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Single Vineyard Block Cabernet From Our Spring Mountain Estate

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One of the most exciting projects we are able to offer here at Schweiger Vineyards is our Single Vineyard Select Cabernet program. While all our wines are technically “single vineyard,” as they’re all sourced from our contiguous estate, we’ve gone “micro” and produced single vineyard block wines. A vineyard block is defined as 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 designated vineyard block is Gate Block, aptly named for its position immediately following our entrance gate on your left. This block is bordered by creeks on two sides, a treeline on one, and our driveway on the fourth. It’s comprised of about 55 rows and 1,756 plants and is technically broken into four 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 Cabernet, and that is our Montaire. Sourced from a single vineyard block of Cabernet Sauvignon next to the family home, this block is in a micro-climate of its own, as it’s 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 idea to keep some separate, we also believe the converse. We don’t want to hold it back from our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, which represents a blend of all our Cabernet vineyards. And we don’t want to hold it back from Andy’s piece de resistance, our Bordeaux style blend, Dedication, comprised year after year as the best wine we can make from the property, which 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 said, 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 opinions!

Currently, the 2014 Vintage has only been released to our Extended Family Wine Club; however we are now offering 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.

If you really want to get fancy, you can purchase one of a handful of verticals we offer to compare vintages of each block side by side. Note the similarities in overall impact of a particular season, and how the different terroir and micro-climates 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.

Once you taste them, we’d love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to email your photos and thoughts to thefamily@schweigervineyards.com — or better yet, post them straight to social media, tagging @SchweigerVineyards to see if you’re in the majority of opinion!

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