Saturday, September 25, 2010

2004 Elivette from Spring Mountain Vineyards

In 2002, there was a change of vineyard management and winemaker at the large estate Spring Mountain Vineyards. The new team is managed by veteran winemaker Jac Cole, who since 1972 has been making wines at many highly recognized Californian wineries, such as Château St Jean in Sonoma and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley.

The 340 hectare estate, of which 91 hectares is planted to vines, is now managed by Ron Rosenbaum and his team of some 20-25 amigos. It’s indeed a hard working team, the 135 vineyards lots are scattered on slopes and plateaus from 120 to 480 meters above sea level in the Spring Mountains above St Helena. Most of the vineyard lots are replanted since 2000, is a much better way with higher density and better clonal selecions.
In the 2000s, there has been mayor quality improvements. There is a lovely, absolutely pure, crisp and fresh Sauvignon Blanc with a splash of Sémillon to add body and texture, a very good Syrah Co-Ferment (Syrah which is co-fermented with some Viognier) which offers a spicy touch of garrigue that makes it very French and complex, and a very serious and quite Bordeaux like Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Since 2000, they also make a top selection of the cabernet wine they call Elivette.

2004 Elivette / 93 p
This vintage is a blend of 80 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 percent Petit Verdot, 7 percent Merlot and 4 percent Cabernet Franc. The cabernet fraction is definitely in charge here, dark and dense with a serious tannic structure, paired with a significant amount of mineral notes, but as so many wines from the vintage 2004, the nose is dominated by a warm and sweetish blackberry and cassis fruit. There’s also a quite important and to be honest not too complex note of vanilla, chocolate and coco from the oak, but since that disappears after an hour of decanting and paves way for much more complex aromas, I guess the oak flavors will fade away over time. Remember, this is still a baby, and normally fine cabernets from Napa Valley rarely show true greatness until they are 7-10 years old. On the label, alcohol level is said to be 14 percent, but I do believe it’s slightly higher than that. My experience of Elivette is all good – this is a wine that evolves beautifully over time, and it will actually taste very much like a fine Pauillac (but a bit riper) when it reaches maturity. A few more years of bottle age is to recommend, even though this vintage is very good to drink already today. Pouring it today, make sure to decant it a good hour before serving it.
Drink it 2012-2024.

No comments:

Post a Comment