Maple Lane Winery
2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
ULTRA QPR ALERT:
We are astounded at the quality of today’s wine, especially considering the price. This wine exhibits a QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) that is off the charts!
Today, the only place to purchase this wine is right here, right now…
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
We always feature great wines, but today’s wine is worthy of special mention. This limited-availability wine is a literal masterpiece that will go quickly, so please do not miss out
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Mission Codename: Blown Away
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Reports have been flooding about a small, family run winery called Maple Lane. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is rumored to drink way above its price category, giving higher-priced rivals a real run for their money. Taste the wine. If the reports are factual, procure as many cases as possible for our deal-loving, Cab-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Maple Lane Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Brad Smith
Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world come from Napa Valley. Today’s Napa Cab was declared the favorite Cabernet Sauvignon of the evening at a recent covert tasting panel convened by The Wine Spies. All of our panelists were utterly impressed by the wine. One panelist called the wine a “Classic big Napa Cab, without the stratospheric price tag”. We completely agree. Today’s wine is terrifically impressive, especially given its low price and supreme quality.Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report to learn more about this fantastic Napa Cab
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby-red with concentrated color out to the edge of the glass. The wine shows a dark heart but has great clarity. When swirled, this wine moves quickly and shows a tight surface that settles fast leaving behind skinny and tightly-spaced legs that move quickly down the walls of the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic, with rushes of dark stonefruit, black cherry, raspberry, mocha, espresso, dark mixed berries, and soft oaky spice
Feel – Velvety smooth, soft and supple. Fast across the mid palate, and then supple tannins emerge, adding a hint of minerality and a soft dryness
Taste – Richly layered with flavors of blackberry, raspberry and dark plum. These are balanced against mocha, espresso, earthy dark cherry, soft oak, bitter cooking chocolate and mild minerals
Finish – Ultra long with lush flavors that evolve and change long after the sip is swallowed
Conclusion – This delicious wine represents one of the best values for a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that we have ever come across. Through special covert negotiation with the winery, we were able to secure only a small allotment, but at a fantastic price. This wine drinks well above its average retail price of $50, and way above today’s Wine Spies price. If you are looking for a ready-to-drink wine that will also continue to develop for years to come, this wine will blow you away. Lush, rich, dark, delicious and beautifully balanced, this release from Maple Lane Wine has us stocking up – and wishing that we could pre-order the next vintage.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Brad. We are thrilled to be showing your newest vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. Thanks so much for giving us the exclusive! You know, our tasting panel went crazy for the wine and I must admit to being an instant devotee as well! Thanks again for the wine, and for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BRAD SMITH: My pleasure. We like your spy-style!
RED: I know that you’re busy, so I’ll jump right in. Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BRAD: I first moved to Napa Valley to work as a massage therapist. At that time I thought fine wine was bourgeoisie nonsense. Then a friend of mine kidnapped me and forced me to go wine tasting. I fell in love.
RED: Massage to wine. Sounds not unlike my own wine career. Where did you learn the most about winemaking?
BRAD: I have learned the most about winemaking working day in day out at wineries. It is a gradual accumulation of knowledge. I learned a great deal in school (at Frenso State) but nothing compares to the daily grind of working and solving problems at a winery.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
BRAD: Simply put, I try to make the wine tasty and balanced. Most of work is done in the vineyard. The single most important variable is getting the fruit to the ideal ripeness. I am looking for no green flavors and lots of deep, intense fruit flavors, and not letting it hang so that bright fruit turns to pruny or raisin flavors. I also feel that choosing the right oak barrels to age the wine is extremely important. I use primarily French oak, with a smattering of Hungarian and American oak. I like to use as much new oak as the wine can handle.
RED: You’ve certainly accomplished your goal of making tasty wine. What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BRAD: Paul Hobbs. I love the rich and deep flavors of his wines.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
BRAD: My first cellar job was in 1996.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BRAD: That is a good question. Ultimately, I make wine for those two people having dinner together, in hopes that the wine will spark a little magic between them and make the world a better place. Too corny? It’s true, that is what motivates me.
RED: Not corny at all. Good and romantic. Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
BRAD: I can’t say exactly, but Napa certainly is a special place. Somehow it is blessed.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
BRAD: Work for people and wineries you respect regardless of how much they pay or what your title is.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRAD: We are looking for a new Cellar Master and getting ready for bottling.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
BRAD: The fruit comes exclusively from the our vineyard on Maple Lane near the town of Calistoga in Napa Valley. It is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petite Verdot. The wine has a gorgeous nose of violets, berries and toasted vanilla and a flavors of black cherry and plum with a touch of spice. Great balance and vibrancy.
RED: The wine is delicious. How would you characterize the differences between the previous vintage of the wine and this latest vintage?
BRAD: The 2006 is more red-fruity, less heavy than the 2005. Its more vibrant and certainly more flavorful. Its slightly more tannic as well. The wine is ready to drink now, but it will become even more great in a year or two!
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRAD: Filet mignon and mashed potatoes.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
BRAD: We always have so much wine in our house that I don’t have an everyday wine. Every night we drink something different. I love to drink Cabs from Napa, call me biased.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
BRAD: I recommend people approach wine with a spirit of adventure, enjoyment and pleasure. Not to be crude, but in the same way one should approach lovemaking. And what is beautiful about wine is that you can enjoy wine from all over the world and have a different wine every night and nobody gets hurt.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
BRAD: I would like to drink a bottle of Petrus. I don’t want to just taste it, I want to drink it. I want to see if it makes you feel anything special.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We purchased a case for our own cellars and we look forward to your future releases!
BRAD: Thank you very much. Cheers!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Maple Lane is a labor of love. The wine has a gorgeous nose of violets, berries, ripe plum, and crème brulee. On the pallet the wine is at first bright with flavors of black cherry and plum. The flavors quickly evolve with the cherry and raspberry mixing with toasty oak and dark chocolate with a touch of spice. It has a long finish. The wine had great balance and vibrancy, and has enough structure to peak around 2012.
About The Winery:
Situated between the towns of St.Helena and Calistoga and tucked next to the Mayacamas mountains, our vineyard is located in the heart of the Napa Valley. Weather patterns in this region consistently produce some o f the greatest Cabernet Sauvignon wines available. The vines have full exposure to the morning sun, and the hills to the west provide shade from the late afternoon heat, allowing the fruit to ripen gradually over the growing season. Our vineyard is sustainably farmed, using permanent cover crop to provide a home for native fauna. The farming philosophy for Maple Lane is to always combine the wisdom of the past with the knowledge of the present.
About The Winemaker:
Brad Smith – Brad, a graduate in winemaking from Fresno State in Fresno, CA, has been part of the Maple Lane team since 2005. Previously a winemaker at Laird Family Estate, August Briggs Winery and Paoletti Winery, we are delighted to gain his experience! His work with our 2005 vintage was spectacular, we look forward to great things in the future!
Harvest date: October 31, 2005
Titratable Acidity: 0.52 g/100 mL
Barrel Aging: 18 Months; 70% new French Oak
Cases produced: 240
Release Date: February 2008