We have tasted many St. Supery wines over the years and have come to hold this Napa Valley vineyard in high regard. Hosting a recent tasting of current releases and a couple of past vintages provided an informative and interesting afternoon for us and a couple of volunteer tasters. Mentioning the volunteer tasters is important because one of them provided an “aha” moment later in the tasting.
Robert Skalli founded St. Supery in the 1980’s with the purchase and planting of 500 acres at the Dollarhide Ranch in the northeast mountains of Napa Valley and 56 acres in Rutherford, the Napa Valley site of today’s winery. The fashion house Chanel Inc. purchased St. Supery in 2015 and correspondingly opened a tasting salon on high-fashion Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills in 2017.
St. Supery is known primarily for its sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon, although they grow and market several white, rosé , red blends and other individual Bordeaux grapes.
We tasted 4 current releases of St. Supery’s wines and supplemented two older sauvignon blanc vintages for context. The current vintage St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc Estate Napa Valley 2018 ($24) presented very fresh and bright citrus and peach notes and ample acidity that we found lively and refreshing to drink.
The St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc Estate Napa Valley 2017 was a softer, rounder version of the 2018 with more herbal notes. One of our tasters commented that this was a “comfort wine.”
We preferred the current releases of the St. Supery sauvignon blancs over its slightly aged earlier vintages. We liked the St Supery Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2017 ($41), which contrasted significantly from their regular Napa Estate bottling. Aged in 100 percent French oak this sauvignon blanc is reminiscent of the rare white wines from some of Bordeaux’s finest Grand Cru vineyards.
Aging in French oak (17percent new) creates a creamy oak, honeyed, spicy expression in this elegant white wine.
One of our tasters commented that this wine was evocative of a California chardonnay, probably due to the oak treatment.
The 2015 version was not as distinguished, losing some of its charm over time. The “aha” moment came with the tasting of the St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa Valley 2016 ($45). One of our volunteer tasters had expressed concern that he wouldn’t be able to appreciate and identify the qualities of the premium wines we shared. He explained that the wines he normally consumes were value oriented, leaning more toward 1.5-liter, mass market wines and some box wines as well.
A surprised expression crossed his face as he sniffed and swirled the 2016 St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon and he readily confirmed that he could indeed appreciate and identify a clearly superior wine. We agreed and declared this wine the star of the tasting with its ripe and rich, cherry and cassis nose and flavors with a whiff of chocolate. A great example of a well-priced Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon.
We also tasted a current vintage St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon Dollarhide Ranch Napa Valley 2014 ($105), which exhibited more cassis notes in a very smooth and elegant package. We suspect this wine will develop well over the next 3-5 years while the 2016 St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is delightful now.
With the heat still on us, there’s a lot of time to enjoy a glass of rosé on the patio or boat. With more producers making rosé now than ever, there is a glut of good wines to be enjoyed. Here are some new discoveries:
OZV Rosé of Primitivo California 2018. Made from a grape variety that is a kin of zinfandel, this boisterous and tasty rosé has strawberry and raspberry flavors with a floral, tropical fruit nose and hints of lemon and tangerine.
Hearst Ranch Winery Julia Rosé 2017 ($22). Made from a Paso Robles blend of syrah, malbec, grenache, petit verdot, petite sirah, and tempranillo, this rosé has bright red berry fruit, some complexity and minerality.
La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé Monterey 2018 ($25). This domestic producer offers a lot of fruit in the nose and mouth of their rosé . Notes of strawberry and citrus dominate this luscious wine ending with a pleasant mouth filling experience.
Grounded Wine Co. Space Age Grenache Rosé 2018 ($15). Using grapes from the Central Coast, winemaker Josh Phelps has crafted a fresh and vibrant rosé with strawberry and watermelon notes. Balanced acidity.
Chateau Roubine La rosé Cotes de Provence 2018 ($24). A blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah and tibouren (new to us), this rosé has a beautiful salmon color and delicate red berry flavors with a touch of anise and an infusive floral nose.
“M” de Minuty Rosé 2018 ($21). One of our favorite Provence rosé s year over year, Minuty’s value version is a classic blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah. It has balanced acidity and has bright peach and citrus notes. Chateau Minuty’s 2018 Rosé et Or ($40) takes rosé to another level with more complexity and a longer finish.
Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2016 ($40). Medium bodied, this pinot noir makes for a good complement to summer fare, such as salmon, grilled burgers or chicken. Classic varietal flavors with a hint of forest floor on the nose.
Trapiche Medalla Malbec 2016 ($25). This is more complex and serious than your usual Argentine malbec. Intensely purple in color with generous notes of ripe plums and cherries with a taste of raisins and spicy oak nuances.
Benziger Family Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($55). This is part of a new line by Benziger that uses grapes from organically farmed vineyards that uses crop rotation, tillage and natural composts instead of synthetic chemicals. Complex, ripe dark fruit and a hint of mocha. Very delicious and approachable.