When I first met Dr. Shirlin Wong 33 years ago I was 24 years old and the manager of K&L wine Merchants in San Mateo California. At that time I certainly did not have the look of someone with a deep knowledge of wine, but for my job I tasted over 150 wines per week and this led me down the path to a great passion for wine.
Dr. Wong would stop in regularly and grill me with questions on which wines were the best, I would point them out and she would buy them to taste. The wines on the shelf in the early 1980’s were in fact the pioneers of the California wine industry that laid the foundation of what is now a 13 billion dollar industry. Iconic wines like Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1964, 66, 68, and 70, and the like from Heitz Cellars, Clos du Val, Stags Leap, Beringer, Grgich Hills, Robert Mondavi and Silver Oak. I could tell she was really getting the “wine bug” as we called it in those days and was getting very passionate about wine.
The debut release of 2012 and 2013 Toymaker Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley; first at the Hong Kong Country Club on November 12th and in America at the Olympic Club on December 3rd brings Dr. Wong’s passion for wine full circle. Starting as a student and then moving to a large collector of the world’s greatest estates, this then led to forming PrimeCellar and representing California wines in Asia. So it comes as no surprise that she would enter the world of making wine with the same intensity and passion. Dr. Wong does everything first class and for her wine she started with a dynamic team of wine professionals.
The project director is industry veteran Debra Eagle; formally the General Manager at Clos du Val, Heston Vineyards and at Bond Estate the sister estate of Harlan.
Debra’s connection to Bond led to the hiring of her friend, elite Napa winemaker Martha Mc Clellan who made 100 point wines at Harlan Estate and is winemaker at Checkerboard Vineyards, Hamel Family, and Sloan Estate. Martha also combines her talent with her husband Robert Levy; winemaker at Harlan to produce their own wine called Levy & Mc Clellan.
Toymaker will always be a tiny, hand on production of only a few hundred cases. In my opinion the Toymaker wine shows all the qualities and style of the most famous and sought after Napa wines. The 2013 is a very big Cabernet Sauvignon in weight with tremendous ripeness, featuring layers of exotic fruit and plenty of new oak to round it out. Toymaker offers clear comparisons from California to a Harlan or Bond wine to be sure, but it also has an exotic-flamboyant flare found in the great wines of Ch. Pavie, Ch. Angelus and Ch. Valandraud from the commune of St-Emilion, in Bordeaux France.
It seems that the world’s leading authority on wine, Mr. Robert Parker agrees as he just reviewed 2013 Toymaker and rated it 95/100 !
2013 Toymaker and its allocations will be available to purchase from PrimeCellar Hong Kong/Asia and PrimeCellar USA.
2013 is an outstanding vintage here in California, so be sure to put the debut vintage of the Toymaker wine in your wine collection!
Cheers to you and success of Toymaker!