St. Helena, Calif.— What is perfection?
To some it is 100 points. To many it just doesn’t exist; it’s the ultimate unicorn to seek but never see or experience. Ask any athlete, musician or golfer. Maybe this is why it is so praised in the wine industry, and for many, a 100-point score remains the holy grail since it was first awarded by Robert Parker. But ultimately, it is one person’s opinion of perfection at one point in time.
“What if one wine was awarded four 100-point scores by four of the world’s most respected critics,” vintner Tor Kenward asks. “What are the crazy odds of that? Has it ever happened before? Don’t think so. Twilight Zone.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, Jeb Dunnuck and the International Wine Report all awarded TOR’s 2018 Napa Valley Black Magic 100 points. TOR’s 2018 Pure Magic received two 100-point scores, but for one wine to be awarded four 100-point scores is historic.
“What fascinates me is that each critic is very experienced tasting Napa Valley Cabernet-based wines, and have been doing it for some time, but they very rarely agree on 100-point scores. There are often lots of 99s and 98s, but to nail four perfect scores, that is special,” summarizes Tor, proprietor of TOR Napa Valley. “It’s just sinking in. It is a special wine, but I have to give the vintage, 2018, a shout out. It is one of the best in my 44-year history as a Napa Valley vintner. The stars aligned.”
TOR Napa Valley was founded by Tor and Susan Kenward in 2001. Tor was a 25-year wine industry veteran and Vice President at Beringer when he retired to start a very small, completely family-owned and operated winery. Jeff Ames made the first TOR wines and has remained winemaker since. “Jeff knows every barrel, and every vine in every vineyard we work with, and that gives us a huge advantage. My job is to get us into the very best vineyards—the Napa Valley First Growths—so he can work his magic.”
TOR has had 100-point scores in the past, but to rack up six in one vintage was a first, and an auspicious way to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of TOR. “After 20 years of working our tails off, it’s nice to be an overnight success. We’ve worked hard to keep the lights on, but that kept the creative juices flowing, and it keeps us challenged today. When all that work is recognized by critics we truly respect, it keeps the creative fires burning. We constantly want to strive to be better, not complacent.”
That might be hard, unless someone gives out a 101-point score on a wine. “101 pointer? I’m a dreamer. Show me the way. Net, net our game has always been: get the best grapes into the winery you possibly can, and shoot for the fences. We don’t bunt, even when the bases are full.”
TOR Napa Valley wines are sold to an exclusive mailing list. To inquire, please visit www.torwines.com, or call Sierra Antognini at 707.963.3100. TOR is focused on single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Most releases are between 100 to 400 cases each and very limited. The vineyards are Beckstoffer To Kalon, Vine Hill Ranch, Tierra Roja, Melanson, and Hyde; all premier Napa Valley vineyard sites with track records for producing world-class wines.