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Tasting the Wines of Spring Mountain, 2018 Releases

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Spring Mountain can be found on the northern tip of California’s Napa Valley, and today it’s home to some of the county’s most prized vineyards. Established as an AVA in 1993, it’s not a particularly high mountain (ranging up to only 2600 feet), though the terrain can be quite rugged. Visiting here often feels like one has traveled to someplace quite remote, even in the lowlands, which are also known as part of the Spring Mountain District.

Recently I attended a tasting of Spring Mountain District wines as part of an event held in honor of the end of harvest season, which included more than a few library wines dating back to the 2001 vintage. Brief thoughts on all wines tasted follow.

2016 Barnett Vineyards Merlot Spring Mountain District – juicy with fresh cherry notes. B+
2016 Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon MMV – loads of mint, slight raisin/Port note. B+
2016 Barnett Vineyards Chardonnay Carneros – boldly oaky, green around the edges. B

2012 Castellucci Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Fernrock Vineyard – fresh and complex, with dried fruit and oak mingling well, lightly leathery. A-
2011 Castellucci Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Fernrock Vineyard – similar notes, slightly more floral, energizing. A-

2014 Frias Family Reserva Spring Mountain District – a blend, fairly cab-heavy it would seem; tannic and tough at present, showing promise. A-
2015 Frias Family SMD Cab Spring Mountain District – very chocolaty, vanilla heavy; decadent. A

2014 Keenan Chardonnay Spring Mountain District – moderate to heavy oak; brooding, overdone. B-
2014 Keenan Cabernet Franc Spring Mountain District – light violet notes, mild chocolate. A-

2013 Luscher-Ballard Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Seek No Further Vineyard – hearty, pungent at times, quite meaty. B
2014 Luscher-Ballard Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Seek No Further Vineyard – very green, tough. B-

2010 Paloma Vineyard Merlot Spring Mountain District – chocolate and spice meld nicely; slight raisin note. A-

2016 Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot – bold and expressive, with spice, cherry, lots of cocoa. A-
2015 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – chewy, a bit soft; lighter in body than expected, with gentle florals. B+

2015 Schweiger Vineyards Chardonnay Spring Mountain District – oak bomb. B-
2013 Schweiger Vineyards Dedication Spring Mountain District – red blend; ample violets, soft, licorice on the finish. B

2017 Sherwin Family Vineyards Estate Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon – light and floral, good balance. B+

2016 Smith-Madrone Winery Chardonnay – fresh and clean, some lemon, lightly bitter. B+
2016 Smith-Madrone Winery Riesling – honeyed, light brown butter notes; good acidity. A-
2014 Smith-Madrone Winery Cabernet Sauvignon – spicy, light body, lingering herbals. A-

2014 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District – toasty, with light, dried berry notes; tobacco. A-
2014 Spring Mountain Vineyard Elivette Spring Mountain District – bold and aggressive at present; lots of green notes. B
2001 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District – massively earthy with notes of roasted meats; chocolate, beginning to oxidize but still lively. A-

2016 Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay Spring Mountain District – fresh and fruity; figs and pear note. A-
2010 Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay Spring Mountain District – beautiful, well rounded and lush. A
2013 Stony Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District – lots of fruit, bold berry notes; big red apple character. B+

2017 Terra Valentine Rose of Petite Sirah Spring Mountain District – lightly floral, almond, bold body. B+

2015 Vineyard 7&8 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District – heavy chocolate with vanilla bold on the finish; moderate tannin. B+
2012 Vineyard 7&8 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District – loads of tannin, dried fruit; quite leathery. B

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content company.

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