Apr 09 2010
By Jason Brooks
It’s Friday morning around 10:30am and we finally pull up the long windy drive to the Staglin Family Vineyard. As you can see the fog was still lingering and the rain was misting down. Bud break has occurred:
The entrance to the winery opens up into a long corridor lined with French oak barrels. We were greeted by Collin with a glass of 2006 Chardonnay – sorry I left my camera in the car at this point but ran back to get it.
Large oak and steel maceration tanks branched off at the intersection.
We walked past them in through some large wooden doors into the Chardonnay cave/tunnel, the start of nearly 24,000 (YES! I said 24 THOUSAND) square feet of barrel caves! At the end one of the wine makers was taking samples.
An exhibition barrel showing the Chard aging sur-lees!
A right turn led us into one of the many long Cab tunnels were we met the winemaker scrubbing barrels. I also got a really interesting and in-depth explanation on the different types of French Oak he uses in the barrels. He sources the oak from two different forests in France and has some barrels using only wood from one or the other and some barrels are made from a blend of the two forests. He explained that he does this because the soils and conditions in each forest are so different that they produce very unique grains and impart different influences. If I remember correctly the wood from Forest B (the letter burned into the barrel) tends to grow in looser more minerally soils, white the wood from Forest T grown in denser soils. I could have geeked out with him for the rest of the day on this subject but the rest of the party were ready to head into the tasting room!
Five larger barrels dedicated to the Sangiovese called Stagliano in honor of Mr. Staglin’s father. The dedicated 1 acre to the grape, which they had brought back from Tuscany.
On the other side of the tasting room
The tasting room
Collin had a nice line up ready for us. I coined the term a Hillbilly Vertical as it was missing a tooth…the 2004s.
Decanted and ready to go
Collin was telling us that we came at the right time as the Staglin’s had held a dinner party the night before and had some of the 2003 Staglin Family Estate Cab left over for us…a vintage they were very proud of and have very little left of. It had been open for a good half a day and was ready to be drunk. It was a beautiful deep ruby with just a hint of amber around the rim. It’s nose was plush and spicy with wonderful hints of damp earth. On the palate dark fruits and spice danced with the supple tannins and the finish seemed to last a lifetime!
We were also treated to a rare taste of the 2006 INEO, which was my favourite of the lot but WAY out of my price point!!! I can’t even begin to describe just how luscious and aromatic and complex this wine was…it could take a lifetime to get to know all it’s little ins and outs, ups and downs!
After the tasting we were treaded to a rare tour of the private family home, which was featured in the remake of the Parent Trap movie. Below are a few shots of the home’s views and gardens:
I can safely say that this was by far my favourite vineyard we visited the entire weekend with Erna Schein a very close second. I guess it was the very warm welcome we received, like we were family coming for a visit and the wines were stellar. We ended up buying a bottle of the 2006 Salus Cabernet. It’s estate grown and bottled. It’s 100% cab and all of the proceeds go to fund the family’s mental health charity work. Pic’s to come when the bottle finally arrives!