2005 Spellwine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
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Mission Codename: How do you SPELLwine?
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit Spelletich Cellars and acquire their 2nd Generation Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Spellwine, the new generation of Spelletich Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Spellwine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Barbara Spelletich
Today’s wine represents the new generation of wines from our friends at Spelletich Cellars. Guided by Kristen Kahler, the daughter of winemaker Barbara Spelletich, Spellwines are an exciting addition to the Spelletich lineup.
Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world come from Napa Valley. A delicious and elegant example of the varietal, today’s wine is a Classic Napa Cabernet. Approachable, richly flavorful and deeply delicious, this wine shows off the winemaking skills of Barbara Spelletich – a delicious wine at a price that is difficult to resist.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Intensely dark purple with deep garnet edges and a dark but clear core. When swirled, this slightly viscous wine leaves slender and widely spaced legs that race to the wine below.
Smell – Medium bold in intensity with rich Bing cherry, cassis and dark fruit layered over licorice and balsam notes. Green herbs, pepper and balanced notes of oak linger along with hints of sweet spice and mocha.
Feel – This dry and full-bodied wine is expansive and chewy with firm tannins that grip into the finish. Textured dark minerality, warming spice and bright acidity contribute to a chewy mouth feel.
Taste – Fruit forward in character with blackberry, dark cherry, cassis and currants meld with sweet and peppery spice. Licorice and toasted oak along with the green herbs and mocha layer into the finish.
Finish – Medium long in length with the rich ripe fruit and chewy texture reaching the far corners of the palate with its spice, pepper, oak and green herbs and drying tannins begging for another sip.
Conclusion – The 2005 Spelletich Cellars Spellwine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious and value conscious wine. Great rich and ripe dark fruit with a chewy and expansive palate makes me long for the BBQ as this wine is perfect for grilled burgers or even skirt steak or carne asada.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Barbara Spelletich
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cork & Bottle, Seattle Washington, Retail Store Manager. Taught Wine Classes, wine tasting and cheese; St. Michelle, Woodinville, Washington, Retail Sales Manager, Public Events, Tasting Room Zephyr Imports, Owner; Imported wines from Italy, France, Germany, Spain & Portugal; Whitwhams, Responsible for US sales. We were negociants for Cru Classe Bordeaux, Ports & Burgundies. Offices in Manchester England & Cenon, Bordeaux; St. Clement, St. Helena, CA National Sales Manager; Spelletich Cellars, Owner & Winemaker
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: As natural as possible.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ” I do want to manipulate wine. I want to harvest when ripe, ferment cool to capture the fruit essence and age until the wine is ready to be bottled. The most important feature of my wine is that it smell and taste of the grapes it was made from. Simple.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Bodog Red 1993, Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 & Chardonnay 1994. All Napa Valley.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Barbara. Welcome back! We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Spellwines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BARBARA SPELLETICH: Excited to be here.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BARBARA: Yes, a trip to California when I was 18 years old. I tasted Cabernet Sauvignon at a dinner and that was it!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BARBARA: The list is long as I imported wine from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal & Spain for years. Angelo Gaja taught me to not compromise, Signore Gentini taught me to blend, Egon Mueller taught me to plant the right clone of grapes and keep the vines healthy. Each of the wines I exported to my company, Zephyr Imports, in Seattle Washington had a story, a style, a commitment to excellence & a creative curve.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BARBARA: I make wine for customers. I make wines that are great with food. So my customers are also foodies who like wine. Same me & my family & friends.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BARBARA: Spellwine Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is a wine created by my daughter, Kristen. This is her concept of bringing less expensive great Napa Valley wine to consumers. This wine is a blend of three vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon and our Carneros Merlot. Berry aromas and integrated smooth tannins start your palate vibrating into a rich and refreshing perfectly balanced wine with a long finish.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BARBARA: Hamburgers, Chili, Chocolate Torte, my husband, dinner.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valleyso special?
BARBARA: Napa Valley is one of the smallest regions in the world. The diversity in the valley is amazing from topography, geography, geology and of course the clones of grapes we use in each of our vineyards. Weather is consistently conducive to creating wonderful wine.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BARBARA: Blending and bottling.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BARBARA: Use your nose first. As a winemaker, I love the smell of wine. So the aroma is the first sense of any wine we taste. I like to swirl my wine to open it up and then take my first sip and roll this around my mouth a bit before I swallow. Sometimes we need to let a wine open up and show its personality before we really get it. Take your time with wine. The wait is worth it.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BARBARA: Taste wines you have never tried before. You will fall in love. Again.
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 Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Spelletich Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
If Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was still with us he surely would adapt this wine to his style and sing, “It’ll put a spell on you.” And it will, what with its lovely berry aromas and soft, warm, smooth, and beautiful fruit. The wine is perfectly balanced with a long finish and good structural tannins to hold it up for six or seven years.
About The Winery:
Spelletich Family Winery started with the 1994 harvest in Napa Valley. The first wines were Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Bodog Red. With minimal intervention, they rely upon their secret weapon: Barb’s palate. Focusing on three basic, yet critical principles: when to harvest, when to press and when to pull off the oak to pursue something larger and more elusive than your ordinary wines. Their approach is to produce wines of integrity; that are rich, ripe and refreshing. Barbs focus is the fruit. She wants you to be able to taste real fruit flavors and smell the incredible nose of her wines. This winery is truly only family owned and operated. Husband & wife team Timothy and Barb Spelletich and their daughter Kristen.
Barb was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She stared her career in the wine industry as the manager of The Cork & Bottle. She worked for Ste. Michelle Winery, G. Raden & Sons, and then established her own distributorship, Zephyr Imports. This began her international travels and relationships with the finest wineries in the world. She spent every spring traveling to Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. The purpose was to visit each producer to choose the wines to be exported to the United States. These producers became friends and taught Barb much about wine making. Mainly the importance of ripe fruit and the gentle way to preserve that fruit flavor. Her next step was Whitwhams Fine and Rare Wines, based in Manchester, England and Bordeaux. Life as a negociant enhanced her contact with winemakers of all Cru Classe. She futher enhanced her winemaking skills with courses at UC Davis. Barb arrived in Napa Valley in 1992 and started working for St. Clement Vineyards in St. Helena.
Timothy grew up half way across the country in Davenport, Iowa. After graduating with a degree in business from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he had an opportunity to work in Italy. He worked at the Locanda Del Sant’Uffizio, a small country inn and restaurant located in a town outside of Asti. At this former monastery he experienced an old fashioned way of life. Each prix fixe meal was prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients available on the property and nearby villages. The exposure to herbs, fruits and vegetables harvested at their peak of ripeness, creating menus, plus pairing the food with wine introduced Timothy to flavors and sensory evalationsthat changed his life forever. This small exclusive inn also made their own wine from estate grapes. He then returned to the United States to work for The Pierre Hotel in New York City and The Four Seasons in Philadelphia. Timothy arrived in Napa Valley spring of 1993 and started working for Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena as manager and wine buyer.
After 11 years of business, Barb & Timothy were able to hire their daughter Kristen. Born in Seattle, Washington, she grew up in St. Helena. Kristen spent 10 years working in the wine and hospitality industry before she was ready to tackle her own family business. While attending college in Napa for Psychology, she had an opportunity to work at The French Laundry and realized that she needed to start thinking more seriously about the industry that had been part of her life since birth. She continued learning through sales and relationship marketing at The Culinary Insitute, Viansa, Sterling Vineyards and Mumm Napa. Her main focus now is to build Spelletich Cellars to fit the 21st century market.
Timothy and Barb’s individual experiences in Europe, interests in wine, food, cooking and entrepreneurial drive generate an awesome team of artistry and hard work. The combination of wine industry preparation and lifelong passion is what united them in the heart of Napa Valley to launch Spelletich Cellars Winery.
Now with the second generation on board and a strong outlook on the future, we share our passion and remind you that life is to be enjoyed with food, family & friends!
Varietals: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon & 11% Merlot
Region: Napa Valley
Aged: French & American Oak for 4 years 50% new