Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2007 Stefania Haut Tubee

Having 100 bottles of wine in your cellar aging is one heck of a nice feat! Having 115 bottles from a single producer is downright INSANE...unless of course that producer is Stefania! Over the last few years, you have read about my love for Stefania Wine here on our blog. I first heard of Stefania from the Wine Spectator Forum, where I virtually met Paul Romero, owner and winemaker, along with his wife Stefania. Paul seemed like a great guy, and upon researching his winery, I really fell in love with Paul and Stef's story, and I had to try their wines. Unfortunately, I did not sign up for their mailing list to get in on their inaugural release of their 2005 Eaglepoint Ranch syrah, however, I did order their second offering, of their '05 Uvas Creek cabernet sauvignon. From there, the rest was history, and Paul and Stefania are crafting wines that my palate absolutely loves. Their wines are my go to wines that I really love to share with friends, and for what these wines cost, you really cannot go wrong. You have heard me say it before, and I will say it again! Go to their website, and sign up for their MAILING LIST! I think there is currently a bit of a wait, but you should get an offering within a release or two. Once you do, order all that you can. If you get these wines and don't like them, drop me an e-mail and I'll take them off of your hands. I am lucky enough to be in the top 10% of their mailing list. Quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if I am in their Top 10 customers, and that is something that I can say that I am proud of. Being in their top 10%, I am offered their wines "on futures," where we get our allocation in advance at a substantial discount, and order them before they are offered to the rest of the mailing list. This not only gives me guaranteed access to the wines so long as I place the order before the deadline, but it also gives me a chance to order wines that are much smaller in production. For this I am grateful. With all of that being said, so far we have purchased 147 bottles from Stefania since October of 2007, and consumed 32 bottles to date. The rest are in the cellar aging, where they get better and better every day. That said, check them out. These are some of the best QPR (quality to price ratio) wines out there! So after a long day, I came home to a perfect winter meal that Zelda cooked, and felt the need to crack open the 2007 Stefania Haut Tubee. This wine has gotten some great press already on the Wine Spectator Forum, so I had to give it a shot. This wine also won gold at the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competition January 5th-8th, 2010 in Sonoma, CA. The 2007 Santa Cruz Mountain cabernet sauvignon also took home bronze, so kudos to Paul and Stef for some welldeserved recognition! Tonight there was no time to decant, so this wine was popped and poured. Again, classic Stefania color in the glass, with a nice purple/dark red hue reminiscent of a nice Rhone styled blend. On the nose, there are so many things going on, but what really stands out are the black fruits: blackberry, and hints of blueberry and boysenberry. There is definitely a ton of spice on the nose, but nice floral notes as well. The last thing I can get from the nose is a nice creamy caramel sweetness that is full of pleasure. On the palate, this wine if hard to figure out because there is just so much going on. There is so much fruit on the palate that it is insane. Is it really possible that this wine has been in the bottle for less than a year at his point? Surprisingly, I found more red fruits on the palate than the black fruits that I smelled on the nose. The palate reviews lush tones of raspberry, strawberry, and other red berries. There is definitely some nice spice to this wine, which I am assuming comes from the zinfandel in the blend. Finally, there are some hints of toasted cedar, and a ton of complexity, with a nice tannic backbone, and subtle acidity. For such a young wine, this is drinking very well, and it is only going to get better. I would guess that in another year, this wine is going to be amazing, and could very well be the bargain of the year in 2010. The one problem I have with this wine you may ask? Easy! A case allocation wasn't enough, and I need to get some more! All in all, another winner from Paul and Stefania, and this is one that is not going to last in the cellar long. I would truly be surprised if the case lasts through 2010 as this is drinking nicely right now! So you want to know what grapes are in the blend? Here you go: 50% Syrah, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache and Mourvedre. For a better explanation on this blend, here are some notes straight from Paul: "In 2007 I started with our home vineyard, and Millie and Kathy's vineyard as a base. That's Grenache, Syrah, Zinfandel and a tiny bit of Mourvedre. Later I added in Zinfandel from the Elandrich vineyard that was also just a few hundred pounds. When we started doing barrel testing and blending I decided to add Cabernet and Merlot from the Elandrich vineyard. Normally that goes in the SCM Cabernet blend, but I didn't want to get the Elandrch percentage over 1/6 in that blend so a barrel went to the Haut Tubee. At that point the wine was missing some backbone, so about a month later I added some Chaine d'Or Estate wine. I blended in about a 50/50 mixture of press wine and free run. That added more Cabernet, Merlot, and a tiny bit of Cab Franc and Petite Verdot. The final component was Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah. I had tried out an Ermitage barrel Bradley Brown had recommended. The barrel turned out great, but it was so different from the other barrels I decided to add it to the Haut Tubee. It added the new oak and spice flavors. Bradley thought I was nuts, he said he would have bottled the barrel on its own. I hate the idea of 'hostage' wines, and Stef and I really want to keep this as our 'anti-hostage' wine. A really good, small lot, hand made wine for $20 and you don't have to buy anything else to get it." What a great story by great people! In short, this wine is going to get better and better for the next 1-2 years, but don't be afraid to pop one now if you have a few. Currently a 90 point wine on the MJWineDrinking scale, but heading towards 91-93 with some time in the bottle! WOW! All of this for $20? Keep up the great work Paul and Stef, and keep these wines made with true love coming! Cheers!
* * *UPDATE * * *
DAY 2: Stored in the fridge overnight after a vacuum. The nose on this wine seemed to show a bit more alcohol today, however, it seemed to blow off as the glass warmed up over the course of an hour. Very strange as it is usually the opposite. As the glass warmed, the black fruits were more pronounced on the nose, with a hint of white pepper. On the palate, at first, the wine seemed to pick up more acidity over night, which I thought was odd. I figured if anything, it would mellow out a bit. The fruits again seemed to come out a bit more from last night, and you could really taste and feel the syrah influence in this wine, especially with the white pepper. Other than that, there were not a lot of changes with this wine, and I think that it is going to need a few more months in the bottle before it will really start to show it's potential. Regardless, I am not going to change the score on this wine, but I do look forward to seeing how it develops. This was vacuumed again with about a glass left, and will be revisited again tomorrow, but I am not sure that I am expecting good results.
DAY 3: WOW!!!!! This is exactly where this wine should be, and I cannot wait until this wine is like this with some age right out of the bottle. Still a bit of alocohol on the nose, but the fruit is nice, and there is a nice sweetness to it. On the palate, the red fruits are nice and lush, the heat is toned down, and there are some nice white pepper hints. The finish still has a nice acidity to it, and the tannins are mellowed. Again, the pepper seems to come through on the finish,and you really taste the syrah influence. All in all, day 3 gets this wine another point. I'm sure we'll pop another before the end of the month, and I look forward to seeing this wine develop! 91 points at day 3!

1 comment:

South Jersey Wine & Dine said...

F. Scott

As soon as I send this reply I am headed to Stefania's website to sign up for their mailing list.
I absolutely can't afford to buy any more wine but from reading the Parker Board I have always been impressed by 4 winemakers who respond to posts on that board and they are, Lou Kapcsandy (just bought a case from their recent offering), Jean Hoefling from Alpha/Omega, Maggie Harrison from Lillian and Antica Terra and the folks from Stefania.

You review so many great wines that for you to speak so highly of Stefania is all the proof I need that buying this wine would be money well spent. As you mentioned, it may take a release or two before I get offered some but there is no better day than today to start that process.