||Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District |
||La Perla 61%, Miravalle 20%, Chevalier 12%, Alba 7%|
||Cabernet Sauvignon 91%, Merlot 8%, Cabernet Franc 1%|
||22 months in 100% new French oak |
Retail Price: $250.00
Wine Club Price: $200.00
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Slow ripening in the 1998 vintage gave the grapes plenty of time to achieve optimum maturity. Extended skin contact during fermentation was employed to soften the tannins without losing the beautiful fruit aromas and flavors. This ruby wine shows forward dark cherry and plum aromas with notes of blackberry, vanilla, black tea and gingerbread spice. On the palate a hint of leather compliments the concentrated raspberry, blackberry and dried cherry fruit followed by exotic vanilla bean on the finish. The acidity and soft, supple tannins give this wine a nice balance and structure. The vintage is aging slowly and showing a lot of fruit at this time.
The 1998 Vintage
After a wet winter the growing season began about a month late with heavy rain lasting into mid-June. Intermittent rain in the middle of bloom caused shatter in many blocks resulting in low yields. After a cool, wet June the weather warmed up in July. Despite this warm weather the grapes remained unusually late in developing and ripening, 30 to 40 days later than the previous year. Uneven ripening meant that blocks had to be picked several times to selectively pick the ripe fruit. Fortunately, the cool autumn weather of September and October allowed the remaining grapes to ripen fully and produce spectacular wine. Harvest ended the second week of November, over six weeks later than in 1997. The 1998 vintage, in general, has been panned by some critics. They have not tasted our wine. This is a similar situation to 1975 and 1979, two vintages which were also cool, late, and difficult, particularly for valley floor vineyards in heavy soils. While many wines were truly inferior in those vintages, grapes growing on the best vineyards were spectacular. The wine collector who thoughtfully and selectively purchased in those years is enjoying wonderful wine today. This may be true for our 1998.
Spring Mountain Vineyard
Originally four individual historic Napa Valley properties, Miravalle, La Perla, Alba, and Chevalier have now been combined to create an 850-acre estate of forest and vineyard on the eastern slopes of Spring Mountain overlooking the small town of Saint Helena. Over 225 acres of the estate are planted to vine, creating 135 separate hillside vineyard blocks each with its own unique soil, exposure, and microclimate. The vineyard is planted in densities of 4,000 vines per acre and trained to the ancient gobelet form, a vertical trellising method that was invented in an earlier millennium by the Romans.