In News, Winery Spotlight, WinesOctober 4, 2022

En Primeur: Spottswoode Estate

Wowing Us Again, with Another 100-Pointer Immensely Collectible California Cabernet!

Spottswoode Estate

“If Château Margaux were in Napa Valley, it would Spottswoode”

Robert Parker Jnr

Clearly, the window of opportunity to acquire an elegant and lusciously lifted Napa Cabernet from top scoring Spottswoode Estate is always a fingers-crossed moment. Luck was on Dhall & Nash’s side, and we have been fortunate to receive another Spottswoode allocation of their newest cuvées, so we inhaled it in one breath! And as this week’s En Primeur, we suggest you do too.

With this 2019 release, Winemaker Aron Weinkauf proves yet again he’s a master of finesse-driven Cabs that channel the historic greats of the past. Impeccably sourced from their organic vineyards in Napa Valley, the virtuoso wines of Spottswoode, are masterfully wrought and deeply tied to their place of origin. They age gracefully and are crafted in a style that’s consistent with the guiding principles of a fine ‘first-growth’ estate while also leaving room for the natural variations of vintage. Ingeniously, they manage to show poise and gentility alongside majestic energy and vivid concentration. The Spottswoode wines are a must-buy for any serious wine collector and connoisseur.

As acclaimed wine writer Jancis Robinson MW writes, “In the Napa Valley Cabernet arena, where muscle and potency seem to have become the most admired, or certainly the most notable attributes, it is unusual to read a producer claiming, ‘we strive for refinement, elegance, and balance’”. However, that old idea that all Californian Cabernet is over-ripe, high alcohol, and lacking in complexity is just that – an old idea. These are seasoned vintners who truly know their land – even through earthquakes, wildfires, and multiple years of drought – then, when Mother Nature gives them half a chance, Spottswoode’s winemakers craft exquisitely expressive Cabernets of great structure and soaring beauty. Read more here on Spottswoode from our 2021 blog.

In the words of Spottswoode’s winemaker and vineyard manager Aron Weinkauf: “We make wines that show great energy, persistence, and longevity. We picture them as one would a yogi master – strong, enduring, and balanced. This is in contrast to the overbuilt, muscular bodybuilder.”

“The best 2019s are positively thrilling”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Dhall & Nash is honoured to announce the upcoming release of the iconic 2019 Cabernets of Spottswoode Estate.

“Napa Valley experienced two stunning back-to-back vintages in 2018 and 2019 the likes of which I have never seen. Both vintages produced a bevy of breath-taking wines that will thrill Napa Valley fans.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Let’s have a look at what Mother Nature threw at the Spottswoode team for their vintage in 2019.

2019 Napa Vintage Report

A Stellar Vintage for Napa Cabernet

The 2019 vintage in Napa Valley had the unenviable task of following 2018, the region’s new benchmark vintage for Cabernet. But 2019 is no slouch. In fact, it’ll give 2018 a run for its money (in the near-term). The season was marked by significant rainfall over the winter and then again in the middle of May, setting the vineyards up to handle Napa’s typically dry, hot summer, while slightly pushing back the windows for flowering and ripening. Normally, this would be an issue—ripening over the Labour Day weekend usually means ripening during a heat spike, which can result in top-heavy wines. Instead, there was no weather drama in September, which stayed warm, but with very cool nights. The result is a crop of wines that are clearly fruit-driven but retain an inner freshness. They’re not the terroir-driven wines of 2018 (that vintage will ultimately be the vintage that cellars longer), yet the 2019s are brimming with gorgeous fruit flavours while retaining enough acidity for balance. Because of their beautiful cores of fruit, these are wines that Napa Cabernet lovers will likely have a hard time keeping their hands off of in the near-term. (Courtesy of Wine Spectator)

“These are wines of incredible class, balance, and elegance that still bring gorgeous California fruit and opulence.” 

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Reviewer


Spottswoode "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Winemaker Notes: Stunning notes of black cherry and currants create a sense of both warmth and freshness. Secondary flavours of pomegranate, pine, earth, and sandalwood complement a backbone of vibrant acidity. The refined tannins are structured yet velvety, showcasing the power, elegance, and finesse of this classic wine.

Blending details: 89.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc and 4.0% Petit Verdot.

Oak Regime: Aged 20mths (67% New oak), French Oak barrels 90%, Other oak 10%

100 points“Deep garnet-purple in colour, it needs lot of swirling to unlock the most gorgeous perfume of bright black and red cherries, fresh blueberries, and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of roses, cinnamon stick, and orange peel. Medium-bodied, elegant, and tightly wound, the palate shimmers with SO MUCH energy, featuring layer upon layer of floral, savoury, and crunchy black fruit notes, finishing long and minerally. This is a remarkably poised, seemingly effortless beauty that cannot fail to make your jaw drop. Forget it in the cellar for a good 3-5 years, at least, to allow all those nuances to fully emerge and then savour it over the next 30 years+. Drinking window 2024 – 2060”

100 points – Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert Parker’s Wine

96 points“Ripe blackberries, blackcurrants, cocoa powder, dried thyme, and walnut husk on the nose. It’s full-bodied, chewy, and compact with firm tannins and a broad, muscular palate. Structured, polished, and well balanced. From biodynamically grown grapes. Try after 2024.”

96/100 points – James Suckling,

96 points“A bright, effusive wine, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is all finesse. Bright aromatics, vibrant red berry fruit and mid-weight structure give the 2019 its charming, sensual personality. I am surprised to see how open the 2019 is at this stage. I imagine it might close down a bit post-bottling, but the 2019 has superb balance to go with a real feeling of openness, at least today. Red/purplish berry fruit, rose petal, lavender and sweet spice shape the inviting finish.”

96/100 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous

98 points“The 2019 Spottswoode ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon is right up there with some of the great wines that I have tasted from this estate. Obviously deep and brooding, this shows impeccable balance and a literal cornucopia of flavors, ranging from tobacco leaf, salted dark fruits and smoky tones to creme de violette and Arabica bean tones. Finishing long, this is nervy, intense wine that really can benefit from two to three hours in the decanter prior to enjoying. Savor this beauty over the next twenty plus years. Drink 2024-2044.”

98/100 points – Owen Bargreen, Wine Reviewer

“Spottswoode has earned the esteemed reputation as one of Napa Valley’s most iconic wineries from their track record of producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon year after year. Today, the wines are every bit as compelling as ever and are amongst the best Napa Valley has to offer.”

International Wine Report

Part of Spottswoode’s storied history inspired the name Lyndenhurst, a tribute to the fragrant linden trees that still bloom in the gardens today. Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon is a dynamic and inviting wine made from grapes grown in the Estate Vineyard blended with those from other acclaimed family-owned vineyards. The Lyndenhurst offers unbelievably great value. Suffice it to say this “second label” would make the first team at most other wineries!

This wine is made to be enjoyed upon release and drinks fresh, with ripe fruit and a luscious mouth-feel. If the Estate Cabernet is Margaux, then the Lyndenhurst is Haut-Medoc.


Spottswoode "Lydenhurst’ " Cabernet 2019

Winemaker Notes: Fresh notes of crushed bramble, cassis, and red cherries underpin subtle aromas of lavender, cedar, and spruce. Mineral nuances of wet slate add structure, while the tannins remain silky and supple despite the wine’s youth. A beautiful wine to be enjoyed now and for years to come.

Blending Detail: 77.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.4% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot 4.1% Petit Verdot, 3.8% Malbec

Oak Regime: Aged 20mths (42% new) French Oak Barrels 92%, Other oak 8%

94 points“This shows lots of chocolate and vanilla on the nose, together with ripe dark fruit and some wet earth. Floral undertones, too. Full-bodied and balanced with a meaty structure and ripe tannin. Yet, it’s easy to drink with a medium, fruity finish. Tight, dry, and firm at the end. Modern and poised. Try from 2023.”

94/100 points – James

92 points“The second wine of the estate is the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst, and it unquestionably offers a touch of Spottswoode class and elegance, revealing a great nose of darker fruits, spice, tobacco, and new leather. This medium-bodied, pretty, elegant wine is ideal for drinking while you give the Grand Vin a few years in the cellar.”

92/100 points – Jeb Dunnuck,

93 points“Ripe blackberries, blackcurrants, cocoa powder, dried thyme, and walnut husk on the nose. It’s full-bodied, chewy, and compact with firm tannins and a broad, muscular palate. Structured, polished, and well balanced. From biodynamically grown grapes. Try after 2024.”

93/100 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 

As James Molesworth so aptly describes in the Wine Spectator: “There’s a delicacy to the Spottswoode Cabernet, but the wine is no pushover. Sneaky long and with tensile strength, it’s a yoga pose held for minutes, in stark contrast with the stereotypical Napa Cab’s bodybuilder reps. It has a uniquely pure feel, and while it’s in a less “obvious” style, its ageability is clear. The wine, like the estate, has the reach to connect Napa’s past to its future.”

Fine wine lovers be warned though… the Spottswoode Estate wines are a hit year after year and have a very limited allocation available in NZ. They will sell out! Fortunately for all you ardent Californian Cab fans, Dhall & Nash has some large format bottles available as well.

The time is perfectly ‘ripe’ to buy NOW to assure you won’t miss out on these Iconic Spottswoode Cabernets!