View From The Vineyard
Preparing For an Early Harvest
“A dry and unusually warm winter has led to a very early progression of vine growth and development. We are extremely busy getting ready for what will likely be our earliest harvest ever.” Ron Rosenbrand, SMV Vineyard Manager
By early May, we saw bloom in all grape varieties at SMV, even late ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, setting the crop for an early harvest. Springtime activity in the vineyards has been non-stop. The spading of vine rows, knock-down of cover crops, tying of canes, tucking of shoots, fertigation, release of hundreds of thousands of beneficial insects and leafing decisions are being as brilliantly choreographed as a George Balanchine ballet.
The 4 year drought, so much on everyone’s mind in California, has us tweaking our already meticulous management of water and finding new ways to be even more efficient. Even in vintages with plentiful rainfall, the shallow soils on Spring Mountain do not retain moisture, so we always follow a judicious irrigation protocol. Because of the drought and reduced availability of ground water, this year we have put a few new implements into our farming toolkit.
First, we began an experiment with Biochar, an organic amendment that is planted in the soil at the base of the grapevine, where it acts like a sponge to retain water and nutrients in the root zone, increasing water use efficiency and soil fertility. We have 230 Cabernet vines amended with Biochar. If we find we irrigate these vines less, we will expand the program to other vineyard blocks next year.
Other water-saving methods we use are pressure bomb readings and visual observations of our vines to determine irrigation needs. All vineyard blocks are drip irrigated with pressure compensating emitters which relate to elevation changes. We have also installed numerous “intra-block bypasses” in vineyard rows where we have determined less irrigation is needed. This essentially shuts off the water to these vines until irrigation is necessary for them. We also have installed drip emitters with lower flow rates for vines that need less water. Both of these practices are saving water and increasing the quality of the grapes that come from these vines.
Great wine starts in the vineyard, and we are doing our part to be responsible with our most essential resource.
In the Cellar
First Look at the 2014s
“At this early stage, the 2014 red Bordeaux varieties are quite pretty and vivacious with plush soft tanins. The Malbec and Petit Verdot are simply brilliant and will lend structure and layers of complexity to Elivette.” Susan Doyle, Director of Vineyards and Winemaking
In April the winemaking team tasted all the new 2014 red barrel lots. Tasting over several days, palates with many decades of experience evaluated a multitude of small barrel lots made from SMV’s 135 mountain vineyard blocks. Thoughtful consideration was given to the distinctive qualities of each lot. After discussion, they were classified either for Elivette, for the SMV Cabernet Sauvignon label, or for neither. The process is highly selective and some lots do not make the cut
The classified wines represent two base blends of cabernet sauvignon, the foundation for each wine. After the classification, these decisions prompt new tasks in the cellar. The first is racking. Racking is the process of removing the new wines from barrel, taking them off the fermentation lees (the matter that precipitates after fermentation). The wines are moved to tank, the small lots married into the two base blends, then moved back into French oak barrels. The wines will age in barrel for 6 to 12 months.
Later in the aging process, during the 2nd racking, the addition of complementary varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot or Malbec will be made to complete each wine. Depending on the vintage, we generally rack the wines 3 times over the course of 22 months of aging.
While the Bordeaux varieties are just beginning their journey in barrel, other varieties are complete and headed for the bottling line. The 2014 Pinot Noir is big and velvety with abundant blue and black fruit aromas, a reflection of its mountain origin. Those who enjoy Pinots from Santa Lucia Highlands will love this wine. The 2014 whites, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, were barrel fermented in neutral and 20% new French oak to preserve freshness, followed by several months of lees contact to enhance textural richness on the palate. The inherent acidity of Spring Mountain wines knits the elements into a balanced whole.
The 2014s promise to be delightful upon release, and we can’t wait to show them to you.
Oh, those Exciting 2013s!
“The 2013s are stunning, with plenty of seductiveness, power and oomph. They will last in the bottle and the glass.” Winemaker Susan Doyle
From the first look, we’ve been impressed with wines from this stellar vintage. Now, as blends are final and the 2013 Elivette and Cabernet Sauvignon move to the bottling line, the excitement we feel is mounting. Stylistically, 2013 Elivette is structural, with layers of complexity and built for aging. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon captures the traditional appeal of Napa Valley’s mountain terroir.
With the imminent release of the 2012s, the impressive wines of 2013 and 2014 waiting in the wings, it is an exciting time for Spring Mountain Vineyard!
||Very aromatic in the glass, the wine suggests honeysuckle, white peach, pear and tropical fruits.
The entry is full, rich and textured, with abundant fruit balanced by bright acidity. It retains its weight, volume and viscosity through the mid-palate to a fresh and persistent finish. Serve with shellfish or white meats.Estate Bottled – 603 Cases Produced.$40.
||Brilliant ruby in color and engaging aromas of blackberry, black currant and dark chocolate overlay notes of violets, lavender, dried chervil and bay. Underlying aromas of caramel, toffee and leather co-mingle with cigar box and graphite. A broad entry reveals a full-bodied wine, pure in varietal character and nicely supported by mountain tannins and the polishing effects of French oak. Serve with cheese, charcuterie or a savory duck risotto. Decant and enjoy 2015 – 2020.Estate Bottled – 189 Cases Produced.$75
To order or reserve your allocation, call the winery at 707.967.4185 or email email@example.com.
10% Discount on case purchases. Wine Club Member discount is 20%
Where to find SMV in the coming months
May 31 – June 8: Auction Napa Valley
Get in on the action with online bidding!
Preview the SMV lot #454 – Rare & Library Magnum Collection – a never-before-offered 6 magnum lot that includes the 1979, 1997 Reserve, 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2010 Elivette.
Anyone can bid in this exclusive online auction, so get in on the excitement!
Auction Napa Valley has been raising funds for the well being of the Napa community since 1981.
Preview Auction Napa Valley Lots
June 13: 33rd annual Vintage Affaire – Atherton, CA
Join SMV’s Lindsay McArdle for a stellar event!
Benefits the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Vintage Affaire Tickets
July 15 – 24: 10th Annual Festival del Sole – Napa Valley
A 10 day celebration of music, dance, theater and Napa Valley’s fine wine and cuisine!
July 23: Festival del Sole Alfresco Lunch at SMV exclusively for Patron Pass holders.
For Events and Tickets
July 18: Taste of Napa – Festival del Sole – Napa Valley
Signature Festival del Sole daytime event with 70 wineries, restaurants, music and more!
Taste of Napa Tickets
August 6 – 9: V Foundation 17th Annual Wine Celebration – Napa Valley
A magical weekend dedicated to finding cures for cancer
Wine Celebration 2015
September 19: Fête Elivette – SAVE THE DATE!
Spring Mountain Vineyard – Miravalle Lawn – St. Helena, CA.
Alfresco Harvest Release Party for the 2012 Elivette!
On Our Summer Table
Petrale Sole with Sauvignon Blanc Sauce and Asparagus
Pan-seared sole and the green goodness of new asparagus really complement the freshness and bright acidity of our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy with a simple arugula and sliced nectarine salad and a crunchy baguette to soak up every drop of sauce. This is a delicious dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes!Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds asparagus (1/2 in. thick)
1 1/4 pound boned, skinned petrale sole fillets (1/4 in. thick)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons)
1 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
Wash and pat dry asparagus. Snap off and discard woody stem ends.
Rinse fish and pat thoroughly dry. Salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare sole and asparagus simultaneously.
For the sole: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium high heat.. If your skillet is small, you can cook the fish in 2 batches. When the pan is hot and butter foaming, add the sole filets. Cook 3 minutes, then carefully turn and cook another 2 minutes or until the centers just turn opaque. Remove to a platter and keep warm while you make the sauce.
For the asparagus: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Melt over medium high heat. Add the asparagus and toss to coat in the butter. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes until crisp tender. Remove from heat and keep warm.
For the sauce: In the fish skillet, add the wine with 3 tablespoons tarragon. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the wine is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter until blended.
Arrange the sole and asparagus on a serving platter. Spoon sauce over sole fillets. Scatter remaining 1/2 tablespoon tarragon over the sole. Serve immediately with 2013 Sauvignon Blanc.
Visit Us This Summer!
When your travels bring you to Napa Valley, we hope to see you at SMV where great wine and a friendly welcome await you.
Contact the winery toll free at 877.769.4637, locally at 707.967.4188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make your appointment.
You can book online too: www.springmountainvineyard.com.
Wishing you all the pleasures of the Season!
~Your Friends at Spring Mountain Vineyard