Modus Operandi Cellars
2008 Vicarious Red Wine
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: No Substitute
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red infiltrate Modus Operandi Cellars, a winery long under surveillance. Before the wine sells out secure Jason Moore’s world-famous Vicarious red blend.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Modus Operandi
Wine Subject: 2008 Vicarious Red
Winemaker: Jason Moore
Backgrounder: Red blends are a favorite of many a Wine Spies Operative. Perhaps this is because a great blend is like a great All-star sports team, where the coach gets to choose the best players. In the case of today’s wine, Jason Moore was able to pick from the finest lots of the best grapes. Today’s Vicarious Red is a fantastic example of how a remarkable wine can be born of great blending – from the best vineyard sources.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deepest purple, with a super-dense core. At the edges, a band of bright magenta runs a circle around the glass.After spinning the wine, tall columns of chubby, wine-hued tears move slowly downward.
Smell – Dark stewed black cherry, black plum, braised fig and boysenberry leap from the glass. Under these, dark mushroom, dark chocolate, spice and a hint of dried meats compliment the fruit.
Feel – Light and cool on entry, then quickly grippy and mineral-rich. The wine is darkly juicy and fine-grained tannins give the wine solid structure without being overly drying.
Taste – Bold, dark flavors of overripe blackberry, braised fig, boysenberry, black currant and spice fill the mouth. These are layered atop dark bakers chocolate, cigar box, soft clove and a hint of black pepper.
Finish – Very long and lingering, with dark blackfruit, flint, soft cedar, spice and dark chocolate. At the very end, a warm hit of black pepper teases the edges of the palate, encouraging another long sip.
Conclusion – At long last, I was finally able to infiltrate Modus Operandi! It took perseverance, but the effort was more than worth it. Today’s wonderful offering, Jason Moore’s 2008 Vicarious is a stunning, deep, aromatic, complex, rich and delicious wine that a marveled at throughout my entire review. This wine is rich, but balanced enough to be enjoyed with a range of meals. We enjoyed our review bottles with a slow-cooked pot roast with all the veggies. The pairing was perfection. Don’t take our word for it, and don’t live vicariously through us… Take some of this wine home, and be impressed.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jason Moore
WINE EDUCATION: Self-taught thru books, an collection of mentors, and hands on winemaking.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Started making my own tiny production of wine in 2004 with 200 cases of Modus Cabernet Sauvignon; Production Manager of Silenus Vintners, the custom crush facility where I make a lot of wine from 2006 to 2008; Currently I’m the Winemaker for 6 small brands: Modus Operandi, Gentleman Farmer (formerly Poem Cellars), Cielo Malibu Estate Wineyards, Coleman Nicole, RHEO Cellars, and Ashton Lockett Wines.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Winemaking begins in the mind.
Here the winemaker decides what style of wine is desired and then works backwards, mapping out a plan of action which leads directly to the vineyard. This philosophy is based on something that all winemakers and wine lovers know… great wine makes itself and is only possible when made from great fruit. The process of making wine is a natural process thus, my job is to simply parent the wine through its growth, giving it what it needs to stay healthy. With that said, I believe that just as terroir can speak through the wine, the passion of the winemaker can undoubtedly sing through the wine
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”For some, determining ones true purpose in life is accomplished thru following the path of least resistance, and thus relinquishing to passion.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2004 Modus Operandi Cabernet Sauvignon… sometime in 2006
AGENT RED: Greetings, Jason. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Vicarious today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
JASON MOORE: Yea baby
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
JASON: Working in restaurants in Dallas when I was a teenager. I had a manager that saw that I had an interest. He took me under his wing, taught me a lot about wine, and exposed me to wines that I would of otherwise never had access to at such a young age.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
JASON: Bob Foley, Thomas Rivers Brown, Manfred Krankel, Andy Erikson,
RED: Who do you make wine for?
JASON: People who celebrate wine. I love these people… people who really love wine. I hate seeing a person stick their nose in a glass and the first thing they look for are flaws… find the beauty.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
JASON: Vicarious is always a fun, playful blend intended to be exotic, soft, luscious, sexy, and enjoyable the moment you pop the cork.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
JASON: Thirsty wine consumers
RED: The grapes for today’s wine comes from the Napa Valley and the Sierra Foothills. In your opinion, what makes these regions so special?
JASON: We all know why Napa is awesome so I wont go there, but this vineyard in the Foothills has been a secret weapon of mine for years now. Its pristine, and gives petite sirah with an amazing balance of floral aromatics blended with some mineral notes… always dense and dark, but not tannic.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: Ohh. Sorry to hear it. The next time we meet, you’ll have to tell us how it has effected this year’s harvest! How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
JASON: Approach my wines with an empty case so we can fill it up for you. Have fun.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JASON: That is all!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Silenus Vintners, where today’s wine is on continuous offer, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
People ask why I named the wine Vicarious. The answer is… I’m extremely passionate about the wines that I make and honestly want you to experience my passion Vicariously through the wine in your glass. I also want to offer something that showcases my talent in blending wines to create something that over delivers for the value provided.
Only 12 barrels of this high impact wine were bottled. Grown in several areas of the Napa Valley and Sierra Foothills, this Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend provides the foundation supporting Syrah, Merlot, and Petite Sirah. All wines were triple sorted down to the berry, fermented in both small open top fermenters and new French oak barrels, and matured in 65% new French oak for 22 months.
About The Winery:
Modus Operandi Cellars is a wine producer that can be considered the boutique of boutique, producing a small collection of rare wines where thoughtful winemaking and superior quality are the standard.
The small size of my production coupled with the enormous size of my passion allows me the pleasure of giving my wines the most intimate care possible.Jason Moore
Dallas waiter relenting to passion…
My path started in Dallas where by day I was a real estate agent and by night I was a waiter working with many of the cities finest restaurants. Visibly unhappy with the direction of my life, my wife helped me realize that I needed to make a change and work with something that I truly loved. She and I both knew that I had a deep passion for wine so it seemed to be the obvious answer. Six months later (2002) we had a three week long garage sale, sold everything we owned and moved to California where I had the ambitious aspirations of becoming a Winemaker.
Meeting my mentors…
We arrived and lived in Davis, CA for about four years where the intention was for me to attend the UC Davis’ Enology and Viticulture program. Unfortunately after digging deeper I learned that Davis was just too theory based for my learning style so plan B was to basically educate myself thru my own self study and thru the tutilage of winemaker mentors.
I believe that winemaking is an art form that is supported by tradition and science, and therefore feel that talented winemakers are not exclusively produced from Universities, but can also be the result of something more inate and passionate.
UC Davis extension and Napa College classes were used to supplement my knowledge and fill in the gaps that books couldn’t fill. However, true learning when it comes to such a stylistically artistic, yet mind blowingly organic and mystifying thing such as winemaking can ONLY be accomplished through MAKING WINE. There is absolutely no substitute.
Getting my hands dirty…
Right place, right time, right question… I got lucky by meeting a gentelman at a wine tasting who was a vineyard owner in Napa and was willing to GIVE me grapes from his vineyard to practice with. He even set me up with a place in his garage to make the wine, barrels, bins, and even basic lab equipment. It was the best learning experience that I could of ever asked for as there was no one looking over my shoulder telling me what to do… I had to figure it out myself by putting the theory I had learned to work. I was what they call a garagiste.
All while coddling my garage project, I was busy developing my palate, meeting winemakers (acquiring mentors), and spending time helping out at crush… a few days here, a few days there… just to get a feel for how different wineries worked. In 2005 I was on the harvest Winemaking team at Viader Vineyards & Winery on Howell Mountain.
Paying the bills…
I had been a waiter in fine restaurants for over ten years and from 2003 thru 2006 worked proudly at a restaurant which I consider the pinnacle of my service career… La Toque Restaurant in Rutherford, CA. Working at La Toque opened a lot of doors for me in my quest to meet vineyard owners, winemakers, and other influential personalities in the business. In fact, several of the vineyards that I source from today are a result of me serving the vineyard owner and (probably unprofessionally) asking to buy their fruit while I was serving them.
In 2006 I hung up the waiters apron for good after accepting a management position at the host facility where I would end up making Modus.
Modus Operandi Cellars is born…
Modus Operandi was founded with our first vintage in 2004 by winemaker/partner Jason Moore, and business partners Dr. Myun Han, Steve Vargas, Robert Rogel, and Akira Higa all of whom invested in the vision and passion of a Dallas waiter turned Napa Valley Winemaker.
Making wine for others…
In 2006 I was hired as Winemaker for Poem Cellars which is a very interesting project organized by Joey Wolosz, Jeff Durham, and Scott Tracy – Wine Director and Sommelier at La Toque (my old boss).
I am currently Winemaker for:
• Cielo Malibu Estate
• Coleman Nicole Wines
• Poem Cellars
For winemaking consulting inquiries contact