Stonegate Winery

2003 Diamond Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Spaulding Vineyard

California: Napa Valley

Offer Expired:Jan 26, 2009 at 11:59 pm
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What We Say


Today we are proud to bring you a stand-out Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain AVA, an area known for producing incredible Cabs.


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Library Raid Alert

For today’s wine, we infiltrated the winery, dug deep into its archives – and came away with a handful of the remaining bottles of their incredible 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

Mission Codename: Heavens Gate

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Secure a superior library vintage Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Stonegate Vineyards

Mission Status: Accomplished

Current Winery: Stonegate Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Phil Hurst


The fruit for this exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain AVA located in the north east corner of Napa in the Mayacamas mountains. This mountain fruit, grown in porous volcanic soil that drains well with more exposure to sunlight results in berries that are more concentrated in both flavor and intensity. Only about 600 acres of vines are planted in the AVA’s 5,000 total acres. Today’s wine is a superb example of the quality which is possible within this very special region. Read Agent Red’s mission report and tasting notes below

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – A dark burgundy-purple with concentrated color out to its deep ruby edges, with a dark inky core of black plum. The wine looks slightly viscous and when swirled leaves long and slender legs at the edge of the glass

Smell -Dusky blueberry leads the charge, followed by deep and dark aromatic stonefruit, soft spice, mocha and softest smoked meats. This is complimented by mild toasted cedar and soft oak

Feel – Smooth, cool and light on entry, then slightly drying medium-firm but fine tannins take hold at the edges of the mouth. This full-bodied wine is well structured with good acidity a great feel that becomes velvety smooth as it opens up

Taste – An initial attack of red fruit of cherry, dusky raspberry and red currant. These bright flavors are tempered against deeper and darker flavors of earth, mushroom, plum and cigar box

Finish – This supple wine finishes long and smooth with lavish layers of dark fruit that tail off, one by one, leaving a mouthwatering dryness and dried black fruit flavors that linger

Conclusion – We continue to be enthralled by Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon! Today’s wine exemplifies just how wonderful a Diamond Mountain Cab can be. Rich, full and long on flavors and aromatics, this wine is a balanced beauty with a softer side, making it a brilliant partner for most foods. Have you had had a Diamond Mountain Cab? If not, this is a superb choice. If you have… Oh! You already ordered today’s wine!

Mission Report:

For nearly 36 years, Stonegate Winery has been a Napa Valley legend, known for producing the finest estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot. While it led the charge in the early 1970s, today the winery is experiencing a resurgence. The exact details are highly classified, however.

Unless you have double top secret clearance, you won’t be able to read today’s complete mission report. Suffice it to say, all will be revealed – in time.

For now, you may content yourself with today’s exceptional 2003 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine of wonderful balance, delicious flavors and layers of rich aromatics.

How were we able to procure an allotment of this incredible and mysterious wine? We could tell you, but, you know…

Meanwhile, please stay tuned, and expect another great Stonegate wine – and the full skinny on this mysterious winery – in the near future! And, take it from me, you do NOT want to miss out on today’s great Diamond District Cab. Its that amazing.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of Stonegate Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Double Gold Medal Winner – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2007

About This Wine:

The Diamond Mountain Reserve exhibits a deep purple color. The nose is packed with blueberries and a toasty mocha balanced with hints of stone fruit. Opulent fruit flavours balance this sophisticated wine with toasty oak and rich supple tannins. The wine is endowed with a symphony of crisp cassis and redcurrant together with a silky elegant finish. This elegant wine can be enjoyed now and will benefit from the accompaniment of full flavoured foods or a nice juicy steak. This wine will also develop with cellar ageing as the fruit, acid and tannins perform their intricate dance through time.

Vintage: 2003 was an “interesting” growing season that turned out to be an excellent vintage. A cool wet April after a warm March helped extend the vintage through to August with fewer than normal heat spikes. A couple of hot spells in the first half of September brought forward expectations of an early harvest. When the weather remained beautifully balmy and warm into October the grapes were allowed to extend their “hang time” allowing for further flavor development. The majority of the Spaulding grapes were picked on October 28th although a portion benefited from an even longer hang time until November 6th, racing the rains into the winery

Terroir: The Spaulding vineyard is located on the edge of a volcanic crater on Diamond Mountain, along the western ridge of the Napa Valley. This vineyard combines shallow, well-drained volcanic soils and a long cool growing season. This 17 acre vineyard has five distinct microclimates, four of which combined to produce this exceptional Reserve blend. The “F” Block and “B” Block total 5.75 acres and provide the majority of the fruit for this vintage.

Winemaking: Before fermentation the grapes were cold soaked forty-eight hours at 40° to extract even more colour and flavour in the juice. The must was inoculated with Pasteur Red yeast and fermented in small tanks specially designed for greater skin to juice contact. The wines were tasted daily to determine the best time for a gentle press. The wine was then aged in French Oak barrels (67% new and 33% one year old) for 21 months. The final blend was made by adding 2% Petit Verdot and just 1% Merlot, adding the final harmonics to a beatiful symphony.

About The Winery:

Stonegate, one of Napa Valley’s founding cult Cabernet wineries, has been producing highly prized, single vineyard, award winning wines since its establishment in 1973. The limited production, deep, robust and age worthy wines from Stonegate helped the Napa Valley appellation establish its dominance as one of the world’s top regions for outstanding red wines.

In 2007 a partnership of the Dolan and Hurst winemaking families purchased the brand and its inventories of the sought-after Reserve Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Wappo Vineyard (Rutherford) Petite Verdot. With an uncompromising approach to excellence, Winemaker Phil Hurst – who grew up in the Valley – spares no expense in the procurement of premium Napa Valley grapes and the consistent production of super-small lots of luxurious, age-
worthy wines. The ownership team honors the provenance of Stonegate. Dolan and Hurst bring years of collaboration, wine industry experience and a deep environmental consciousness to invigorate this pioneering brand.

Philosophy: Wine Spectator proclaims the decade of the 1970s as the “Napa Valley Boom Years.” Stonegate Winery joined other pioneering wineries to produce world-class wines which sparked the resurgence of Napa Valley as a dominant contender in the global wine arena.

Focus: Stonegate’s ultra-premium portfolio focuses on Bordeaux varietals from specific blocks within its 199 acres of Napa Valley vineyards.

Location: Stonegate makes its wine at the Laird Family Estate facility on Hwy 29 & Oak Knoll Avenue and its offices are located in Napa, California.

Vineyards: Stonegate owns or controls 200 acres of Napa Valley vineyards including a steeply-terraced vineyard in Diamond Mountain and above the valley, at elevations of 1,000 ft., our other estate vineyards are located in Chiles Valley District of the Napa Valley.

Each block is a selection of vines that enjoy the same terroir and is carefully hand-farmed so that every aspect of the vine is suited to its terrain and micro-climate. Only the best blocks are selected. All fruit is hand-harvested in half-ton bins. Hand sorting in the vineyard ensures only superior quality fruit is reserved for our wines.

Portfolio: Diamond Mountain Reserve, Petit Verdot.

Production: Current: 2,000 cases of which approximately 75% are red Bordeaux varietal wines.

Technical Analysis:

Acidity: 0.72

Alcohol: 14.5%

Appellation: Napa Valley

Sub-Appellation: Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley

Bottling Date: August 16, 2004

Months in Barrel: 100% French Oak, (75%New)

Oak: French oak

Release Date: May 22, 2006

Special Designation: Spaulding Vineyard

Sugar: Dry

Time In Oak: 21 months

Varietal: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot

Year: 2003

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