Everything about Spottswoode Vineyards, Napa Valley California Cabernet Sauvignon wine producer profile, wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines
Spottswoode History, Overview
Spottswoode is one of the older wineries in California. In fact, it dates all the way back to 1882, when George Schonewald purchased 31, prime acres in what is now known as the St. Helena appellation. At the time, George Schonewald’s original intention was to use the property as a fun, summer vacation retreat for his family. Two years later, in 1884, Schonewald sold several acres to Frank Kraft. Frank Kraft knew this was prime land and he quickly started Kraft Family wines.
The original winery built by Kraft is still in use today. Currently, it serves as the wine cellar for the Spottswoode wines. The regal looking house on the Spottswoode property was built by George Schonewald, who modeled it after a hotel he was fond of, located in nearby Monterey California. In 1906, Joseph Bliss purchased the vineyards and winery from the Schonewald family Bliss changed the name of winery to Stonehurst. Joseph Bliss sold the estate just two years later to Dr. George Allen. George Allen eventually sold the property to the Spotts family. After taking possession of the estate they renamed the winery using their name and called it Spottswoode. That is how the state found its name.
The Spotts family planted the vineyard with the popular grape varieties of the day, Gamay, Zinfandel, Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc, along some vines devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon as well. The Spotts family sold the winery in 1972 to the Novak family who increased the size of the estate by purchasing 15 additional acres which enlarged the property to a total of 46 acres of vines.
At first, after the purchase by the Novak family, Spottswoode sold their harvest to other more established growers including Shafer and Duckhorn. In fact, it was due in part to encouragement from John Shafer that the Novak family began producing and bottling their own wine. In 1982, Spottswoode released their first vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon. They also hired Tony Soter as their wine consultant and began producing a string of consistently, high quality wines. One of the first changes that took place shortly after the arrival of Tony Soter in 1985 was moving to 100% organic farming techniques. In fact, Spottswoode was one of the first vineyards in Napa to begin farm using only organic methods.
In 2002, Spottswoode introduced a second wine to their estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Lyndenhurst. The name Lyndenhurst was inspired by one of the daughters of the daughter of the Novak family, Lindy. Lyndenhurst is produced from the estate’s young vines. This introduction is a second wine is one of the key reasons for the increase in the Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon. Sadly, Mary Novak, the patriarch of the Novak family passed away, September 25, 2016. Mary Novak was 84 years old. Beth Novak Milliken remains in charge of Spottswoode today.
Spottswoode Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking
Spottswoode’s vineyard is planted in sandy, clay, gravel and loam soils. Currently, they produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Spottswoode is vinified in a combination of cement vats and stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel. The red wine of Spottswoode wine is aged for about 22 months in 65% new French oak barrels. The Sauvignon Blanc is aged in a combination of vessels, steel drums, concrete, egg shaped vats and French oak barrels. With 40 acres under vine, Spottswoode produces an average of 5,000 cases of wine per year.
Today, Spottswoode is on top of their game producing some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the Napa Valley.
Serving and Decanting Spottswoode with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Spottswoode wines are best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages of their red wine can be decanted for 1-3 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
The red wine of Spottswoode is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Spottswoode is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.
The white wine of Spottswoode is best served with all types of seafood and shellfish, sushi, sashimi, chicken, veal, pork and cheese.
Spottswoode Wine Tasting Notes
18 Vintages 86,654 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2016||Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc (North Coast)|
With an intriguing orange note to the lemongrass, honeydew and grapefruit, the wine is fresh, sweet, round and ready to go.
2,229 Views Tasted Nov 25, 2017
|2015||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Inky in color, the lusciously textured, rich, deep, opulent, full-bodied wine coats your palate with waves of sweet, dark, juicy fruit without overwhelming it. The black cherries, chocolate, licorice, blackberry, boysenberry and vanilla in the finish really stay with you. If you dig ripe, exuberant, Napa fruit, you can easily drink it today. Else, age it for 5-7 years or more for further development. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot .
2,635 Views Tasted Feb 16, 2020
|2014||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Just a super wine, with layers of ripe, fresh, sweet, juicy, dark red and black fruits. Luscious in texture, but still able to retain and balance and the right amount of acidity, the wine feels, tastes and smells great! It should age nicely in the cellar.
5,689 Views Tasted Nov 25, 2017
|2014||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst (St. Helena)|
Medium bodied and light on its feet, this classically styled wine focuses on the freshness on the fruit, with added nuances of cocoa and dusty tannins in the finish. This is ready for consumption.
2,317 Views Tasted Nov 25, 2017
|2013||Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc (North Coast)|
Fresh, bright crisp, piquant grapefruit, lemon peel and rocky, tastes and textures show through here. Acidic, fresh and refreshing, the wine cuts a nice, straight path on your palate.
3,441 Views Tasted Nov 29, 2016
|2012||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Stylish, polished, lush and fresh, the wine has an earthy, smoke filled personality with additional nuances of licorice and sweet, ripe, blackberries. Forward with round tannins, this should drink well young and as other vintages have proved, age quite nicely.
4,840 Views Tasted Jan 25, 2016
|2012||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst (St. Helena)|
Forward, early drinking, medium bodied, fresh wine, with a dark cherry personality that is meant for easy drinking pleasure.
2,003 Views Tasted Jan 26, 2016
|2011||Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc (North Coast)|
From a blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Sauvignon Musque. This could be the first time Semillon was not included in the blend. Honeydew melon, grapefruit, citrus and stone scents open to a fresh, bright, sweet, citrus filled finish
2,332 Views Tasted Nov 24, 2012
|2010||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Inky in color, dense, rich and concentrated, the wine coats your mouth with layer after layer of polished, velvety, sweet, perfectly ripe black and blue fruits with licorice. The lush, supple finish really leaves an impression.
4,359 Views Tasted Dec 15, 2014
|2009||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Aged in 69% new, French oak for 20 months, the wine is produced from a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Forest floor, truffle, cassis, blackberry and wet earth aromas open to a fresh, luxurious style of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine offers a juicy, mouthful of bitter chocolate, cassis, spice and black cherry on the palate.
5,148 Views Tasted Nov 24, 2012
Spottswoode is on fire lately! 2009 is no exception with its showy nose packed with truffles, chocolate, licorice and black and blue fruits. Silky, soft and plush in texture, the wine finishes with an expansive, fresh, polished, black cherry finish.
5,281 Views Tasted Oct 23, 2012
|2008||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Medium/full bodied and on the elegant, refined side of the style range, there is good freshness, purity of fruit and smoky, earthy blackberries to please the palate. But the same level of refinement and plush, polished fruits found in the best vintages is not present.
3,270 Views Tasted Sep 19, 2016
|2007||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Inky in color, the perfume explodes with smoke, boysenberry, caramel, blackberry, chocolate, spice, blueberry and plum. This beautiful expression of California Cabernet Sauvignon coats your mouth, teeth, gums and palate with layers of perfectly ripe, luscious, soft, pure fruit. Thick, rich, harmonious and opulent, there is not a hard edge in the seamless finish. Drink it or age it, this is what California does best.
7,528 Views Tasted Mar 6, 2014
From a blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc, this sublime California Cabernet Sauvignon pops with aromas of fresh blueberries, blackberry jam, earth, spice with coffee bean and vanilla. While concentrated with multiple layers of ripe fruit, this is not over the top. Everything is in balance. With opulent, rich textures and a long, fresh, deep, ripe, rich, dark berry finish, this the best wine I've tasted from Spottswoode. Based on still having vintages from 1994 forward in my cellar, this should age and improve for at least 20 years.
7,726 Views Tasted Jan 13, 2012
|2006||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
Powerful, full bodied and concentrated with ripe, chewy, juicy, chewy Cabernet fruit, the wine offers ample licorice, cassis, smoke, espresso bean, blackberry, vanilla and earthy notes along with opulent, round textures and a deep, polished, ripe, dark fruit filled finish.
4,456 Views Tasted Nov 26, 2011
|2005||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (St. Helena)|
From 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, this rich, ripe, delicious wine pops with luscious blackberry, blueberry and black cherries, fresh brewed coffee and earth. Rich in texture, long, fresh, supple and clean, drink it or age it. Either way, this is a great style of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
4,053 Views Tasted Aug 25, 2013
|2002||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Spottswoode Estate Vineyard (Napa Valley)|
Inky dark in color, scents of chocolate covered boysenberries, coffee, truffle, licorice and blueberry waft from the glass. Opulent, intense, concentrated and deep, this California Cabernet Sauvignon wine is packed and stacked with pure, ripe, juicy, sweet, fresh, jammy dark berries and chocolate, in the hedonistic finish. This is drinking perfectly today. There is no reason to wait on popping a bottle.
5,022 Views Tasted Sep 28, 2011
|1997||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)|
Faded from its glory years, the wine straddles the fence between the classic old school, Napa styled wines and those produced in the modern age. With an earthy, dusty, olive and tobacco tint to the sweet cherries and licorice, there is a softness to the wine, but the fruit is only going to fade from here.
2,098 Views Tasted Sep 23, 2015
Light on the nose, with serious effort, tobacco, cassis, spice and earthy notes could be found. Soft in texture, this fully mature wine ends with a round, plummy finish. I imagine this has started to fade and lost its fruit.
2,739 Views Tasted Oct 8, 2012
|1994||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)|
The first bottle was drying out. Having had this wine several times, (as I’m lucky to have some in my cellar) that clearly was not a correct bottle. The second bottle was an entirely different wine, although it was also starting to dry out. But fortunately, it was not nearly as advanced. Showing the bright, red side of the style range, along with earthy, tobacco, cherry and cedar wood notes. The wine seems to have exchanged its soft, polished personality for some austerity in the finish. I’d drink this sooner than later.
3,479 Views Tasted Mar 4, 2014
It's lush with a backbone. The style, texture, ripeness and alcohol levels remind me of a Bordeaux.
2,104 Views Tasted Nov 2, 2004
|1986||Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)|
Typical, classic, charming California Cabernet Sauvignon that would do well in a blind tasting with Bordeaux requires consumption before it drops its fruit and charm.
3,905 Views Tasted May 22, 2013