Our 2016 Sauvignon is definitely one of my favorites of recent years. Its inviting pale straw color leads to a spectrum of exotic aromas: mango, peach, lemongrass, basil, and a hint of white pepper. The wine dances on the palate with lively, bright, appropriate acidity, and flavors move more toward peach and melon notes as the wine finishes. The wine is simply delicious, and is sure to evoke many smiles.
The first wine Peter ever made as a winemaker was Chenin Blanc from Mount Veeder. That was in 1981, but the memory of that lovely wine still stays with him and still drives him to bring attention to Chenin, one of the world’s great varietals. This version is wonderfully aromatic, with streaks of pear, honey and melon that are framed and balanced by a bright, fresh finish.
This Spanish grape makes a wonderful, food-friendly wine and the Stewart Vineyard in Carneros produces one with enticing aromatics, vivacious crispness and intriguing complexity, plus it’s one of the rare vineyards in America where Albariño is grown. A basket of aromas and flavors leap from the glass, including grapefruit, orange blossom, green apple and marzipan, and a racing acidity brightens the finish. If you’re looking for a distinctive and unique wine from Napa Valley, this is it.
All the variables that influence grape quality—clone, soil, temperature, weather, and cultural practices have coalesced at Stewart Vineyard to make it a unique and special property. When I was offered the first tiny crop to Chardonnay in 2009, I could not say no. Chardonnay is an elusive and captivating variety when it realizes its potential. The best offer a toast apple, mineral, hazelnut, and slight hint of orange peel in a rich yet lively structure. This is not your typical Chardonnay, more akin to its French counterparts in Burgundy.
Dark ruby in color, our 2014 Cabernet offers a cascade of forward and inviting aromas of dried herb, classic cassis, sweet vanilla, floral notes and even a hint of cardamom. Quite approachable, it dances on the palate with ripe moderate tannins and good acidity. The plum/cherry flavors remain refreshing, vibrant, and focused, never weighty. It is a wonderful counterpart to the more brooding 2013 vintage, and a testament to our belief that wine should be delicious!
Guess what? Merlot is on the rebound! Suddenly it’s becoming hip again to like a wine that has been out of fashion in recent years. When it realizes its potential, Merlot offers one of the most pleasurable of all red wine experiences, and so many seem to forget that some of the most highly regarded and sought after wines in the world come from Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, the land of Merlot.
I am attracted to wines that are elusive, the ones that keep drawing you back to discover something new. You could say that is my inspiration for our Napa Valley Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Powerful Cabernet Sauvignon is a relatively easy wine to make in Napa Valley, but in our quest for nuance and complexity, we present our Napa Valley Red. This is the wine where the winemaker’s intuition and 35+ years of blending experience come into full play. Our 2014 conjures up visions of the wonderful 2012 vintage which coincidentally and unintentionally has similar blend components.
The Brandlin Vineyard on Mount Veeder is a magnificent, magical setting where you can truly feel the energy and soul that ultimately finds its way into the wine. This perpetual award winner carries aromas and flavors with the unique character of the vineyard, which has vines that were planted in the 1920s. You’ll find everything from flavors of gentle dark fruits to bright berries to crushed stone, lavender, white pepper, clove, ginger, anise, bay and a touch of earthiness. And for all those flavors racing through the wine, it’s still balanced, beautiful and refreshing.
Medium ruby in color, our 2014 Napa Zinfandel offers a charming, bright and lively nose with blackberry, vanilla, dried herbs, vanilla, and subtle sweet oak in the background. The mouth begins with similar flavors but moves toward a black cherry profile that finishes with white pepper and anise notes. Medium bodied and structured, a Zinfandel that unexpectedly surprises!
When Mourvèdre hits the target, it is absolutely captivating. With aromas and flavors unlike any other variety, it charms and seduces you. The grape grows extensively in France and Spain, but much less so in the US. Mourvèdre is definitely at home, at 3000 feet at Fore Family Vineyard on Cobb Mountain. Its floral, elusive, and perfumed aromas of pink peppercorn, wild raspberry, anise, and cardamom are distinctive and intense. Similar flavors explode on the palate, held in check by a lively structure that brings you to a finish that goes on and on. This unique wine always generates excitement!
The Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre for this blend come from a vineyard 3,000 feet up Cobb Mountain just north of the Napa Valley, where the sun, Pacific breezes and temperature swings give the grapes intense flavors and colors. That makes for an intense wine, but it’s balanced with an elegance and freshness that keeps it from being weighty, so the lively smells and flavors of wild berries, clove, allspice, sage, smoked ham, pepper, and lavender almost float around the glass.
Fourteen years ago, well before many were seriously considering the potential of Lake County, one of my best growers, Jim Fore, took a gamble and purchased property on the top of Cobb Mountain. The vineyard site is located a few miles east of Sonoma County and a dozen miles north of Napa Valley's Calistoga. This is a spectacular property, situated at 3000 feet elevation. Soils are thin in the Red Hills and drain instantly. The elevation places vines well above the hot summer heat trapped in the valleys below, and aligns them in the path of cool westerly Pacific breezes.