Erba Mountainside Vineyards
2005 Proprietary Red
California: Napa Valley
Earlier in the year, we had the great fortune to discover Erba Mountainside Vineyard. Our Operatives loved their stunning Cabernet Sauvignon, purchasing the wine in record numbers. Fortune favors us, once again, with today’s 2005 Erba Proprietary Red Blend a fantastic, rich, bold blend that our tasting panel went bonkers over.
While the wine is dark and robust, we found it to be an excellent companion for richer food pairings. Enjoy this wine with a grilled steak, a pot roast or a rich Italian pasta dish.
Allow this lovely wine to breathe, and be rewarded with soft, more elegant flavors and a softer feel. Be sure to decant or just spin away - and witness a transformation in the glass.
Order, today, in time for Thanksgiving shipping.
Deep garnet red with a dark core of darker magenta. After swirling this wine, it settles slowly, leaving behind chubby, widely-spaced legs that hold onto the color of the wine as they descend slowly downward.
Dired cherry, raspberry, dark strawberry and sweet spice combine with dark chocolate, minerals, blackberry, dried fall leaves and soft sweetwoods.
Dark and foreboding with rich black cherry, braised plum, spiced wild strawberry, dark tobacco, black currant. As the wine opens, sweet spice, graphite and leather are added to the rich pallet of flavors.
Dark and full, with long-sustaining flavors of rich fruit, spice and earthy minerals. A very gradual dryness spreads throughout the palate, eventually drying the lips and cheeks.
What the Winery Says
Planted to all five Bordeaux varietals as well as Syrah, the Erba Mountainside Vineyard team has been blessed with a ‘next to perfect’ setting nestled well above the fog line. The vineyard is a twenty acre parcel consisting of fourteen blocks. Each row receives abundant sunshine through the early morning and mid-day, followed by forgiving Westerly breezes and cooling shade in the afternoon. To put it simply, each acre of Erba Mountainside wines consistently display a dark and richly complex, site specific character that you would only expect from the most seasoned wines. It all begins in that ‘next to perfect’ setting.
Located on the Eastern slope of Atlas Peak, Erba Mountainside Vineyard typically receives early morning and mid afternoon sun. The soils are volcanic and porous enabling the heat to radiate. Cooling breezes typically rush through the mountains at times taking the temperature down 30° F by late afternoon. The temperature change is vital to maintain acid structure in the grapes.
At harvest, clusters are hand picked, destemmed and sorted prior to crushing. Malolactic fermentation is done in barrique. 100% French Oak is used throughout, and Cabernet is exposed to 80% new to enable the vineyard characteristics to come through in the wine.
The 2005 vintage was characterized by a long perfect growing season without temperature extremes which allowed long hang time to develop full physiologic ripeness of the grapes. The 2005 Proprietary Red is at once elegant, rich and powerful. Brilliant purple in color, aromas of wildflower and rose oil deepen as the wine opens. Flavors of cassis, huckleberry and tar are accented by notes of smoked meats and cardamom. Polished, fine-grained tannins are supple and silky. The multi-layered finish relaxes and evolves with time, indicating age-worthiness
Oak: 100% French, 80% New
Production: 860 cases
About the Winery
In 1998, after two years in searching for a site that could be developed into a premium,world class vineyard, the goal was finally achieved. Erba Mountainside Vineyards possesses the attributes for a unique terroir with features of steep slopes at high elevations of 1100 to 1550 feet above sea level with very rocky volcanic soils.
The vineyard has a unique microclimate next to Atlas Peak. It is above the morning fog which allows abundant sunshine throughout the day to ripen the grapes fully. Cooling westerly breezes come over the mountain midday and in the late afternoon the mountain ridge shades the hot afternoon sun.
The vineyard was developed into 14 blocks with a total of 20 acres planted. Each block has varying row direction and slope and therefore each block is harvested separately for optimum ripeness. Tight vineyard spacing was used to give the vines more competition to improve grape quality. Rootstock and varietal recommendations from Paul Skinner, PhD, matched the soil to the rootstock to keep vigor low and balanced. With much research the highest quality, low yielding clones were chosen, including many of the ENTAV-INRA clones from France. All five Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, as well as Syrah were planted. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for approximately 70% of the vineyard plantings, and all wines are made from the estate grapes.
Winemaker Luc Morlet
Luc Morlet is a Masters graduate of Enology from Rheims University, France and holds a Viticulture degree from Ecole Viticole de Champagne. His viticultural and winemaking knowledge was furthered by technical tours of the European wine regions of Italy, Spain, Germany and the French areas of Alsace, Cognac, Rhône and Loire Valley.
Upon completion of graduate school, Luc’s first full time position was as the Assistant-Winemaker for the Val d’Or Champagne Cellars. In 1993, he replaced the Winemaker at a French subsidiary in St Helena, which allowed him to discover Napa Valley and Sonoma County’s unique viticultural conditions. In 1994, Luc became the ‘Régisseur’ at Château Dauzac, a classified Margaux growth, and perfected his skills making Bordeaux style wines, under the guidance of consultant Jacques Boissenot.
Newton Vineyard of Napa Valley hired Luc as Director of Viticulture and Enology in 1996. While there he crafted the highly rated and famous “Chardonnay Unfiltered” wine(1996 through 2000). He has also been Winemaker for the Staglin family of the famous Rutherford Bench at the heart of the Napa Valley.
In spring 2001, Luc joined the Peter Michael Winery of Knights Valley as Winemaker. His technical leadership helped the Peter Michael Winery to improve upon its already acclaimed wines. In order to insure the continuity of style, Luc still remains involved with Peter Michael Winery as Consulting Winemaker, advising his brother Nicolas Morlet who succeeded him as Winemaker in January of 2006.
Luc describes his winemaking philosophy as a non-interventionist winemaking style driven by an ongoing search for quality improvement.