Robert Craig Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled T-Bone Steak
Linda grilled a T-Bone steak served with baked potatoes, grilled corn with peppers and chopped salad. I pulled from the cellar this aged Napa Spring Mtn Cabernet for the occasion for an ideal food wine pairing.
Robert Craig Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
We first drank one of our bottles of this label release and wrote about it back in January 2023 when we served it at a Wine Dinner Featuring Spring Mountain Wines. Excerpts from that blogpost here.
This Robert Craig Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon label was first released in 2005. It was sourced from the picturesque Joan Crowley vineyard perched at 2000 foot elevation along the summit of Spring Mountain, high above the town of St Helena in the Mayacamas Range that forms the western slope of Napa Valley. The site is primarily dry-farmed, reducing vigor and crop yield resulting in small, flavor-packed berries.
As I have written often in these pages, (the late) Robert Craig focused on and specialized in hillside and mountain fruit from leading producing regions of Napa including Mt. Veeder, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain and Diamond Mountain. Add Mt George and Atlas Peak above the town of Napa and you have the four corners of the Napa Valley. He often referred to it as 'four mountains and a valley' in describing his portfolio of Cabernets.
We hold a
vertical collection of Robert Craig Cabernets going all the way back to
their inaugural vintage release in 1993. It is one of the largest
producer collections in our cellar across seven different labels and
three decades of vintages.
While Robert Craig Winery owned many of their vineyard sources, they bought fruit from select vineyards on the various mountains. They worked with Napa Valley based hillside vineyards generally at altitudes of 1,600 feet or higher.
his career up on Mt Veeder, initially developing the William Hill
vineyard, and then later, at
The Hess Collection as their General Manager. In addition, he helped
develop 300 vineyard acres on Mt. Veeder for the movie star comedian
Robin Williams estate. Robert Craig sourced Cabernet Sauvignon fruit
from there for over two decades for the Mt Veeder designated Cabernet
label until Robin's passing and the recent sale of the estate and the
Pym Rae vineyard to the French Tesseron wine empire Family. Their recent
first release label from that property was priced at $350. Robert often
said that Mt Veeder was his favorite of his Cabernets. He was
instrumental in forming
sub appellations for both Mt. Veeder area and Spring Mountain.
We memorialized Robert who passed away a in September 2019 from complications from Parkinson’s disease in this blogpost - Robert Craig Tribute.
The Robert Craig Winery is perched at an elevation of almost 2300 feet high up on Howell Mountain on the north east side of Napa Valley. It is among some of Napa’s highest vineyards. At this elevation they actually see some snow in the winter at times. The location sits above the town of Angwin and their permit at the actual winery limits them to an extremely small number of visitors, as well as only several events per year at the actual winery, hence, they maintain a tasting room in the city of Napa.
We attended a several tastings and dinners over the years with Robert and Lynn Craig and sometimes staff at numerous various events.
of the highlight over the years were a private dinner with Robert and
Lynn at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), St Helena, back in 1988, another was a private tasting there at the
Robert Craig Howell Mountain Estate in 2008, where we also attended the Harvest Party at the estate in 2009.
My recollection is that I first tasted this Spring Mountain label upon its release during that visit in 2008 (shown above and left). Craig served a comparison tasting against the Mt Veeder and Howell Mountain labels. The Spring Mountain was served from the barrel, and it was my standout favorite, being slightly sweeter than the other two.
I remember the allocation for Club members was limited to three bottles. I negotiated a mixed case purchase of twelve bottles of the 05, 06 and 07 vintages, the remains of which we're enjoying tonight.Robert Craig writes of this label; "The Crowley vineyard is a close fit for our mountain Cabernet portfolio from the highest elevations of Napa Valley. Overlooking St. Helena from its perch at 2,000 feet, this vineyard’s rocky volcanic soil, varied hillside exposures, and moderate climate produce densely concentrated winegrapes. Joan Crowley’s low-yield, biodynamically farmed vineyard has provided us with deep, aromatic and structured wines since our first vintage with it in 2005. The mountain is cooled by afternoon breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean, creating moderate daytime temperatures and cooler nights that allow grapes to ripen slowly without pushing high alcohol and sugars. The heady, deep perfume that is a Spring Mountain District signature is always present in this cabernet that is hard to come by."
In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon varietal grapes, Robert Craig also sourced from the Crowley vineyard Bordeaux varietal Petite Verdot.
Robert Craig Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Crowley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Parker wrote, "This is a very exciting wine that should drink well for 20-25 years." (RP) 94+ (12/2009)
Production of the 2007 release was a mere 640 cases.
Winemaker notes on Spring Mountain and the Crowley vineyard: "The Crowley vineyard is a close fit for our mountain Cabernet portfolio from the highest elevations of Napa Valley. Overlooking St. Helena from its perch at 2,000 feet, this vineyard’s rocky volcanic soil, varied hillside exposures, and moderate climate produce densely concentrated wine grapes. The mountain is cooled by afternoon breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean, creating moderate daytime temperatures and cooler nights that allow grapes to ripen slowly without pushing high alcohol and sugars. for a sense of place that establishes a wine’s unique identity, is the perfect concept to describe the qualities of Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignons."
Dark inky garnet purple colored, full-bodied, complex, dense concentrated full and round blackberry, wild berry and plum fruits with notes of clove spice, smoked meat and cassis and a hint of mint, with a lingering smooth polished finish.
RM 93 points.
In 2009 Robert Parker wrote that this is a very exciting
wine that should drink well for 20-25 years. Wine Enthusiast said this this
is a good
wine to seek out for the cellar. The producer comments on the 2019
vintage release of this label - "That is to say, it is one of the
quality red wines to be produced anywhere in the Napa Valley at any