Napa Valley AVA
Porterhouse Winery is a prime example of the ability to grow itself into a top-caliber brand.
One usually refers to a porterhouse as an exceptionally fine cut of steak. That allusion is certainly the correct reference point to this month’s Gold Wine Club selections, the Porterhouse 2018 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon and 2019 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay.
“Both my grandfather and great grandfather (William Comartin Jr. and Sr.) were butchers in Lodi, California,” owner Adam Comartin recently recalled. “When I was young, I always hung around them and they told me that the finest steaks were always the porterhouses, so I wanted to honor them with the name of our winery.”
Adam Comartin first fell in love with wine while backpacking through Europe as a teenager. When he returned home to California, he earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis. He and his wife Jennifer also ventured to Australia where they lived in the city of Adelaide, outside the Barossa Valley for some time. It was here that Adam was introduced to the Grenache varietal and he made a decision to one day make the finest Grenache in the entire world.
When the couple returned to California in 2004, Adam began a 10-year assistant winemaker career with Silicon Valley’s Testarossa Winery, and with the Grenache varietal in the back of his mind, he discovered California’s premier sites for the varietal. While at Testarossa, Adam honed his artistic side of winemaking and made valuable relationships with vineyard owners in Santa Barbara and along the Central Coast.
“While I was working at Testarossa in 2006, I actually started making small amounts of wine under the aegis of Comartin Cellars,” explained Adam Comartin. “One of our most successful wines was our Porterhouse Reserve Blend. It became a hit with the drinking public and we decided to give it a name of its own.”
The first release of Porterhouse Winery came in 2017, a smallish 684 cases of three exceptional wines. “The style of these wines, full-bodied, rich and tasteful, really resonated with everyone who tasted them,” informed Comartin. “It was my specific intention to produce wines that would stand up to their namesake cut of meat and the incredible flavors it produced. They were intended as dinner wines from the inception.”
Porterhouse Winery sources its grapes from top quality farmers with a variety of contracts. “We start with a one-year trial with the fruit and if it meets our specifications and needs, we generally wind up with 3-year contracts or longer,” he went on.
Porterhouse Winery is a prime example of its owners’ ability to realize a segment of its wine portfolio could be capable of individual status and the ability to grow itself into a top-caliber brand. We salute Adam and Jennifer Comartin for their insight in bringing Porterhouse Winery into the limelight of California’s heralded wine community. We know you will enjoy these excellent selections. Cheers!
Adam Comartin, Winemaker
Adam Comartin is the owner and winemaker behind Porterhouse Winery and it is his goal to craft wines that reflect the vineyard or region from which they are from. Each site that Porterhouse Winery sources fruit from has unique characteristics that he strives to preserve during the winemaking process. By making careful decisions in harvesting, fermenting, cooperage (barrel type), and aging, Adam Comartin crafts an exceptional range of wines for Porterhouse Winery that are often awarded lofty scores and prestigious medals from the industry press and national competitions.
Together, Adam and Jennifer Comartin oversee every process, from working with their growers and fermenting the grapes to packing and shipping their handcrafted wines. They are involved in every step from beginning to end to ensure premium wine quality and personable relationships with all customers, from grape to table.
1. Who introduced the 100 Point wine rating scale?
Most novices, enthusiasts, and wine aficionados are familiar with the standard 100-Point scale used today to rate the quality of a wine. The 100-Point scale is common place in national wine publications and is utilized at numerous wine competitions across the country. This rating system was developed and first implemented by one of the most internationally recognized and respected wine advocates, Robert Parker.
As a fledgling wine critic and writer in the early 1980’s, Robert Parker decided to attach a score to every wine he tasted, judged and reviewed. He based his scoring system on the grading scale from his earlier days in school. Initially, most wine writers and publications scorned Parker for trivializing wine, although, within a few years, they were all using Robert Parker’s 100 Point scale. The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, Vinous and Wine & Spirits are among the highly respected wine publications that publish ratings based on Robert Parker’s 100 Point scale.
2. When did winemaking begin?
The oldest archaeological evidence of winemaking was found at an 8,000 year-old village in the nation of Georgia. Here, about twenty miles south of Tbilisi, Georgia, is a mound called ‘Gadachrili Gora,’ and the people who lived here were the world’s earliest known vintners, producing wines as early as 6,000 B.C. This was at a time when prehistoric humans were still reliant on stone and bone tools! The archaeological studies here revealed clay pots with grape decorations and residues of some of the world’s oldest wine.
3. What happens to a wine’s color as it ages?
As red wines age, their color will transition from a dark, dense color to a paler shade of redbrick brown. On the contrary, the coloring of white wines will go from a pale straw color to a darker amber-gold hue over time. The color of wine and its change over time also depends on the particular grape variety, the length of time the grape skins are in contact with the grape juice during and after fermentation, and the amount of time the wine spends aging inside an oak barrel.
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members
We are delighted to share with you our 2016 Reserve Red Blend, as well as the Porterhouse Winery story!
I have a rich family history in the butcher business that started with my great Grandfather in the 1940’s. Growing up, my grandfather proclaimed the Porterhouse cut as the finest. And when I pursued my career in wine, this was always in the back of my mind - an absolute dedication to producing only the finest wines. With this, Porterhouse Winery was born.
Over the years, we have enjoyed making many Porterhouse wines, but this is the inaugural release of our new Reserve black label. It is a blend selection of predominantly Petite Sirah, along with Syrah and Grenache - the top seven barrels of the 2016 vintage!
The limited production blend was given extended aging (4 years) in French oak barrels (20% new barrels) to provide a delicate finish and silky tannins.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our passion and wine with you! We hope you enjoy at the table with your favorite people!
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I grew up around my grandfather’s butcher shop they ran for 50 years, serving our neighborhood fine steaks and meats. My grandfathers would always tell me the Porterhouse cut was the finest. Once I pursued the winemaking business, with this in mind, we launched Porterhouse Winery with a vision to produce only the finest wines.
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is from the slopes of Napa Valley and a combination of select vineyard sites. After extended elevage or aging for 40 months in French oak, we carefully blended the highest quality 10 barrels to produce only 234 cases.
Although this wine has enough structure to age to 2023 and beyond, it has been made with balance and finesse in mind, and is ready to drink now.
I hope you enjoy our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice steak dinner and your favorite companions. Cheers!
Winemaker & President