Ninety Plus Cellars Lot 150 Spring Mtn Cabernet
We opened this label for casual mid-week sipping with some cheesy pasta dishes. The write-up of this label is a repeat of an earlier post where I wrote about Ninety Plus Cellars and their Negociant model of wine marketing. They buy surplus juice or bulk wine or bottled product, and then private-label it with their branding featuring an anonymized 'Lot' reference number tied to the source of the wine. Such arrangements are typically done under a non-disclosure agreement to shield the original brand/producer. In this case, Ninety Plus Cellars, Lot 150, is a Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon.
This case is especially interesting in that when one pulls the cork of these bottles, the cork reveals the true source of the wine, Spring Mountain Vineyards. Apparently, in this case, the wine was already bottled but not yet labeled for distribution. It was then acquired by Ninety Plus Cellars who packaged it for retail sale under their negociant general brand that masks the supplier. The packaging, however, reveals the original branding of the producer on the original cork in the bottle. According to the Ninety+ Cellars website, the "Source Label Price" for this wine was: $79.99, hence the need or practice of anonymity or not disclosing the original source of the wine. The Ninety+ price is about half of that - high QPR (quality-price-ratio) indeed.
For the Lot 150 release, the rear label of the Ninety Plus packaging speaks to Spring Mountain District as the source for the product, without attribution to a particular grower or producer.
When I purchased the first original bottle, I imagined who the source of this wine might be, thinking about the different Spring Mountain District suppliers of Cabernet Sauvignon. Spring Mountain Vineyards was one of those potential suppliers that I considered, but I presumed it would never be revealed or confirmed as the source. This is not the first occurrence of this happening as I recall at least one other occasion where the product was bottled and the cork revealed the original producer source of the wine. On at least one other occasion, the source was pretty much revealed or confirmed based upon the published detailed percentages of the blend of the wine.
I've written much in these pages about Ninety Plus Cellars Lot 101 which I enjoyed immensely, and lamented often the mis-fortune of not knowing the source so as to be able to purchase more product in subsequent vintage releases of the label. Since, in my experience, Ninety + tend to have more misses than hits to suit my personal taste, I tend to buy a bottle and try it before I load up on any label. Here is another case where I went back and bought more, and then did so again.
This is a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot aged 22 months in French Oak.