Chris and I have been wine club members for Cosentino Winery since 2007. Over the years, we have purchased many, many bottles of wine and have enjoyed a large array of varietals. We believe that this membership overall has been good, however over the past year, we have seen a decline in the quality of the wines. We recently received our “featured club exclusive wine” within the February shipment. One bottle was 2011 “Vintner’s Blend, Sonoma County”. It was described as “Twelve barrels (that were) hand-selected to create this bold blend of Malbec, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, and Merlot. The vivid fruit profile is packed with cherry and plum.” (Retail:$48, Club reorder price $38.50) I found it interesting that the wine club included a red blend because I do not recall ever receiving too many other red blends within our shipments in the past. We originally joined this wine club because of Chris’ love for wines made by Mitch Cosentino. We both, along with a number of our friends have been loyal buyers. We are aware that Mitch no longer is making wine, nor is consulting for Cosentino winery and recognize that things inevitably change. Although most of the wines that we have received since his departure have still been good, some also, unfortunately, have not met our expectations.
Something that caught my eye right away was on the back side of the bottle. Towards the bottom of the label it noted: “Produced and Bottled by Cosentino Winery, Healdsburg, Ca.” I found this very odd considering that Cosentino Winery is actually in Yountville, California, which is on the other side of the Mayacamas Mountains, about an hour drive from Healdsburg and in a different county.
In September of 2012, Chris and I had the privilege of joining fourth generation winegrower Jeff Kunde, gold medal-winning winemaker Mitch Cosentino and Vintner Pat Roney on a 10-day Italy focused cruise with an onboard wine program featuring wines from Girard winery, Cosentino and Kunde Family Estate. After spending time with these gentlemen, we were made aware that Vintage Wine Estates owns a number of Estates. One of the benefits of a wine club is that they will often include complimentary tastings within other wineries affiliations. Our Cosentino membership offers complimentary tastings at the following:
Cosentino Winery – Uncorking 30 years of Napa history in every bottle
Girard Winery – A sense of place in the Napa Valley
Clos Pegase – World class wines, hospitality, and special events on incredible grounds
Windsor Vineyards – Continuing a tradition of award-winning custom labeled wines
I noticed that on the Vintage Wine Estates Website, that their collection of wineries also include:
Cartlidge and Browne – Creating varietally correct wines from the North Coast
Ray’s Station – Curator of True Mendocino Reds
Sonoma Coast Vineyards – Exceptional wines from the extreme Sonoma Coast
Viansa Winery – Combines the joys of wine, cuisine, and world-class hospitality
We do enjoy some of the Girard and Clos Pegase wines and have also had memberships at these as well. We recognize that there are a number of talented winemakers on the team overall. Because Chris and I are still fond of Mitch Cosentino’s wines, we are also members at PurCru, where we continue to enjoy his craft and we decided to ask him about the production and bottling of this wine. He knew nothing about it, nor was he involved in it at all.
I think it’s important that the folks at Vintage Wine Estates understand that as interested consumers, we really do pay attention to the labels and this doesn’t make sense to us!
Because they market “Private Labeling” on their website stating that they are experts in creating custom brands, Chris and I can’t help but wonder if they intend to place the Cosentino Winery label on various wines that may be created elsewhere? After all, they do state that they “currently manage thousands of cases” and that once they receive an order request, the order is ready to ship in under five days.
I can appreciate that Vintage Wine Estates is recognized for providing exceptional value to the wine consumer. They continue new acquisitions to expand their collection of brands, producing wines that highlight talented winemaking and the best of Napa and Sonoma county terroir; but a value isn’t a deal to the consumer if we feel like we’re being misled.
Medium color depth and a dark purple hue
Slight oak, dark fruit, and spice.
Tart. It had tannins that hit the mid palate with a short finish. It did not have a lot of structure and frankly, none of the four individuals drinking the wine cared for it. Chris said it was “terrible”! I would drink it with food.
I would call this a Vin De Table wine.
How much: $48.00 (this is not a $48 bottle of wine in my honest opinion).
I rated the 2011 Cosentino Winery Vintners Red Blend one glass. Had the price of the bottle ranged in the middle teens I would rate it two glasses.
A question to the owners of Cosentino Winery, I question where the wine came from seeing as it has been rare to see a “Sonoma” wine that was not Pinot Noir or Zinfandel from Cosentino Winery.
Life is too short to drink crappy wine. Expand your palate and keep trying.