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    94 Tb
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History

Estate Overview

Spottswoode is a family-owned historic vineyard and winery renowned for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Established in 1882 by George Schonewald, the estate is distinguished by the pre-prohibition Victorian home depicted on the wine label. Spottswoode was christened by Mrs. Albert Spotts in 1910 and it was acquired by Mary and Jack Novak in 1972. Mary released Spottswoode’s first Cabernet Sauvignon in 1982, exactly one hundred years after the estate’s founding.

Today, Mary’s daughter Beth Novak Milliken manages the winery, and daughter Lindy Novak oversees national marketing. Every year four wines are released: Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc, Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon, and Field Book Syrah. The Novak family is committed to producing wines with integrity that faithfully reflect their grape origins, and Spottswoode wines are especially known for their refined elegance, balance, and classic structure.

Historic Buildings & Winery

The Estate has three historic buildings that were originally built circa 1884–1885. The Colonial Revival-style, with its famous stone pillar entry gates and the elegant “Spottswoode” letters that arc over the driveway, is surrounded by formal gardens with plants that date back to the same era! The Victorian farmhouse now serves as our winery office and the Kraft Cellar is a pre-Prohibition stone building where our Cabernet Sauvignon is barrel-aged. We’ve added a tasting room and a state-of-the-art winery, each designed to honor the historic nature of our buildings.

 

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Vineyards

Estate Vineyard

Situated on the western edge of St. Helena at the foot of the Mayacamas mountains, the Spottswoode terroir is ideal for growing fine wine grapes. The alluvial clay loam from the Sulphur Creek fan provides superb drainage while cool maritime breezes passing through the gap between Spring Mountain and the Mayacamas range, allow berries to ripen slowly.

Our forty acres are planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, with small blocks of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc. We have organically farmed our grapes since 1985, and our vineyard was certified organic in 1992. The roles of winemaking and vineyard management are very integrated at Spottswoode, and the individual attention given to each vineyard block contributes to the consistent quality and unique characteristics of our wines.

Historic Buildings & Winery

The Estate has three historic buildings that were originally built circa 1884–1885. The Colonial Revival-style, with its famous stone pillar entry gates and the elegant “Spottswoode” letters that arc over the driveway, is surrounded by formal gardens with plants that date back to the same era! The Victorian farmhouse now serves as our winery office and the Kraft Cellar is a pre-Prohibition stone building where our Cabernet Sauvignon is barrel-aged. We’ve added a tasting room and a state-of-the-art winery, each designed to honor the historic nature of our buildings.

 

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Winemaking

Organic Vineyard

We are among the first wineries to have adopted organics, having farmed our vineyard organically since 1985 and acquired California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) certification in 1992. Our commitment to producing the highest quality wines is evidenced by the amount of time we spend in the vineyard. We recently planted our youngest block in soil refreshed with the installation of tightly spaced sub-surface drainage, a system that drains spring rainwater to allow timely root growth in optimum conditions. We’ve also introduced a modified trellis system with tighter vine spacing. These efforts increase control over canopy growth and improve fruit conditions, resulting in more highly concentrated grapes.

We work closely with biodynamic specialists to broaden our farming techniques that help promote a living, breathing ecosystem. We also restored a riparian corridor that sustains an important ecological balance in our community.

Sustainable Soil

Alluvial, clay loam soil is one of Spottswoode’s greatest assets. To enrich it, we plant cover crops such as vetch, peas, clover, and oats every fall. We have also reduced tillage and are re-establishing native California grasses in the vineyard. These practices feed the soil, encourage a healthy rhizosphere, and reduce the need for inputs. We also embrace biodynamic principals, including composting, bringing in animals, and incorporating the lunar calendar. We’re excited by the resulting success in diversity, rich soil, and abundance of earthworms!

Ecological Insect Control

We maintain a variety of flowering plants along the vineyard border to provide habitats for beneficial bugs that prey on undesirable insects. We also built nesting boxes for native birds, including bluebirds, green-winged swallows, and owls that feast on insects and rodents and encourage diversity.

Natural Weed Management

Controlling weeds organically requires patient innovation. We eschew the use of synthetic and organic herbicides, focusing instead on natural alternatives. In creating a sustainable, bio-diverse environment, we’ve learned to accept a landscape made imperfect by small, well-managed weeds.

 

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Inside information

Copyright © Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery

Copyright © Thomas Heinser

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Erin Larkin, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  14 wines 

CHATEAU MARGAUX 2017 / 89% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 2% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot/ 100% new oak. Red currants, succulent and intense, also sweet… great harmony and choral resonance… I realise I’ve drifted off in my own thoughts with this wine… the flavour lingers so. This is BDX, it is the best wine we’ve had today (this week/month etc) and it is the reason why we seek to make and drink better wine. Holy crapola.

1m 5h ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Roussean Chambertin 1990 / Bright ruby – quite a deep colour actually. Delightfully shaded. Pungent and definitely with lots of tertiary aromas. This has crossed the Rubicon into something serious! Fireworks and explosions. Great breadth and richness. Long and kerpow. So complex and beautfully balanced, Struck match quality. Fine tannins on the finish but lots of pleasure. Tense and exciting.

1y 7m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Pol Roger Vintage Champagne 1996 / From magnums served at a 21st birthday party for a wine merchant's daughter called, appropriately enough, Polly. Absolutely sublime. By now fully mature – cast off its youthful acidity – and a very broad, satisfying wine without being in any way heavy. Bone dry and with some putty and breadiness but also great breadth and length. This was a great vintage when it worked (even if some wines never  had enough fruit density to throw off their high charge of acidity) and it really showcases great champagne with magnum age. I have not tasted this wine from bottle recently. 19p

1y 9m ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Dominus 2016 / Another possible legend in the making is the 2016 Dominus, a classic blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc brought up in 40% new French oak. Pure, pristine notes of charcoal, cold fireplace, smoke tobacco, and both blue and black fruits all flow to a full-bodied 2016 that has incredible elegance and finesse, yet also depth and density. It’s more backward and reserved than the 2015 and needs 4-5 years of cellaring. It will unquestionably live for 25-30 years. 98+

1y 10m ago

 Michael Jones, Wine Blogger (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Dominus 2009 / great aromatics, an earth and tobacco component, excellent cassis and red fruit with silky mouth feel, long, balanced, not as extracted as some but very well knit- 94 points"    This was a bit of a surprise;  I love Dominus but usually feel that it needs 10+ years of bottle age to show its stuff.  36th wine of the tasting.

4y 14d ago

 Igor Sill, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  9 wines 

It took me some time to assemble my list of the very best Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends I’ve ever tasted over these past 8 years. To relive those memorable tasting experiences over the span of those years was hauntingly unforgettable. I assess a wine’s quality based on its coloration and purity, complexity and balance, aromatic flavors along with the memory of its long finish after the glass is emptied.  I hope you appreciate my “top ten best wines ever” list as I had fun retrieving these great memories along with the very special folks and occasions I shared those memories with. Here are my top 10 best ever red wines:

4y 2m ago

 Hans Mayer, Wine Merchant (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Winemakers from around the valley agree the Napa 2013 vintage holds exceptional promise and potential and exceeded expectations following on the heels of 2012 – another year that has been described as “nearly perfect.”

4y 10m ago

 Kate Bell / Sommelier, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Napa Premiere 2014 vintage tasting / In spite of the drought and the South Napa earthquake, vintners are using words like “quality,” “depth of flavor” and “excellent” to describe their expectations for the 2014 vintage in Napa Valley. Many are also noting “perfect weather,” “abundant crop” and “good fortune” among the blessings they are counting in a season where Mother Nature threw a rockin’ curveball.


Harvest started and ended earlier than usual. The first grapes for sparkling wine picked on July 30 and nearly all harvest activity was completed by the third week in October – for many, a full two weeks ahead of the normal harvest schedule.

4y 10m ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  11 wines 

On April 22 Antonio Galloni and Vinous hosted 2010 Napa Valley: An Epic Vintage at the NoMad Rooftop, one of the most striking locations in New York City.

4y 10m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  11 wines 

“Shafer Hillside Select 2011 -95 points / Good looking normal size bottle in a perfect condition. Colour is ruby red, and looking bright and deep. On the nose it is wide, refined, fresh and pure. The taste is fresh, full, vigor, perfumed, firm, full-bodied, with balanced and complex structure. On the palate it is layered and has dried-fruit, pepper, smoky, tobacco, blackcurrant, leather, herbs, earthy and meaty flavours. The finish is long, extensive, lingering, pure and spicy. This wine is intelligent, transparent and sexy. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting.”

5y 10m ago

 Toshi Nakamoto, Sommelier (Japan)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  12 wines 

“Colgin IX Proprietary Red Estate 2010 / Full 100 points / An intense, purplish ruby red colour. Extremely concentrated and stylish spicy nose, dominated by oak. Notes of ripe blackcurrant, fruitcake and coffee. Big and sophisticated structure comprised of medium acids, strong powdery ripe tannins and ripe berry. Long finish with undertones of spicy aromas, chocolate and coffee. Highly integrated alcohol in the mid-palate emphasised almost to the point of distraction at the close. All in all, an elegant vintage, with excellent tannic and acid structure. The current lack of intensive fruitiness means there is not a great deal of hope for long maturation potential. The wine's freshness does not do justice to the wine just yet, though. This beauty will improve within a few years and reach its perfection in an estimated ten years. ”

6y 2d ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Spottswoode Winery . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“"Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin 2003 : This is easily one of the best wines I had in the last 43 years, if not the best. This was just so pure and balanced - totally defying the 15% of alcohol that it would admit to on the label. Great cassis, truffle, earth, spice. So thick and chewy, almost unctuous. Great great juice. And since it was on that restaurant's wine list for a quarter of the current market price I absolutely had to drink it …" 100 points ”

6y 6m ago

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