Inaugural vintages are so exciting. At least for me. Even if the people and the grapes involved have been making wine for years, it's fun to see a new incarnation or a new direction spring up under a new name. Such is the case with this 2000 vintage from the new label Ladera. Pat and Anne Stotesbery purchased the Chateau Woltner property a few years ago, ripped out all the Chardonnay vines, and settled down to make distinctive Bordeaux-style reds using two steep hillside vineyards at either end of the Napa Valley (Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder).
Now with their first vintage, they are displaying a remarkable commitment to their chosen style -- a restrained, elegant wine that is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Look for the release soon of their 2001 Cabernet as well (late may, 2004) which promises to be even better than this one.
Glowing perfect ruby in the glass, the wine has a light, woody nose of cedar and cherry. On the tongue the predominant flavor is cherry with a few highlights of oak, blackberry and mixed dried herbs. Remarkably smooth, the tannins are well integrated into the wine and the finish is long with elements of redcurrant, and a slight note of red currants and a whiff of calcium, which is one of the (for me undesireable) characteristics I find in many Howell Mountain wines. This is a very subtle wine, and not a big fruit bomb like so many Napa cabs. Pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum from the Altamura which I reviewed last week.
I drank this wine at dinner the other night that included many bits of red meat, but it really went well with dish very similar to this herb crusted rack of lamb.
Overall Score: 9
How much?: $65
Want a bottle? Try Wine Searcher.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 4, 2015 Vinography Images: A Shaggy Guardian Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 26, 2015 Vinography Images: Above the Coast 2015 Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 6, San Francisco Imagining a Better Future for the Soils of Champagne A Brief Video Lesson in Champagne Disgorgement Vinography Images: The World of the Leaf Book Signing on May 9th, at Raymond Vineyards in Napa Doorman: Changing My Wine Delivery Life
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune