2005 Stanley's Selection Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Livingston-Moffett Vineyards is truly an exemplary Cabernet Sauvignon. At today’s one-day-only price, it is a true steal
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Mission Codename: The Phoenix
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Livingston-Moffett Vineyards and secure their 2005 Stanley’s Selection
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Livingston-Moffett Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Mark Moffett
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deepest burgundy with a dark and slightly inky core, this wine has gorgeous ruby edges. When swirled, the wine shows a softly bouncy surface that leaves behind compact clusters of skinny legs that crawl slowly down the edges of the glass
Smell – Dark and richly bold in intensity with darkest mixed berries which showcase authentic blackberry and blueberry at the front. Under these are intriguing aromas of candied cherry, rose petals, cassis and slightly smoky vanilla
Feel – Medium-bold, with a soft up-front feel that gives way to a slightly dry and mouth-filling feel as fine tannins and a soft acidity balance out the wine
Taste – Deliciously sweet chocolate-covered cherry is the first flavor on the palate. This is accompanied by deep and dark mixed berry, with black cherry, plum and cassis. These are integrated with softly earthy undertones of cedar and spice
Finish – Mouthwatering, this rich, clean and well-structured wine presents flavors that linger as flavors move from rich dark fruit to slightly spicy with pepper and earth
Conclusion – This is a superb example of just how great 2005 Napa Cabs are drinking at the moment. With fruit from Rutherford, Yountville and Calistoga, this wine embodies the best that these three Napa Valley sub-appellations have to offer. This wine is deeply delicious and easy to drink – and understand. Where some Napa Cabs can be overbearing, this wine is very approachable – while also being very interesting. If you are looking for a balanced and very delicious Napa Cab, I give this wine a very hearty Wine Spies recommendation!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Mark Moffett
DATE OF BIRTH: 4/40
PLACE OF BIRTH: Boston, MA
WINE EDUCATION: UCDavis, numerous seminars and hands on training
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Founded Livingston Moffett winery in 1984 after growing and selling grapes to other wineries beginning in1976. Winery is family-run from the beginning with 2 sons doing winemaking and marketing. Grew business to 6,000 plus cases.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Early recognition of the significance of “terroir” as expressed by single vineyard bottlings and focus of winemaking decisions on the varietal character of the grapes. Blending to achieve balance and forward fruit-oriented style.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Having Estate Vineyard bottling recognized in the top 10 Cabernets of the Napa Valley more than once.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Past consulting winemakers associated with Harlan, Caymus, Dunn, Kongsgaard and Rombauer
AGENT RED: Greetings, Mark. We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Livingston Moffett Stanley’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MARK: On behalf of our 4 family member winery, we’re delighted to be part of your program!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that influenced you to be in winemaking?
WINEMAKER: While I didn’t recognize it at the time, as a Senior in college at Yale, I was chosen to be the Grandmaster of the Cask by an associate society that I was elected to and did all the wine selection during that year. The love of wine began then in the early 60’s.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MARK: While studies at Davis were helpful, I learned the most from my peers in Napa who mentored me in our startup winery.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MARK:To avoid letting the ego get in the way of the grapes. With both undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology, I have a profound appreciation for the vineyard and its soils and microclimate. Each vineyard has its own distinctive grapes and winekmaking should strive to both preserve as well as enhance these attributes.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MARK: Probably John Kongsgaard who recognized both the science and art of winemaking in his hands off style using natural yeasts and no filtration for example.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
MARK: Since 1984.
RED: Who do you make your wine for?
MARK: Myself first, consumers second and wine reviewers last.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special for Cabernet Sauvignon?
MARK: I agree with Goldilocks on this one: not too hot and not too cold. Clearly the most distinctive feature of the Napa Valley is the daily diurnal temperature changes of as much as 50 degrees from day to night. This gives wonderful ripeness and acid/ tannin structure to the wines. Similar soils are found in Sonoma but it is cooler there and better suited to other varietals.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
MARK: Let your passion continue to pursue innovation and education through your whole career.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MARK: Actually I’m more or less retired on a daily basis from the winery and have given it over to my son Trent.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
MARK: In many ways it has been my favorite project because Stanley’s Selection has been about me as a geologist finding (selecting) special vineyards and grapes of other growers which we blend together. The pedigree of these sources are like a who’s who of Napa vineyards but at affordable pricing compared to other high quality Napa Cabernets. Also it recognizes our family name of Stanley (my grandfather, uncle and cousin) which has a historical connection to David Livingston the African explorer. Often the wine contains portions of our higher priced Cabernet wines.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
MARK: I have 16 grandchildren and most of our sons are connected with the wine business.
RED: Lucky! What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
MARK: My son Trent’s pinot noir
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
MARK: Pull the cork and enjoy with some friends or family. We call our Stanley’s Selection our instant gratification wine due to its forward fruit and soft tannins.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
MARK: Chateau Petrus
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
MARK: What do you think of the business of winemaking? It’s not a business as much as a lifestyle. The joy is producing something exceptional and memorable despite the hard work and small return on investment.
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!
MARK: Thank you very much for bringing our wine to the attention of your customers. We’re confident they will enjoy meeting our version of Stanley.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
The aroma is of dark fruit, cassis and vanilla. On the palate the wine is rich and silky with blackberries and black cherry fruit flavors. The nice spice and oak integrate well with the fruit and carry on in the long fruit finish.
Philosophy: As a geologist, John Livingston comes naturally to the task of finding vineyards suitable for Stanley’s Selection Cabernet wine. Seeking an optimum combination of stony hillside soils, eastern exposures and different microclimates, each of the vineyards is also chosen for its sound farm management and proven consistency. All the vineyards selected are only a few acres in size, too small for big wineries but perfect for Livingston Stanley Cabernet! And, by the way, “Stanley” is a family name in the Livingston clan!
Vineyards: The Following breakdown of the Three vineyards contributing the Stanley’s fruit:
- Rutherford Vineyard: This 2 acre vineyard sits on the south eastern bench land of the Rutherford appellation. The soil is rocky and volcanic red with great drainage.
- Gemstone Vineyard: Yountville AVA-An amazing vineyard which has 5 clones of Cabernet. Most of this wine is designated for our ultra premium Proprietary Blend.
- Calistoga Vineyard: Another small vineyard, about an 1.33 acres, on the east side of the Silverado Trail, just north of Araujo Vineyards.
This Cabernet clone has beautiful aromas similar to Petit Verdot.
Production Notes: All vineyards are kept separate though fermentation and the first few rackings. A final blend for the remainder of the barrel aging (approx. 12 more months) is then put together.
About The Winery:
“The Livingston – Moffett family winery is dedicated to making the highest quality wines of limited production while emphasizing personal relationships with our customers.”
How we got started?
Lured by its small town character and lovely setting, we came to St. Helena in 1976 to raise a family of six children. Unlike many others who arrived in the past 30 years, there was no forethought of our ever joining the wine business. Little did we suspect that the decision to move to the Napa Valley was the first step in doing just that. And looking back we must have been clueless not to recognize the seeds of this life change all around us. First, our new address was in fact Cabernet Lane. Also, unbeknownst to us, the land we purchased happened to be located on the Rutherford Bench- Napa’s prized Cabernet growing district. The property included five acres planted with old, dry-farmed Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Framing our view of the valley from our 1868 farmhouse were the stone walls of an abandoned winery built in 1883. For a winery-minded person, this was a more or less picture perfect setting to begin winemaking.
We pretty much ignored all these signposts and chose simply to hire a farming company to care for our vineyard, selling our grapes to various wineries until 1984. By that time we had learned a few things and were emboldened by the fact that notable wineries were always in pursuit of our grapes, We became proud of our fruit and, intrigued by the possibilities of winemaking, took a few college courses. The commitment of serious capital and total career change are choices not to be taken lightly. However with a leap of faith we finally decided to do what now seems we were supposed to do all along. We’ve never looked back since and feel deeply grateful that the opportunities were there to participate in such an enjoyable family business.
Today the Livingston Moffett winery continues to specialize in Cabernet wines. Among these are the Gemstone Vineyard Cabernet blend, our Estate Moffett Vineyard Cabernet and Stanley’s Selection bottlings which have earned “big league” and “top echelon” accolades in national wine reviews. Our wines are primarily sold to our mail list and in limited out of state markets.
Harvest Dates: October 14th thru October 29th
Tons per acres: 2.5 to 3.25 tons per acre
Brix: 25.2 to 26.1
Blend/Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Production: 688 cases
Winemakers: John Livingston, Trent Moffett & Marco DiGiulio
Barrel Aging: 18 months in American and French oak (65% new barrels)