July has been the month of Spring Mountain visits. It began by celebrating Bastille Day at my friends’ property, Marston Family Vineyard, and then moved onto Sarocka Winery and finally for the first time ever, I visited Vineyard 7 & 8 last week. High above Spring Mountain at about 2000 feet in elevation, where Napa Valley meets Sonoma County is home to Vineyard 7 & 8. This Napa Valley estate vineyard is not just physically impressive to look at immediately upon entering the property but also designed with function in mind, especially when touring the winemaking space and cave.
Planted by David Abreu and made by Luc Morlet and Wes Steffens, the wines we tasted were as a whole, concentrated, focused and full-bodied. The 2011 Estate Chardonnay, which will be released this fall was richer than I thought it would be, which was a good surprise. Multi-layered, this '11 Chard took almost 8 months to go through malolactic fermentation. In the glass, that meant a buttery, full-bodied Chard with enough acidity in the glass to keep it from being too heavy. This is the Chard to drink if you’re typically into Reds. There’s a lot going on in the glass and it has a very satisfying, long finish.
We also tasted their ’10 Vineyard 7 Cabernet Sauvignon, which showcases the depth of Spring Mountain as they sourced from some neighbors to combine with their younger estate fruit. We finished by tasting their ’09 Estate Cabernet and upcoming release of ’10 Estate Cabernet. Decanted earlier before we arrived, the ’09 was just starting to show its potential upon tasting it but by the end of our meeting, it was really hitting its stride. Immediately though, the nose popped with deep aromas of black fruit and mineral notes. This was my favorite wine I tasted. The tannins were firm but smooth and overall, the 100% Cabernet was very balanced. The 2010 Estate Cab was the last wine we tasted and definitely needs some time in the bottle. But I have to say, even in the glass from the beginning taste to a few hours later when I re-tasted the ‘10, it was clear that this wine with a little more time, will show its nuance and full potential.
The two hours we spent at the winery proved to melt away the stresses of daily work and life and hopefully, will prove to be the same haven for those of you visiting Napa Valley. Thank you Wes, Robin, Julia and James for hosting me, our sales team and Ramsey! - Kerrin Laz, Wine Director
Photo above: Entrance into Vineyard 7 & 8
Photo above: incredible space and view of the vineyard and beyond at Vineyard 7 & 8.
Photo above: The line-up of wines we tasted together.
Photo above: The line-up of delicious cheese, charcuterie and my favorite olives - calvestranos.
Photo above: view from the front of the winery looking southeast onto Napa Valley.
Photo above: Ramsey paying perfect attention to cheese and charcuterie.
Photo above: Vineyard 7 & 8 Cabernet vineyard.
Photo above: the tightly spaced vineyard closest to the brush belongs to Vineyard 7 & 8.
Photo above: awesome view looking down from the crush pad to the vineyard with Mt. Saint Helena in the background.
Photo above: Squash blossoms grow at a feverish pace at Vineyard 7 & 8.
Photo above: Our St. Helena wine manager Lee Reinsimar with Winery manager and assistant winemaker Wes Steffens.