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Our Wine Quality Ratings

Our Wine Quality Ratings | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Wine Ratings - Our quality ratings (see How to Use this guide) are intended to give a truer assessment of wine quality than a vintage dependent point score. It is nearly always based on scores from a minimum of two recent vintages. Wine shows and competitions encourage the production of wines of flattering first impressions but don’t always reward those that show at their best with age. Nor do they address the implications of the vintage characteristics. Rather than a snapshot, consensual tasting mentality we believe in tasting wines again and again (both blind and non-blind) in order to gain a better understanding of a wine’s style and when it should be drunk.

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Robert Hall Winery Paso Robles

Robert Hall Winery Paso Robles | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
A good small range of well-priced wines is made at this mid-sized property with 121 ha (300 acres) under vine across four vineyards. The wines are all marked by clean and pure varietal fruit and the reds are quite firm and structured. The fresh and crisp Sauvignon Blanc is part barrel-fermented and aged in tank for 4 months on lees, which adds both weight and depth. Cabernet Sauvignon comes from both benchland as well as hillside sites on the Hall home ranch. It is a touch firm and tannic but offers attractive cedary fruit; give it at least 4 years. The two Syrah’s are notably striking, providing dark and spicy wines with a forward brambly character. Like the Cabernet, these are aged in European oak with malolactic being completed in barrel. A pricier Meritage red are also produced the latter from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. (DM)

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Gainey Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley

Gainey Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Small to medium-sized and long established operation. The Gainey Home Ranch of some 36 ha (91 acres) is planted to the red Bordeaux varieties in addition to Sauvignon Blanc. The property itself is much larger at 730 ha (1,800 acres) and the family also farm cattle. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah have been planted across 38 ha (98 acres) at two vineyards in the cooler Sta. Rita Hills, Evan’s Ranch and Rancho Esperanza. The winery facility is now gravity-fed to provide the gentlest environment possible in which to vinify the grapes. The Limited Selection Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have been impressive in recent vintages. The Merlot is bottled without filtration. Sauvignon Blanc gets some oak-ageing and the Limited Selection Chardonnay is fermented and aged in barrel on lees. The Estate labels are a touch cheaper., however the wines generally represent good value. The 2001 vintage saw the release of a Limited Release Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and a premium Bordeaux blend Patricks Vineyard are also released. (DM)

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Adelaida Cellars Paso Robles

Adelaida Cellars Paso Robles | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
This family-owned winery was established in 1981 and can be found just inland of the Pacific with estate vineyards planted at altitude and enjoying the benefit of considerable day to night temperature variations providing ripe, well balanced grapes with great acidity. The mountain limestone based soils also help in providing fruit of naturally very low yields. The HMR Vineyard Pinot Noir from the winery’s own Hoffman Mountain Ranch may be pricey but loaded with rich, exotically spicy dark fruit it is impressively structured and refined. The vineyard was planted in 1964. The finely structured, tight and elegant Cabernet also comes from the HMR Vineyard and a pricier example is also made from the firm’s Viking Vineyard. Dark, peppery Syrah comes from Adelaida’s high elevation Anna’s Vineyard. Unfined and unfiltered bottling ensures good depth and intensity. Other reds include Nebbiolo, Mourvèdre and two blends; Version which is pure Rhône varieties and Tribe which also includes a little Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc. Of the whites the rich, citrus and nutmeg scented Burgundian style Chardonnay also comes from the HMR Vineyard, similarly planted around 45 years ago. The Viognier provides a piercing minerality as well as a restrained citrus and lightly aromatic character. (DM)

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Silver Oak Cellars Napa Valley

Two powerful and supple Cabernets are produced at Silver Oak Cellars. The estate was established as a partnership between Ray Duncan and the late Justin Meyer, the original winemaker. Daniel Baron took over those reins and continues to produce wines of substance and quality, particularly in the case of the Napa Valley bottling, despite production now running at around 70,000 cases a year. The style is classic northern California: the wines are rich, ripe and full but offer an accessible, rounded texture and surprisingly soft tannins; the Napa Valley label has additional finesse and depth. A newer venture is a premium Merlot planted in finely drained volcanic soils at the Soda Canyon Ranch in south-eastern Napa. This is marketed under the Twomey label and a winery has been established in Calistoga where Sauvignon Blanc is also being produced from estate vineyards. In 2007 a further development was a winery set up for the production of Pinot Noir in Healdsburg with a dedicated tasting room. (DM)

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Schramsberg Vineyards Napa Valley

Schramsberg Vineyards Napa Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
This was the first California winery to produce quality sparkling wines from the classic varieties of Champagne: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. All three grapes are used across the range. A straightforward non-vintage blend, Mirabelle, is vinified from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and is a fruit-driven style intended for easy drinking. More serious are the Vintage cuvées of Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Brut Rosé and the off-dry Crémant Demi-Sec produced from Flora, a crossing of Gewürztraminer and Sémillon. Reserve is a structured and concentrated Blanc de Noirs, while the J Schram cuvée is part barrel-fermented and blended from the very best lots in a single vintage. Rosé is also made with a J Schram version as well as vintaged Querencia, Brut and a Mirabelle Brut. Cabernet Sauvignon from Diamond Mountain is also now being made from the J Davies Estate. (DM)

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Ramey Wine Oakville

Ramey Wine Oakville | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
David Ramey has had a vast winemaking influence on the style of a number of leading producers, among them CHALK HILL and RUDD ESTATE, where he is still the general manager. Under his own Ramey label he produces remarkably fine Chardonnay, impressive for its finesse, intensity and sheer quality as much as for its weight and texture. While the same gamut of winery techniques may be employed here as elsewhere – natural yeast fermentation, lees-enrichment, new oak for barrelfermentation and ageing et al. – the key to these wines is their sheer balance and refinement. Of the single-vineyard bottlings the Hudson has greater weight, the Hyde a tighter, more mineral structure. Two other similarly priced single vineyard examples also emerge from Platt Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast and from the Ritchie Vineyard in the Russian River AVA. Recently added to the Chardonnays are some first-class reds. The Napa Valley Claret red comes from a number of sites. There are four Cabernet Sauvignons, ranging in price from the Napa Valley example (£F) to the top label coming from the Pedregal Vineyard in Oakville (£H). Premium priced Cabernet Franc emerges from a mix of Oakville and other Napa fruit sources and there are two Syrahs; an economically priced example from the Sonoma Coast (£E) and pricier one (£F) from the Russian River Valley Cole Creek Vineyard. (DM)



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Newton Vineyard Spring Mountain

Newton Vineyard Spring Mountain | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
This well-established Napa operation is part of the expanding portfolio of Moët Hennessy premium wineries around the world which include the likes of CLOUDY BAY. The wines here have always been impressive and reasonably priced. At the lower level the decent Red Label Chardonnay is joined now by a red blend labelled Claret and red Label Cabernet Sauvignon. The best wines are the impressive Unfiltered bottlings produced with natural fermentation and handled by gravity in the winery. Recently added is a top-quality premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Le Puzzle, which is sourced from soils with a higher chalk, gravel and loam content. Chardonnay may be approached young; the Merlot and Cabernet bottlings require longer. Le Puzzle will both benefit from 4–5 years’ cellaring; expect Le Puzzle to be very ageworthy. (DM)

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Miller Wine Works Napa Valley

Miller Wine Works Napa Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Impressive new small operation producing Rhône style reds from the Napa Valley and now Pinot Noir from the Kendric Vineyard in Marin County. Chef turned winemaker Gary Miller gained experience with La Jota , Martinelli and Robert Biale before establishing his own Napa based operation. Grenache from the High Valley AVA in Lake County is produced in tiny quantities and is super-ripe in style with loads of dark-berry and herb scented fruit. It gains additional weight and colour from Syrah and Mataro with ageing in neutral oak. Syrah from Sage Canyon is opulent and showy but still possesses a firm structure from vineyards grown at 900 to 1,400 feet. It gets around one-third new French oak ageing for 16 months but it is never intrusive. Other Rhône reds include a number of blends. Sierra Works from El Dorado County combines Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Syrah. The Works from Napa Valley fruit is a mix of Syrah, Grenache, Mataro and unusually Tinta Cão. The Jordan’s Journeys Red is a blend of mainly Mataro, with Syrah and a smattering of Grenache. The Lake County sourced GM blend comprises Petite Sirah, Tinta Cão, Mataro and Grenache. A Sierra Hills Mourvèdre is blended with a little Grenache. A white, Harvest Blanc, which combines mainly Roussanne with Viognier, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc as well as an El Dorado rosé, Ruddy Bloom, and a port style, Teodoro, complete the small and well-priced range. (DM)

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Lewis Cellars Napa Valley

Lewis Cellars Napa Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
If like me you’re a motor racing fan you’ll be delighted by the quality of the powerful, dense Cabernetbased reds hand-crafted by former Indy 500 star Randy Lewis and his wife Debbie. This small, bespoke range is marked by rich fruit and in the top reds power and structure. They are quintessential California wines but serious and very impressive. For the Cabernet Reserve you need to wait for the tannins to subside but it will be worth it. Cuvée L was added with the 2004 vintage, which is a good deal more expensive than the Reserve and a premium Hillside Vineyard example is also released. Good Chardonnay, including excellent Reserve and Bacaglia Lane bottlings, is also produced and Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc have been added to the portfolio. The range is completed by Alec’s Blend, an unusual fruit-driven combination of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. (DM)

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Larkmead Vineyards Napa Valley

Larkmead Vineyards Napa Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
This winery dates back to the end of the 19th century and has always focused on estate wines. The Bordeaux red varieties are the main focus of the operation but new blocks of Sauvignon Blanc and Tocai Friulano have been established and released, the Sauvignon Blanc under the Lillie brand and vinified in oak in the style of a top white Graves. Regular Cabernet Sauvignon is produced as well as a premium meritage LMV (£G) and a more economically priced Bordeaux blend Firebelle (£F), which offers rich, concentrated, dark plummy fruit and a hint of vanilla spice from 55% new French oak. Finely structured and balanced, the wines generally avoid some of the quite heavily extracted characteristics found in many of their peers. The top label Cabernet Sauvignon Solari Reserve is a pure varietal sadly only available in tiny quantities direct from the winery. The wine is loaded with mouthcoating dark, spicy fruits and just a hint of subtly integrated spice from 100% new wood. It comes from the oldest Cabernet vines and needs at least 6 or 7 years’ cellaring to do it justice. (DM)

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Lail Vineyards Rutherford

Lail Vineyards Rutherford | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Although this is a newly established small-scale winery, owner Robin Daniel Lail’s family history goes back to the beginnings of viticulture in Napa itself. One of her ancestors, Gustav Niebaum, established the original Inglenook winery in 1879. Five wines are now made here. The J Daniel Cuvée is a Bordeaux blend of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one-third Merlot. It is sourced from a mere 2.3 ha (5.6 acres). The second red the Blueprint is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A gooseberry scented Sauvignon Blanc was added with the 2007 vintage. Winemaker Philippe Melka continues to produce increasingly stylish, elegant and very finely structured meritage reds. A further Cabernet from Howell Mountain, Mole Hill as well as a second serious Sauvignon Blanc, Georgia are also made. (DM)

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Kuleto Estate Winery St Helena

Kuleto Estate Winery St Helena | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it

Pat Kuleto began establishing vineyards on this eastern Napa ranch in 1993 and there are now plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay, all now released varietally, as well as some Muscat. A Rosato is also produced from Sangiovese. Production is approaching 10,000 cases a year, small in winery terms yet dwarfing that of some of the winery’s neighbours. The vineyards range in altitude from 250–450m (800–1,450ft) and both the Syrah and the Cabernet Sauvignon are marked by their elegance, purity of fruit and finely honed structure. Low yields of barely 1.5 tons/acre contribute to their quality. The dark, smoky and peppery Syrah is aged in 500 litre puncheons, which helps preserve the varietal character, while the rich and cedary Cabernet sees a high proportion of new French oak. Both will benefit from half a decade’s cellaring. A series of Cabernets are now released and are also labelled Villa Vista, Lone Acre and Native Son. The Danielli Cabernet is now the estate’s top red and marginally pricier than the other Cabs. Bill Foley of Foley Vineyards purchased Kuleto in 2009 and is providing additional winemaking and farming resources to ensure continuity of quality. (DM)

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Jaffurs Wine Cellars Santa Barbara County

Jaffurs Wine Cellars Santa Barbara County | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
An impressive small range of Rhône styles is made at Craig Jaffurs climate-controlled winery in Santa Barbara. The first vintage here was 1994 and production is still small and quality high. Syrah is the main focus and is sourced from the Ampelos, Thompson, Larner, Kimsey, Verna’s and Bien Nacido vineyards. Roussanne comes from the Stolpman Vineyard while a Grenache Blanc is sourced from the Thompson Vineyard. Viognier is richly textured, full and fat with subtle varietal character and hints of peach and citrus fruit. The Santa Barbara Syrah is typically dark and spicy with ripe black pepper notes and impressive weight for a regional bottling. At just over 1,400 cases a year, it is the largest-volume wine. The much smaller-volume single vineyard bottlings are fuller, richer and altogether more complex. Bottled unfined and unfiltered expect them to benefit from at least 3 or 4 years’ cellaring. (DM)

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Halter Ranch Paso Robles

Halter Ranch Paso Robles | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Swiss-born financier Hansjoerg Wyss purchased 364 ha (900 acres) of the 3,000 acre Halter Ranch in 2000. Some of the property had already been planted to vines but Hansjoerg has now taken that holding to 101 ha (250 acres). Much of his wish to do so is the aspect and site of the vineyards, which are 550 metres above sea level and planted on limestone-rich soils. Amongst an increasingly extensive range two well-made reds are crafted and reviewed here. In addition a Rhône style red blend Côtes de Paso, a Zinfandel and two premium labels Syrah Block 22 and Ancestor, a Bordeaux style are also made. At the foot of the red range is a well priced Cabernet/Syrah, Synthesis. The whites comprise a Sauvignon Blanc and a white Côtes de Paso. Both the Syrah and Cabernet undoubtedly benefit from their limestone low yield terroir. The Cabernet is full of tobacco and rich, ripe blackcurrant fruit, the Syrah dark pepper and spice. Both wines are aged for 16 months in 40% new wood. They should drink very well with two or three year’s age, the Cabernet is a touch more structured. (DM)

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Foxen Vineyards Santa Maria Valley

Foxen Vineyards Santa Maria Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
While there have been a plethora of new names emerging in these increasingly fashionable small wine regions, the Foxen boys, as they are affectionately known, have been around it seems for an eternity. They have consistently and continue to produce some of the best and most characterful wines from the area. Fruit comes from a number of sources including their own estate Tinaquaic Vineyard and the high altitude steeply sloping Block 8 of the giant Bien Nacido Vineyard. The regular Pinot Noir is elegant, cherry-fruited and softly structured but offers impressive depth and persistence, a large part of the fruit coming from Block 8. The Bien Nacido bottling itself is altogether firmer and fuller with a ripe gamey character and an impressive depth of complex dark fruit and smoky oak. A Block 43 is released from the same vineyard and there are releases from a number of other vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. A range of Bordeaux styles are now being released under the Foxen 7200 label along with a Sangiovese and Sangiovese Merlot blend, Volpino. Chardonnay from the home Tinaquaic vineyard has long been one of the better examples from the region combining a rich, toasty and creamy character with subtle citrus and lightly tropical fruit. Chardonnay also comes from Bien Nacido. Of equal interest is one of the best Chenin Blanc in California. The Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard provides fruit of the highest quality with real varietal purity. Both Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc are barrel fermented and will develop further with a little ageing as will the reds, particularly the Block 8 and the Foothills Reserve. (DM)

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Spring Mountain Vineyard

Spring Mountain Vineyard | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Grand Spring Mountain District property that has been up and down over the years but is now producing wines of real style that are representative of the area. The estate vineyards total some 92 ha (225 acres) and owner Jacqui Safra has also acquired three adjoining properties, bringing the total size of the estate to a substantial 342 ha (845 acres). All wines come solely from estate fruit and Syrah and Pinot Noir are produced in addition to the wines rated below. The Sauvignon Blanc is partly aged in new French oak, around 20%, which does not obscure the ripe gooseberry-scented varietal fruit. The Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with Merlot and Petit Verdot and is crafted in an elegant mediumweight style with dark berry fruit underpinned by a hint of cedar. The top red Elivette is aged for 21 months in new French oak. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with just a little Merlot and Petit Verdot, it is richer and more opulent with dark and spicy berry fruit and a subtle hint of oak spice in the background. Both reds will benefit from 4 or 5 years’ ageing. (DM)

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Sherwin Family Vineyards Spring Mountain

Sherwin Family Vineyards Spring Mountain | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Small Spring Mountain property 600m (2,000ft) above sea level producing a top-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The 6 ha (15 acres) of vineyards are also planted to a little Merlot and Cabernet Franc to add complexity. Yields are kept tightly in check and cover crops not only protect the mountain soils but also aid ripening. Production is currently less than 2,000 cases a year with a ceiling of around 2,500 cases with a new gravity- flow winery that they hope to lift the wine to a new level. Ageing is in 100% new oak, seamlessly integrated with the rich and concentrated dark berry-laden fruit. Give it at least 5 years. As well as the grand vin a Syrah is released from the Dry Creek Valley, Cellar Scraps is a mixed blend red and a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is also made. A small volume of a further red Patriotic Pour is made in aid of the families of the victims of the September 11 attack on New York with bottles donated to charity and available at the winery. Finally a further Cabernet Sauvignon, Cobalt is made from mountain fruit in association the Cobalt boat building company. (DM)

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Renteria Wines Napa Valley

Renteria Wines Napa Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Salvador Renteria arrived in the Napa Valley from Mexico in 1962 and soon became one of the most sought after vineyard managers in the area. In 1987, he started his own vineyard management company which now looks after more than 1,500 prime acres. In 1993, he handed over control to his son, Oscar, who is now the driving force behind the business. In 1997 they decided to make wines under their own label with their expert knowledge in sourcing fruit. They now have 53 acres (21 ha) of their own vineyards and are in the course of constructing a new winery on Mount Veeder. Although they are based in the Napa Valley, they do also produce Pinot Noirs from Sonoma as well as from Carneros. The Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has good varietal flavour but lacks a bit of weight and complexity. The Russian River Pinot Noir is a little sweeter, plummy and viscous with good length and will probably be good for five years or more. Their Stag’s Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon has great complexity with nice, inky fruit and is quite Bordeaux-like as one would expect from this appellation. Not tasted were a Carneros Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir single vineyard (Knittel), (also from Carneros) and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Veeder. All wines are produced in tiny quantities at the moment but they hope to be able to produce up to 5,000 cases once their winery is finished. (NB)

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Opus One Winery Oakville

Opus One Winery Oakville | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
This MONDAVI/Rothschild (Mouton-Rothschild) joint venture was conceived in 1978, the first vintage being in 1979 and remains independent from Constellation in its vineyard management and administration. At the time, super-premium Napa styles of Cabernet had not really materialised and Opus One was uniquely highly priced among its peers. During the 1990s the Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the great To-Kalon vineyard was of a consistently higher standard, although the Q Block part of that same vineyard contributes to Opus One. The wine, a blend of all five Bordeaux varieties, has never quite fulfilled its potential but the scale of the production means there aren’t the scarcity problems found with some other top Californian reds. The wine is always given a very lengthy cuvaison of up to 40 days and is aged in 100% new French oak. (DM

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Luna Vineyards Napa Valley

Luna Vineyards Napa Valley | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Luna focuses on Italian varietals and a number of reds. John KONGSGAARD provided the early winemaking direction. Both the regular Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese are good value for money, while the pricier Canto is a proprietary Super-Tuscan-style blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a little Petite Sirah adding additional grip. Indigenous yeasts are used, the Pinot Grigio unusually gets just a hint of new barrel-fermentation with lees-enrichment and the reds are all aged in fine-grained French oak and bottled without fining or filtration. A Sangiovese Reserve is also now produced along with Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay Reserves. Top flight Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is also included in the portfolio along with a Petite Sirah and a white late harvested Pinot grigio, Mille Baci. In general the wines will drink well young and the Canto, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese Reserve will all benefit from short ageing. (DM)

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Lokoya Winery Oakville

Lokoya Winery Oakville | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
This is Kendall-Jackson’s super-premium label, producing distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons that showcase the best single-vineyard characteristics of prime mountain-grown fruit. The wines are vinified in the same facility as the flagship CARDINALE, which by contrast is a blend of sources. While vineyard source and low yields of 2–3 tons/acre are key to the great fruit in the wines, vinification is aimed at maximising their potential. Long vatting times, basket-pressed grapes, 20–21 months in top-quality French oak all contribute and the wines are neither fined nor filtered. These are all very big, dense and powerfully structured wines, needing time to shed their early youthful austerity. The Diamond Mountain is the most opulent and has had varying small portions of Merlot and Cabernet Franc blended in depending on the year. The other cuvées thus far have been 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Spring Mountain is more perfumed, while the Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder are the firmest of the quartet. (DM)

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Larkin Wines Yountville

Larkin Wines Yountville | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Wine broker Sean Larkin’s small Yountville operation produces a very fine Cabernet Franc-based red, one of the best of this style in the region as well as now a Cabernet Sauvignon also and the first vintage was only 1999. Very small amounts are exported and it would be well worth joining the mailing list. Cabernet Franc is blended with Merlot as well as small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot which add weight and depth. Marked by its elegance and well-honed, supple tannins, the wine is lighter than many other meritage blends but offers very impressive fruit persistence on the palate. The plush, well-honed, cedary Cabernet Sauvignon has small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Give both at least 5 years. Another Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are also released under the Jack Larkin label and similarly priced. (DM)

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La Jota Vineyard Howell Mountain

La Jota Vineyard Howell Mountain | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it
Throughout the 1980s and 90s La Jota has been a source of some of the most powerful and impressive examples produced in the Howell Mountain AVA. The winery has become famed for massive dense and tannic reds that need considerable cellaring but develop very well in bottle. Ownership has passed from Bill Smith (now vinifying Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir under his own W H SMITH label) to MARKHAM vineyards. Winemaker Christopher Carpenter continues to maximise the potential of the 11 ha (28 acres) of prime mountain vineyards. The Heritage Release is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; the Howell Mountain has some Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot blended in and is supple and rounded for a mountain red and is softer in its youth. As well as the Cabernet Sauvignons, a few hundred cases of Cabernet Franc and Merlot are also produced. (DM)

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Lagier Meredith Winery Mount Veeder

Lagier Meredith Winery Mount Veeder | Royal - Villas - Europe | Scoop.it

This property high up on Mount Veeder was purchased by Lagier and Meredith in 1986. Remote and seemingly far away from the humdrum of Napa Valley grape growing, the redwood forests nearby are home to mountain lions and coyotes. Originally one wine was made here, a richly textured, very pure and intense Syrah. The first vines were planted in 1986 and the first wine released from the 1996 vintage. The total area under vine is very small at less than 2 ha (4.5 acres) and as well as Syrah, Mondeuse, Malbec and most recently Zinfandel are planted. The site is above the night time valley fog resulting in more even daily temperatures. This allied to finely drained, volcanic soils means the fruit gets a naturally lengthy hang time producing grapes of impressive flavour intensity and fine tannins. Bottled without filtration, expect this Syrah to develop very well over 5–7 years. The only problem is there’s very little available. Small amounts of the other varietals are made as well as a rosé and a port style Syrah. The couple have also teamed up with their neighbours Aaron and Claire Pott of Pott Wine in producing wines under a second label Chester’s Anvil, with wines made from a number of sources and at very fair prices. (DM)

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