What a treat! Our friends Rick & Helen told us that they had arranged a tour & tasting at the Historic Spring Mountain Vineyard. (www.springmountainvineyard.com)
Spring Mountain Vineyard (SMV) is located in Napa and within the sub-appellation of Spring Mountain American Viticulture Area. This AVA is above Napa, and something I found interesting, is that because of how the winds coming off the Pacific Ocean and over the mountain, they have cool days and warm nights. The winery has been around since before Prohibition and it is also the place where the TV series Falcon Crest was filmed.
You have to have a reservation 24 hours in advance. So when we pulled up to the gates, Rick had to talk to a call box and let them know we had arrived. The gates “magically” opened and we drove the twisting road to the winery. Once there, we were immediately greeted with a warm “Hello!” and glass of Sauvignon Blanc for each of us by Patrick our tour guide…now that’s what I call customer service!
By the way, the Sauvignon Blanc was outstanding. Lovely citrus and floral notes with a bit of mineral.
The grounds are lush with exotic plants (at least to me they were unusual). Remember I grew up in West Texas so anything green that isn’t cactus is exotic.
Our first stop was into the winery and cave where the barrels are stored. Part of the cave was constructed in the 1880’s but was expanded decades later. It was amazing to look at a sea of barrels filled with wine. It was kind of funny because Rick, Helen, Sully & I were the last ones out because we kept posing for pictures and were so fascinated with the whole set up. Just as a side note…even though Sully is not much of a wine drinker, he is always interested in how its made…Thank Goodness!
As we made our way around the property, Patrick is pouring us more wine: a Syrah and a Co-Ferment Syrah. The Co-Ferment is where the Syrah is crushed and fermented along with another grape. In this case it was Viognier. Unfortunately I don’t remember much about these 2 wines because I couldn’t walk, drink and gawk, while taking notes.
Our last stop was at the Victorian house called Miravalle where one of the owners Tiburcio Parrott lived.This was one of the structures featured on Falcon Crest and it has a stained glass window with a beautiful parrot (not a falcon) in it. But I guess “Parrott Crest” just doesn’t sound as majestic. I thought it was just going to be a house tour and then we would be finished. But NO! Rick & Helen didn’t tell me we were going to do a vertical tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon. A vertical is where you get to taste different vintages of one particular wine. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to do this, so I was over the moon!
We were ushered into the dining room and sat a huge table. We would be tasting 5 wines.
First was the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. The smell was red fruit, forest floor, and granite. The taste was mixed berries but a black cherry taste stood out. It was also earthy and leather with a bit of chocolate. The tannins were surprisingly soft. This wine had aged well. I really liked it.
The 2003 was just a lighter version of the 2001 and, kind of, a disappointment.
2005 was more intense and spicier than the 2001. The smell was clove, bright red fruit and curry. The taste was licorice, cocoa, plum, and cinnamon. It needed time to breathe. I still liked it though.
The 2007 was more fruit forward than the others. The smell was berry rich while the taste was black cherry, raspberry, plum, and cassis. It was velvet on the tongue and had a full mouth feel.
The last wine was the 2007 Elivette. This is the signature wine of Spring Mountain Vineyards. It is a very opulent but elegant wine. The smell is red fruit, brown sugar and allspice. The taste is cranberry, black cherry, cola and chocolate. It had a bit of a tannic bite but I think aging will smooth that out. I really enjoyed this wine.
After all was said and done…I liked the 2001 and the Elivette the best.
It was a fantastic experience and I’m so glad that Rick & Helen are wine club members because they shared their memories of all the SMV wines they have had throughout the years and how the vineyards and the grounds have changed. Before we left, we took a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc with us to enjoy at the hotel. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.