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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Celia Welch: Wine Wonder Woman

Celia Welch: Wine Wonder Woman

"My philosophy of winemaking involves developing gorgeous, full, complex and elegant wines that speak of a certain corner of Napa Valley. They sit gracefully at your table and compliment your cooking. They recall memories of a season and those you share it with. They enchant you."

Celia Welch, the youngest of four children, grew up in Medford, Oregon, a small town in the Southwest corner of Oregon Wine Country. Her father, an internist, was an avid wine collector and home winemaker who planted a half-acre of assorted vines in their yard for experimentation — everything from French Colombard to Charbono.

Celia never thought wine would be anything more than a hobby. She explains, “When I was a kid, the image of a winemaker was an old Italian man.” However, from very early age she was interested in smells and tastes. Celia can recall a childhood birthday party where she suggested that instead of playing pin the tail on the donkey, a better game would be for guests to try to guess the spices in her mother's cabinet by scent and flavor. Who knew that years later she would be one of the most sought-after winemakers in the world?

Celia eventually left Oregon to pursue winemaking and earned a degree in fermentation science from UC Davis in 1982. After graduation, she traveled to Burgundy, New Zealand and the Barossa Valley of Australia before settling down in Napa Valley.

Celia pours her wines in Napa
Today, Celia Welch is one of North America's most highly regarded winemakers; Scarecrow Cabernet stands out as one of Celia's greatest achievements. The winery's debut 2003 Scarecrow Cabernet sold out briskly, receiving a whopping 98 point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (the highest score ever for a debut wine).

After her time at Scarecrow, Celia moved on to be an independent winemaker and consultant for some of Napa Valley's most elite labels including Staglin Family, Barbour, Kelly Fleming, DR Stephen, Buccella and Hollywood & Vine.

Celia has been honored with many accolades throughout her career as a winemaker. She has been honored with The Rising Star Award, from the Southern California Chapter of Women for Winesense, and has been admitted to the Winemakers' Hall of Fame by the national chapter of the same organization. In 2006, she was named one of's Top 10 Tastemakers and Winemaker of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine in 2008.

You'll be the envy of your next dinner party when you pop the cork on a Celia Welch Napa Valley wine. Her Cabernet Sauvignons are not only reflective of their unique terroirs, they are reflective of the wine wonder woman behind the helm of each project.

Celia Welch Four-Pack
A $467 retail value for $399 when you buy all four 
 (a 16% savings)

Lindstrom Cabernet 
Lindstrom Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Loads of black cherry, black currant, licorice, and spring flowers are present in this mid-weight, elegant wine.  It offers sweet tannin in a nice framework, with a well-balanced mouthfeel.  This wine will continue to develop over the next 10-15 years and is a must in every collectors wine cellar. "Another relatively new operation owned by the Lindstrom family, the vineyard is a hilltop 20-acre parcel near Stags Leap Wine Cellars. As one might expect, these are very elegant wines. Production levels are just under 500 cases." - Robert Parker, 92 points. 
Kelly Fleming Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon 2009   
Lovely sweet dark cherry and cocoa aromas, with hints of smoke, mocha, anise, and forest floor intertwine as the wine evolves in the glass.  Forward fruit aromas of warm boysenberries and huckleberries are forward and intense.  On the palate, the texture is full-bodied at entry, with a velvety softness. "I was quite taken with the three wines I tasted this year from Kelly Fleming and her long-time winemaker Celia Welch." - Antonio Galloni, 94 points.  
Hollywood & Vine "2480" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 
Made from fruit from the peak of Mount Veeder, the Oakville Bench, the stony loam soils north of St. Helena and the Spring Mountain District.  The aromas on this fully ripe Cabernet display mocha, black cherry, cola, anise, dusty plums, dried figs and a hint of toasty pecans. "Layers of black fruit, mocha, smoke licorice and tar are some of the nuances that wrap around the deep, muscular finish." - Antonio Galloni, 93 points.  
Buccella Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 
Five AVAs make up this wine: Rutherford, Oakville, Stag's Leap, Yountville and Coombsville. It is a well-balanced effort that is loaded with fruit. Already a complete wine despite its young age, it will provide attractive drinking during its first decade of life. "I loved Buccella's 2006 and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignons and 2008 continues their success. Moreover, the 2009 looks to be very charming," - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 93 points.

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