Spring Mountain Uncorked: 2008 "Eight" Chardonnay

“A lot of our collectors are people who have wine knowledge, who have done enough background work to understand the differences between mountain fruit and valley floor fruit,” he said. “Collectors know the wines will prove themselves when they lay them down. Tannins modify, acidity changes, yet the fruit will preserve even 20 years down the line.” ~ Winemaker Chris Carpenter

It was back in June of 2010 that Mrs. Cuvee and I stopped by for a visit to Vineyard 7&8, where we tasted through their premium line-up and toured the immaculate facilities and breath-taking tasting salon, which you have to see to fully appreciate.

Their 2008 "Eight" Chardonnay was among the highlights of the day on Spring Mountain, a wine that I proclaimed as one of my all-time favorites. It was just last night that I popped the cork on one that has been resting in my cellar, one of the wines I purchased to take back to home last year. Wow, highly impressed once more this is the kind of white wine which will really turn heads, fantastic juice.

What to Pair: Possibly looking for a suggestion on what to pair? I paired this wine with Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe I found on the Food Network, thanks to Tyler Florence for the inspiration. I added in some small, stubby, finger-shaped potatoes [fingerlings] giving them a little roasting action, some EVOO, and a slap of salt and pepper. Rounding out the meal with an organic spring mix salad, feta cheese, toasted and sliced almond, lightly dressed with a little EVOO and balsamic. Wow, to my mind that's perfection.

In the Spot Light: A barrel-aged Chardonnay, raised right with 14 months in French Oak. The fruit was estate grown on Wente Clone root-stock, you can see the Chardonnay block in the picture above and to the right. A quick tasting note, this wine super rich and very creamy, baking spices, clove, hazelnut with almost dessert-like qualities of a crème brulée and very pleasing long mouth coating finish. By the way, you may see tartaric crystals [also known as Wine Diamonds] in your glass but its nothing to worry about.

A Chardonnay bottled unfined and unfiltered with 100% malolactic fermentation a factor immediately evident from the first pour to the last lingering sip. A wine that falls into my Chardonnay top ten lists and I think I've given this wine my highest score to date. A wine worth all of the 96 points I've given it. At the time they had only produced only 220 cases of this beauty and were selling for a suggested retail price of $50. Most likely 2008 has sold out by now, they are most likely selling 2009, but I'd call to find out. I think the price may have gone up a bit since last year and you will need to sign up with them to get your allotment.

About Vineyard 7 and 8: Launny and Weezie Steffens got their start with the purchase of this property in 1999 and began their quest to produce distinctive, terroir-driven wines from this unique piece of land. You'll find their winery set among some of Spring Mountain's most celebrated wine-producing vineyards. The terroir of their estate is a mix of sedimentary, volcanic, and clay soils. Their estate vineyards were established in the early 1980's and were at the time planted with just ten acres of [Estate] Cabernet Sauvignon and four acres of Chardonnay, which you see directly through the window of the tasting room in the picture above.

Location, location, location: They are located on the top of Spring Mountain, set in the western hills above the town of St Helena some two thousand feet above the valley floor, they produce some excellent vino from their forty acre estate. Wait until you the tasting room, I was wowed by the size and flattened by the panoramic view of the Spring Mountain District shining like a bright light in the background. Totally worth the price of admission. If you find yourself in the Napa Valley, don't miss an opportunity to stop by say hello and taste some really fantastic vino, that I know will knock your socks off and wow you like they wowed me.

Tastings and Appointments: If after reading this story, and it has caused you to want to book your own tasting appointment, please give them a call to arrange a time for your visit and tour. The tasting fee is now $30 per person, absolutely worth the price of admission, where you have the opportunity to taste some of the best juice on Spring Mountain.

If you like to drink high quality, terroir driven wines, that are far from the every day labels you normally encounter, then you will want to give the wines of Vineyard 7&8, a Spring Mountain high-light a swirl. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!


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