2012 Spring Mountain Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $73)

SKU #1315889 95 points James Suckling

 This has a lovely dusty character with currant, tile and sweet tobacco. Full body, chewy and beautiful tannins. Wonderful austerity yet softness. Flavorful finish. Delicious now but shows finesse and length. Better in 2019 but so gorgeous already.  (5/2016)

K&L Notes

Spring Mountain Vineyard Winery as it exists today is actually the composition of three formerly separate vineyards and wineries, known as Miravalle, Chevalier, and La Perla, that date back to the late 1800s. In the early to mid-1990s, the current owners of the winery purchased the three vineyard sites and combined them into one estate, then replanted much of the property into closer rows of high-density Cabernet and Merlot, as well as other Bordeaux and Rhone varieties, many of which used the "Gobolet method," a technique that trains vines to grow vertically (therefore allowing more per row) and was the method of choice in the region during the late 19th century. The first crop of Gobolet vines was harvested in 2000 and since 2010 the estate has been certified organic, making some of the purest and eco-friendly wines in the valley.

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Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/29/2017 | Send Email
On the outskirts of St. Helena, rising behind the town on the west side of the Napa Valley, is Spring Mountain — one of the most coveted sources of Cabernet fruit in the state and a site that has produced a number of my favorite California wines over the years. Upon that hillside sits the Spring Mountain Vineyard Winery with a 226 acre vineyard on the eastern slopes that's broken up into 135 blocks, each with its own unique terroir. As you can imagine, this gives the winery a vast set of tools with which to construct their annual Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon release. I'm always preaching the gospel of "mountain fruit" to our customers, whether it's Spring, Howell, or Diamond, because of its concentration and complexity compared to what's grown on the valley floor. Mountain wines also tend to have more power and drive with the potential to age decades in the cellar. When fruit is grown on a hillside, it tends to ripen more slowly due to less direct sunlight (think of simmering your stew versus boiling it), plus the drainage is better during rainy months as the water will flow downhill rather than bog down the vineyard soils. The best Cabernet wines from California come from the mountains, no matter which mountains you're referring to. Spring Mountain, however, happens to be one of the best locales and the appellation has become world-renowned for wines with pureness of fruit and elegant, balanced tannins. What's fascinating about the 2012 release from Spring Mountain, however, is how soft and silky it is on the palate and how precocious the flavors are at such a young age. Its rich and plush at first sip, but it unwinds slowly into classic Cabernet flavors of earth and spice with hints of brush on the finish. All around this is a grade A Napa mountain fruit specimen, but the value really comes with the new discounted price. You could grab a case of this and drink well on birthdays and anniversaries for the next decade.

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/29/2017 | Send Email
Spring Mountain's estate Cabernet Sauvignon is fantastic, with a great price to match. This wine already has 5 years of age and drinking wonderfully now, but also has a long life ahead of it. Its full, rich body is accompanied by red currant, raspberry, and cassis with big tannin that's well integrated. It also has some wonderful spice and earthy character giving more complexity. This is a great deal, especially for a wine from Napa's Spring Mountain region.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.