One of the most exciting projects we are able to offer here at Schweiger Vineyards is our Single Vineyard Select Cabernet program. While all of our wines are technically “single vineyard” as they are all sourced from our contiguous estate, we have gone even more micro and produced single vineyard block wines. A vineyard block is a designated group of vines within a vineyard, sometimes bordered by creeks, trees, property lines, dramatic difference in soil type, terrain, etc.
Winemaker Andy Schweiger created the Single Vineyard Select program to showcase the diversity of our Spring Mountain estate.
The first of which is the Gate Block, aptly named for its position immediately following our entrance gate on your left, bordered by creeks on two sides, treeline one one, and our driveway on the fourth. IT is comprised of about 55 rows and 1,756 plants. , and is technically broken into 4 sections within the block. The terrain is steep, rocky, and incredibly stressed due to the water runoff. We only make 2-4 barrels of this wine, depending on the yield of the vintage. We offer one additional Single Vineyard Carbernet, and that is our Montaire.
Montaire is sourced from a single vineyard block of Cabernet Sauvignon next to the family home. This block is in a microclimate of its own, as it is essentially a dimple in our hilly terroir. This allows the vineyard pocket to collect soil sediment and nutrients, along with the ability to hold onto some fog when it reaches our 2,000 ft elevation.
So bottom line, does this type of experiment make a better wine? If you like nuance, then yes… as Beppi Crosorial so appropriately states,
“Wine vines are highly sensitive to their local environment. They adapt in a variety of ways to different soil composition, hours of sunlight, and fluctuations in temperature, wind and humidity. Every vineyard is different and every vine variety is different.”
In our case, if you’ve been here, you can see just how different these blocks are from each other – from the slope of the land, to the shade and windscreen from the trees, the direction the sun hits them, and where the fog hangs out. This creates obvious differences in the fruit characteristics between the two, and a strong consistency from vintage to vintage. Beppi goes on to say,
“…when one vineyard tends to produce great fruit year after year, some producers will set it aside and bottle it separately. They feel it would be a shame to water it down, so to speak, with other juice.”
While we mostly agree – on the keeping some separate idea, we also believe the converse, and don’t want to hold it back from our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, which represents a blend of all of our Cab vineyards, and Andy’s piece de resistance, our Bordeaux style blend, Dedication, which is every year, the best wine we can make from the property, which of course, would include some of our favorite Cabernet juice from both Gate and Montaire blocks.
So can you really taste the difference, or is it just all marketing hype?
Cathy Huyghe at Forbes put a local winery’s claim to the test, and she says, “Yes, without a doubt.” However, you don’t need to take anyone’s word for it. While these two wines are made in incredibly limited amounts (48 cases apiece), if you act fast, you can get your hands on some, and conduct your very own blind tasting at home…with or without friends to lend their own opinions!
Currently, the 2014 Vintage has only been released to our Extended Family Wine Club, however we are now opening up these wines to the rest of our customers, as a 2-bottle gift set (one of each), or as 3 bottle sets available for pickup immediately at the winery, or for shipping beginning October 14.
If you really want to get fancy, you can purchase one of the handful of verticals we are offering. You can compare vintages of each block side by side and note the similarities in overall impact the particular season had, and how the different terroir and microclimates responded…and how they age over time. This experience is not for the faint of heart, or wallet, but we assure you, there aren’t very many other wineries who can offer this unique opportunity.
Of course, once you taste them, we love to hear your feedback, so email your photos and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet, post them straight to social media and see if you are in the majority of opinion!
The Schweiger Family