Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Schweiger 2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District

Exploring the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley, we discovered this gem at the peak of its flavors.

The Switch From Prunes Paid Off

In 1960, Fred Schweiger purchased 61 acres on Spring Mountain in Napa Valley. His early farming efforts included prune farming. At 30 cents for a 40 pound box, he quickly discovered there had to be a better use for the property.

Today, Schweiger Vineyards includes 25 acres of Cabernet, five acres of Merlot, four acres of Chardonnay and a small block of Petite Sirah. Every single vintage of Schweiger Cabernet ever produced comes from the same small vineyard blocks 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley.

No prunes could ever bring a smile to our faces like the 2008 Schweiger Cabernet we recently sampled.

A Celebratory Cabernet

We popped open this bottle to celebrate my successful completion of the Certified Specialist of Wine exam. That capped about eight months of reading, webinars, and studying including about a month of intensive flashcards, memorization and cramming. Thankfully I didn’t crack after undergoing rigorous security procedures similar to a nuclear weapons site at the testing center.

Part of the preparation was learning all 17 AVAs in Napa Valley. So, it was appropriate that I grabbed this bottle from the cellar for our meal. Green Dragon came through. Instead of a creative concoction of leftovers from the refrigerator, she purchased a fantastic steak and cooked it to perfection.

This is a rich, full bodied wine. For a number of years (and even today), 2009 is the benchmark vintage. Almost every wine region around the world produced great wine in ‘09. That certainly is the case in Napa. The 2007 vintage was also outstanding. You don’t hear much about 2008 – but the Schweiger Cab tells me there are some real beauties out there.

Schweiger uses extended barrel aging – often more than 30 months – to allow the flavors of the wine to develop. Eight years on, this wine is perfectly balanced. It is deep in color and full bodied. We didn’t detect any prune flavors, but perhaps some ripe plums wafting with dark berries and cocoa. A few brushstrokes of vanilla and a long, coating finish complete this masterpiece.

While I was patting myself on the back for attaining the CSW, I reached around with my other hand to give my back another pat for scoring a great bargain. I picked up two bottles of this Spring Mountain Cab for $24 each and the average price of this bottle is $59.

Once I climb to the top of another mountain, we’ll celebrate by opening the other bottle of Schweiger!

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