Napa Valley AVA
Holder of one of the rare 100 scores for one of his wines
If anyone in California’s bustling wine industry could be considered a reasonable facsimile of King Midas, then Mark Carter would certainly come to mind. Carter is the proprietor of the wildly popular Carter Cellars and holder of one of the rare 100 scores for one of his wines.
Carter has now entered the arena with another selection from his parent MC Wines, this one simply called Table 5. How the wine got its name is a story unto itself.
“It was several years ago,” Mark Carter recalled. “I was making a visit to my Restaurant 301 in Eureka, mainly to see just how things were going for the evening. I asked the manager how it was going and she answered, “its going great because of the guy at Table 5.” I went over and introduced myself to the gentlemen who had already ordered a pair of French Chateaux that cost over a thousand dollars.”
“Table 5 was located in a corner and the person asked me to join him. His name was Fred Schrader and it turned out he was the owner of a winery named Colgin-Schrader Cellars. I knew of his wine and had it on my wine list. We talked until four in the morning and I eventually asked if he knew where there were any grapes I could buy for a winery of my own that was in the planning stages. He was most generous and offered me some of his own grapes that his winemaker wasn’t planning to use for his upcoming vintage. It was the beginning of my entry into the wine business so I’ve always considered Table 5 as my lucky table in the restaurant. ”
Since Carter Cellars’ wines have been so successful, Mark Carter feels their price point has forced them out of reach of a number of potential customers. His solution to that was to introduce Table 5 as a viable alternative.
“Table 5 offers excellent wines at a price that most customers can afford,” he continued. “It’s all about quality and I am confident that we have achieved that facet of our master plan for Table 5. When you begin a winery project you set goals that allow you to make the near perfect wine. If you are fortunate, you may achieve your goal.”
Table 5 first saw light in 2008 with an extremely small run of around 125 cases. Its instant success has pushed this year’s production to around 500 cases, still incredibly small by wine industry standards. Future plans call for the addition of some Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon white blends to fill out the company’s limited portfolio.
“I believe that public demand will dictate how much we grow in the future,” Carter commented.
Table 5 red blends follow the classic Bordeaux mix of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that was made famous in the Bordeaux area Commune of Pomerol and the iconic winery that is Chateau Petrus. While most of Bordeaux relies on a larger amount of Cabernet Sauvignon softened by a smaller amount of Merlot, the opposite is found in Pomerol.
“Merlot is my favorite varietal,” Mark Carter emphasized. “I love its suppleness, silky feeling on the palate and its soft tannins. I also feel the Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon ratio appeals to a great number of American palates.”
Mark Carter also explained that his grapes are sourced from a number of established Napa vineyards including Truchard Vineyards, Traina Vineyards, Beckstoffer Vineyards and Flora Springs Winery to name a few. These sources afford Table 5 a substantive supply of ultra-quality grapes for the future. All Table 5 wines also utilize new French Oak in the making of its wines, a fact Mark Carter feels has been important to its initial success.
Table 5 also has another important Carter Family tie in that son Joseph Carter designed the distinctive label. “Joseph is an important designer in his own right, and we wanted to showcase his work on our wines,” added Mark Carter. “We are pleased that he has become so successful and Table 5 is intended as a salute to his accomplishments.”
Needless to say, Table 5’s releases have met with great critical acclaim and extremely high scores in ratings and competitions. Small boutique wineries such as Table 5 are an important component to the ultra-premium segment of the wine market. Their presence assures that tiny production wines have a specific place in the wine industry at the always important upper end of the pricing spectrum.
A Personal Note from Mark Carter
Dear Platinum Series Members,
Thank you for supporting the Gold Medal Wine Club and for tasting our Table 5 Napa Red Blend. I am excited to share this unique blend of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with you. This particular wine is extremely personal to me – my son, Joseph Carter, drew the label and the name Table 5 pays homage to my award-winning restaurant in Eureka, California. Table 5 is the now historic location in the restaurant where I met Fred Schrader, my friend and mentor in the wine business. Fred used to stop by and drink my best Bordeaux on his antiquing trips between Napa and Seattle. It was at Table 5 where Fred agreed to source me grapes from the premier vineyards in Napa Valley and was kind enough to answer the myriad of rookie vintner questions that I had. Thus, Carter Cellars was born.
We have been quietly making small amounts of Table 5 since 2008. Since that vintage, we have sourced grapes from a variety of the best vineyards in Napa Valley and put the same care, skill and attention to detail that we do with all Carter Cellars wines. The 2010 growing season was notably cooler in Napa and yielded wines that were dense in structure and rich in flavor. This 2010 Table 5 Napa Red Blend is no exception. It is a classic blend of Bordeaux varietals yielding a wine dark violet in color with great fruit structure and remarkable balance. Rich aromas of perfume, dried berries and fruits, match a supple and full body which finishes with the vanilla and spice notes provided by the French oak barrels. This is a wine and vintage that I truly treasure.
It is my sincere pleasure to share the 2010 Table 5 Napa Red Blend with you.
All the best,
Carter Cellars / Table 5