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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 and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more 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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

    SOU20974_2007 Item# 108566