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Scaggs Vineyard Montage 2012

Rhone Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
    14.5% ABV
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    14.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Complex aromatics of lavender, sage, plum, sweet spices and potpourri followed by deeper notes of anise and red licorice. Hints of boysenberry reduction sauce and pomegranate frame the palate followed by firmly delineated tannic structure providing balance and emphasizing length. The excellent balance and a lively palate provide hints of further rewards with additional aging.

    Blend: 47% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah, 9% Counoise

    Critical Acclaim

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    Scaggs Vineyard

    Scaggs Vineyard

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    Scaggs Vineyard, Napa Valley, California
    In 1996 we moved to the hills above Napa Valley. We’d found a beautiful spot, virtually untouched, with a good well and the layered horizon of a Chinese landscape painting. We were planting fruit trees one day when a vineyardist friend stopped by and suggested we put in some grape vines he had on his truck, leftovers from another job. They were syrah cuttings that had come from Lee Hudson in Carneros. The idea of growing grapes in the Napa Valley didn’t seem too far fetched, but what transpired the following spring when those fledgling vines leafed out was unexpected —they took root in us as deeply as they had the hillside.

    We'd come to love the Rhone wines of France, particularly those of the Southern Rhone, and explored the possibility of planting more Rhone varietals on our hillside. Research indicated they'd be a good match for our climate and the soils in our hills, so in addition to the newly planted syrah, we chose mourvedre and grenache cuttings from Tablas Creek, whose clones came from the esteemed Beaucastel Vineyard in Chateaneuf-du-Pape. And we imbibed a good deal of the Beaucastel philosophy, too: minimal intervention in winemaking to allow for maximum expression of terroir, that evocative French concept whose meaning encompasses the earth, air, water and soul of a place. From the start we were committed to sustainable farming practices-- our steep hillsides and narrow vine rows committed us to farming by hand—and under the guidance of Bob Schaeffer, co-founder of Soil Culture Consulting, the vineyard was certified organic by California’s CCOF in 2006.

    We made our first wine in 2000 and have experimented over the years, testing techniques and blends, learning more about our grapes, our soil, our preferences. Each harvest has a story to tell, to be continued.

    Napa Valley

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    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 1960's, 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 1980's, 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 is 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.

    Rhône Blends

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    With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

    In the Glass

    The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

    Perfect Pairings

    Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

    Sommelier Secret

    Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

    WWH134809_2012 Item# 146930