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2000 Peacock Family Cabernet, Spring Mountain District, Napa

I have a hard spot in my heart for peacocks. Spending summers with my father in Sonoma County as a kid, we had a neighbor with a bunch of peacocks that would wander over towards our house and hang out in the trees nearby. Beautiful birds? Yes. But they also have an incredibly loud, piercing call that at 5:00 AM makes you wonder what peacock stew tastes like.

I recently learned what Peacock wine, er, rather Peacock Family wine tastes like, and we won't hold the bird's reputation against Christopher and Betsy Peacock, because the wine they're making from their perch high on Spring Mountain is pretty darn good. The Peacocks purchased a 50 acre ranch and homestead on Spring Mountain in 1991, which came with a small parcel of Cabernet grapes already planted. This 6.2 acres of low yield, hillside Cabernet had been contracted out in past years to Barnett Vineyards, which sits three miles up the road.

Christopher Peacock comes to the wine business from a long road of history, divinity, and law studies on the way to his latest career as a real estate entrepreneur. In addition to an abiding interest in travel and fly-fishing Peacock has always had a passion for wine, and when he and his wife decided to move out of the city, Napa was a logical choice.

They have recently planted more vines to augment their existing small plot, but for now, they are producing a small quantity of wine from their existing fruit, which as of 2001 I believe is all going into their estate label.

All of their grapes are hand harvested, hand sorted and destemmed before being lightly crushed and fermented in steel tanks. Only native yeasts are used during fermentation, and upon completion the wines are aged in French oak (60% new) for 24 months.

Winemaker Craig Becker (who started his career at Spring Mountain Vineyards and now makes wine for Armstrong Ranch, Kelleher Family Vineyards, Coniglio, Borra Winery in Lodi, and his under own brand, Michael Austin) practices very little intervention in the winemaking process, bottling the wine unfiltered and with only occasional light fining with egg whites.

Tasting Notes:
A bright, medium ruby color in the glass this wine has a lovely nose of bright cherry aromas with a hint of coffee and oak. In the mouth it is jumping with equally bright flavors of cherry cola and tobacco, with very light tannins that support a decent finish. Nicely balanced this is a very easy drinking claret-style Cabernet with typical flavors for Spring Mountain fruit. It will last for some time (5-8yrs?) in the bottle, but the flavors will be best in the next couple of years.

Food Pairing:
It's not every day you want to drink a fifty dollar Cabernet with a hamburger, but that's just what I did, and man was it good. If that's a little gauche for you, try drinking this wine with smoked duck toasts with gingered rhubarb.

Overall Score: 9/9.5

How Much?: $50

This wine can be found online, but you have to dig. Try Froogle or call the winery at: 707.967.0770.

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