Vineyard 7 & 8 Cabernet Sauvignon No. 7
In 1999, the Steffen Family purchased the land that is now Vineyard 7 & 8. The focus is entirely on two varietals
representative of the Spring Mountain terroir; Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery sits almost on
top of the Spring Mountain ridge at an elevation of slightly above 2000 feet. Led by winemaker, Luc Morlet, the
approach is based on a collaborative effort to make the best wines possible from their vineyards. Luc studied in
France, holding degrees in Enology from Rheims University, France and Viticulture from Ecole Viticole de
Champagne. Wesley Steffens assists Luc in the winemaking process, and manages the daily operations in the
winery and vineyard. Wes spent four harvests at Harlan Estate, where he gained an appreciation and
understanding of the entire winemaking process. The sustainably farmed, hand-picked vineyards, which lie
above the fog, bring late ripening, low yields, natural drainage sit atop sedimentary, volcanic, and clay soils.
Small fermentations, strict sorting of the fruit, techniques based on cleanliness and organization are all part of
the winemaking approach.
|Complex aromas of blackberry, creme de cassis and blueberry liquor intermingle with graphite, mineral notes and tobacco. Fleshy yet concentrated, polished tannins lend structure to the elegant finish.
|94 Points ~ Wine & Spirits Magzine "Luc Morlet blends with wine from estate fruit at the Steffens family's vineyard as well as from growers on Spring Mountain. It's a beautiful 20009, a wine of elegant texture, supple tannins and bright, sunny Cabernet fruit. There's a mineral essence driving through that plump fruit, making the wine feel linthe and energized. This should reach prime drinking at five to six years from the vintage."
|90 Points ~ International Wine Cellar "Good full medium ruby. Black fruits, licorice and tar on the nose, perked up by pungent herbs. Ripe, lush and spicy; can't match the flagship wine for seamless texture but this boasts more early chocolatey sweetness. Complex saline tones shade to wild sage on the back end, where the broad, building tannins are a bit more rustic than those of the estate wine."
|Wine maker notes
|CLIMATE CHARACTERISTICS: The climate of Spring Mountain is unique. Early spring frosts are unlikely due to cold air moving down the slopes to the valley below. Fog often covers the valley while the Spring Mountain District is above the fog layer. Therefore maximum daytime temperature is reached an hour earlier than the valley. Then cooling begins earlier with shade is created by the sun's gradual decent to the west. Cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean also contribute to the late afternoon cooling. The minimum daily temperature is usually reached in the early evening. Temperatures then warm at night when the cool air settles down in the valley floor. These conditions create what we call high altitude ripening. This ripening, along with very low yields, natural drainage and infertile volcanic soil, give the wines of Spring Mountain a distinctive quality unlike any other appellation.
WINE CHARACTERISTICS: The Cabernet of Spring Mountain is typically a very long-lived wine of very full body and purity of fruit. The wine has multi layers of complex flavors with long lingering finish. Yet, for all its boldness and intensity, there is a lush elegance and balance that makes Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon unique and distinctive. WINEMAKING: Arguably, it can be stated that 80% of a wine's excellence comes from the appellation and proper viticultural practices. At least 20% then, must come from the touch of the winemaker. The winemaker’s skill lies in the careful nurturing of many diverse lots, each with unique characteristics, from the same vintage. These lots are crafted for the effects they will impart to the final "blend" before bottling. To assist us in the quest for perfection, we have engaged the services of Christian LeSommer of France. Monsieur LeSommer has overseen production of the great wines of Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite and Chateau d’Yquem. Assisting in the winemaking and vineyard development is Larry Langbehn, who has over thirty years of California winemaking experience. Until the new winery is ready for the crush of 2004, Christian has made and will make the wines at Monticello Winery.
|The hand-picked fruit was sorted twice by hand and destemmed. The whole berries were macerated for an average of 30-45 days and the wine aged for 18 months in French oak (95% new).