From the name of the wine, you immediately get a sense of a whimsical venture and then add their logo of a monkey on a unicycle and what am I talking about you wonder?
This is not your typical boutique or handcrafted wine. Let’s start with the name Harumph. From the Urban Dictionary, it means “an expression of disdain, disbelief, protest or dismissal; a huff, a grunt or snort.” Perhaps less appealing than many of the high flier wineries of Napa Valley, it does capture the two owners Scotti Stark and Michael DeSantis personality even if it makes you do a double take.
It was at a dinner party that a good friend mentioned to Scotti and Michael, “Give the Governor a HARUMPH”. A line from Mel Brooks’ movie Blazing Saddles movie, thus the name. As they have stated many times “It’s about friends, family, food and fun. It’s about living well and laughing out loud”. Who can argue about that as a motif for a name?
But there is a serious side to their wine! They have access and have chosen carefully the vineyards in which to extract their juice. Michael DeSantis has had the opportunity to work with a “who’s who of winemakers: Thomas Rivers Brown (Schrader Cellars, Outpost, Maybach, etc.), Benoit Touquette (Realm Hartwell, Fait Main, Kata, etc.) and Martha McClellan (Sloan, Levy & McClellan, Checkerboard). These winemakers are serious and make excellent wines. So now Michael is embarking on his own label with Scotti Stark. Scotti, who I have known for six years, is a “man of all seasons”. He became the Wine Director at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston and where is developed their wine program and earned “Best Sommelier award from Food and Wine Magazine in 2000”. Similar to Michael, he cut his teeth with some of the better wineries in the Valley including Revana Family Vineyards, Crocker & Starr and Fisher Vineyards working to develop their hospitality programs. In addition he still represents many small boutique and handcrafted wineries in the Valley (Casa Piena, Peacock, etc.). Add to this his passion for aerial photography/video via drones (the Stark Advantage) and concierge services, Scotti “gathers no moss”!
So these two individuals have “blended their talents” to create Harumph. They source only the best fruit and are now on their second year release of both Napa & Spring Mtn wines. I was fortunate to purchase their first and subsequent release which have been a blend of various vineyards from the Valley. Their releases have been extremely small quantities and will sell out quickly. This week they will be releasing their Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012. This wine is a dark purple, complex and provides a nice finish on the roof and back of the mouth – it represents Spring Mountain depth in quality. It has plenty of tannins and acidity to drink now or cellar 7-10 years.
While the name may be a bit whimsy, it is truly a SERIOUS WINE to consider!