Spring Mountain Vineyard
Napa Valley AVA
Created a wine that would rival the best in the world
Even though its history can be traced back to the late 19th Century, Napa Valley’s prestigious Spring Mountain Vineyard is generally considered a comparative newcomer to the ranks of Napa’s more celebrated wineries.
Spring Mountain lies in the Mayacamas range and its ridge is lower than Bald Mountain to the south and Diamond Mountain to the north. This gap allows this cool, moist air to enter the Napa Valley and spill down over the vineyards planted on the slopes of Spring Mountain. Located just north of the storied town of St. Helena; the vines of the modern entity have been producing superior fruit for uncountable decades. In 1882, the iconic Beringer Brothers first planted vines on these hilly slopes that are now part of Spring Mountain Vineyards 845-acre Domaine.
The modern Spring Mountain Vineyard was founded in 1993, when Swiss financier Jacob E. Safra purchased the original land and buildings from the bankruptcy of the entity known as Spring Mountain Vineyards, which had begun its operations in the late 1960’s.
Two years later, Safra was able to purchase a pair of contiguous vineyards that almost doubled the size of Spring Mountain. In 1996, he added another wonderful adjacent parcel of 435 acres that dated from 1873 and renamed the vineyard, La Perla (the pearl) due to its marvelous fruit and the fact that the site was the first Cabernet Sauvignon ever planted on Spring Mountain.
Jacob Safra, now in his late fifties, is an ardent international wine collector whose favorite wines are mostly Bordeaux. In Spring Mountain Vineyard, he visualized an opportunity to produce a world class Bordeaux wine from the mountain that was known locally as “Cabernet Mountain.”
“It all about the location of Spring Mountain Vineyard,” explained Valli Ferrell, director of public relations for the winery. “ Our vineyards sit just above the fog line and therefore get the helpful morning sun that the lower elevations have to wait on. This effect produces excellent residual acidity and supple tannins. It also makes for bright wines that show well when young, yet possess the correct characteristics to age marvelously.”
To be sure, everything at Spring Mountain Vineyard has been redone in a grand style as befitting on of the world’s great up and coming wineries. Over 225 acres of the estate are planted to vine, creating 135 separate hillside vineyard blocks each with its own unique soil, exposure, and microclimate. The vineyard is planted in densities of 4,000 vines per acre and trained to the ancient gobelet form, a vertical trellising method that was invented in an earlier millennium by the Romans.
The three ghost wineries that inhabit Spring Mountain Vineyard have been restored and extensive digging has produced new caves that extend the original tunnels developed centuries earlier.
A pair of wine industry professionals runs the Spring Mountain Vineyard operation for offsite owner Safra. Jac Cole serves as winemaker and Ron Rosenbrand functions as vineyard manager. Together, the pair makes most of the decisions affecting the winery. Owner Jacob Safra sits in on all sessions where the final blending is decided. Cole and Rosenblum consider themselves to have a unique relationship in the wine industry. The form a working team that is closely knit and one that believes that great wines begin with great dirt, in this case, fabled Spring Mountain.
Jac Cole is unabashedly proud of his role in the winery since joining the staff in 2003. “I feel like a kid with a new box of Crayola crayons when I begin creating the Elivette blend,” he informed. “ The myriad of blending choices means I can produce a quintessential Spring Mountain wine every vintage.”
Spring Mountain Vineyard ‘s first release to incredibly rave reviews occurred in 2000, and amounted to under 2,000 cases. Today’s production has grown steadily to around 10,000 cases with an ultimate goal of nearly 20,000 cases possible sometime in the future.
The evolution of the elegant Meritage Elivette Reserve is a product of an almost 10-year project started by Jacob Safra that reached fruition in 2000 when he put his personal stamp of approval on the wine. By doing so he expressed his belief that Spring Mountain Vineyard had indeed created a wine that would rival the best in the world.
From the accolades it has received so far, there’s an excellent chance that Mr. Safra was correct in his evaluation.