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Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

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750ML / 14.1% ABV
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750ML / 14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Black fruit enhanced by earthier, more savory components: black and green tea, tar, mint, dusty rosemary, hay, dried brush, a dash of tomato, some slightly stewed aromas. This was a ripe vintage, and the wine is fairly fleshy, with nice tannins, great texture, and a juicy acidity. A "deliciously abundant palate, like a river of ripe blackberries."

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
In 2003, production jumped up to 3,700 cases, with the blend identical to so many other vintages with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc. This was a year where there was some freaky heat spells, but this wine has come through nicely. Deep bluish purple with notes of blackberry and cassis and charcoal followed by a soft, velvety textured, opulent and full-bodied wine that seems to be approaching full maturity. It is interesting, this wine is far more evolved, and on a faster evolutionary track than the 2001 or 2002. Nevertheless it is a beauty, loaded, layered and impressive. It must be one of the top 2003s. Drink it over the next 20-some years.
W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
The Spottswoode estate celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and its latest release is a fitting tribute to the vineyard on the property first planted in 1916 by the Spotts family. The Novak family bought Spottswoode in 1972 and replanted the vines. Tony Soter made the first Spottswoode Cabernet in 1982; this current vintage was made by Rosemary Cakebread. Her '03 is lovely, a wine of tremendous richness packed with black currant flavor. It's smooth and lush, a sleek Napa Valley red, destined to be a classic.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Subtle aromas of red currant, black cherry and plum carry over to the palate in an elegant, supple manner. Excellent balance, depth, complexity and length. The finish is long and persistent, keeping the emphasis on the fruit.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
A sturdy young Cabernet showing great harmony and class. It’s fresh in ripe tannins, very poised and balanced, with a great depth of cedary blackberry fruit. This is really classic Napa Cabernet, so elegant, and a great food wine.
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Spottswoode
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, California
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Spottswoode is a small, family-owned estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The estate, which dates to the 1800s, includes classic formal gardens, pre-prohibition winery buildings and the 40-acre, organically farmed estate vineyard. Spottswoode focuses all of its attention on producing extremely limited quantities of two wines: Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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St. Helena is in the heart of the Napa Valley, nestled between Calistoga to the north and Rutherford on its southern border. On its western side, the Mayacamas Mountains guard it from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean; to its east stand the Vaca Mountains. In conjunction, these mountain ranges serve to lock in summer daytime heat. But in the evening, cool air from the San Pablo Bay funnels up through the valley, creating very chilly nights. It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to drop 50 degrees, a shift that promotes a balance of sugar ripeness and acidity in wine grapes.

St. Helena contains a plethora of different soil types in a small area, which have been enhanced over centuries by rain runoff from both mountain ranges. Its vineyards cover a variety of terrain, spreading across the bucolic valley floor and its benchlands.

These ideal topographic and climatic growing conditions easily caught the attention of early winemaking pioneers. In fact, St. Helena is the birthplace of Napa Valley’s commercial wine industry. Dr. Crane founded his cellar in 1859, David Fulton in 1860 and Charles Krug in 1861.

Today there are no less than 400 separate vineyards planted within the 12,000 acres that make up the St. Helena appellation.

Revered most for its red wines based on Bordeaux varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, the St. Helena appellation is also a source of superior Syrah, Zinfandel and Sauvignon blanc.

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux where it forms the base of the Medoc reds. These blends are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.

Tasting Notes for Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry red wine rich in color, tannin and extract. It expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In the Old World you'll often find the more earthy side of Cabernet. In warmer regions like California, Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more upfront fruit flavors.

Perfect Food Pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets for Cabernet Sauvignon

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

JCN146495_2003 Item# 146495

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