The SOMM Journal

June / July 2015

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{ }  19 { napa valley } TO UNDERSTAND GEO, SILVERADO Vineyards' newest single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Coombsville AVA, one must have an adeptness for time travel. It's a lot to ask, but the agility to move between the ancient past and contemporary history, while maintaining the vision to anticipate the next 100 years, will be extremely helpful when it comes to embracing what's in the 750-milliliter bottle of Napa Valley wine. For starters, the word "GEO" comes from both the Greek root for the word "earth" (GĒ or GAEA was the matronly manifestation of our dear planet). The name is an homage to both the long, complicated geological history that makes Coombsville unique (geo-logy = the study of the earth) and to Mt. George (ge-ourgos = George = worker of the land), the name of the ranch from which the GEO Cabernet is sourced. Stay nimble, because while Mt. George may be one of the first vineyards planted in Napa Valley, it is also located squarely in the famous growing region's newest sub-appellation. (Yes, time travel can be dizzying.) A lot can happen in a hundred years. But when it comes to growing grapes for wine, less has changed in the world of viticulture than, say, in that of automobiles, since the first Vitis vinifera vines were planted on Mt. George in 1868. Flash forward to 1988 (Ronald Reagan is President) and Ron Miller, former CEO of Disney (and husband of Walt Disney's daughter, Diane), who founded Silverado Vineyards in 1981, begins replanting Bordeaux varieties on Mt. George to give his estate wine backbone. Supplementing high-priced up-valley juice with the complex, structured and aromatic fruit of Coombsville has been a long-standing tradi - tion since the region previously known as "the region just southeast of the town of Napa" had no definable reputation (unlike Rutherford, for example, with its famous dust). "Working with Mt. George fruit is compa - rable to working with a pantry full of savory spices and blue and red fruits," says Silverado Vineyards longtime Winemaker Jon Emmerich. He, along with many winemakers and somme - liers who love Coombsville wines, cite structure, density and power along with freshness, natural acidity and a mix of "fresh and dried herbs" as the region's indicators, attributable to a long, moderate growing season. The Silverado Vineyards 2012 GEO Cabernet Sauvignon will be among the first bottlings to proudly bear the official Coombsville designa - tion, since the horseshoe-shaped region became an official sub-appellation of the Napa Valley in 2011. Clint Wilsey, Vice President of Sales for Silverado Vineyards has been telling the story of the estate for eight years. When asked to describe GEO's place in Silverado's Cabernet portfolio, Wilsey says, "GEO marks the 20th anniversary of Silverado's first harvest on Mt. George, it celebrates this historic vineyard. It is the story of this ranch, which really is the story of Coombsville." I would agree. THE FACTS ON SILVERADO VINEYARDS 2012 GEO CABERNET SAUVIGNON: 1,500 cases; released June 1 in six-pack wooden cases. $75 suggested retail. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 100% from Mt. George Vineyard in Coombsville, Napa Valley. Discovering GEO SILVERADO VINEYARD'S NEWEST COOMBSVILLE AVA CABERNET TELLS THE STORY OF AN ANCIENT—YET MODERN—WINEGROWING REGION by Courtney Humiston PHOTO COUTRESY OF SILVERADO VINEYARDS PHOTO COUTRESY OF SILVERADO VINEYARDS Silverado's Mt. George Vineyard is the oldest vineyard site in Coombsville, Napa's newest AVA.

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