At the top of Spring Mountain AVA, at 2600 foot elevation is Barnett Vineyards. The trek up the switchback road to the peak is worth the adventure. Upon reaching Barnett Vineyards, you are greeted with a breathtaking view looking back towards Howell Mtn. The Valley floor is the area between Calistoga and St Helena. Unfortunately the day this picture was taken it was a bit overcast, but on their website you will find a few beautiful sunny photos. As you can see the terrain is very sloped (30 degrees and more)!
A quick background on the owners, Fiona and Hall Barnett. They bought the 40 acre property in 1983 and established Cabernet as their initial varietal. In 2007 they hired David Tate as Winemaker and General Manager. For those who do not know David, he is a very “solid contributor” to the wine industry at large and has had a phenomenal impact on Barnett Vineyards. David has produced wine in Australia, France, New Zealand and now Napa Valley. His influence from vineyards to wine making has shown well with their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hill receiving a 98+ points from Robert Parker. It is truly a 98-100 point wine with its dark concentrated mountain fruit and layering of tannins. He believes it “will last 18-20 years”. The Cabernet Franc rivals some of the best in the Valley with its dark purple color with hints of floral and dark chocolate. In my opinion these two are the premier wines at Barnett Vineyards. Current release is the 2018 vintage and unfortunately are both sold out! The Cabernet Franc goes for $80 and the Cabernet Sauvignon goes for $190.
Went to dinner last night and one of the guests mentioned he very much liked Merlot. So pulled this 2013 Barnett Vineyards Merlot out of the cellar. The 2013 Merlot has a deep purple coloration and has a medium-heavy viscosity. On the nose plum and black cherries waft inviting you take that first sip. On the palate, silky smooth and lush mouth filling black cherries as well as blueberry with secondary flavors of cinnamon and caramel. The finish is opulent with soft tannins yet the brightness of the wine comes across. Mostly Merlot with a small percentage of Cabernet Franc added. Aged approximately 22 months in 60% new French oak. Current release is the 2018 and goes for $70.