Wine Bloggers Conference 2009: Dinner at Spring Mountain Vineyard
Just Grapes

The second day of the Wine Bloggers Conference rounded out with an exceptional dinner at Spring Mountain Vineyard where we got to have dinner and some great wines while chatting with winemakers from Spring Mountain and Viader and reps from Lang & Reed and BV. I was impressed that the winemakers took the time to sit down with us and talk wine, and it showed a burgeoning respect for the passion and thoughtfulness that 'citizen' bloggers can bring to the media world.

The setting itself was quite beautiful, with the rolling hills of napa etching themselves out along a skydappled with red and golden hues over a declining hill of grape vines.

Over the course of the evening I managed to get a taste of quite a few wines, with the following four truly standing out.

1. Spring Mountain Vineyard Elivette 2001

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this 8year old wine was showing very well that evening. Smooth and full and filled with dark berry fruit, this yet had an elegant structure and a very finessedfinish. A standout Bordeaux style blend.

Excellent to Excellent+

2. Viader 2005

Viader makes this red blend with 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Cabernet Franc, which is a surprisingly high % for the often funky and tannic Cab Franc grape. Nonetheless, this young wine was drinking very well and may have been the standout of the night. Very fruit forward, with notes of chocolate underneath, the wine paired ideally with the BBQ'd beef we were eating for dinner. Frankly, I would never have guessed that this had such a high percentage of Cab Franc given how smooth and fruity it was. A favourite at the table with winemakers from Spring Mountain and Viader in attendance along with several bloggers.

3. Spring Mountain Elivette 1993

It was certainly a treat to taste this 16 year old wine, which was still drinking with real backbone but without that overpowering punch that young Napa Cab blends can have. Instead, it was showing plenty of secondary and tertiary flavours from the bottle age such as slate, tobacco, and leather while still maintaining a pure line of red and black berry fruit.


4. Lang & Reed 'Right Bank' 2004

Sneaking in to our bevy of $100 cabs was the subtle and suave Right Bank red blend. Made with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, this wine straddled the line between styles that many in the media have come to oppose as New World v. Old World. For me, this was fruit forward and yet elegant and finessed such that the fruit did not overwhelm the development of the wine and the layering of the mid-palate. Many classic dark fruit flavours abound in this along with cedar and mocha. But this wine is special more because of its velvet glove approach. One to look for.