Organic. Non-GMO. All Natural. Locally Sourced. Labels are full of qualifiers these days trying to set them apart from the rest. Some are regulated with stiff criteria – and some are nebulous. The same is true with wine.
“Reserve” is a great example of a word that is unregulated. It means many things to many people, and has gotten overused - to the point that for most it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
“Estate”, however, is in a different category. It is one of the most prestigious words that can be used to describe a wine and can only be used by a select few.
For a wine to be labeled “Estate Bottled”, it must adhere to the following requirements:
- All fruit must be sourced from vineyards controlled by the estate
- All fermentation and aging activities must occur on site
- All bottling must occur onsite
Essentially, all wine-growing and production must occur onsite.
For a wine to be labeled “Single Vineyard”, it must be sourced from a single, contiguous vineyard.
For a wine to say both, well, that’s rare…but who cares?
Wine is an expression of a sense of place. It should communicate clearly from where and whom it comes. By containing the wine’s production to its place of origin ensures that everything happens under the watchful eye of the winemaker. Estate Bottled wine signifies that every choice in this wine’s journey began with the end in mind, specifically designed around what the winemaker wanted to bring to fruition.
Rather than “growing grapes” to sell to different wineries with different styles and goals, the vineyard manager works hand in hand with the winemaker to determine the best “winegrowing” plan to achieve a result unique to the estate.
In our case at Schweiger Vineyards, it is a father & son team, working together to express their family’s stewardship of the land and dedication to crafting wines of enduring character. Our Cabernet tells the story of its terroir – the diverse rocky soils on top of Spring Mountain; the elements – lots of sun exposure to maximize ripeness, occasional cloud cover sitting above the fog line, and just enough water to stress the vines, keeping the berries small, and the flavor intense. It tells the story of the people – consistency of a single farmer and winemaker since the first vintage. Commitment to nature and sustainable farming practices that have developed mature vines with deep roots. Selection of clones, yeasts, fermentation styles, barrels, blending of varietals and vineyard blocks – and making sure it goes into the bottle exactly how the winemaker last tasted it. This is all happening within our 35 acres, without any component of the wine ever leaving our gate until it is on its way to you…
In the case of our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, that journey looked like this:
AGE OF VINES AND SOIL TYPE:
21-29 year old vines planted in deep volcanic soils at a 2000' elevation
AVERAGE HARVEST SUGAR:
26.9 degrees Brix
AVG. FERMENTATION TIME/TEMPERATURE RANGE:
12 days, 68–92 F
32 months in 60 gal oak barrels: 45% new French oak, 55% 2–3 year old French Oak.
97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot
ANALYSIS AT BOTTLING IN MAY 2015
TA: 6.20 g/L
VA: 0.64 g/L
APPROXIMATE LIFESPAN (under proper cellar conditions):
VINTAGE AND WINEMAKER'S NOTES:
2012 will go down in the books as one of the classic vintages. An ideal spring bud break, steady flowering, even fruit set and a lengthy stretch of warm but not to hot days presented beautifully flavored grapes. For our efforts, we have been rewarded with a rich, full-bodied Cabernet, deep in color. The nose of the wine is lively with essences of dark berries, plum, dark chocolate, and toasty oak. The sweet, supple entry crescendos into a deeply intense middle; followed by a pleasant, velvety, lingering finish. - Andrew T. Schweiger, Winemaker
So, while this wine is affectionately known as our “Estate Cab”… it’s official title is actually: Schweiger Vineyards’ Single Vineyard Estate Bottled Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon.
And now you know that the wine is actually just as special as its fancy name implies. If that’s not enough for you, ask us about our Single Vineyard Block designated wines, and we can really go down the rabbit hole!
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