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Initial taste is hot and alcoholic, watery and missing fruit. After a 90 minute decant – the wine has evolved into a beautiful aged Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The alcohol has blown off, the tannins are soft and dusty and the blackberry and black currant is in front. A definite Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde experience! This is the third 10-15 year-old premium Napa Cab I have tasted this year, and the experience has been similar. These older Napa cabs need time to open… The nose is still hot, but the fruit is prominent, with leather and loamy earth. The palate is fruit forward now, but is typical of an older wine: missing the fresh fruit, but not oxidized yet. The mid-palate has leather, oak, spice and earth with a medium-long finish of dark chocolate. The acidity is high and the tannins are very soft and subdued. The structure is solid, but the balance is a touch off. A few years earlier and the additional fruit might have offset the high acidity and alcohol. I found this enjoyable paired with a meat and cheese plate…
Had to add this postscript:
After 4 hour decant – Oh my gosh! The fruit is turning red and becoming sour raspberry. The tannins have completely resolved, but the wine is moving towards a velvet texture. The acidity has calmed down. A great example of a balanced profile. Just fantastic aged red wine! Is there enough fruit to put another 3-5 years of bottle age on this, I hope so… I have one last bottle…
The alcohol is blowing off now. The nose is of black plum and blackberry, with strong cinnamon and clove spice character. Rather simple on the palate. The fruit is subdued, but in front still, with a mid-palate of powerful clove. The medium length finish is a mild, bitter dark chocolate. The bitterness becomes sour at the very end. The tannins are still present, but minimal and the acidity is still medium high. I was disappointed by the texture. The mouth-feel was a touch watery. This is a few years past its prime. This is not tasting oxidized yet. Still enjoyable and will definitely pair well with the beef that will be accompanying it.
The wine is still changing. The fruit is continuing to subside on the palate, but adding sour strawberry. The texture is continuing to evolve. The finish is lengthening and adding black pepper. The tannins are becoming a bit chewy. The acidity is becoming more prominent and the mouth-feel is building softness. Patience is paying off and the potential of this wine is starting to peak out. Amazing that a 15 year old bottle of wine can continue to evolve for two hours in the decanter!
I was looking at some recent tasting notes on this wine and I definitely have a different view. There are those that record the gradual loss of fruit in a white/rose wine as a marker of the descent into oxidization and eventual fault. I don’t understand this thinking. Wine does not need to be a fruit bomb to be appreciated. In many quality wines, bottle age promotes balance and softens structure – qualities I enjoy very much. Apparently, this thinking does not follow the palate of many wine consumers. I prefer some bottle-age on fine whites and rose! Take a well made white/rose with solid acidity, nice texture, lower alcohol, a minimum of oak and without any one characteristic overpowering the other… put some age on it and I am sold! Doesn’t matter whether white, rose, or bubbly. The right wines almost always do improve. So, this one knocked my socks off! It is a different tasting experience than the first bottle back in 2011. Beautiful, delicate nose of strawberry, hay and herbal mint. The palate is losing the fruit, but still begins with tart strawberry and now just a hint of watermelon. A touch of butter comes through from the lees. The huge acidity has toned down a bit, but still assertive enough to surpass most of the rose I taste. This is wonderfully dry, with enough fruit to mask any bitterness. The texture on this rose is wonderful! What the winemaker did with leaving this on the lees to age for a time before bottling, is almost god-like in its brilliance. IMO, the optimal window for drinking this wine is 2014-2015. Don’t let it sit much longer, or too much of the fruit will resolve. What a great value in Rose! Oregon shines again!
I look forward to folks reading the piece. I would love to hear feedback, or comments. Always interested in what people have to say. I enjoy telling stories with my writing and I hope this piece gives you a glimpse into the winery and the man. I really enjoy these family wineries and hope the piece does their story justice.
This is a monster cab. If you are a big Robert Parker fan, this is his kind of wine. Initially, the nose was hot and a bit funky with a very closed flavor profile. For an 8-year-old cab, this wine is STILL drinking very young. After 3 hour decant… Much of the alcohol has blown off now, but is still present. The nose has plum, blackberry, a touch of herbaceousness and menthol. It has a very complex palate of typical Cabernet Sauvignon flavors – black fruit, leather, tar, graphite, dark chocolate and oak. The wine shows a very long bitter chocolate finish. The age has resolved the tannins somewhat and they are now medium-high, but still a bit grainy. The wine is very acidic and would be best drunk accompanying a rare steak. The texture is full, fleshy and soft. This needs more time in the bottle to come together. I am looking forward to popping the next bottle after several more years. This wine has plenty of structure to hold up into the next decade. A suggested prime drinking window might be 2017-2020.
Floral Syrah usually means added Viognier. This is a traditional practice in Northern Rhone wines. Too much… and the winemaker can create a style that will overpower much of the Syrah character. Several of the wines reviewed here have a very noticeable inclusion of the Viognier flavor profile, for those of you that prefer this style, take note of those mentioned below.
Nose full of floral Viognier. Palate is of bitter chocolate, light black pepper, medium-high tannins with high acidity. Very simple wine profile. The wine is not fruit forward and has a long bitter finish.
Nose of butter, black fruits and nail polish. The palate has sweet black plum and blackberry with a mid-palate of dark chocolate. High tannins and medium-high acidity. Good structure. If the idea is to lay this down, there may not be enough fruit to wait out the resolution of the tannins.
Nose is cloyingly sweet, sugary and very floral. The palate is of violets, black fruit and a sweet syrup. A better balance could have been struck here. I prefer a different style of Syrah and Stolpman usually produces wines with a more balanced style. If you are a fan of the big, extracted Australian Shiraz style, this will be a favorite.
Nose of strong black fruits. The palate followed the nose with the characteristic plum, blackberry and white pepper. A VERY pure, fresh profile. Quite elegant and balanced. Medium finish of slightly bitter dark chocolate. Medium-high tannins with medium-high acidity. Good balance and structure. Well composed for aging.
Nose is very chocolate with plum, blackberry and leather. The fruit aromas are strong with some interesting added forest floor. The palate reflects the fruit on the nose with some added butter and oak. The wine was very thick and extracted, coating your mouth. Specifically, grainy tannins that will need time to soften, but I have seen this kind of character develop into a very velvety mouth-feel over time. I would love to try this wine in another three years! It may be spectacular! The most interesting of the batch with the most promise.
Nose is hot with sweet blackberry and plum fruit flavors. The palate was clean and fresh. I enjoyed the purity of the fruit. High tannins and high acidity. The fruit flavors followed the nose. Nice soft texture. The lack of new oak really allowed the wine to express the character of the fruit.
Nose was floral with a bit of grape candy. The wine had a sweet fruit character that was not too overwhelming. The palate was very soft, with a light texture. The blackberry and plum fruit was in front, along with dark chocolate flavors that showed only a little bitterness. High tannins with high acidity… this will be a beautiful silky wine on maturity. This is refined and elegant today. The most ready to drink now of all the wines tasted.
My wife and I really appreciate the producers on Spring Mountain. If your wine nirvana is mountain grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain will be one of your go-to AVA’s (wine growing region). We have been meaning to try Terra Valentine for quite some time. We see their sign every time down the mountain from Pride Mountain Vineyards… On our last visit, we spoke to the family over at Schweiger and they shared the story of the Wine Growers Association’s effort to keep resort development out of the Spring Mountain area. A great story of family owned wineries who love the beauty and character of their home, trying to keep it that way. The fight prompted an agreement between the wineries to allow a last right of refusal – in case of a principal’s death, the surviving winery owners would be able to purchase the land, before a sale to an outside party. I have not been able to confirm this, but I hope it is true.
Fruit forward nose with black plum, blackberry, mint, cinnamon, oak and alcohol. On the palate, this has not quite come together yet. Needs another 2-3 years in the bottle to hit its stride. Good structure, high tannins and medium-high acidity… plenty of mojo for continued bottle aging. I would put the prime drinking window at 2016 – 2019. This is moving towards a silky texture and soft tannins… I will try my other bottle in a couple of years. Strong fruit forward flavors of black fruits that follow the nose. Really enjoy the mid-palate of cinammon, vanilla, leather and a touch of mint that comes through. The oak is present, but does not overpower. A bit of milk chocolate on the finish, but it is weak. Perhaps it will improve as the fruit calms down and the tannins soften. At $30/btl. this is a great wine value from Spring Mountain Estate fruit!