What We Say 2005 Seps Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
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Mission Codename: Another Story
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red to back to Seps Estate at Storybook Mountain Vineyards, on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains at the northern reaches of the Napa Valley. His mission: Return with an ample allocation of Dr. Seps coveted, 93 point 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Seps Estate at Storybook Mountain Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
Winemaker: Dr. J. Bernard “Jerry” Seps
Backgrounder: Earlier this year, we we fortunate to bring you the 2004 vintage of today’s wine. This wine became one of our best-selling Cabernets and we are very pleased, today, to bring you the 2005 vintage. This wine is juicier, fuller and richer than the 2004 and we expect today’s offer to break records, once again.
Named “Winery of the Year” & “Top 100 Wineries in the World” in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, by Wine & Spirits Magazine, Dr. Seps’ wineries have attained a level or recognition and success that few other wineries have.
Seps Estate is the sister label to Storybook Mountain, a Wine Spies Operative favorite. Seps’ wines are estate grown, produced and bottled on the Seps estate, on Storybook Mountain, in Calistoga California. Robert Parker lists Storybook Mountain as “representing the pinnacle of wine quality in California”. Located on the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, at the northern end of the Napa Valley, the Seps Estate vineyards produce some of the most sought-after wines in the region. A truly outstanding wine, Today’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon deserves your fullest attention.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This wine displays hues of dark garnet, with a darker magenta core. The edges of the wine catch the light when the wine is swirled, throwing off glints of pure ruby. As the wine settles, tall, skinny legs move very slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold intensity with wild mixed berries of blackberry, blueberry and currant. Spicy barrel character and sweet tobacco then mix with dusty bramble, cigar box, sweet cranberry and a hint of cherry candy.
Feel – Lush, round, and soft on entry. An instant later, the wine reveals chewy tannins that contributes to the crushed velvet feel on the mid-palate. A darkly mineral-rich dryness spreads from the center of the palate, and radiates outward.
Taste – Dark and concentrated, with mixed dark berries mingling with tobacco, earthen bramble, red plum, flint and dried dark flower petals. Decant for 30 minutes (or more) and the wine will reveal additional flavors of cocoa dust and a hint of toasty vanilla oak.
Finish – Very long, with flavors that start with wild berries, spice and flower petals, and ends with dusty cocoa, flint and soft oak. The finish is dynamic, with flavors that move from one distinct characteristic to another.
Conclusion – Another stunner from Seps! Today’s 2005 Seps Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a lush and elegant wine that is certain to become another best-seller for us. The wine delivers classic Napa Cab character and flavors, without going over the top. This is a fantastic food wine, but our entire tasting panel agreed that it makes for a great solo-sipper, as well. Personally, I’ll be enjoying my next bottle with a hearty meal of Prime Rib and garlic mashed potatoes. Drinking just beautifully now, be sure to cellar a few bottles for up to 10 more years. Not that I’ll be that patient, but, do as I say, dear Operative not as I do.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Dr. J. Bernard Seps
WINE EDUCATION: Dr. Seps’ winemaking skills grew from theory, practice and personal philosophy. Courses at U.C. Davis and intensive discussions with the winemakers in and outside the Napa Valley provided the theoretical framework. An apprenticeship, encompassing all aspects of winemaking from picking the grapes to bottling the wine, with one of the most famous Zinfandel makers in California (the late Joe Swan), yielded the necessary practical background. A very competitive nature and his “why not” approach to achieving goals, coupled with both a willingness for hard work and the satisfactions to be gained from recreating a major wine estate, have provided the drive and focus for producing Storybook wines.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Storybook Mountain’s first and only winemaker.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Our first vintage was 1980 released in 1983.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Dr. Seps. We are thrilled to be showing your 2004 Seps Estate Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DR. SEPS: My pleasure, ‘Agent Red’. Is that your real name?
RED: I’ll never tell! Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DR. SEPS: A series of experiences, from being a sommelier at 21 to visiting the Napa Valley then and after.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DR. SEPS: The late Joe Swan
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
DR. SEPS: The 05 is a very rich and complex vintage, without an overload of alcohol and sweetness. This is a classic Bordeaux style of wine in structure, capturing at the same time the depth of Napa Valley fruit.
DR. SEPS: I make wine to bring forth from our beautiful land all the best it will yield.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DR. SEPS: Venison, or osso bucco.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the upper Napa Valley so special?
DR. SEPS: Storybook has a unique east facing mountain bowl that is the coolest site in the upper Napa Valley, bringing unusual finesse to its wines from the estate’s certified organic grapes. Long growing days in our cool eastern exposure hillside vineyard at the northern end of the Napa Valley, as well as our mineral laden volcanic soils.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DR. SEPS: Running from vine to vine with an umbrella!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
DR. SEPS: With time and the anticipation of an enjoyable sensual experience.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DR. SEPS: Wine shared is wine enjoyed.
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 Seps Estate Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the WINERY can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine – “One panelist described this as a wine ‘from someone who knows cabernet, in the old guard; it’s not slutty or sweet.’ Jerry Seps, in fact, is known for his zinfandel – which either makes the comment more ironic, or the wine that much more impressive…this wine tastes of wild fruit – dark currants, tiny blueberries and juicy blackberries. There’s just a hint of herbal character to keep varietal integrity, a minty edge that cools the finish. Beautifully balanced, this has a long life ahead.” – October 2009
About This Wine:
The same structure, finesse, and purity of fruit that have long characterized Storybook Mountain Zinfandels are evident in Seps Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. These qualities reflect the estate vineyard’s relatively cool climate, its clay-loam soils, and its easterly and northerly exposures. The style of the wines also reflects Jerry Seps’ preference for wines of moderate alcohol, intense, focused fruit and exemplary balance.
About The Winery:
Storybook Mountain has established a world-wide reputation for the consistently high quality of its wines. The Zinfandel tradition began at Storybook Mountain in the early 1880s when its red clay-loam hillsides in the Mayacamas Range were first planted to this varietal. Here, an ideal match of terroir and grape allows Zinfandel to show its true potential.
Storybook Mountain’s sought-after estate wines are carefully hand-crafted from choice grapes grown in certified organic estate vineyards surrounding the winery. They are aged at least 12 months in the best French, Hungarian and American oak barrels, inside century-old caves dug deep into the mineral-rich volcanic rock underlying the hand-tended vineyard.
Proprietors Jerry and Sigrid Seps’ wines are famed for intensity and longevity. Raspberries, black cherries and spice are the essence of their complex, well balanced and elegant wines.