Sunday, April 19, 2009

Release day at Stefania, Spring 09

Up to Chaine d'Or for the Stefania spring release event. Chaine d'Or is located just off the 84 near to the junction with Summit Road. It's a great, winding drive through Woodside and some lovely wild countryside, with great views over the south bay. The winery itself is underneath a private house. There are no signs from the road; you have to know where to go. It's nicely equipped for its compact size. Paul and Stef Romero recently took over managing the winery and its 20 year old vineyard; around 2 acres, planted on a gentle slope to Chardonnay and Cabernet, with a few other Bordeaux varietals for blending.

2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains $45
Sourced from a small vineyard in Corralitos near to Windy Oaks. Yields were very low in 2007 resulting in less than 2 barrels being made; as a result this has been sparsely allocated to mailing list members only.
Remarkably similar in style and profile to Windy Oaks. There's a light, floral nose with notes of tart cherries. The nose became more prominent after the wine had been open a couple of hours and had warmed up a little. Nice rich mouthfeel, with spicy flavours of cherry and cranberry, and a tart finish. No trace of heat despite the near 15% alcohol. Very good.

2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains (Barrel sample)
The nose is very different from the 2007; more spicy (allspice?). It's showing more acidity & tannin now; good cherry fruit and nice spice. They yield in 2008 will be slightly larger, but not much; around 65 cases.

2006 Haut Tubbe $20
A blend of several small lots including Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah.
Notes of mushroom and underbrush. Flavours of blackberry and raspberry with an earthy finish. Nicely balanced.

2007 Haut Tubbe $20 (not yet released)
The 2007 is a blend of primarily Syrah and Zinfandel. It's got a smoky, earthy nose; on the palate there's raspberry, plum and other black fruit. It's rich, with plenty of tannin and a smoky finish. Very good value.

2005 Chaine D'Or Cabernet Sauvignon $24
This has a very 'barnyard' nose; not Brett, but very funky. On the palate it has some nice blackberry/blackcurrant fruit, but the finish is lacking. Paul ascribes the nose to the inclusion of the 'press' wine; in future vintages he plans to reduce the amount in the blend.