Wine of the Week 3/24/2017
This week's wine comes from a winery known more for chardonnay and other white varieties than for cabernet sauvignon.
It's from a vintage that was widely, and in my opinion unfairly, looked down upon.
2011 was a cool vintage in Napa Valley. In general it didn't produce the enormous blockbuster wines that are en vogue. But I'm okay with that. I like cabernet that shows a touch of greenness. In the 1980's it wasn't uncommon for Napa cab to show hints of green olive and green bell pepper. I like this finesse. These characteristics are often lost in the more ripe, often extracted, and high alcohol style of cabernet that garners high scores from certain wine critics.
So to me, 2011, in some cases, was a nice return to Napa cabs of the 80's.
2011 was followed by a run of several outstanding vintages in Napa Valley. It became tough to sell. Which is good for me, and, if you're looking for a value, good for you. Not only that, it's a vintage that is drinking beautifully right now. 2013, and 2015 need years to mature, so you need something to drink now.
Stony Hill sits on Spring Mountain. Founded in the 1940's, it has produced chardonnay of outstanding quality for decades. It wasn't until 2009 that Stony Hill bottled its first cabernet sauvignon.
2011 Stony Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
I fell in love with the wines of Stony Hill on a press visit there. Sarah McCrea carries on the tradition of outstanding wines that her family started back in the 1940's.
You can learn more about Stony Hill on my podcast The Honest Pour.
Aromas of black plum and dark cherry are accented by notes of milk chocolate and green olive. On the palate this wine shows elegance and finesse. Full fresh red fruit is given structure by nice minerality and earthiness. Hints of green bell pepper resonate on the long and complex finish of good acidity and fine tannin. This wine developed beautifully in the glass over the evening. Let it breathe!
Suggested Retail Price: $75
Admittedly, I'm a fan-boy of Stony Hill and this style. This wine was easily the most delicious and exciting wine I tasted this week.
While the 2011 might not be available, do seek out more recent vintages. Currently the 2013 and 2014 vintages are available. Here's a hint on those. Drink the 2014 now, wait a few years for the 2013 to mellow.