In 2003, production jumped up to 3,700 cases, with the blend identical to so many other vintages with 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc. This was a year where there was some freaky heat spells, but this wine has come through nicely. Deep bluish purple with notes of blackberry and cassis and charcoal followed by a soft, velvety textured, opulent and full-bodied wine that seems to be approaching full maturity. It is interesting, this wine is far more evolved, and on a faster evolutionary track than the 2001 or 2002. Nevertheless it is a beauty, loaded, layered and impressive. It must be one of the top 2003s. Drink it over the next 20-some years. (RP)
The Spottswoode estate celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and its latest release is a fitting tribute to the vineyard on the property first planted in 1916 by the Spotts family. The Novak family bought Spottswoode in 1972 and replanted the vines. Tony Soter made the first Spottswoode Cabernet in 1982; this current vintage was made by Rosemary Cakebread. Her '03 is lovely, a wine of tremendous richness packed with black currant flavor. It's smooth and lush, a sleek Napa Valley red, destined to be a classic.
Saturated dark red-ruby. Briary black fruits, coffee bean, flowers and earth on the nose; more primary than the '02. Fat and plush, with pliant, inviting dark fruit and licorice flavor showing a bit of alcoholic warmth. (ST)
Spottswoode's 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is in a beautiful place right now. The aromatics are developed and tertiary, yet the wine retains gorgeous depth. I don't imagine the 2003 will improve much from here, but it is striking today. Leather, licorice, tobacco and smoke all resonate on the finish. The style is super-ripe and intense, but all the elements are very nicely balanced. (AG)
A sturdy young Cabernet showing great harmony and class. It's fresh in ripe tannins, very poised and balanced, with a great depth of cedary blackberry fruit. This is really classic Napa Cabernet, so elegant, and a great food wine.
Subtle aromas of red currant, black cherry and plum carry over to the palate in an elegant, supple manner. Excellent balance, depth, complexity and length. The finish is long and persistent, keeping the emphasis on the fruit. (JL)
*Two Stars* Here is another outstanding effort from this exceptional winery. The grapes are grown in the St. Helena area at the north end of the Napa Valley's western benchlands that stretch from Yountville to St. Helena and are home to some of the world's leading red wines. In its better incarnations, such as this one, the wine is both ripe and very well-balanced with notes of currants and ripe cherries joined by rich, loamy suggestions and a noticeable layer of crème caramel oakiness.
Still very purple. Some floral notes on the nose – extremely youthful! Rather similar to 2002 – though with more acidity and bite. More prominent tannins because there is decidedly less flesh here. This may outlast it and even overtake it though… Briney finish. 17.5/20 points
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