January 13, 2017
 

Storybook Mountain Vineyard

“Some of Napa Valley’s most consistently beautiful reds.”Wine & Spirits Magazine

2015 Viognier

2013 ‘Mayacamas Range’ Zinfandel  

2013 ‘Eastern Exposures’ Zinfandel 

2013 ‘Estate Reserve’ Zinfandel 

2012 Antaeus

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Order deadline is Wednesday 25 January for delivery in late winter - Reply to this email or call 416-693-7994 to order.

Estimated prices shown are subject to currency and LCBO changes.

 

Background

For 12 consecutive years, Wine & Spirits Magazine has counted Storybook Mountain among the Top 100 Wineries in the World.  Here is the text from their 2017 Buying Guide…

Jerry Seps planted zinfandel in the right place and farms his vines with care, producing some of Napa Valley’s most consistently beautiful reds.

The Site for Zin:  This year marks Storybook Mountain’s 12th consecutive Top 100 award, and the 40th year since Jerry & Sigrid Seps settled north of Calistoga, on a derelict vineyard that had been destroyed by a fire in the early 1960s. The fire left thistles, ferns and poison oak growing over the caves of the old Grimm Brothers’ Wine Vaults, dug in the 19th century. The hill above the caves faced north toward Mount St. Helena and east to the Palisades. André Tchelistcheff, Napa Valley’s preeminent winemaker at the time, told Seps that the exposition and the red volcanic soils would make an ideal home for zinfandel.

A Light Touch:  Not long before he found the property, Seps had organized a tasting of Joseph Swan’s zinfandels for his Les Amis du Vin chapter in Southern California. Later, soon after he left his academic career, he decided he needed training in zin. “I wrote him a postcard and said, ‘Joe, I’ll come to work with you for free, but it has to be one-on-one,” Seps recalls. When Swan assented, Seps spent a year with the man widely considered the best zinfandel producer at the time. “He took meticulous care of the wine,” Seps says, “and taught me to respect the grapes – not to push them in directions other than what’s in them.”

Stamina and Finesse:  Seps began by planting 22 acres all to zinfandel, and has farmed organically from day one, releasing his first vintage in 1980. He opened his second vintage, a 1981 Reserve, when I accompanied David Darlington on a zinfandel research project in Napa Valley in November of 2009. To me, the wine was numinous, which Darlington translated as “‘weightless’ and ‘harmonious’, as in wind chimes, say,” in his February 2010 article in Wine & Spirits. “That isn’t what one expects from zinfandel, which often bears more resemblance to heavy metal.”

I’ve since tasted Reserves from 1984, 1986, 2005 and 2006, all of which showed a similar stamina and finesse. Perhaps it’s the balanced humidity in his cool caves that helps preserve the freshness of his wine. When I ask if he humidifies the air, he says no, and adds that he’s never measured it (though he seems to measure just about everything else, with detailed, handwritten notes on the progress of each season). Then he points out the spring behind the carved oval vat positioned where the three shafts of the cave connect.

Morning Sun:  Seps and his daughter, associate winemaker Colleen Williams, now make three Zinfandels off the estate, selecting lots with the greatest intensity and projected longevity for the Reserve. “By intensity, I mean more layers, more of a lingering finish, not more weight,” he says. Eastern Exposures is selected for finesse, and the 2013 carries the delicate floral freshness of grapes ripened by the morning sun. Mayacamas Ranges is their fruit-forward wine, and in 2013 its beauty is immediate, its racy energy carrying the wine’s freshness for days as it develops toward mouthwatering flavors of fresh-picked black raspberries and bright, rustic mineral notes. It has the flavor of Storybook Mountain, with tannins patterned after Mount St. Helena’s volcanic rock. – Joshua Greene 

Founded:  1976

Acres owned:  120; 40 planted

Annual production:  5,000 cases

Estate grown:  100%

www.storybookwines.com

 

2015 Viognier, Napa

Retail:  $69.95/btl (12 btl/cs)

Barrel-fermented and aged on its lees, this dramatic white wine is spicy and floral, with potent almond and herbal aromas. It offers a full mid-palate and impressive length. Concentrated and textured, it has the stuffing to age 3-5 years.

 

2013 ‘Mayacamas Range’ Zinfandel, Napa

Retail:  $69.95/btl (12 x 750 mL/cs)
  Half Bottles:  $39.95 (12 x 375 mL/cs)

94 points – Wine & Spirits

“If you were to come back as a vine, Jerry Seps’s steep hillside vineyard would be a pretty tempting place to put down roots. His vineyard faces north toward Mount St. Helena and east toward the Palisades—not a house or a road in sight, only trees, meadows and craggy rocks left by the volcano. Ideally, you’d come back as a zinfandel vine. The vineyard’s cool morning sun and volcanic soils grow zin with racy energy, a sensation that’s captured beautifully in this 2013. With air, the wine transforms all of its blueberry flavor, peachy red fruit and youthful oak into something finer, opening over the course of several days toward mouthwatering flavors of fresh-picked black raspberries and bright, rustic mineral notes that seem patterned after the volcanic rock.”

 

2013 ‘Eastern Exposures’ Zinfandel, Napa

Retail:  $91.95/btl (12 btl/cs)

In the style of a Northern Rhône red, Eastern Exposures contains about 10% Viogner, a white wine that brings perfume and additional complexity to the wine.

92 points – Wine & Spirits
“This shares the fresh raspberry brightness of the 2013 Mayacamas Range (recommended above), though, for now, it’s tighter, gripped by black, mineral-inflected tannins. Clean and juicy, restricted by its youthful structure, this needs ten years of bottle age to show its best. It should evolve into a classic.”

 

2013 ‘Estate Reserve’ Zinfandel, Napa

Retail:  $126.95/btl  (12 btl/cs)

Selected from the best barrels of the vintage, this wine takes complexity and depth to another dimension. Dr. Seps searches primarily for flavor purity, focus, length and balance, to produce a wine that can be described as multilayered, and marries power with finesse. While balance and fruit encourage early consumption, these same characteristics, coupled with depth and structure, provide the basics for the refined integration and silken complexity that the Reserve acheives after a decade or more.

 

2012 Antaeus, Napa

Retail:  $82.95/btl  (12 btl/cs)

Antaeus, the son of water and earth in Greek mythology, is the symbol of strength derived from the soil. This is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot

93 points – Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines
“Immediately impressing with its sense of crafting and polish and as rich and refined in flavor as it is in aroma, the latest Antaeus marries the deep, dark berry fruit of Zinfandel with a bit of Cabernet cassis and is structured long distinctly claret-like lines. It is layered and long and thoroughly involving right now, but its balance and youthful vitality are the markers of a wine that will grow effortlessly.”

 

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

Retail:  $108.95/btl  (12 btl/cs)

Dr. Seps says that growing Zinfandel in Napa is like playing flute in a string quartet. This Cab shows he’s a master of the cello as well – Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, crafted in the balanced, graceful style of Storybook Mountain. Varying clones, rootstocks and viticultural practices for each variety, microclimate and soil type ensure remarkable complexity. Structure, finesse, and purity of fruit, achieved through Jerry Seps’ “magic paradigm matching grape and terroir”.