You may be wondering why we’re putting a Pinot and a mountain cab in the same post.  Well, these two wines have a bit more in common that meets the eye as we’ll explain shortly.

Radio-Coteau 2010 Alberigi Pinot Noir

DdV: 95
WS: n/a
WE: n/a
Price: $54.00
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Source: Russian River Valley

One of our very favorite Pinots of the 2010 vintage.  This is wonderful now but will only gain more nuance and complexity in the cellar.  This is a dark, lush Pinot with strong tannins and a myriad of intense flavors.  If you’re looking for a light happy Oregon style Pinot this is not it.  Beautiful floral and spice notes on the nose give way to bright strawberry and raspberry on the mid palate.  The finish is incredibly long with hints of cedar, spice, and vanilla.  A truly fine example of the Sonoma Coast showing both power and finesse.

Decant to really open this up if drinking it young.

Robert Craig 2008 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

DdV: 94-97
WS: n/a
WE: n/a
Price: $70.00
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Source: Spring Mountain

The first thing we need to tell you is that this wine is sold out.  Why are we reviewing it? Because we’re planting the seed for the 2009 release coming out this fall.  Also, we love the 2008 vintage as we’ll explain.  But first..

A Bit About the Spring Mountain AVA

Spring Mountain received it’s official AVA in 1993 but has a rich viticulture history dating back to the late 1800’s when German-born Charles Lemme planted 25 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon at 1,600 feet up the mountain in a vineyard he named La Perla in 1874.  Soon after, Jacob and Frederick Beringer and Frenchman Fortune Chevalier planted their own vineyards.  San Francisco banker and financier Tiburcio Parrott also planted a vineyard he named Miravalle to much ridicule from the San Francisco press until his wines won numerous gold medals at the World’s Fair.  All of these historic vineyards now comprise the Spring Mountain Vineyard which produces classic, highly rated wines.

We promised we would tie this mountain cab to the Sonoma Coast Pinot and here it is.  The very cool ocean air that keeps the vineyards west of Sebastopol so temperate also dramatically affect the climate on Spring Mountain and the valley to the east.  Due to the topography to the west, the cool air runs straight into Spring Mountain making it the coolest and wettest of the mountains surrounding the Napa Valley.  This also has a cooling effect on the valley and plays an important role in the wines produced there.  The cool air sliding down off the mountain plays a similar role to the fog and cool air experienced in the southern part of the valley due to the proximity of San Pablo Bay.

The soils on Spring Mountain are also quite different from its neighboring mountains.  While Diamond Mountain to the North is composed of primarily volcanic soils and Mount Veeder to the south is composed of primarily sedimentary soils, Spring Mountain is a blend of the two thus creating a different sense of Terroir depending on the location and elevation of the vineyard.

Enter the Robert Craig Spring Mountain Cabernet

Sourced from the The Crowley Vineyard at 2,000 feet, this rich expression of mountain Cabernet exhibits a robust dark purple color and a nose of dark huckleberry, mountain flowers, and deep plum. More dark mountain berry and plum on the mid palate await with a long finish of brambly tannins and bright stone.  Lush and creamy mouth feel make this a true joy to drink now while young but will certainly gain more complex flavors and finesse after spending time in the cellar.  We’re scoring this a 94 while young and feel its potential to come in around a 97 when mature. Decant.