Monday, March 1, 2010

Two 2007 Stefania Cabernets

I normally begin my posts with a brief overview of the winery in question, but for Stefania I've already said everything there is to say. Instead I'll start this one with a whole slew of disclosures: these wines were received as trade samples and were not tasted blind. Add to that the fact that Paul and Stef are friends, I've been a fan of their wines since release and have purchased every wine they have released to date.

Okay, so with that out of the way, what do we have? The Stefania Spring release comprises a brace of Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignons. One is a blend from several vineyards that Paul and Stef manage, together with a significant portion from Harvest Moon/Martin Ranch. As you'll know from my previous post this vineyard is located in a valley at the south-east end of the appellation.

By contrast, the other wine is from the Chaine d'Or Vineyard in Woodside. This is at the northern end of the AVA, not far from the historic La Questa vineyard and close to Summit Road. It's significantly cooler up there. So what we have is a quite interesting contrast. I therefore decided to open the wines side by side and drink them over two nights. The bottles were recorked but not refrigerated.

2007 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon, Chaine D'Or Vineyard
Not decanted. On first opening all I got was oak; it took quite some time before the fruit started to show on the nose, along with some smoke. Similarly on the palate the first impression was of tartness, austerity and light weight. Over the next hour it loosened up to reveal complex black fruits - cherry, currant and berry with fine tannins.

On day two the nose had earth, oak and fruit right from the start. It seemed to have significantly more weight than before, good blackcurrant and black cherry flavours with fresh earthy notes. A light and elegant wine. I'd give this at least 5 years. 91+ $24

2007 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Not decanted. This has a lot more fruit on the nose. It's smoother, fuller bodied and significantly more opaque than its sibling, with plenty of up-front black fruit. Over the next hour it seemed to tighten up; the tannins and oak became more pronounced.

On day two it was much the same story; some more smoke on the nose, brambles, blackcurrant and mint, good structure. Drinking nicely now, but will certainly last a while. 92 $40