Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
A cold and dry start to the 1999 vintage induced the vines into deep dormancy. By late winter, after sufficient rainfall, the clouds disappeared as if by magic and the much-awaited sun broke through. Spring was here and nature caressed the vines with soft placid days, providing ideal conditions for fruit set. Summer was mild with only a few avid bouts of heat that were tempered by diligent water management. Total crop load was low but the vines were graced with small, full berries carrying ripe flavours and spicy aromas. In the 1999 vintage, the cool evenings captured the necessary acidity to keep the wine's structure in balance. Harvest occurred in early October when the fruit had reached a culmination of flavours.
Quintessa 1999 has attained deep, integrated flavours with round tannins along with very elegant fruitiness.
Wine Enthusiast - "Displays distinct valley-floor qualities, with its well-ripened black-currant fruit and soft, intricately woven tannins. Feels rich and lush in the mouth, and coats the palate through the long finish. Oak provides a context, but doesn’t overwhelm."
Wine Spectator - "Intense, vibrant and concentrated, with firm, complex currant, cedar, anise and black cherry fruit. Tightly wound, with chewy tannins, it can stand short-term cellaring."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright red-ruby. Highly aromatic nose combines currant, cherry, spicecake, bitter chocolate, marzipan and a floral topnote. Lively, intensely flavored and light on its feet, with perfumed flavors of red cherry and rose petal and slightly intrusive oakiness. Grew silky as it opened in the glass. Finishes with fine but firm tannins that call for at least a few years of additional bottle aging.
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In the northeastern corner of Rutherfod lies Quintessa. The estate is one of the most scenic and geographically unique properties of the Napa Valley. When Agustin and Valeria Huneeus began to develop the property as a vineyard in 1990, they availed themselves of the most advanced viticultural research of the time. Valeria Huneeus, in keeping with her vision as steward of this land, has guided Quintessa's evolution from sustainable farming in 1990 to organic farming in 1995 and to biodynamic farming in 2000. The winery at Quintessa was built into one of the property's many hills. Its eco-sensitive design incorporates gravity flow, French oak and stainless steel fermenters specifically tailored to the diverse blocks of the Quintessa vineyard, and naturally cold caves. View all Quintessa Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.