At a recent seminar on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon,(1) I felt that one wine stood out well above the others: the 2013 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon from St. Helena.
The 2013 is a fairly typical blend for Spottswoode’s flagship wine — 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot — with all grapes from the estate vineyard. It was aged 20 months in French oak, of which 60% was new. The wine is deep, opaque purple in hue. Aromas of fresh but ripe blueberry, blackberry and black currant fruit and a lift of violets are underpinned by notes of cedar, earth, dark chocolate and a whiff of roast coffee. It is dry, with bright acidity, balanced alcohol (13.9%), firm tannins and a full body. There is freshness, ripeness, balance, and even elegance — but there is also a dense power at the core, a coiled spring of tension that is held in check for now, but just seems to be waiting to expand and thrill. While this can be drunk with great pleasure in early years, it really should be cellared for at least five years, while the fruit, acidity and tannins foretell an incredibly lengthy drinking window after that. I think this wine shows Napa Valley Cabernet at its very best.
Just over 4,000 cases produced, priced at $185.00 (USD) at the winery. (96)
(1) The seminar, sponsored by Napa Valley Vintners and presented by Sarah D’Amato, was entitled “Connect the Rocks”. It was a tasting of twelve premium Cabernet Sauvignon wines from various sub-regions in the valley, and the idea was to connect the wines with their different terroirs.