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Posts tagged ‘Spottswoode’

Pick My Next Bottle – 2003 Showdown

The March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on wines from the 2003 vintage.  As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

We all know the background on the historically hot 2003 vintage in Europe. The wines are incredibly polarizing. From my experience, the top wines of the vintage are fruit forward and aging well. Heat was also an issue in Napa Valley. With all that being said the wines are now 15 years of age so we would all be well served to check in on them periodically.

The Contenders:

  • 2003 Léoville-Poyferré – The spectacular 2003 Leoville Poyferre exhibits a dense purple color with a touch of lightening at the edge as well as notes of creosote, barbecue smoke, jammy black currants, licorice and spice box. This intense, voluptuously textured, full-bodied St.-Julien possesses low acidity and ripe tannin. Still fresh and exuberant, it is just entering its plateau of full maturity where it should remain for 10-15+ years. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2003 Antinori Tignanello – Antinori’s 2003 Tignanello (85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc) is a terrific effort. Typical Sangiovese notes of red cherries, tobacco and underbrush dominate the flavor profile of this intensely flavored Tignanello that manages to be ripe and open, while retaining notable balance and freshness, although the tannins dry out a bit on the back end. This is a delicious Tignanello to enjoy now and over the next decade. The high altitude of the vineyards was clearly an asset in 2003. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2018.  92 points from Vinous.
  • 2003 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – In 2003, production jumped up to 3,700 cases, with the blend identical to so many other vintages with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc. This was a year where there was some freaky heat spells, but this wine has come through nicely. Deep bluish purple with notes of blackberry and cassis and charcoal followed by a soft, velvety textured, opulent and full-bodied wine that seems to be approaching full maturity. It is interesting, this wine is far more evolved, and on a faster evolutionary track than the 2001 or 2002. Nevertheless it is a beauty, loaded, layered and impressive. It must be one of the top 2003s. Drink it over the next 20-some years. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Wine from the 2003 Vintage Should I Open?

  • 2003 Léoville-Poyferré (43%, 17 Votes)
  • 2003 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (40%, 16 Votes)
  • 2003 Antinori Tignanello (17%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the April installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2008 Spottswoode Field Book Terra Bella Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Terra Bella Vineyard is in Paso Robles and this wine is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache. Field Book is produced for members of the Spottswoode Wine Club.

Dark crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Savory nose of black and blue fruits, grilled meats and espresso. Rich and full bodied with robust acidity. Dense, concentrated and powerful. Perfect balance. Blueberries, blackberries, cassis liqueur and chocolate truffles on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with silky tannins. Stunning Syrah that far exceeded my expectations. I should have known better given the producer. I will wait 2-4 years before I open my last bottle.

My rating: 95 points.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

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2014 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Lyndenhurst is primarily sourced from the Spottswoode Estate Vineyard although a few other vineyards figure in the mix as well in 2014.

Opaque purple in color. 14.1% ABV. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. Supreme nose of black fruits, molten licorice, scorched earth and cassis liqueur. Exceptionally plush and concentrated. Black cherry, raspberry, currants and cassis on the palate. Silky tannins emerge on an endless finish. For me this is the gateway wine to Spottswoode and the ’14 version is the best yet. Drink over the next 5-8 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The 2014 vintage was released recently and is readily available. At $85 it is fairly priced given the pedigree.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

This review was based on a sample provided by the winery.

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2012 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Golden in color. 14.1% ABV. Fantastic nose of stone fruits, green apples, grass and minerals. Medium body with acidity in spades. Pink grapefruit, mango and papaya on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Always one of the best Sauvignon Blancs made in Napa Valley. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 91 points.

The 2016 vintage was released recently and is readily available. At $40 it is fairly priced given the pedigree.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

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2013 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Lyndenhurst is primarily sourced from the Spottswoode Estate Vineyard although a few other vineyards figure in the mix as well in 2013.

Purple in color. 13.9% ABV. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Sublime nose of black fruits, violets and licorice. Complex, fresh and silky. Medium body with impeccable balance. Black cherries, currants and a touch of cassis on the palate. The finish is fantastic with grainy tannins. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating: 94 points.

The 2013 vintage was released recently and is readily available. At $80 it is fairly priced given the pedigree.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

Lastly, it was somewhat humbling to find out that Beth Novak, the President and CEO of Spottswoode, wanted to send me a sample to review. Thank you Beth!

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2013 “Birth Year” Case Wine Recommendations

This is my 5th annual “Birth Year” case blog post. This post can serve as a guide for readers who had children born in the year of 2013 and want to set aside some wine for them to enjoy when they reach the age to appreciate said wines. My 2009 list , 2010 list2011 list and 2012 list were published around this time in the preceding years.

2013 was hit and miss around the globe. Napa Valley was the clear standout and I have stacked the list accordingly.

Per previous year lists I attempted to find bottles from a diverse number of regions that have the capacity to age under appropriate cellar conditions for upwards of 20 years. I have kept the bottle price ceiling at $150. This is no small task given escalating prices in regions like Napa Valley and the Northern Rhone. These wines should all be available at retail right now. None of these wines should be very hard to find. Happy hunting!

  1. 2013 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 94 points from Antonio Galloni, Price: $90.
  2. 2013 Calon Segur – Region: Bordeaux, Score: 94 points from James Suckling, Price: $65.
  3. 2013 Doisy-Daene – Region: Sauternes, Score: 95 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $50
  4. 2013 Auguste Clape Cornas – Region: Rhone, Score: 97 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $120.
  5. 2013 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 96 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $135.
  6. 2013 Turley Petite Sirah Library Vineyard – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $50.
  7. 2013 Dominio de Pingus Flor de Pingus – Region: Spain, Score: 94 points from James Suckling, Price: $80.
  8. 2013 Clos des Papes – Region: Rhone, Score: 94 points from the Wine Spectator, Price: $80.
  9. 2013 Troplong Mondot – Region Bordeaux, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate: Price: $90.
  10. 2013 Antinori Tignanello – Region: Tuscany, Score: 97 points from James Suckling: Price: $85.
  11. 2013 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese Nahe – Region: Germany, Score: 94 points from the Wine Advocate, Price: $65
  12. 2013 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – Region: Napa Valley, Score: 95 points from the Wine Adovocate, Price: $150.

If you have followed this series over the years then you may have noticed that wines like Spottswoode, Clape, Tignanello and Donhoff have made multiple appearances. Simply put these are fairly priced, world class wines that should age effortlessly for up to 20 years. The real beauty of this list is you should be able to source the wines without needing to belong to a mailing list. Look at reputable wine stores like Wine Exchange, JJ Buckley and K&L Wines.

Other wines to consider that will be more readily available later this year include Cabernets from Dunn and Chateau Montelena.

I’d love to hear about what wine you are setting aside for your children that were born in 2013.

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Why I Renewed My Wine Spectator Subscription

I just received my first issue of the Wine Spectator in almost 8 years. I had let my subscription lapse when I last moved and was told it would take upwards of 60 days to move my subscription to a new address. This was 2007, the age of the internet, how could it possibly take so long to change my address in their database? Whatever, I did not need the Wine Spectator. I had been collecting wine for over 15 years. I knew what I liked. On top of that there were great online sites like erobertparker.com that had fresh content every day from wine collectors the world over.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2015. Many of the wines I bought 8 years ago have become so expensive that my purchases have decreased significantly or the wines are just no longer of interest. I still buy Leoville Barton and Spottswoode but certainly not in half case increments. I simply stopped buying wines like Araujo and Cos d’Estournel. I hope the Wine Spectator will enhance my own efforts to broaden my horizons on what is new and exciting in my favorite wine regions. For instance, Tim Fish who covers California Zinfandel for the Wine Spectator, was all over wineries like Bedrock and more recently Limerick Lane long before the wines were hard to get. I can’t wait to hear about his next discovery.

Secondly, the online wine board scene is old and stale. Robert Parker has put up a pay wall and new posts now only trickle in. Wineberserkers is still somewhat compelling but the tone is derisive. Posts about new wines get lost in adoration threads for board favorites like Sine Qua Non, Saxum and Rhys and bashing threads on far ranging topics including John Kapon, Maison Ilan and Premier Cru.

All roads in my wine journey do not lead to Burgundy. I want to hear about wineries like Ferren that was recently profiled by the Wine Spectator. I want to see a series of high scores for Arista in the recent Wine Spectator Pinot Noir 2013 vintage report.

So job well done to the team at the Wine Spectator. You hooked me 20 years ago and then managed to get me back when I thought I know longer needed you.

By the way, in the event anyone from the Wine Spectator reads this, it took almost 60 days from the time I sent in my subscription form to delivery of my first issue. I do hope your systems have improved.

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1999 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Decanted for 30 minutes. Surprisingly dark in color. 13.5% ABV. Bordeaux like nose of graphite, leather and currants. Rich and powerful on the palate with super silky tannins. Flavors of plums, cassis, cherries and pencil. The finish is exceptional. The wine is in a great spot right now and I would be inclined to drink over the next year or so. Everything I look for in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Bravo!

My rating: 94 points.

The 2012 vintage will be released in the next few months. I will order a few bottles, but at $145 per, the wine is no longer the value it was 5-7 years ago. The 2011 is available at the winery via the mailing list and at retail.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

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2009 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Light straw colored. 14.1% ABV. 52% Napa County and 48% Sonoma County. Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Musque. Zingy nose of lime zest, citrus fruits and melon. Bright acidity with a racy texture. The palate is all about grapefruit, vanilla, green apples and lemon oil. Lots to like here. Ready to drink.

My rating: 91 points.

The 2013 vintage was released early this year and is just under $40. Available at the winery via the mailing list and quite often at retail.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

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2001 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

The 2001 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning bottle in the June installment of Pick My Next Bottle. I decanted the wine for an hour and paired it with pan fried sirloin steaks.

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Dark crimson in color and starting to show some bricking at the edge of the glass. 14.1% ABV. Cedar, graphite and black fruits on the nose. Power and elegance at the same time. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. Black currants, cassis, tobacco, leather and cherries on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with prominent tannins. As close to Left Bank Bordeaux as Napa Cabernet Sauvignon gets. Great showing! Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The 2012 vintage will be released early next year. I will order a few bottles, but at $145 per, the wine is no longer the value it was 5-7 years ago. The 2010 received 100 points from the Wine Advocate. Available at the winery via the mailing list and quite often at retail.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

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