Astrale e Terra (closed)
1999 Arcturus Napa Valley Bordeaux Style Blend
California: Napa Valley
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’ wine is a fantastic example of a perfectly aged Napa Valley wine. Elegant, supple, tasty, and a little shy – at first – today’s wine opens up beautifully. It easily deserves this special recognition. At today’s special price it also deserves your special recognition!
LIBRARY RAID ALERT:
We are the only wine merchant to receive special access to today’s Library selection. And, we got our hands on every last bottle!
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Mission Codename: The Red Supergiant
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit Astrale e Terra, raid their private library of previously-released wines, and return with the finest vintage of their flagship Cabernet, the coveted Arcturus
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Astrale e Terra
Wine Subject: 1999 Arcturus Napa Valley Bordeaux Style Blend
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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest ruby hues, with a darker core. With perfect concentration of color, the wine shows consistent color, from core to edge. After swirling, skinny, wine-stained tears crawl very slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold and dark, with aromas of blackberry, black cherry and black currant that waft from the glass. beneath these are aromas of smoky plum, braised fig, mocha and soft oak, with subtle hints of sweetwoods, briar patch and black pepper.
Feel – Soft and lightweight, as we would expect of a wine of this age. At the mid-palate the wine settles onto the tongue, taking on a chewy texture as the wine coats the corners of the mouth. Supple tannins give the wine a velvety conclusion.
Taste – Shy at first, after some hearty swirling, dark fruits and red fruits emerge. The wine leads with black cherry, dark strawberry, blackberry, bramble, Italian espresso, burnt fig and soft cigar box. After the wine opens, distinct tobacco, licorice, hard leather and toasted oak.
Finish – Long and evolving, with dark fruit slowly yielding to earthen flavors of leather, tobacco, earthy minerals and a hint of black pepper.
Conclusion – The 1999 Astrale e Terra Arcturus Napa Valley is an elegant, soulful, delicious wine. On the palate, it immediately reminded us of a small winery French Bordeaux. On the nose, this wine is classic Napa Valley with big, authentic fruit. It took a little coaxing, but after some swirling (or extended decanting), the shy fruit in this wine really emerged. Be patient, and be rewarded! This wine certainly has a few years of life left in it, but we’re drinking most of our bottles now – and through the winter holidays! Pair with, well, anything! This is one versatile wine that both an excellent food wine and an elegant solo-sipper.
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 1999 Arcturus, today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SCOTT: Thanks, Red. Did you realize the we’ve been conducting these clandestine meetings since 2007?
RED: I know! It is always a pleasure the chat with you… over a glass of wine! Tell me, 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: Atlas Peak is 2,000 feet up off the Valley floor. It overlooks the southern Napa Valley stretching out into the San Pablo/San Francisco bay. The cool breezes sweep up off the bay to produce a cooler high elevation growing region. The wines show more bright fresh characters with fine harder tannin than the valley floor. If properly made, Atlas Peak produces finer first growth style wines that need aging that produces wonderful bottle bouquet.
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: Getting ready for harvest. We had a real late bloom in spring that was cold and wet. Therefore you would think the harvest to be 3 to 4 weeks later than normal. But the set was poor and the crop is only half the size of normal. Light crops usually comes in 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal. We are thinking the harvest will be later, but I think it will come in earlier than we think. With 37 harvest under my belt, I want to ready for the 38th.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
SCOTT: This 1999 Astrale e Terra Arcturus Bordeaux Blend from Atlas Peak in the eastern mountains of the Napa Valley is a perfect example of properly aged Napa Valley wine produced in the old world style. The way the Napa Valley Cabernet blends were produced back in the 50’s and 60’s. The wine now has the right amount of bottle bouquet. When a wine is first bottled it is aroma rich (those smells that come from the grapes and vineyard). At about 2 to 6 years in the bottle the wine goes through a transformation where the tannin molecules chain up. It is the ends of the molecules that create the sharp course “tannic” character on your tongue. As the molecules connect together forming bigger but fewer molecules there are fewer ends to create the course tannin taste. So the wine softens, producing less fresh fruit characteristics in exchange for softer more velvet tones. Americans tend to like to drink younger wines that are aroma rich while Europeans tend to like to drink older wines that have developed bottle bouquet (bouquet rich). If you want to try a truly well developed, properly aged bottle of wine like those of the Napa Valley from the 50’s and 60’s, this is the wine.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SCOTT: Jana and I had it last night with a grilled marinated pork loin. We a caprese salad and corn on the cob. The marinate on the pork loin as well as the garden fresh tomatoes went extremely well this aged Napa wine.
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 Region Check:
The location of the Atlas Peak region can be seen in this satellite photo.
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
Awards & Accolades:
Wine Spectator – “Supple and rich, with velvety black cherry, black currant, chocolate and mocha tones. Ripe fruit flavors, and generous toasty oak notes continue to unfold through the lingering, focused finish. Ample tannins for cellaring. Best from 2004 through 2012.” – James Laube
About This Wine:
We held back a limited quantity of this exciting vintage to re-release at its finest!
A Bordeaux blend, Arcturus is comprised of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. It exhibits a ripe, fruity bouquet, with Cabernet Sauvignon contributing depth and richness and a luscious, lingering finish. Crafted from the best grapes 1999 had to offer, Arcturus started with the release of this stellar vintage.
Arcturus is named for one of the brightest stars in our solar system – 18 thimes larger than our sun, and is classified as a Red Supergiant. Arcturus the star is 37 light years away and is the closest star to earth. In astronomical terms, it is considered a Red Supergiant.
Appearance: Rich hues of deep dark plum fade to a light crimson at the edge of the glass.
Aroma & Bouquet: Spice, chocolate, blackberry and licorice with a suggestion of smoky oak woven in.
Approach: Full and lush, opulent ripe red fruit with a pleasing balance of tannin and acidity.
Evolution: Complex and jammy. As the wine warms in the mouth, the tannins round out, revealing tobacco, leather and chocolate.
Finish: Fruit-driven with chocolate and sweet oak enhancing hthe long and well-balanced finish.
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.
APPELLATION: Napa Valley
VARIETAL BLEND: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc
HAND HARVESTED: October, 1999
PRODUCTION: 1,643 Cases
BARREL AGING: 18 Months Cooperage: 100% Small French Oak