Spottswoode, in St. Helena, is one of Napa Valley's most historic and acclaimed wine estates. Established in 1882, it was given its name in 1910 by Mrs. Albert Spotts, but the winery's recent history begins in 1972, when the Novak family, who are the current owners, purchased it.
Though the winery makes an excellent Sauvignon Blanc, its fame rests on its Cabernet Sauvignon. Using grapes from the now organically-farmed estate vineyard, a series of brilliant winemakers—from Tony Soter, who made the first vintage back in 1982, to Aron Weinkauf today—have produced over forty vintages of what is unquestionably one of the Napa Valley's benchmark Cabernets.
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Spottswoode's Cabernet has always walked an impeccably balanced line between the richness of fruit and intensity that Napa's climate offers and the elegance and nuanced character that great Cabernet can achieve. Recently I had the opportunity to taste through ten vintages of Spottswoode Cabernet, from 1985 to 2013.