Winery: Barnett Vineyards
Bottling: 2005 Spring Mountain Merlot
Sub-Region: Spring Mountain, Napa Valley
Estimated Retail Price: $45
Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Purchased at a local wine shop at an un-believable price. I thought it was the regular Napa Valley bottling the winery has had in the past, but at closer inspection saw that it was their premium Spring Mountain version. I’d rather not say what the price was or where I bought it from because I’d like to protect the integrity of the winery’s reputation and pricing as well as the retailer and wholesaler. It’s tough times for the wine business and I know that in the end, product has to be moved. I’m just glad I’m the one who got to reap the rewards.
Tasting Notes: There’s a particular aroma premium Napa Valley red wines give off that brings on poignant feelings of nostalgia for me. I think of the period of when Susan and I first discovered wine and knew that we were in for the long haul. This wine had that distinctive, appealing aroma on the first whiff and I was excited to dive right in.
The Barnett was a big chewy mouthful of mineral, charcoal, dark plum, black cherries, blackberries and a little cassis. Adding to the wine’s complexity were hints of chocolate and even a little rosemary on the finish. This was a complex, multi-layered wine. I forgot to mention the muscular tannins that held the wine together. This is a serious merlot that in the words of the winery is a “cabernet drinker’s merlot.” This has some serious cellar potential and is the kind of wine you can’t wait to drink again if you have several bottles in hibernation.
In fact, we went back to the store the next day and bought another bottle to replace this one. We hope to share this again a few years down the road with the same friends we drank it with.
Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: This is a refined wine that should be the showcase of a nice special occasion dinner. The kind of dinners I’m talking about are the ones where you use pricier cuts of meat, wine reduction sauces, truffle oil, etc. It should also be drunk only with people who rrrreally know how to appreciate something pretty darn special.
Winery & Other Background Information: The winery’s showcase and workhorse wines are its Rattlesnake Hill and Spring Mountain abernet sauvignons which account for about half of the estate’s 6,000 case annual prodcution. The rest of the production is spread across limited bottlings of merlot and single vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnay. The winery is perched on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. It looks pretty breathtaking where they are situated and after reading the information on their website, I feel compelled to visit them and take the private tour.