2009 101 Points Red Wine
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
Today’s budget-minded wine is an extraordinary value – and the perfect daily drinker. Stock up, dear Operative and act quickly. Quantities are very limited. We will very likely sell out.
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Mission Codename: Lucky in Love
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Swanson Vineyards and secure an allocation of their Modern House Wines, “101 Points”, a budget-minded wine from their new sister label.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Modern House Wines, vinted by Swanson Vineyards
Wine Subject: “101 Points” 2009 California Proprietary Red Wine
Winemaker: Chris Phelps
Backgrounder: Swanson Vineyards is located in Napa Valley’s Oakville AVA. The Oakville AVA, centrally located and adjacent to Napa Valley’s famous Rutherford AVA, was established in July 1993. Oakville is considered on of the most diverse AVA’s in the Napa area and grows some of the best Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in California.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark magenta hues, with a darker core of deep ruby. Coloration is evenly concentrated, right out to the very edge of the wine. Swirl the wine and witness a the steady march of thin, wine-stained tears.
Smell – Ripe blackberry, black cherry, blueberry jam, raspberry and bramble combine with sweet spice, hard leather, tobacco leaf, toasty vanilla oak, wild fennel, black pepper and a hint of cured meats.
Feel – Medium-bodied at the outset, the wine then surprises the drinker by gliding swiftly and smoothly across the mid-palate. Once past, plush tannins introduce a softly grippy feeling that ushers in a mineral laden, slowly spreading dryness. After a few moments, the wine takes on an intriguing chewy feel.
Taste – Dark, ripe and concentrated, with ripe blackberry, dark plum skin, black cherry and tobacco leaf. As the wine opens up, dried cherry, dark chocolate, blueberry jam, cracked leather, black pepper, subtle dried orange peel, subtle clove and dark flinty minerals follow on.
Finish – Very long, lead by rich dark fruit that slowly yields to rich, earthy flavors. As flavors fade, a chewy feel persists, coating the mouth with delicious pepper, spice, leather and minerals.
Conclusion – Fans of Swanson Vineyards rejoice!! Today’s wine, from Swanson’s sister label, Modern House Wines is a delectable, approachable and surprisingly complex treat – at a budget-minded price. This wine drinks beautifully, right out of the bottle, but spin it for just a few minutes and it really comes to life. Delicious, extracted and wonderfully balanced this wine is a very easy choice, dear Operative. A perfect daily drinker , you’ll want to stock up on this wine. Pair this food-friendly wine as you would a Cabernet or a Syrah. That is to say, pair it with something bold and flavorful, like a juicy grilled burger or a thick grilled Porterhouse steak. Quantities are limited so act quickly. We recommend stocking up on this fun, fantastic, wonderful wine.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Predominantly Syrah, with some Cabernet Sauvignon added to the blend, this 2009 California Proprietary Red Wine exemplifies the ripe, concentrated quality of the long, cool 2009 vintage.
The wine has a youthful purple color. Ripe, jammy blueberry and raspberry fruit dominate the aroma, with hints of red licorice and vanilla.
The wine is rich and sweet on the palate, with well-rounded, mouth-coating tannins. In addition to ripe black cherry and black raspberry, there is a suggestion of exotic spices.
About The Winery:
We are a family winery founded on a passion for evolving the existing standards of wine and food. In the 1950s, long before founding Swanson Vineyards, the Swanson family introduced the first lifestyle product, Swanson frozen dinners, which helped women get out of the kitchen and enjoy life.
In 1985, at his 25th Stanford University reunion, W. Clarke Swanson, Jr. was inspired by a tip from a fraternity brother and successful vintner to purchase a parcel of vineyard land on the Oakville Cross Road in the heart of Napa Valley.
Clarke immediately hired André Tchelistcheff, one of the century’s most influential winemakers, as a consultant to help determine how to make the best use of the vineyards. For André the answer was to plant the then relatively unknown variety merlot—a move that would shape the future of Swanson Vineyards.
The family continues to expand the simple and sensual pleasures of life through Swanson Vineyards. With an eye toward quality, relevance and innovation, the next generation is enticing a whole new audience with a progressive approach to wine, food and the good life.
About The Winemakers:
By the summer of 1987 the vineyards were replanted, and André made another influential suggestion—to hire the young novice talent Marco Cappelli to oversee winemaking. Marco, a first-generation Italian-American, was 26 and hired based on André’s gut instinct. It was a wise decision; Marco’s distinctive wines became the founding flavors of Swanson Vineyards.
For the rest of his life André lent his visionary talents to our winemaking pursuits, meeting with Marco biweekly and consulting on matters of the vine and winery. Marco remained Swanson’s winemaker for seventeen years, after which he purchased his own vineyard in the California Foothills. Marco is currently making four dessert wines for Swanson, which include Angelica, Crepuscule, Arsene, and Les Trois Filles.
In 2003, Swanson Vineyards was fortunate to obtain the talent of Chris Phelps as its new winemaker. Chris has had an illustrious career in the wine industry, first as winemaker at Dominus for twelve years and at Caymus Vineyards for six years. His wines are more refined and sophisticated than ever, yet they remain delightfully accessible and approachable—the perfect embodiment of our trademark decadence with a wink.