Ovid is made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petite Verdot and is fermented in a combination of wooden and old-school concrete tank fermenters.
We sampled the first commercial vintage, Ovid 2005, which had been open for about two hours. The wine has great aroma intensity which makes for an intriguing first impression. The palate is rich, with dark red fruits, deep chocolate, graphite, earth, and some licorice. This is not an overblown fruit-bomb style and it has the acidity to prove it. I thought the finish was extremely long. Only 418 cases were produced and the only problem with it is, well, the price. You can expect to pay over $200 per bottle at retail and I can only guess the wine will go for over $400 at restaurants. But considering the 2005 vintage of Screaming Eagle goes for over $1,500 at retail, I suppose you can consider it a relative bargain!
All sarcasm aside, we moved on to taste a barrel sample of a 2007 wine that was made solely for the Premier Napa Valley Auction. Apotheca is a blend of Andy and company's favorite lots, all of which were fermented in concrete. This wine is super concentrated, WOW! Too bad it will not be available commercially because this stuff is killer. The way this 2007 juice is tasting can only mean great things for the 2007 vintage of Ovid.
Ovid will also be making a wine called the Experiment, which will change from vintage to vintage. We did not taste this at the lunch, however, this coming Tuesday we should be able to secure a taste and will report back. The first Experiment, 2005, is apparently a barrel selection of Cabernet Franc. Again, we'll let you know...!
The vineyards include 15 acres, 1,400 feet above Napa Valley, that were quite literally dug out of dense rock. The pedigree, from Andy Erickson as winemaker, David Abreu as vineyard manager and Michel Rolland as consultant, is very impressive. The wines are named after Ovid, the Roman poet, and his famous work Metamorphosis, which represents the metamorphosis of grapes into sublime wine. Some of the language on the bottle is a little 'puffed up' if you ask me, but this is a serious wine and you can expect to hear more about it.