The Steltzner Vineyards Napa Valley Claret 2009 (English term meaning Bordeaux grapes varieties were used, usually referred to as Meritage in California) sourced from Steltzner Estate vineyards in the Stag’s Leap AVA along with grapes from other vineyards in Southern Napa Valley. The blend is 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 13% Merlot. Steltzner Vineyards which has been in business since 1965, recently sold their Estate (except for 30 acres of vineyards in Stag’s Leap) to the Plumpjack Group who are renaming the winery Odette Estate, Steltzner will continue to make wines at another location. As a result of the sale, the Steltzner Vineyards wines are hitting the “end of bin” sales at wine shops and a wine that was a bargain at its list price of $20 is an exceptional find at the $10.88 price I found. The wine was aged in French oak barrels, some new, some used in previous vintages for 22 months. The alcohol content is 13.7%. A relatively small production wine with only 6,400 cases produced.
The color is a deep, rich, almost opaque blood plasma red. The nose is oak spice, red fruit, lumber yard, Girl Scout chocolate mint cookies and vanilla. The black cherry and raspberry is large, but not jammy, there is a touch of Dr. Pepper and Godiva chocolate (not sweet). Lush and fruit forward upfront, the mid palate adds a slap from the tannins (a good thing, there is enough body to the wine to handle it), some curry spice, cranberry, creamy vanilla and smooth plum. The finish is large and in charge.
The 2009 Steltzner Vineyards Napa Claret is a lot of wine at twenty bucks, on sale it is a wine that you simply cannot pass up. A portion of the wine is from a premium Estate vineyard in Stag’s leap (Stag’s Leap is were the Cabernet Sauvignon that won the 1976 Judgement in Paris was grown, a 1973 Stag’s Leap Cellars Cabernet). Browse your local wine shops and/or get on-line and track this one down before it sells out, I found this Claret as the last bottle available at a local independent supermarket.