“I’ll make tacos,” replied Michael Farmer to my last email. I had written to inquire about visiting him, to meet and to taste his wine. The winemaker with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, including 13 at Robert Mondavi followed by 22 more at Opus One, wanted to cook dinner. He is a near-perfect combination of humanity, humility, and artistry. I wasn’t about to say no.
The reality of the evening was that the incredible wine made by Mike and his son Lucas was somehow overshadowed by the conversation and by the experience, and I suspect that Mike and his lovely wife, Sara, would agree with me on that point. The wine — we tried both the Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Syrah, was incredible, (My friend and fellow wine enthusiast Zach blurted out “Holy shit” the moment the first sip touched his lips) but it was paired with conversation so rich and full of experience, emotion, and life that the wine almost struggled to keep pace. After so much time spent living and working in viticulture, Mike’s sage advice, amusing anecdotes, and thoughtful insights fell upon grateful ears as together Zach and I ate up not only his incredible tacos but also every word he spoke.
Over the course of the evening, Mike and Sara shared with us stories from travel, the industry, and so much more, while Tracker and Bella, their dogs, kept us all company. “In ’79, when he started, it was the best time to be in the industry. It was fun!” remembered Sara, thinking back on the days before the entire thirty mile stretch of the Napa Valley had become commercialized to the extent that it is today. Mike spoke at length about the value of barrels, how important they are to the wine makeing process, and what they can do for the quality and longevity of wine. “You make choices today for ten years from now,” stated Mike, staring thoughtfully into a glass of his own Cabernet. I got the distinct impression that the statement applied to far more than merely winemaking. It was, in the end, one of the most enjoyable evenings that I have ever spent in Napa.
The 2012 Euclid Cabernet Sauvignon is among the most impressive Napa Valley Cabernets I’ve ever had (putting it at the top of a list that is nearing the four digit mark). So perfectly in balance, so flavorful and smooth, it left an impression upon me that has yet to to disappear and, Lord willing, may never. The honest truth is that, knowing that I can get Mike’s Cab for $100/bottle, I can’t really foresee any circumstance in the future in which I would be willing to spend more than that on a bottle of wine. It’s just that good.
The 2012 Euclid Cabernet Sauvignon is limited to just 520 cases, and is available by reaching out to Mike and his son Luke via their web page (euclidwines.com). It earns 96 points on my scale, and I highly, highly recommend it. A hearty thank you to Michael, to Sara, to Lucas, and to Tracker and Bella and also Zach, for an evening that I will remember forever.