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Steltzner Claret 2007

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
    13.9% ABV
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    13.9% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc,

    Color; dark ruby fading to purple/black.
    On the nose; notes of earth and minerals mix with the core dark fruit aromas of plums and black cherries. There are also hints of cedar, baking spices and some cola aromas.

    On the palate, the characteristics that were apparent in the nose show nicely as flavors in the mouth. There is a nicely balanced acidity to the wine as it shows the layers of dark cherry and plum fruit. These are supported by some earthy and mineral flavors, with hints of cola. There is the nice vanilla/cedar/oak component from the small French oak barrels used for aging. There are pretty dry tannins throughout that are well integrated and provide a long, satisfying finish. This is a well balanced and supple wine that is meant to be enjoyed upon release but can benefit from some short term cellar aging.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Steltzner

    Steltzner Vineyards

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    Steltzner Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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    Dick Steltzner established his Stags Leap District vineyard in 1965 and concurrently engaged in vineyard management. In 1983 Steltzner Vineyards established their own modest 3,000 case capacity facility at the vineyard. In 1991 Dick and Christine Steltzner expanded the winery with completion of a new underground storage tunnel. This facility has allowed increased volume as well as enhanced quality characteristic of underground storage. Construction of a new winery building was completed in 1995.

    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 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.

    Bordeaux Blends

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    One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

    In the Glass

    Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

    Perfect Pairings

    Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

    Sommelier Secret

    While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

    SOU20974_2007 Item# 108566