Hundred Acre Fortification (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
"One of California’s (perhaps the world’s) most flamboyant, talented, contrarian wine producers is Napa Valley’s Jayson Woodbridge, the owner of Hundred Acre winery. Woodbridge has been running in high gear since his debut 2000. His 100% Cabernet Sauvignons are made primarily by him, with some consulting advice from Philippe Melka. His first effort was from his home vineyard, Kayli Morgan, which is situated east of St. Helena. That offering was followed by a Cabernet from the 15 acre Ark Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Woodbridge recently purchased a tiny, well-situated hillside parcel above the Eisele Vineyard, southeast of Calistoga. His special projects include the Cabernet Sauvignon Precious (in issue #174 I mistakenly called it “Previous”), a wine harvested grape by grape rather than bunch by bunch, and his Cabernet Sauvignon Deep Time, which sees extended oak aging (36-42 months). All things considered, this is an extraordinary group of wines. They are not easy to secure unless you are on Hundred Acre’s mailing list, but they are truly profound offerings that showcase a variety of Napa Valley terroirs as well as different harvesting and barrel aging techniques. The newest enterprise is the Dark Matter Zinfandel, a Zinfandel that is pushed to the limits of ripeness from the high elevations of Howell Mountain. The most common characteristic among all of the Hundred Acre Cabernet Sauvignons is their incredibly opulent, creamy textures. That character vindicates Woodbridge’s harvesting decisions as he seems to achieve extraordinarily sweet, noble tannins in all of his wines. There are approximately 250 cases of Jayson Woodbridge’s special projects, including the Precious and Deep Time cuvees."
-Wine Adocate, Robert Parker
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
Blended from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, Port is based on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. However, typically only four other varieties play a major role: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Franca. Other wine regions of the world can produce fortified wine of a similar style from the same grapes or other grapes.
Tasting Notes for Port
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. Ruby Ports usually pack the most value and are ready to drink once bottled. Typical characteristics are ripe cherry and blackberry flavors with stewed plums, cocoa and dates. Tawny ports are “tawny” in color and have flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, dried apricot, citrus peel, green figs and roasted espresso. The age designation on a Tawny indicates the average age of the grapes in the bottle. These are not intended for age once bottled. When Port is made with high quality grapes selected from a single notable vintage, it is called Vintage Port. Some of the best recent vintages are 2016, 2011, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997 and 1994. Vintage Port is complex full-bodied with many flavors possible: concentrated blackberry, black cherry, raspberry and spice, smoke, coffee and chocolate. Vintage ports tend to improve in the bottle up to approximately 30 years from the vintage. LBV Port comes from a single-vintage Ruby Port and may spend six years in the barrel before being bottled. These are ready to drink 3-6 years after release. Serve most Ports slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.
Perfect Food Pairings for Port
Pecan pie, biscotti and crème brûlée are perfect food pairings for Tawny Port. Molten chocolate cake, dark chocolate covered cherries and chocolate trifle work well with Ruby Port. An assortment of nuts and cheese will pair with almost any sort of Port.
Sommelier Secrets for Port
Colheita is best explained as a Tawny port from a single vintage. These must be aged in wood for at least seven years before release, though most are aged longer.