Decanted 7 hours and then poured back into the bottle before service, 4 hours later. No formal notes. The 2019 “Caravina” is showing classic notes of black currants, tobacco, and baking spices with a gentle touch of vanilla. The finish is dry with significant structure. Already lovely with extended exposure to air, I’m looking forward to following the evolution of this wine for the next 10-15+ years. This remains one of Napa’s best values. — 2 months ago
The 2019 Seavey pours a pale straw color with medium viscosity. One the nose, bright tropical fruits, some lemon citrus and stone. On the palate, tropical fruit, citrus, minerals and a little hit of vanilla. The finish is long, steely and somewhat savory. Medium+ acid, medium alcohol. Creamy mouthfeel but the brightness of fruit gives it deft balance. One of my favorite Chardonnays from Napa. — 7 months ago
Of the Napa wines I tasted over 4 days on this trip, the 16 Sinegal Reserve & the 13 Seavey Cabernet were my favorites. Both great wines but, stylistically very different. The Seavy big and bold and the Sinegal pure beauty & elegance.
The nose reveals very dark currants. Dark & milk chocolate. Blackberries, creamy black raspberries, black plum & plum, mocha powder, core of anise, beautiful dark spice, soft volcanic soils, some dry brush and lavender, violets and fresh dark red florals.
The body is full. The tannins are really meaty but, exceptionally soft, fine and meaty. Lots of dark spice with plenty of heat. The mouthfeel is gorgeously sexy with feminine elegance. Dark & milk chocolate. Blackberries, creamy black raspberries, black plum & plum, mocha powder, core of anise, beautiful dark spice, big sweet tarry notes, soft volcanic soils, some dry brush, lavender, violets and fresh dark red florals. The acidity is perfect. The finish is well balanced sexy and gorgeous. The structure, tension say this needs to cellar eight to ten years.
Photos of; tasting cellar area, modern stainless tanks, outside terrace tasting and or dining area and their grounds and lake.
Producer history and notes...Sinegal Estate was founded in 2013 with wines made from their 30 acre Inglewood estate in St Helena (not to be confused with the Inglenook Estate in Rutherford). This is not a new property, it was part of an original land grant and its more modern day history dates back to 1879 when owner Alton Williams purchased the property and planted the first vines in 1881.
The property has changed owners a number of times over the decades. At one point the Jaegers’ owned the estate, Bill Jaeger and his wife Lila lived here. These Napa Valley pioneers were in part responsible for helping establish Freemark Abbey and Rutherford Hill. Lila was also a gardener and established beautiful gardens on the property.
Owners, David (father)and James (son) Sinegal purchased the property in 2013. James was the co-founder of Costco and once CEO. David worked at Costco for 21 years.
After the purchase, David divided each of their vineyards into smaller blocks, picking selectively (30 times in 2013) rather than all at once, and adding technology to the vineyards so they have up to the date reports on a number of data points including temperatures, soil moisture and various barometric pressures. If they want to selectively water, say vine #67 in row number three, they can do so with their irrigation system. Extremely efficient!
Nine acres of vines are planted to various red varietals including; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. They have some of the older Cabernet Franc vines in the valley that are 30+ years old.
The soils here are diverse and can vary even within small geographic ranges on the property. Some of their vineyards are planted on the valley floor – while their upper vineyards are hillside, on the edges of the Mayacamas Mountains.
Their landscape above the property is interesting and part of the Mayacamas Mountains. Visually, it appears drier than other parts of this mountain range and the vegetation reflects that with grey pine and more open natural vegetation rather than the thicker wooded vegetation more commonly associated with parts of Spring and Diamond Mountains to the north.
After purchasing the property, David created planned and laid out his vision to create a world-class boutique wine making operation. Many wineries in the Napa Valley can take years before they come to fruition, not so here. After only about 10 months, the existing winery was remodeled. 6,500 feet of caves were expanded and drilled into the hillside behind the winery and a new hospitality center was built. The hospitality center ties in very well with the winery. From the small tasting room, large doors open revealing the tanks.
A vegetable garden slightly under an acre grows just south of the winery building. Vegetables from this garden are sold to nearby restaurants.
A skeleton key appears on the labels of their wine and is prominently displayed on the outside of their winery building. This has historical significance. The original key opens the front door to the historic home on site and is displayed in the tasting room. With respect to the history of this property, this one key has already become iconic to the brand.
You only need to look inside of the winery to see that their wine making team is focused on quality. Each of the small lot tanks have built in pumps which can be controlled and programmed to do pump-overs anytime of the day or night. In addition, these tanks have multiple points at which the temperature can be controlled. These tanks do not necessarily handle all their fermentation’s. They also ferment small lots in puncheons and barrels as needed. Control across the board is the key here and it is the control of the details in wine making that is is so integral from when the fruit first arrives through to when it is bottled.
2013 was their inaugural release. The focus is currently on two primary varietals, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc were sourced from the estate but, then it was determined it was growing in an area better suited for red varietals so it was torn up and new plantings were made in the back of the property. While not far from these original plantings, their new home for their Sauvignon Blanc features different soils and is growing in a cooler part of the property.
The wine making team has been experimenting with the style of this varietal since 2013 with subsequent vintages seeing more oak. Especially, using the slightly longer cigar shaped barrels , which have extra surface area for maximizing complexities including textural feel imparted from aging the wine on the lees in these particular barrels. Maceration on the red wines is often 8-10 days and sometimes up to 20 days.
Most of their sales are direct to visitors or through their mailing list. However, they do have some distribution outside California in Florida, New York and Washington. Primarily to restaurants. — 4 years ago
A lesson in one’s wine evolution. Pahlmeyer was one of the first mailing lists I joined . This was the first case purchase of my life. Told to wait 2-3 years before drinking, I did exactly
that￼. I opened a few bottles over the years and really disliked it. Probably around 2005 a friend asked if I had some wine to donate to charity￼. Of course I said here is 5 bottles of Pahlmeyer merlot.
That left 3 bottles that I stashed in storage . Fast forward to 2010 and I opened a bottle for a friend who owned a wine store . The two of us looked at each other like deer in the headlights, we were dumbfounded by how good this was. I drank my remaining bottles and have not had this wine since 2016. Thanks to a generous friend who recently said go to the cellar and you pick out wine for dinner￼. For my palate along with ‘91 Dominus, ‘91 Seavey ‘91 Togni and ‘95 Insignia the best California wines from the ‘90’s. By the way the lack of tasting experience also had me pooh poo ‘91 Dominus.
On the nose a little bit of funk that quickly blew off. Red fruit and plums on the nose give way to a palate of complex and long lasting fruit surrounded by earth and tannins. The wine’s structure leads me to believe that well stored bottles can bring pleasure over the years to come. I would love to taste this out of magnum.￼ — 2 years ago
2010 on Easter 2022. Decanted and drunk. This is a very big wine with still a lot of structure and tannin. Awesome deep blue and black fruit with firm tannin. Wish I had decanted and back into the bottle early in the day. This would be better tomorrow for sure. Really glad I have 5 left. Will try again with double decant in a few months. — 2 months ago
One of two ‘99 vintage Napa cabs I’ve had recently (the other being Seavey) and this was a step or two behind. The fruit is all stewed and muddled...mainly dusty blackberries and old puréed red fruit. There is a distinct cocoa dusted dates note in the middle of this wine and even some old graham cracker. The fruit is even slightly tart on the palate (underripe plum, older currant), though very herbal at the finish. This was slow oxed for quite a few hours by the time I got to it, so it may have faded a bit by then. Regardless, drink up. — 3 years ago