Notes on the Wines
PlumpJack 2015 Chardonnay 'Reserve', Napa
PlumpJack Cabernet could be called a 'cult wine', and the accolades for the Getty-Newsome-Conover partners Cade (Howell Mtn) and Odette (Stag's Leap) Cabs are equally impressive. But don't overlook the white wines, this Chardonnay is outstanding. Vineyards in St. Helena and Carneros contribute to the complexity and character of this full-bodied, beautifully balanced Chardonnay. The cooler Carneros site imparts fresh green apple, Bosc pear, and lemon zest on the nose, while the warmer St. Helena site lends some tropical and melon notes. Only 1/3 of the wine is fermented & aged in oak, adding subtle layers to the nose & palate with traces of toasted almonds, vanilla, and spice. By foregoing malolactic fermentation, the wine retains its' bright, lively malic acid, which helps to accentuate the fruit on the palate, and gives this wine its balance and drive. This is an impressive Chardonnay, with appealing fruit-forward style, and complex character.
Storybook Mountain 2013 Zinfandel 'Mayacamas Range', Napa
Last year, Jerry & Sigrid Seps celebrated their 40th vintage, producing exclusively estate-grown wines from their 40 acre vineyard – farmed organically since the start. The estate is at the north-eastern end of Napa, literally the first estate as you approach from Knight's Valley-Sonoma. It is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places in California. “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.” 94 points – Wine & Spirits
Turley 2015 Zinfandel 'Mead Ranch', Atlas Peak, Napa
Each vintage Turley produces more than 34 wines, primarily from heritage 'old vine' sites. All the estate-owned or farmed vineyards are certified organic (or in the process of achieving certification). The wines are all fermented with indigenous yeasts.
Mead Ranch is planted at about 1600 feet on Atlas Peak, on the south-eastern side of Napa Valley. The vineyard was originally planted in the 1880s, though Turley's block is primarily from the 1970s. This vineyard is head-trained, and planted in red volcanic soil. On a clear day, you can see San Francisco, though those days are few and far between; and thus the vineyard see plenty of fog from the bay. The wines are fragrant, high-toned, with complex texture and great acidity.
Turley 2015 Zinfandel 'Estate Vineyard', St. Helena, Napa
The Estate Vineyard is adjacent to the Napa winery, just north of St. Helena. (This was the original location of the Frog's Leap winery that Larry Turley co-founded with John Williams, before Williams re-located and Larry established Turley Wine Cellars.) The first block of Zin was planted in 1996, supplemented with an additional 6 acres planted in 2006. The entire vineyard is head-trained and dry farmed. The Estate Vineyard Zin is noted for it's intensity.
Turley 2015 Zinfandel 'Kirschenmann Vineyard', Lodi
This vineyard is actually owned by Turley winemaker Tegan Passalacqua, who also oversees farming of all the vineyards for Turley. Busy guy, just ask how many miles he puts on his Subaru every year...
The ungrafted vines were planted in 1915 in the silica-rich sandy soils on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA. Thanks to the river's cool waters and delta breezes, these head-trained, dry-farmed vines are protected from the heat of the Central Valley.
Groth 2008-2009-2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa
A few years ago, Suzanne Groth cracked open the vault, and began releasing some back vintages of the family's ageworthy Oakville Cabernet. Wise woman, she assembles 2 bottles each of 3 consecutive vintages in a beautiful 6-bottle wood case. Groth Cab always benefits from 5-8 years of aging after release, so these wines are just starting to show off their potential. Typically elegant, complex and savoury, Groth is renowned for being impressive without the bling or artifice sometimes associated with prestigious Napa Cabernet.
Notes from winemaker Michael Weis:
2008 – "Wonderful bottle bouquet redolent of earth & dark berries. Bright acidity, earthy, with ripe red fruit flavours, showing the characteristics of a cool vintage."
2009 – "Still youthful aromas of dark stone fruit and vanillin, overall nice aroma with a hint of cedar. Earthy with nice herbal and ripe stone fruit flavours."
2010 – "Exhurberant youthful aromas of black cherry, currant with wafts of wonderful French oak. Full flavours of rich black stone fruit balanced with sweet vanilla oak."