The Setting Wines have been a hot ticket for nearly a year now, though they were just officially released this summer. It all kicked off last December when Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller gifted a bottle of The Setting Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 to every player in the NFL’s AFC West Division. The label was tweaked to include an icon of Miller’s famed eyeglasses, and his signature, and a bespoke wine experience was launched.
Since then, Orange County owners of The Setting Wines, Noah McMahon and Jeff Cova, along with partner and winemaker Jesse Katz, have been on a wild ride of personal wine requests from A-listers. McMahon heads Anonymous LLC, specializing in philanthropic consulting and event production, and Cova is president of Winspire, which builds travel packages for charity auctions. Both companies, along with Athlete’s First, a sports agency that represents NFL players, are housed in a cool building in Laguna Hills, where I was recently invited for a tasting of their wines.
I was warmly welcomed into a large space with a modern white bar decked out with beautiful wine glasses, a cheese tray, and wooden crates filled with bottles of smartly designed spirits—it was Noah’s office! Both men introduced themselves and spoke of their passion for wine. They said their epiphany for The Setting came during a memorable dinner in Healdsburg, where “the setting”—the beautiful view and the relaxed and happy company—made the wine in their glass even more delicious and memorable. So, they embarked on creating their own wines with renowned winemaker Katz. Loving Bordeaux reds, they sourced grapes from the Napa and Alexander valleys, ensuring quality vineyards with neighbors like Screaming Eagle and Verite. Wine-industry friends and critics discouraged them from using a name with “The” in the title, but they forged on. Von Miller, and all the others clamoring to personalize bottles, seemed to think it worked.
Noah poured us The Setting 2016 Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc a unique experience if you typically drink Southern Hemisphere sauv blanc. This is not your herb-y, pasture-chewing wine, but has a richer, almost creamy essence due to the musque clone sourced from the Dry Creek Valley AVA and time in barrels. Noah also opened the 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (a la Von Miller) and the 2015 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Both were aged extensively in mainly new French oak barrels, giving that ashy, pencil-shavings taste that I so love. The wines will pair beautifully with upcoming holiday fare, and make an impeccable gift due to their cellar quality and expressive California character.
The Setting wines are poured at Hanna’s Restaurant in Rancho Santa Margarita. And you can purchase them online at www.thesettingwines.com.
The Setting Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 – 95 cases, $38
The Setting Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 – 200 cases, $120
The Setting Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 – 500 cases, $85