Spottswoode Celebrates 125 Years
Just thinking about all the wine labels in the world is simply suffocating.
A day doesn’t go by, it seems, without the debut of another new winery.
So it’s rather comforting to hear about a Napa Valley winery that’s currently celebrating the 125th anniversary of its estate.
It’s one of those whose wines are limited, relatively expensive and — year after year — sold out. The name is Spottswoode.
It actually began in 1882, when George Schonewald bought 31 acres in an area that later became St. Helena.
He planted vines on 17 acres, sold some of his land off a couple of years later and, in 1906, sold the rest to Joseph Bliss, who named it Stonehurst. A couple of years later, Bliss sold it to Dr. George Allen, who named it Lyndenhurst. In 1910, a widow, Mrs. Albert Spotts, purchased the property and renamed it Spottswoode. It remained in the Spotts family until 1972, when Mary and Jack Novak took it over.
Unfortunately, husband Jack died in 1977. Under Mary’s guidance, it took five years before Spottswoode made its first wine under the Novaks. Consequently, the 1982 vintage marks the beginning of Spottswoode’s modern-era estate wines.
Which means that there’s a also a 25th anniversary to celebrate. A series of birthday events began with a 25-year vertical tasting of Spottswoode cabernet sauvignons at the winery on Feb. 19. The celebration continues in Los Angeles on March 20 and in San Francisco on April 10.
Currently in release are a 2005 sauvignon blanc ($32) and two 2003 cabernet sauvignons, the Lyndenhurst ($60) and the Spottswoode Estate ($110). You can usually find some of the wines at Duke of Bourbon, 20908 Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park, (818) 341-1234. Winery information: (707) 963-0134 or www.spottswoode.com.
NEW RELEASES: Triple treat from Harveys of Bristol Cream sherry fame is the debut in the U.S. of the new Harveys Orange, Reserve and Fino sherries ($14.99 each). Information: www.beamwineestates.com. … From the reliable Cousino-Macul in Chile comes the 2006 Dona Isidora riesling ($9.99) and its 2004 Finis Terrae merlot and cabernet sauvignon blend ($18.99). Information: www.cousinomacul.com. … Incognito ($19.50) is the new pink Michael-David wine from Lodi, a blend of cinsault, grenache and mourvedre grapes. Information: www.lodivineyards.com. … Shannon Ridge sends forth its 2005 cabernet sauvignon ($19) from High Valley in Lake County, Calif. Information: (707) 998-9656 or www.shannonridge.com. … And from Southeastern Australia comes the latest bargain wines, Kelly’s Revenge, a 2006 chardonnay and two 2005 reds, a shiraz and a cabernet sauvignon, all three priced at $4.99 each. Information: www.kellysrevenge.com.au.
On the spirits side, Martin Miller’s artisanal dry gin ($27.99), distilled in London and blended and bottled with Icelandic water in Iceland, is now in national distribution. And Tanqueray Rangpur ($21.99) is a new lime-flavored gin. … Also, the new wave of Brazilian cachaca that fans are welcoming Leblon ($30). This is the smooth sugarcane spirit that is used to make the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil.
SIPS AND NIBBLES: Firestone Vineyard has opened its second winery in Paso Robles. Its original winery continues in Santa Ynez Valley. Information: www.firestonewine.com. … Single cask single malt Scotch whisky can now be purchased locally. Highland Park has sent its 1977-distilled Cask No. 7957 bottlings (198 of them) exclusively to Old Oaks Cigar & Wine Co. 3006 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Thousand Oaks. They’re available at $299.99 per bottle. Information: (805) 494-1886.
(c) 2007 Los Angeles Daily News