Our Fantesca Estate Vineyard stretches over terraces and hills on the southeastern side of Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain. With tremendous variations in slope over its 10 acres of vines, the elevation and diverse mountain terrain of our vineyard offer superb sun exposure and a long growing season.
About the Spring Mountain District
In the June 2005 issue of Food & Wine magazine, wine writer Laurie Daniel writes in her article, “The Best of Napa”, about the Spring Mountain District: “Napa’s Spring Mountain District creates Cabernets that are denser and more structured than those made just next door in St. Helena…There is no actual Spring Mountain.
This mostly forested AVA, just above St. Helena, is not a mountain but a saddle of land between Mount Veeder and Diamond Mountain District. The name comes from the area’s numerous natural springs. Grapes have been grown here since the 1870s, but only in the past decade or so did the region’s reputation start to soar. Much of this is thanks to Cabernet, and that’s what counts in Spring Mountain; powerful, rich, dense, dark Cabernet.”
The Fantesca Estate Vineyard is divided into seven blocks, each reflecting its own personality on the finished boutique-style wines. The unique terroir of the vineyard produces a rich, intense and age-worthy Cabernet that stays true to the character of the Spring Mountain District. Petit Verdot, grown in Blocks One and Two, is an essential component in many Bordeaux-style blended wines because it enhances a wine's color, exhibits a sumptuous mouthfeel, and imparts an elegant midpalate.
Planted in early 2007 to Petit Verdot vines, Block One resides on a very steep slope in which the soil holds relatively little water. To ensure adequate moisture gets to the roots, the vines are grafted on drought-tolerant rootstocks. Because these are young vines, they are expected to produce usable fruit in 2011.
This block is planted with the Petit Verdot ‘Paul Frank’ clone that brought the wildly successful Gemstone Vineyard to fame. There are very few Petit Verdot vineyards in the Napa Valley because it is such a vigorous varietal grape. Because of this vigor, these vines love the rugged mountain terrain of Spring Mountain.
Known as ‘The Terrace’, Block Three is home to Clone 4 Cabernet Sauvignon vines, which produce the most concentrated, extracted fruit in the vineyard. This particular vineyard block is terraced because of its steep slope, meaning that it does not hold moisture and retains very little topsoil.
The vines in this block are planted to the same rootstock as the famed Screaming Eagle vineyard. This block is the first block you encounter when walking into the vineyard, and enjoys the most vigorous soils on the property. We regulate the vines in this block by withholding water.
Block Five boasts the most challenging soil in our vineyard. The rock that forms our wine cave extends down the mountainside and bisects the vineyard through this block. Its rocky soil places incredible stress on the vines, causing them to struggle as they produce grapes.
If Blocks Four and Six were not divided by the rock outcropping that underlies Block Five, the two blocks could be twins. The Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon vines in this block enjoy a soil rich with minerals, and the fruit from this block contributes balance to the finished wine.
Residing at the very bottom of the vineyard, Block Seven lies in a small valley that collects more moisture than most of the remainder of the vineyard. Like Block Four, we regulate the flow of water to this block, and we have recently modified its irrigation system to optimize watering.