Jeffrey M. Cohen, CMS, Wine Specialist


In this edition, I want to highlight an amazing winery, FUTO Estates, and yes, of course we have acquired some for your enjoyment.

The philosophy at FUTO is like many wineries, and that is to make the very best wines out of the very best grapes that they have to offer. However, at FUTO they say, “Wine doesn’t make itself.” As much as wine is a product of the natural world, it still requires a combination of human attention, intention and action.

FUTO wines result from the confluence of labor, will, talent, handwork and uncompromising vision. Their team of people have been assembled who embody those characteristics, from the architect of the winery and the mastermind who planted the vineyard, to the group that farms it vine by vine, manages the estate, and artistically turns grapes into some of the finest wines in Napa Valley.

Only 28 of FUTO’s 198 total acres are cultivated. The majority of the land remains in its natural state of forest or rocky ridge, where the incumbent ecosystem provides viticultural benefits only unspoiled nature can render.

FUTO dwells on two properties. One is tucked into the western foothills in Oakville; the other lies across the valley on the rocky slopes of Stags Leap District. For those who went on our last Napa trip, when we were walking through the vineyards at Chimney Rock in Stags Leap, up in the hills was FUTO. Both sites comprise a range of exposures, inclines, geology and microclimates that require rigorous hillside viticulture but reward with grapes of remarkable complexity, depth and purity.

At FUTO, they consider their wines to be the purest expression of their vineyards. In that spirit, the winery serves as a haven where the freshly harvested fruit is transformed and protected on its journey into wine. The orientation of the structure allows fruit to be seamlessly delivered from the vineyards. Once processed, wine can be moved between stages without wasted energy, space or time. Since FUTO produces only a small quantity of wine, the winery is defined by elegance and a certain minimalism, as winemaking functionality is the sole priority.

Now is the time to introduce the wines that we carry at the Club and to invite you to our last Wine Dinner of the year, on December 12.

On the master wine list, we offer the 2018 FUTO OV/SL Red. This wine showcases the synergy of the two estate properties. At its core are co-fermentations of fruit from the hillsides that are believed to be perfect foils for one another. Oakville is imposing and impressive with its broad-shouldered stature, while Stags Leap is a timeless beauty with classic proportions. This wine is seamless and rich, and boasts extraordinary purity and finesse. The flavors are deep and evenly layered throughout. Lavender, mint, licorice and blueberry notes grace the palate, while a host of sweet floral notes and exotic spices are fused into the eternal finish. It is a blend of 66 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 17 percent Cabernet Franc, 14 percent Merlot and 3 percent Petit Verdot. Only 566 cases were produced.

The other FUTO wine will be offered on our Axis wine list by the bottle. It is the 2019 FUTO Estate ‘FUTO Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville. The FUTO Oakville reveals an inky purple/blue hue, and a fresh vivid bouquet of crème de cassis, toasted spice, violets, chocolate and graphite. On the palate, there is an interplay of richness and weightlessness. A multilayered texture and purity run through the core, fanning out into an opulent mineral-tinged finish framed by fine tannins and perfume. This wine consists of 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and only 485 cases were produced.

I truly believe these to be some of the finest wines that Napa has to offer. I would put these in the same realm as Hundred Acre, Lokoya and Schrader. For most, these are not everyday wines due to the price tag that comes with them, however, everybody needs to have the extra special celebratory wines available, when the time comes.

These wines will definitely fit that billing!


Jeffrey M. Cohen, CMS, is the Wine Specialist/Beverage Manager at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at jcohen@cordilleraranch.com and 210.677.9234.

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