Spann Vineyards Sonoma Valley
Another small artisan winemaking husband and wife team who first got the bug through drinking wine (Betsy lived in Bordeaux for a while and Peter was a wine buyer for restaurants, and seemed to be doing an admirable job at it, too). Whilst Betsy is the hands-on winemaker, Peter sources fruit from other vineyards as well as their own, allowing them to create some interesting blends. Betsy’s Backacher Bottle Blonde is a blend of roughly two-thirds Sémillon and one-third Chardonnay – an easy drinking medium-bodied quaffing wine with immediate appeal as the entry level white. On a more serious note, Yin Yang is a Chardonnay and Viognier blend that has the stone fruit flavours of the Viognier jostling with the full and rich character of Chardonnay.
A barrel-fermented Chardonnay from the Gustaffson Estate in Carneros is also available but in very small quantities. Mo Zin is a delightful blend of Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Primitivo, offering brambly fruit with hints of lavender, herb and garrigue, full, rich, herby and spicy. A number of other reds are made – Cabernet Sauvignons from the Cross Creek Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley and the Mayacamus Range. A Mourvèdre is sourced from Lake County. From Amador County there is a Zinfandel, a Primitivo, a Cabernet Franc as well as a Tempranillo Two Barrels. A Petit Verdot and a Malbec are made from Sonoma County fruit while a Cinsault is made under the Sonoma Valley AVA.
There are also a number of red blends. Classic Four is a Bordeaux styled combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a decent proportion of Petit Verdot, while OMG blends just Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Mojo 15 barrels is a super-Tuscan lookalike combining Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. S&M from Sonoma Valley is from Syrah and Merlot while Powerlifter is made from a combination of Petite Sirah, Cinsault,Grenache and Syrah. A red Betsy’s Backacher is also made and is a mixed blend similarly priced to the white. (NB)
To find out more about Spann Vineyards and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide to California North Coast..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines. (DM)