Vineyard 7 & 82003 Vineyard 8 Reserve Chardonnay
(Spring Mountain District ~ Napa Valley)
In 1999, John & Louise Steffens and Steven Grover purchased a 16 acre vineyard atop Spring Mountain and named it Vineyard 7 & 8. Parcel 7 is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, while “8” is planted to Chardonnay. Pete Richmond and Silverado Farming Company manage the vineyards, Larry Langbehn is winemaker, and Wesley Steffens formerly of Harlan Estate is assistant winemaker. Christian Le Sommer, formerly of Chateau Latour, oversees operations.
I attended a press tasting of the first release of Cabernet Sauvignon, which was poured alongside Bordeaux first growths. If the owners are going for the French style, they have succeeded. The wine not only held its own in that impressive line up, many of us had the mistaken impression it was Chateau Lafite or Latour!
Bright yellow gold and unctuous, this very Burgundian style of Chardonnay has completely unexpected notes of earth, mineral, tar, and yeast. Butter, caramel apple, and toasted almond notes come out towards the very clean, minerally finish. Alcohol is moderately high, balanced by bright, vivid acidity. The wine has that sexy “gras” or silk texture found in classic white Burgundy. Overall it is very “Montrachet-esque” and would be easy to mistake in a blind tasting too. Chardonnay snobs, this one’s for you!
Reviewed December 28, 2006 by Catherine Fallis.
Founder and President of Planet Grape LLC, a company committed to bringing the joy of wine, food, and good living into the lives of everyday people, Catherine is creator of the “grape goddess guides to good living,” a series of books, television presentations, seminars, and e-learning programs. The fifth woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier, grape goddess Catherine Fallis is still very much down-to-earth.