Wine Library Notes

Vertical Tasting Held on November 8, 2021

Each year at the culmination of harvest, we gather for our Annual Vertical, where we taste through twenty vintages of our Estate Cabernet in order to see where each of these wines is in its development and to share our collective thoughts with you. Last fall, our team was joined by two local Wine Directors, Carey Vanderborg from Mayacama Golf Club and Vincent Morrow, MS from PRESS Restaurant, as well as Martin Reyes, MW. We greatly appreciate and respect their palates and the outside perspectives they brought to our tasting.

We hope our notes are both interesting and useful to you, and that you have the opportunity to collect and taste many vintages of Spottswoode!

Vintages 2000–2019

Best in Show
Because wines continue to evolve over time, our impressions vary each year. In this tasting, the group particularly enjoyed the wines marked with our Black Labrador symbol.

2000 Drink  Intriguing and exuberant, this wine has savory layers of leather, tobacco, and game over a core of dark berries, rhubarb, and cedar notes. Aromas of white pepper and clove complement the subtle aromatic sweetness of fresh hay and sage, while silky tannins bring cohesion. A beautiful, classically styled Cabernet to be enjoyed now.

2001 Drink/Hold  Immensely complex and fascinating, the 2001 offers aromas of pine, orange rind, and sea spray intertwined with tertiary flavors of petrichor, cedar, tobacco, and mushroom. The lengthy finish and silky tannins evoke a sense of dusty red earth and roses. A showstopper.

2002 Drink  A regal, cohesive, and textured wine, the 2002 offers notes of dried raspberry, leather, river rocks, and black cherry accompanied by floral aromas of lavender and citrus blossom. A dense and powerful palate balances structure and mineral elegance. 

2003 Drink/Hold  A beautiful wine coming into its own. Flavors of blueberry, crimson fruits, and peppery roasted meats accompany aromas of iron, dried sage, and crème de cassis. A lively acidity provides brightness and melds with a plush tannin profile to create length and persistence. 

2004 Drink/Hold  Dense and complex, the 2004 is tremendously youthful at 17 years of age. Primary dark blue fruits and cassis are at the core, while notes of spiced pie crust, fragrant yellow roses, violets, and cedar create intrigue. The tannins are firm yet silky and bring both finesse and elegance. 

2005 Drink/Hold  Expressive notes of cranberry, currants, and huckleberry interplay with toasty aromas of cocoa, roasted walnuts, and caramel sweetness. The resinous and sanguine notes of pine balance the calming aromas of wet stones and fresh linen. A beautiful, sleek, and harmonious wine.

2006 Drink/Hold  Exuberant and textured, the 2006 radiates dark fruits, glycerol, and black currants. Secondary characteristics of mint, herbs, olive, and pine forest seamlessly fuse with the tertiary aromas of sweet cigar box and pencil shavings. A stunning wine to be enjoyed now and for years to come.

2007 Drink/Hold  Notes of Amarena cherry accompany a gorgeous bouquet of fraises des bois, orange blossom, and pine needles. A racy acidity elevates flavors of elderberry and allspice while nuanced tannins provide a gorgeous mouthfeel. 

2008 Drink/Hold  Youthful and accessible, the 2008 has enticing notes of cherry, cranberry, and spicy gingerbread. The viscous and saline texture is dense yet lifted – vacillating among notes of molasses, rainwater, strawberries, roasted lamb, and cigar box.

2009 Drink/Try  Defined by powerful tension, this robust wine has a backbone of muddled blueberries, black pepper, cocoa, and roses. The silky tannins are accentuated by moderate acidity. Secondary notes of seaweed, primrose, and a woodsy barrel spice help complete this wine.

2010 Drink/Hold  Enticing and hedonistic, the 2010 combines notes of dark blue fruits, black olive, cassis, and a subtle saline undertone. Delicate aromatics of roses, sage, rosemary, bergamot, and black tea complement the lush tannins and lively acidity. 

2011 Drink/Hold  A cool vintage that captures the classic varietal characters of Cabernet Sauvignon while carrying complex notes of wet stone, elderberry, bramble, sandalwood, peppercorns, and fraises des bois. A wine with powdery tannins, vibrant acidity, and timeless elegance.

2012 Hold/Try  A youthful wine with many years ahead of it, the 2012 carries notes of bramble, cedar, fresh pine, violets, graphite, and potpourri. Aromas of dried herbs, Kalamata olives, and wet stones bring savory elements to this lively wine.

2013 Hold/Try  Structure and power are the hallmarks of this statuesque wine. The linear tannins are just starting to mellow while the dark fruits are beginning to develop secondary characteristics of dark cherries, cedar, and tobacco. There is an intoxicating complexity that makes each sip more enjoyable. 

2014 Hold/Try  The 2014 was the dark horse of the flight and a delightful surprise! The deep notes of berries, violet, and plum intertwine with aromas of sandalwood, slate, and exotic spices. Chalky tannins are brightened by vibrant acidity. This is an excellent wine with quiet confidence.

2015 Hold/Try  A stunning and elegant wine with seductive red fruits, silky, refined tannins, and lush acidity. Notes of jasmine, anise, cocoa, violets, and sage meld with aromas of wet earth, tar, and fresh sandalwood. Truly delicious and worth a try now. 

2016 Hold/Try  Power and finesse are at the core of this sanguine wine. Notes of blue fruits, graphite, roses, spice, black cherries, and pumpkin seeds rest on a foundation of refined, linear tannins and immensely fresh acidity. This is a compelling and timeless wine with many years of life ahead.

2017 Hold/Try  A wine with a commanding presence and lengthy progression, the 2017 has notes of sour cherry, blue violets, mandarin, roasted red pepper, jasmine, and fresh clay. The tannins are understated and impressively refined. This is truly a winegrower’s vintage. We recommend decanting if you choose to try now.

2018 Hold/Try  A generous and ethereal wine, the 2018 is truly spectacular. Deep toasty oak melds with notes of bright raspberry and kirsch. The powdery tannin of the blue fruits paired with the vibrant acidity evoke both intensity and energy. 

2019 Hold/Try  One of the standouts of the flight, this wine has many similarities to the 2018 vintage, striking a seamless balance between approachability and ageability. There are notes of plush mixed berries, cherry, currants, sandalwood, and toasty oak. The finish has notes of blueberry and ocean mist, with a subtle hint of beeswax. A wine with incredible finesse and elegance.