The new bottles of California Malbec thrill the Black Cat family not just because the wine is superb. We cherish and champion the Sonoma County elixir, too, because winemaker Jesse Katz grew up in Boulder, and originals of his father Andy Katz’s spectacular photographs have adorned our walls since the day we opened. The Katz’s are Black Cat family too, and we are so very proud of their manifold accomplishments in the art and wine worlds.
One of those photographs on our walls, of a woman in Cuba smoking a cigar, is now the label for Jesse’s Devil Proof wine from the winery’s Rockpile Ridge vineyard, a gorgeous 100 percent Malbec which wine critic Robert Parker said, “may be the finest Malbec I have ever tasted from California.” In addition, Tasting Panel Magazine called it the “Cult Wine of the Year.”
Jesse’s grapes are 100 percent barrel-fermented, which makes it highly unusual. Barrel fermentaion helps guide the tannins towards excellent places, but it is an extremely labor-intensive step and rarely taken with red wines. The pay-off for Devil Proof is clearly worth the effort — this powerful, complex wine is something you will never forget.
This remarkable — 100 percent Malbec from Sonoma is uncommon — and exquisite wine is tough to get, but we have eight bottles of the 2013 vintage.
Why Devil Proof? Jesse’s dad Andy, who photographed the woman with the cigar, quoted her as saying if you smoke and drink every day, the devil won’t get you. So Jesse is offering a superb option for the drinking portion of the equation.
Devil Proof will pair splendidly with most of the pork and lamb dishes on the Black Cat menu. Our heritage breeds, raised mostly on organic Boulder County pasture and vegetables, do not show the sort of one-dimensional and commonplace flavors that come with store-bought pork and lamb. No, we raise our animals for flavor, which is as hauntingly complex and beguiling as the flavors in Devil Proof wine.
You want more hauntingly complex and beguiling? Excellent! Because we have a few bottles of the 2002 vintage of Krug Brut champagne, which Decanter wine writer Michael Edwards said is “in another league” and upon which Wine Enthusiast not only bestowed a 100-point rating, but named “Best of the Year” in 2016 (when it was released).
Black Cat’s wine director Logan Silbert calls Krug “the ultimate luxury champagne,” and said the quality and reputation of Black Cat’s wine list led to the restaurant receiving bottles of this treasure. Glasses of Krug would pair beautifully with a wide range of our first courses — particularly ones involving fish, charcuterie and cheese. The champagne, too, would complement fish dishes for a main course, as well as grains and pasta dishes that incorporate cheese or mushrooms (or both).
Cheers to drinking interesting and memorable wine this year.