Celia Welch, the winemaker responsible for cult California Cabernet Scarecrow, is to sell her Corra label in the UK for the first time through James Hocking Wine.
Welch founded Corra Wines, named after the Celtic goddess of prophecy, in 2004. She produces three Cabernets under the label, including two single vineyard expressions.
The grapes that go into the wines hail from four vineyards: two on the western side of Napa’s Oaklands and Rutherford, and two on the steep eastern slopes of Pritchard Hill.
To retain the vineyards’ personality, Welch picks earlier than many in Napa. Grapes are hand harvested and plots are fermented individually and kept on their skins for a month, then gently pressed and transferred to 70% new French oak for around 22 months. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration.
They will be available on allocation in three bottle cases through boutique California wine specialist James Hocking Wine. The 2016 vintage has an RRP of £123 a bottle.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Celia’s wines for many years, so am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent these stunning wines for their UK market launch.
“Despite currency fluctuations and economic uncertainty, the market for top-end Californian wines remains extremely buoyant in London.
“The last couple of years have seen significant increase in demand for small volume, +£100 bottles, which is largely coming from serious wine collectors choosing Napa Cabs over their Bordeaux counterparts,” said Hocking, who also brings Welch’s cult California Cabernet Scarecrow into the UK.
Launched in 2006, Scrarecrow’s debut 2003 vintage, made from old vine Cabernet grown on a 10-hectare plot in Rutherford, was given 98 points by Robert Parker – a feat only bettered by Screaming Eagle.
A year on, the 2004 vintage sold out in 16 hours. With just 400-800 cases produced annually, depending on the vintage, the wine has a celebrity following and commands healthy hammer prices at auction.
James Hocking Wine will also import Rewa Vineyards, a small Napa Valley estate with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, for which Welch is winemaker.
The vineyards are located in the volcanic hills of Coombsville, one of Napa’s cooler AVAs.
Oregon-born Welch graduated from UC Davis and worked in New Zealand and the Barossa Valley in Australia before arriving in Napa, where she has worked for several notable wineries including Silverado Vineyards.
She consulted for a number of top Napa names during the 90s, including Staglin Family Vineyard, before setting up her own venture in 2004.