Spring Mountain Vineyard: Private Wine Tasting
The Napa Valley wineries are a favorite quick getaway for California residents. The Live Fit Magazine crew visited in March 2015. We were delighted to meet Lindsay McArdle at Spring Mountain Vineyard. It’s a gorgeous property and delicious wine. The best way to do a tour is in their private tasting room. It’s relaxing and completely enjoyable. You have plenty of time to ask questions, learn, and sip on some excellent signature wines.
Be sure to leave room in the day to travel up the mountain by car to the beautiful vistas.
Here’s some more information from their website.
Spring Mountain Vineyard is an 845-acre estate on the eastern slopes and lower half of Spring Mountain. It extends from 400 feet above sea level to about 1450 feet at the top of the property. There are about 135 different vineyard blocks scattered over the estate, totaling 226 acres. Each has a different elevation, soil, and exposure to the elements and each block produces something unique. This great diversity of steep hillside plantings is the source of consistent, powerful, and distinctive red wines.
Four adjoining properties on Spring Mountain were acquired, each featuring a vineyard and a winery. They were Spring Mountain Vineyards (Miravalle) 257 acres, Chateau Chevalier 120 acres, Streblow Vineyards (Alba) 33 acres, and Draper Vineyards (La Perla) 435 acres.
These wine properties were first developed in the late 19th Century and, though boundaries and names had changed in the intervening years, much of what was done a century earlier remains evident today.
Note: the transcript was completed with computer voice recognition software; please excuse the minor errors in punctuation and grammar.
And I am going to go through each one of the wines, but when I move on to the next one, please don’t feel rushed to finish what’s in your glass. The sign of a fine wine is it should taste different from the first sip in the glass till the last sip and the first glass in the bottle to the last glass in the bottle as it’s getting more oxygen and starting to open up. So once all the wines are poured, it’s really fun to go back and forth. And we’re going to be playing with some vintages here as well, so you can kind of see the progression of our wines. So I’m actually going to start you off with our 2009 Elivette. Elivette is what we consider our reserve wine or our signature wine. I’m actually going to grab this big bottle here. This was the original label of the Elivette
It had reserve on there, but reserve is not a term that is regulated here in the United States when it comes to labeling. Actually, Spain and Portugal are the only two countries that regulate the use of the word reserve holds a lot of weight in Italy and in Chile. But again, anything that’s exported with reserve on it doesn’t mean that it followed any specific wine-making standards. So, people started to become really liberal with the word reserve. But again, since it’s not regulated, you can put it really on anything. If you go to a small winery and they refer to something as the reserve, it’s saying that that’s their high-end wine. But again, since it’s not regulated, people started to use it very liberally. It was kind of starting to lose some of its luster. So, our owner decided to come up with a proprietary name so that we have more of a signature wine, and he came up with eVet.
Elivette is a combination of his parents’ names, Ellie and Yvette. It’s always cab-based and it’s always a blend of Bordeaux varietals that will never change, but the blend does change every year. 55% cab, 22% Cab Franc, 12% petite verdot 10% merlott, and 1% Malbec. So quite the blend in oh nine and then oh nine was actually considered to be a drought year and a hot year, not the extreme of what we saw last year. Last year was very extreme heat all through the winter, spring, summer actually into harvest, because harvest started about three weeks earlier than it typically does in 2009. It was a hot year, but again, not the extremes. So what happened was that the grapes that came in because of the drought were real teeny tiny. So you had a great skin-to-pulp ratio. Didn’t really have to beat up the skins much to get great extraction of color and flavor.
And then because of the heat, the evenings stay a little bit warmer, so you don’t end up with as much acidity. So it makes it a very fruit-forward vintage and then a vintage really approachable in its youth. One of the great things about Napa Valley and the grape growing process here is that during our growing season, we get anywhere from about a 30 to 40-degree temperature swing on a daily basis. So it’ll be anywhere from about 85 to 95 degrees in the day and then drop down to about 55, 50 degrees at night. It’s good for the grapes because the heat in the day develops the sugars and ripens the fruit, and then the cool temperatures slows down ripening at night and allows the acid to develop. So you end up with a really well-balanced scrape. So when you have a warmer year like oh nine, you don’t have as much acidity.
So it makes a vintage that’s really approachable in its youth right out of the gate oh nine will age gracefully and beautifully. It’s just not going to have the longevity of say, a vintage like oh 7, 0 6 0 5, or 2010 and 2011, which were really cool years. Then those will have more acidity to them. I actually read a great article the other day that was saying that the good vintages are the drinkers wines and the bad vintages are the investors’ wines. Now, there are really no bad vintages here. There are just very challenging growing seasons, but that can really turn around. 1998. Vintage is the perfect example of that. When it was first released, all the critics said it was the worst vintage Napa Valley had ever produced. Told people not to buy it, and then if you made it, you might as well dump it. So a lot of people had flash sales, like 50% off cases and just tried to push through the wine. And then I think it was about three years ago, they recanted and said that it was the best sleeper vintage Napa Valley has ever had. It just took a lot of time to turn around in the bottle, but it did not every vintage is going to do that, but often they do. 2006, which was a challenging year, it was cool and wet is turning out to be a beautiful vintage.
The original section of the cave that’s behind you took five years for them to dig 90 feet. And then in 1998, our current owner decided to add 22,000 square feet of cave space, and that took about two years. There are four factors in deciding when to open a bottle of wine. It’s the varietal, the region that it came from, the growing season that they had, and the winemaker. Now that is a lot to know about each individual wine. So it’s always my recommendation to just call the tasting room.