After our tour of the vineyards and winery, and while sipping on glass of Terra Valentine viognier, Scottie and I sat down to a tasting of Terra Valentine’s current releases. Below you’ll find a list of exactly what the tasting entailed, however since the focus of this trip was the AVA of Spring Mountain, you’ll find that I covered the estate grown wines in more detail below:
Terra Valentine Tasting:
2008 Terra Valentine Viognier Russian River Valley
(fruit is sourced from one vineyard in the heart of the RRV: Sunny View Vineyard)
2006 Terra Valentine Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
(fruit is sourced from three vineyards: Freestone, Morelli Lane and Campbell)
2007 Terra Valentine Amoré Super-Tuscan Style Sangiovese
(90% Sangiovese sourced from Atlas Peak, 7% cabernet sauvignon the Wurtele Vineyard, 3% merlot from the Yverdon Vineyard.)
Terra Valentine’s 2006 Spring Mountain District Cabernet (note: the label shot is of the 2005) is a great place to start if you’ve never had wines from this domaine. Medium + bodied, with supple tannins and notes of blackcurrant, espresso nib and just the slightest touch of smoke and crushed violets this is a mountain cab that can be enjoyed tonight and over the next several years with perhaps a steak off the grill, pot roast or burgers slathered with sautéed mushrooms. It’s rich (without being too rich or over extracted) balanced, and very user friendly. The fruit here is sourced from 14 different blocks amongst both the Yverdon and Wurtele (81%) Vineyards. The wine is aged in 20 months in French oak barrels, of which 35% are new.
Terra Valentine’s Cabernet Sauvignon from the “Wurtele Vineyard” (pronounced wer-tul) is named after the winerys’ present owners Angus and Margaret Wurtele. Sitting at an elevation range of 600-1000 feet above sea level, this 35 acre vineyard was planted in 1990 exclusively to Cabernet Sauvignon. The layout of Wurtele is most unusual in that the vineyard is planted in a circular exposure around the knoll of the mountain. This circular planting allows for various exposures, and ultimately fruit characteristics depending upon where the vines are planted. The Wurtele Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 22 months in 45% new and 55% once used French oak barrels. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
A bit more intense and structured than the Spring Mountain Cab, The 2005 Wurtele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is one for the cellar. Dark berried fruit, plum, tobacco and grilled bread definitely show promise, however I would tuck this one away, forget about it, and enjoy more of Spring Mountain Cab while I wait. I suspect that it will be more forthcoming in 3-10 years. Oh good, something to look forward to!
Terra Valentine’s Yverdon is the newest kid/vineyard on the block, but also the one that in my opinion shows the greatest potential. Not to say that this 25 acre vineyard doesn’t have deep historic roots, but it is this vineyard that the Wurteles and their vineyard team have dedicated a considerable amount of time towards restoring and improving. The Yverdon vineyards (the name of the winery before the Wurteles purchased the domaine in 1999) are planted at altitudes ranging from 1,800-2,100 feet above sea level. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and (miniscule amount of) Riesling mean that these vines produce true mountain fruit. The vines here are young, with re-planting having only started in 2001, however extensive research has been dedicated towards soil mapping and clonal selection give me great confidence that as these vines dig deep, establish their roots systems and hit their stride that wines from the Yverdon vineyard will produce great wine.
The 2005 Yverdon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon showed a bit less intense than the Wurtele. However what it lacked in comparative intensity it made up for in effusiveness. More open and silky than the Wurtele, with crushed red berries, cassis, and a touch of clove, I could certainly enjoy this wine now and over the next 5+ years with braised meats, or roasted leg of lamb.
Next up: Guilliams!