On Tuesday, September 26th, the Pig + Fig Cafe hosted a five course dinner featuring the wines from Hourglass Winery, in St. Helena, CA.
Laura Crucet, the owner of the Pig + Fig Cafe, called it the “first unofficial wine and chile event”, because Michael Cooperman, the wine specialist from Hourglass, was also visiting the area for Santa Fe’s 2017 Wine and Chile Fiesta.
Cooperman grew up in Santa Fe, is a member of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, and has been working with Hourglass for two years. During the dinner he answered questions about what makes Hourglass wines unique.
Hourglass was founded by Jeff Smith. The first wine he produced was a 1997 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet was immediately successful because of a perfectly timed coincidence.
Just before Jeff was about to release the Cabernet for the first time, the sommelier from Tra Vigne, David Stevens, asked Smith for a taste. He was completely floored by the quality. But rather than encourage Smith to release it immediately, he suggested he wait an extra month.
Why? He was hosting a tasting and and auction at Tra Vigne with famous wines like Screaming Eagle, Bryant Family Wines, and Harlan Estate Wines. Stevens said, “I think it will be more fun if your wine was part of that tasting.”
When the tasting arrived, Stevens told the judges that they added a wine from a little upstart winery called Hourglass. He asked that they just give the wines a ranking in order of preference. In a situation where they were competing against the best of the best, the wine that nobody had ever heard of was able to hold it’s own.
The next day their mailing list was filled with names, and they have been able to quickly sell their wines to their subscribers ever since.
At the Pig + Fig wine dinner, they served two of their “Blueline Estate” wines, the 2014 Cabernet was paired with the Deconstructed Cassoulet and the 2015 Merlot was paired with the Opera Cake. (Executive Chef Laura Crucet dialed down the sweetness of the dessert and added some fresh tart raspberries to pair it with the dry wine).
Cooperman said, “This is a nice introduction to the style of wines that we make. These wines have a rich texture, with a lot of life and vibrancy.” There is a lot of elegance, but you know that you’re having a Napa Valley wine.”
The name Hourglass refers to the unique geography of the vineyard. The Napa Valley is perfect for growing grapes because it is protected from the heat of the Central Valley by the Vaca mountains, and sheltered from the cool ocean air by the Mayacamas Mountain range on the
west. When you travel north from to St. Helena, the valley floor comes together and is only a half a mile wide, forming an hourglass shape.
The Blueline Estate has 19 acres and is located north of the Hourglass Estate. There the valley comes to a point where two huge canyons meet, and several streams meet on the valley floor and create one larger stream. These ancient riverbeds are spawning grounds for fish and wildlife and are made up of cobble, rock and clay. Cooperman said the free draining site creates wonderful “mineral energy.”
“I’ve done many wine tastings,” said Cooperman, “and I thought the pairings were spot on. The wines and the foods really set each other off beautifully.”
The Pig + Fig Cafe is co-owned by Laura and Fernando Crucet and located in White Rock, NM. The address is 35 Rover Blvd, Suite G.
The Pig + Fig Cafe occasionally hosts special events like wine and beer dinners, which generally sell out very quickly. The best way to get tickets for these events is to visit their website at www.pigandfigcafe.com and sign up for the mailing list.