Wine of the Week, 2000 Estate Red
Cool temperatures and rain--familiar to Chicagoans this spring-- have translated into a good wine buy. But the weather in question occurred late in Napa Valley's 2000 growing season, affecting the grape harvest. This Bordeaux-style red from Spring Mountain Vineyard is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, but usually about 85 percent of the first, said Tom Ferrell, general manager of the winery. Because of the 2000 weather, however, a lot of the cabernet grapes were "hard-edged" so more merlot went in for softening, ending in a 66/34 cab-to-merlot blend. All this resulted in a rich wine with dark ruby color and enticing aromas of black currant and a little oak. Boasting a smooth, round mouthfeel, it has a balanced taste, with spicy, complex flavors of berries and dried cherries and a lingering finish. Although the wine usually retails for $50, it's about $40 now--because some wine critics favored California's 2001 vintage over the 2000, and the latter is getting ignored.