Astrale e Terra (closed)
2004 Arcturus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
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Mission Codename: Among the Brightest
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit Astrale e Terre and return with their delicious Arcturus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Astrale e Terra
Wine Subject: 2004 Arcturus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Scott Harvey
Atlas Peak AVA, located in in the Vaca Range just east of Napa Valley and south of Lake Berryessa is well known for its high elevation, well drained volcanic soil, long sunny days and cool nights which provide excellent conditions for bold and rich red varietals and specifically Cabernet Sauvignon. Lesser known, is that the region accounts for nearly 25% of the Sangiovese planted in California.
Today’s selection, from Astrale e Terre is made by one of our favorite winemakers, Scott Harvey, who’s wines have been featured on The Wine Spies several times over the last couple years.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and dark purple with garnet streaks through is intense core. Along the edges the wine shows its garnet ruby color and when swirled randomly spaces medium thick legs descend at varyingly slow speeds to the wine below.
Smell – Bold and bright with rich jammy boysenberry and black cherry aromas leading the way. Notes of other black and red fruit mix with soft herbs and a hint of mint, smokey notes, and a touch of oak.
Feel – Smooth and dry, this full-bodied wine is rich with a touch of dark mineral texture, firm tannins and bright acidity that lingers into the finish with a tart kick.
Taste – Jammy black and red fruit including blackberry, black cherry, boysenberry with a pleasant touch of sweet spice, mocha and cocoa and soft oak.
Finish – Medium long in length with this wine’s dark fruit fading away leaving hints of tart acidity, textured tannins and dark minerality behind.
Conclusion – The 2004 Astrale e Terra Arcturus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a very nice wine, as one would expect when combining high end mountain fruit with a great winemaker. Broad and expansive on the nose, well structured, rich and approachable fruit on the palate and a clean finish with a touch of tartness that invites another sip. Enjoy this wine tonight or cellar for up to 10 years. Give this wine some time to open or decant it to reveal all its fun aromas and flavors.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Scott Harvey
DATE OF BIRTH: 3-24-54
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bamberg, Germany
WINE EDUCATION: 1975, I apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt, Germany. Returned to Amador County to apprentice from Cary Gott at Montevina winery.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Montevina, In 1978, at the age of twenty-three, Scott took over as Head Winemaker for Story Winery
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Being European trained, I make wines to go with food—good acidity and low pH. The is considered old world style of winemaking.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Barbera
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Named 1 of the top 10 Winemakers in CA by Dan Berger
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: 2003 Scott Harvey Reserve Barbera being selected as 3rd best Barbera in the world outside of Italy.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “This wine will get you laid” (This is Scott’s famous quote but I’m not sure you’ll want to use it”)
AGENT RED: Greetings, Scott. We are thrilled to be showing Astrale e Terra’s Arcturus Cabernet Sauvignon today. You know that we have already shown your wines before – and that we are already devoted fans! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SCOTT: Thank you, Red! Thanks for selecting another one of my wines for your Operatives
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SCOTT: When I was sent to Germany as an AFS exchange student in high school, I was sent to a winemaking region of Germany. On my first day there, my “German family” handed me a glass of wine. I looked out the window at the vineyards below, got my German dictionary out and said, “does this wine come from those grapes?” They said “yes, do you want to see where it’s made?” ….and the rest is history.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
SCOTT: I got my basic training in Germany but my recent winemaking style I attribute to my mentor, Dr. Richard Peterson.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
SCOTT: Old world style. Wines that are drunk with food.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SCOTT: Dr. Richard Peterson
RED: How long have you been making wine?
SCOTT: 37 years
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SCOTT: Myself, my wife, and our consumers
RED: Tell me, what makes Atlas Peak so special?
SCOTT: The elevation, microclimates and soil types on Atlas Peak really set it apart as an AVA in the Napa Valley. Atlas Peak grapes will bud out three weeks to a month after Napa’s valley floor does, and these grapes will mature three to four weeks later. In Atlas Peak, all the vineyards are planted on thin rocky soil and would not produce much of a crop without drip irrigation. Here, irrigation is key to getting the grapes through the later than normal growing season. Since the soil is so varying one needs to go through the vineyard and increase or decrease irrigation from spot to spot or vine to vine. High elevation vineyard tend to create non-uniformity, varying maturity rates and high tannin levels. These are all things the grape grower/winemaker needs to pay attention to and develop the techniques needed to deal with them. Personally, I have grown to like the non-uniformity, because I like producing wines that are more multi-dimensional. High elevation grape growing and winemaking require more attention and the resulting wines are well worth the effort.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
SCOTT: You need to be a very clean and neat person. 90% of winemaking is janitorial.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SCOTT: The 2010 Harvest is on its way, so there is a lot keep me busy. At Astrale e Terra, we are keeping a close watch on the grapes, and are still looking for verasion up on Atlas Peak.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
SCOTT: The Arcturus is a wine that I put together to show off the best lots of wine from our vineyards in Atlas Peak. It is always a blend of the grapes grown on the estate property and it shows a sense of place. Just how and why do I blend? I am always looking for a wine to be a complete experience. From the first sight of the wine (it’s clarity and color) to the nose (both aroma and bouquet) to the taste (it’s front palate, mid palate and finish). Is the wine complete from the first sight to the finish? If it is not, I call it a donut wine and start looking for other wines to fill the hole. A good winemaker always knows what is in their cellar and will invariably say “I know, I have a couple barrels back in the corner of Petite Verdot that will make this wine complete.” This special blend is definitely the complete experience!
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SCOTT: Once I finish a blend I will make up a whole bottle of it in the lab and then have it with dinner. I like to know if it works with food. This time of year I enjoy the Arcturus with a steak thrown on the grill and fresh vegetables from our garden at the house. In the cooler months it is a great match with beef braised in the wine itself.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
SCOTT: I like to iron my own shirts.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
SCOTT: People drink experiences. Have fun with the wine.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
SCOTT: Whatever my wife wants to drink.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
SCOTT: Question: Do you plan to make any new wines? Answer: I’d love to make a Gewurtztraminer but my wife won’t let me.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work!
SCOTT: Thanks, again, Agent Red. Scott Harvey, over and out!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Astrale e Terre in Napa Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
The location of the Atlas Peak AVA can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Arcturus is named for the 4th brightest star in the sky, a star astronomers classify as a Red Supergiant. This symbolic name was chosen because the Arcturus Cabernet Sauvignon is considered our Red Supergiant! This Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with the perfect amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from our Estate Vineyard in the mountains of the Atlas Peak Appellation.
This delightful wine exhibits aromas of parsley, sage and wild berry jam, while the palate is full of currant, cassis and steak tartare. The finish lingers with the distinctive Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon characters of mixed spices and earthy soil.
About The Winery:
Whether we were traveling abroad or eating at our favorite local restaurant, we enjoyed experiencing a diverse array of wines and determining our own criteria for what made a wine special.
For a long time owning a winery was just a dream, until the day we found the piece of land that we knew could be the home of a very special wine. We were driving up a peaceful, winding road in a small valley in northern California, 1,250 feet above the main valley floor and sheltered by stony, majestic hills. As we gazed at the cloudless azure sky and the softly rolling hills laced with grapevines, it felt as though we were in another world. We knew this was where our dreams of winemaking were going to be made a reality.
That day, we sensed two powerful forces at work: heaven and the earth. ‘Astrale e Terra’ is Italian for ‘heaven and earth,’ and with our interest in astronomy and archaeology, the name’s inspiration seemed only natural. We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labor of love with you!
About The Winemaker:
SCOTT HARVEY – Consulting Winemaker, Scott Harvey ranks among California’s most celebrated and accomplished winemakers. He fi rst came to the attention of wine lovers and the wine trade as winemaker at Santino and Renwood where he crafted wines from some of California’s oldest vineyards and helped put the Sierra Foothills on the winemaking map. In 1996 he partnered with Richard Peterson, Ph’D at Folie a Deux winery in Napa Valley. There the winemaking duo garnered a reputation for outstanding Napa Valley wines produced from estate fruit as well as from vineyards across the Valley.
After selling Folie a Deux in 2004, Harvey created a series of new brands that took advantage of his experience in both the Sierra Foothills and Napa Valley. One reason Scott chose to work with Astrale e Terra is his extreme admiration for Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Atlas Peak appellation. According to Scott, “some of the best wines I’ve made have been produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Atlas Peak Appellation.”
As Astrale e Terra’s Consulting Winemaker, Scott is charged with overseeing harvest, winemaking procedure and the blending of the various lots that Astrale e Terra bottles from its estate vineyards.
VARIETAL BLEND: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot,