St. Helena Road Winery
2005 Roy J Maier Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Music to my mouth
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to St. Helena Road Winery and acquire a limited allocation of their delicious Roy J. Maier Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: St. Helena Road Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Roy J. Maier Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Mike Hirby
Sonoma County is well known for producing some of the best wines in California, however, not long ago, Sonoma was better know as a provider of grapes for blending despite some of the best vineyards in the region having been planted in the 1800s. In the 1960s that all changed when Simi Winery in Alexander Valley changed hands and brought attention to the region. With a tremendous diversity of soil, climates and aspect, Sonoma County is now home to over 200 wineries spread across several diverse valleys such as Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valley as well as hillside vineyards with the distinct mountain Terroir to the Mayacama range.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Nearly black with an inky and dense core that lightens just slightly to garnet and and ruby red along the edges and when swirled slow fat legs linger on the side of the glass showing this wine’s dense color.
Smell – Smokey herbs and green pepper lingers over rich black and red fruit including raspberry and blackberry. Complex notes of pencil shavings and graphite along with, coffee, mocha, and exotic spice and hints of violets begs you to take a sip.
Feel – Full bodied and dry, this wine’s finely etched tannins softens and this wine opens. Lively acidity and mountain minerality creates a nearly chewy and expansive mouth feel that is sustained into the finish.
Taste – Bold red raspberry and blackberry fruit is layered over green bell pepper and other green and smokey herbs. A solid oak component frames other complex notes of pencil shavings, dark chocolate, toasted vanilla mountain minerality, spice and hints of wild anise.
Finish – Clean and long with this wine’s spicy textured tannins and minerality grasping the fruit and other complex notes.
Conclusion – The 2005 St. Helena Road Winery Roy J. Maier Cabernet Sauvignon is a lovely wine that showcases the complexity of Cabernet very well. With solid minerality, green herbs and spice along with dark chocolate and smokey oak. Pair this wine with sage and thyme crusted smoked pork ribs or anything else you throw on the grill. If enjoying this wine now, please give this wine time to open up, otherwise cellar for five to ten years to fully reveal all that is packed into this wine.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Richard Maier
WINE EDUCATION: Richard has learned by doing, just like his Grandfather, learning about making wine since before President Regan’s first term in office. He has tasted through the world’s wine regions, learning from winemakers and viticulturists and then coming back to Sonoma County to apply their tips and tricks to our special piece of heaven on the West side of Spring Mountain.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Owner & Winemaker of Saint Helena Road Vineyards & Winery from May 1999 to present. Head of agricultural research and development of Roy J Maier Corp. cane plantations in North and South America and France from 1980-1996.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To allow our grapes to express the characteristics of our unique mountain location with the least possible human interference. In the same way we practiced minimal intervention with musical reeds, we have put the same philosophy and strategies into our wine-growing and -making.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: When we tasted our first bottle of wine, our 2003 Roy J Maier, we believed then and we believe now that we have created a great bottle of wine at a reasonable price.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: August 2005
AGENT RED: Greetings, Richard. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Maier Family Winery Meritage today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
RICHARD MAIER: Thank you, we appreciate your efforts
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
RICHARD: I had tried lots of wine from around the world, but sampling my first bottle of 1985 Jordan Cabernet launched my enthusiasm for soft and smooth red wines. Everything we have done since that first taste has been trying to create a similar experience for others from our own Spring Mountain property.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RICHARD: The style of our wines is mostly dictated by the growing season and its end result on our crop for that season. As a wine-maker my job is to put that year in a bottle.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RICHARD: We hope we find a middle ground that appeals across the generations, demonstrating how exceptional Bordeaux blends can be from Sonoma County without breaking the bank!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
RICHARD: The color of our 2005 tells you something: that this wine is seriously trying to get your attention, and it always succeeds. Purplish-red, with a dense black core, this wine is dark. It sends off spicy, classic Cabernet aromatics of raspberry, clove, cassis, with a hint of chocolate. These aromas are echoed as flavors on the palate, carried by a full body that has additional richness beyond our previous vintages. Look for a beautiful finish, graced by rich but sweet tannins and very nice length.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RICHARD: This pairing recipe is Brittany’s, our Daughter In-law. Since the weather is turning cold it is a perfect winter meal. Roy J. Maier Braised Short Ribs & Polenta. You can find this recipe on our web site.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Spring Mountain region so special?
RICHARD: Our Spring Mountain Vineyards are a world of Sonoma County micro climates, letting us explore the variety of styles and wines our property can produce. There is no better feeling than driving through the forest along the pristine Mark West Creek and being unable to see the lights of any other settled property; that makes us feel like we are on top of the world surrounded by our vines.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RICHARD: Finishing the last of harvest and crush. It is a busy time this time of year with 18 hour days divided between the vineyard and the winery!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
RICHARD: Just sitting around the dining room table with food, friends, and family and enjoying our wine.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RICHARD: Please keep in mind what drives us—these vines, this fruit, are simply our life and our passion. In short: “A PASSION THAT IS PALATABLE.”
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Region Check:
The location of the Spring Mountain region, which sits between Sonoma County and the Napa Valley, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
The color of our 2005 tells you something — that this wine is seriously trying to get your attention, and it always succeeds. Purplish-red, with a dense black core, this wine is dark. It sends off spicy, classic Cabernet aromatics of raspberry, clove, cassis, with a hint of chocolate. These aromas are echoed as flavors on the palate, carried by a full body that has additional richness beyond our previous vintages. Look for a beautiful finish, graced by rich but sweet tannins and very nice length.
2005 vintage was bottled on June 13, 2007. We produced 740 cases of this Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux style wine. We consulted with Mike Hirby on this vintage.
About The Winery:
Welcome to St. Helena Road Winery – Silently resting on the side of the Mayacmas Mountains are 14,000 hand-started Bordeaux varietal rootstocks, basking in the long days of the Western California sun. These are grapes that are harvested for the finest Northern California Wines.
The spectacular five varietals’ vineyards produces blends of Caberenet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot are carefully monitored and tended to by our wine consultant Mike Hirby.
Our featured wine and premier offering is our ROY J MAIER Cabernet, our tribute to our grandfather, the Musician, Inventor and Reedmaker. The hand-selected Cabernet grapes from sweet spots in our vineyards are put into the finest French white oak barrels, offering ultra low sulfites and big ripe aromas and flavor subtleties.
These vines, this fruit, is simply our life and our passion.
In short: “A PASSION THAT IS PALATABLE”
About The Vineyards:
During the 2006 and 2007 growing seasons, our vineyards took a firm hold on advancing maturity. With our vine structure having been established in 2004 and 2005, we concentrated on extending all cordons (the arms on each vine) to the fullest length our vine spacing will allow, which is about 2.5 feet in each direction. This establishes the ‘fruiting zone’ where our grape bunches will develop. Cordons of 2.5 feet in length produce between 8 and 12 ‘spurs’ per vine. (A ‘spur’ is the growth that emerges from a cordon ‘node’, where 2 bunches or clusters of grapes are created) If we average 10 spurs per vine, each vine will establish about 20 grapes clusters. This is the fruit production level we seek, and have designed into our vineyards. Remember, grapes are nourished through the same root systems, trunks and cordons, whether there are 20 clusters per vine, or 120 per vine. The fewer there are, the more concentrated the energy is directed to each cluster, allowing for maximum development of the grapes and their flavors.
Our 2006 harvest brought us 28 tons of our 5 Bordeaux varietals. With these 28 tons, we crafted 1,750 cases. This expansion of tonnage from 21 in 2005, was due to the above mentioned vine maturity and cordon lengthening. As we gain added cordon length every year on every vine, we see additional nodes appearing, and each new node added with this lengthening, brings 2 more clusters to that vine. Approximately 75% of our 14,500 vines have reached full length. The tonnage increases as more vines mature and extend further. Once full length is established, the existing clusters that develop each season bring added size and weight. The grapes themselves do not necessarily grow larger; there are just more of them per bunch. Grape size is determined by climate, location, soil types, drainage, elevation, temperature etc.
Varietals: 75-80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot 5% Malbec, 5% Cab Franc, and 1-2% Petit verdot