Beverly and Tom Porter are Sarasota snowbirds. When summer comes, the Porters return to Napa County, Calif., where they tend to the Porter Family Vineyards winery.
Tom didn't get into the wine business because of his background or family.
A former corporate executive, he got the "winery" bug some time in the early 1990s. In 1995, he bought existing vineyards in the Coombsville area, just east of the town of Napa.
Now the entire Porter family, including a son who is in marketing and a daughter who is a winemaker, has devoted their energies and resources to building a state-of-the-art winery and producing the best wines they can.
Coombsville is not yet an officially recognized appellation in Napa, but it's getting a lot of press for the region's ability to grow exceptional cabernet sauvignon and syrah grapes. And it is wines from these grapes that the Porter Family Vineyards is producing, albeit only about 5,000 cases per year.
The 2006 Porter Family Vineyards Syrah, with its rich and complex flavor, ends in a smooth finish, making it one of the most user-friendly reds on the market. The 2005 Porter Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is a blockbuster red with well-integrated tannins and hearty flavors. Oenophiles take note: This powerhouse,
premium cab is collectible.
For budget-minded consumers, the winery produces the Porter Family Sandpiper Rose, an easy-to-like pale pink produced from syrah grapes. It's crisp, clean and a great thirst quencher during hot Florida summers.
Serve with: The syrah and the cab nicely complement any beef or lamb dishes. The cab will mellow with additional bottle aging. But if you don't want to wait, serve it with very rich cuts of meat like beef tenderloin or prime rib. I've enjoyed the rose with grilled scallops, but it also pairs well with baked ham, deviled eggs and country pates.
Availability/suggested retail: With such small production, these wines are not easy to find, but they are worth the search.
Ask a good wine merchant to order them for you or go online at porterfamilyvineyards.com. The syrah retails for $47, the cab for $95 and the rosé for $20 a bottle.
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