2005 Whitestone Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Whitestone Vineyard
California: Santa Clara County
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Mission Codename: Leaving everything to Chance
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Clos La Chance and secure an ample allocation of their
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Clos La Chance
Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Whitestone Vineyard
Winemaker: Stephen Tebb
Backgrounder: California’s Central Coast region has become recognized as one of the state’s up and coming regions for Cabernet Sauvignon. The generally warmer climate, moderated by the coastal fog, its sandy and clay loam soil, and broad exposure results in Cabernet of exceptional character
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with a concentrated heart of darker plum-garnet. When swirled, the wine shows a heavy and tight surface whose core continues to spin before finally settling down. The moment you stop swirling, ropey legs are fast to emerge, thinning as they run quickly down the glass
Smell – Bold, big and complex, with an intense opening rush of dusky dark cherry, black currant, blackberry and bramble. These sit atop delightfully authentic eucalyptus, soft cedar, anise and subtle oaky vanilla with soft spice
Feel – Soft and wet on the initial attack. The wine is the fast-moving across the mid-palate, where it grips in gently, drying just behind the tip of the tongue and then extending through the mouth to the cheeks and lips
Taste -This wine begins darkly fruity and dusky with juicy flavors of black cherry, overripe blackberry, currant and black plum with dark chocolate and natural cola
Finish – Starts dusky and dark and then finishes sweeter and softly tart with dark fruit flavors that linger for a long time
Conclusion – This is a boldly delicious Cabernet Sauvignon that delights every sense. With a brightness that is balanced beautifully against its darker character, this wine keeps everything in perfect harmony. This wine gives Napa Cabs a run for their money, delivering an experience that is balanced, food-friendly, rich and robust. This wine is also a great solo-drinker that the most demanding Cabernet lovers are sure to enjoy!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Stephen Tebb, Director of Winemaking Operations for Clos LaChance Wines
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis, Fermentation Science BS
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Prior to CLC, Assistant Winemaker of Artesa Vineyards & Winery, Six years with Cordorniu, Enologist, Prior-Mirrasou Vineyards and Chateau St. Jean
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Ultimately, I seek continuity between the vinification process and viticultural activities. I like to bring forth all the elements that the vineyard has imparted upon the fruit in order to allow the characteristics and complexity of the wine to illustrate the unique contribution each site has to offer. Whether as a stand-alone varietal or as a blend, the most important focus of wine production is on the vineyard.
Once the farming methods are optimized at the proper site with individualized attention to each block, the winemaker’s job becomes one of ‘getting out of the way,’ gently steering the course of fermentation and aging. I emphasize gentle handling of the fruit utilizing the gravity flow features of the winery and fermentation of small lots in both open top and closed top fermentors. The attention to the cap management strategy during fermentation is unique to each lot of grapes and is important in obtaining the levels of extraction appropriate for that lot.
Aging takes place with little manipulation in oak barrels that are employed to frame the wine and add layers of depth and richness to the ripe fruit aromas and flavors obtained in the vineyard. All lots are kept separate during fermentation and aging to allow for evaluation specific to each vineyard site and its performance in the cellar. In blending, I take a traditional approach, yet seek to create a wine that encompasses the full range of aromas and flavors that are the hallmarks of a great wine.
To me, winemaking is utilizing a product of the land to create an experience of the senses that enhances quality of life.”
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Meritage and Cabernet Sauvignon
AGENT RED: Greetings, Stephen. We are thrilled to be showing your Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
STEPHEN: Hello Agent Red. Thanks for having me and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have to help you on your mission.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
STEPHEN: My experience at wineries, through working with knowledgeable winemakers and peers. They showed me passion in their winemaking and the passion seemed to carry on to me.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
STEPHEN: To me, winemaking is utilizing a product of the land to create an experience of the land to create an experience of the senses that enhances quality of life.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
WINEMAKER: Over 20 years.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
STEPHEN: Mainly Clos LaChance consumers and myself. The production crew and I try our best to stay consistent with the Hummingbird Series wines and with the Estate and Special Selection Series, the barrel room is like my playground. I like to try out new blends and see what others think of it.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Santa Clara Valley so special?
STEPHEN: Centuries ago, the land was used for farming. There are several wineries in the area with great wines. The flavors are unique and unexpected. Not to many know of the SCV, but need to come and check it out.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
STEPHEN: Work a harvest in production. If you feel the passion within, pursue it.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
STEPHEN: This is the first vintage of the Whitestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is located along the perimeter of the facility in San Martin, CA. Big cab with great fruit. I hope you enjoy it.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
STEPHEN: Prime Rib!
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
STEPHEN: Try it, you might like it.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
STEPHEN: What is special about Clos LaChance? Family-owned. I work closely on a day-to-day basis with the Murphy Family and enjoy it. My co-workers I feel are my family too.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
STEPHEN: Thank you so much.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Clos La Chance winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
A big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon. Incredible complexity due to extensive barrel and bottle aging. Dark blackberry aromas with vanilla and classic Cabernet eucalyptus. Flavors of cassis, plum and blackberries dominate throughout the palate and into the long, smooth finish.
Vineyards: The Whitestone Vineyard is a 10-acre plot of premium hillside Cabernet Sauvignon that surrounds the Clos LaChance Winery in San Martin, CA. The soil in this part of the vineyard is unique to the remainder of the Estate—rocky, limestone base with excellent drainage. The Whitestone Vineyard is part of the 150-acre Estate Vineyard was planted in 1999-2000. Nearly 20 varietals were planted, along with 60 separate clones—providing our winemaker with a spice rack of blending wines. Hot sunny days throughout the growing season, coupled with cool ocean breezes in the evenings, allow for increased grape hang-time and the further development of flavors and complexities. Computerized vineyard maintenance and data recording systems (weather stations, leaf and soil sensors, automated irrigation and fergitation) were also installed onsite, ensuring the highest quality fruit possible.
Winemaking: The grapes were hand-harvested, hand-sorted and destemmed to a closed top tank. After a 48 hour cold soak, fermentation took an additional 11-13 days, being pumped over 4 times/day at the peak. The wine was drained and pressed to tank, then barreled down into 60% new French oak and 30% once used French oak to complete malolactic fermentation. Two rackings occurred during the 25 months of aging, The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
About The Winery:
Clos LaChance Winery takes its name from the small fenced-in area encompassing a vineyard (Clos) and from co-owner Brenda Murphy’s maiden name. The Murphy’s chose the Hummingbird as the winery’s symbol for both its aesthetic beauty and its ability to keep other birds away from the grapes.
HISTORY: In 1987, co-owners Bill and Brenda Murphy decided to plant a few rows of Chardonnay in their Saratoga backyard for landscaping purposes and to realize their dreams of being vintners. A few years later, the wines produced from this small backyard vineyard were good enough to sell to the public. It was at this point that Clos LaChance formed into a full fledged winery. The first commercially released wines were from the 1992 vintage.
In 1996, in order to ensure a continuing supply of high quality fruit, Bill and Brenda established CK Vines, a vineyard maintenance and installation company specializing in “back-yard” vineyard development throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. CK Vines is named after the Murphy’s two daughters (Cheryl and Kristin). Currently, CK Vines manages 40 acres of backyard vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountain and Central Coast AVA’s. Click here for more details on CK Vines.
WINERY LOCATION: Clos LaChance Winery & Estate Vineyard is located in San Martin, CA (20 miles south of San Jose). The Murphy’s opened the winery production facility in time for the 2001 harvest, while the Hospitality Center, including tasting room, patio, and banquet and wedding facilities, opened to the public in May of 2002. Adjacent to CordeValle Resort & Golf Course’s 6th hole, the winery is ideally situated and designed to provide visitors with breathtaking views of the Estate Vineyard and surrounding hills.
TASTING ROOM: Clos LaChance’s Hospitality Center and Tasting Room welcomes visitors daily, offering a wonderful selection of wines and breathtaking views of the South Bay’s Wine Country. Whether you’re a wine geek or newbie, Clos LaChance’s knowledgeable tasting room staff will guide you through the magic of making and enjoying wine. The winery offers a variety of wine tasting programs and tours to choose from, including a “Limited Edition” tasting featuring reserve and small production wines, tours of the cellar and a demonstration vineyard presentation. The winery also offers a handful of special events throughout the year, along with Time for Wine every Thursday.
Clos LaChance encourages guests to enjoy the scenic beauty surrounding the winery by relaxing with a glass of wine on the outside patio overlooking the vineyards. In 2005, the winery installed a regulation sized Bocce Ball Court. Check our What To Do page for more details on our tasting room programs and special events.
ESTATE VINEYARDS: Clos LaChance Winery produces quality and affordable wines from 150 acres of Estate Vineyards. The vineyard is planted to a diverse collection of varietals that are ideal for the growing conditions. The Estate Vineyard possess excellent soils, little precipitation during the growing season and the warm days and cool nights necessary for ripe flavor development and great natural acidity.