LEVY & McCLELLAN

 

Producer:

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Winemakers:

 

LEVY & McCLELLAN

Napa Valley

Nr. Calistoga

Martha McClellan & Bob Levy

2004

Martha McClellan & Bob Levy

About The Estate:

We're extremely excited to be working in an exclusive UK partnership with one of Napa's 'A-list' wineries: LEVY & McCLELLAN.

 

Bob Levy was the founding winemaker, now Director of Winegrowing, for Harlan Estate and has been there since its inception, more than 37 years ago. His scope of responsibilities also includes BOND ESTATES, Promontory and The Napa Valley Reserve, where he oversees the production of wines from some of the finest vineyard sites in Napa Valley.

 

Martha McClellan also worked making the wines at Harlan Estate from 1995 through 2000. In 2001, she took over the winemaking and vineyard direction at SLOAN ESTATE, an esteemed Napa Valley winery and vineyards located in the hills of Rutherford, where she continues to make the wines today.

Together, they wanted to produce a wine to call their own that would consistently exhibit power and concentration, while clearly expressing the unique characteristics of its vineyard. To achieve this, they had a set of essential criteria: a hillside location on the west side of Napa Valley, for the cooler growing environment; an orientation allowing for north-south rows, for even morning and afternoon sun exposure; high density planting to allow for low yields and maturity of tannins; encourage dry farming to avoid drip irrigation whenever possible; apply organic farming methods and embrace their obligation to improve the environment in which their grapes grow.

In 1999, after extensive searches throughout Napa Valley, Bob and Martha found a location that met all of the criteria they felt was important for a site to have, in order for them to accomplish their goals: this became the LEVY & McCLELLAN Estate vineyard,  above Calistoga in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountain. Here, they have been able to focus on the health of the soil, and ensuring they reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.

The Estate vineyard is a mere 6 acres (2.43 hectares), and has been planted to 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot and 4% Petite Verdot.

In the winery, the focus is on managing each small lot individually, while focusing on gentle extraction and barrel fermentation, to ensure an extremely high-quality of tannins. They are one of the only wineries who ferments all of their wines in 225L French oak barrels, using a labour-intensive method of placing each one on rollers to rotate it and gently mix the grapes with the fermenting juice. This process is customised for each individual lot! This means it takes 3 to 4 barrels during fermentation to fill just one barrel for the aging of the wine.

The majority of the production is spoken for by the Estate’s direct-allocation list, making it an incredibly rare find – almost an impossible one in the UK. Production is around 500 cases in total across two stunning cuvées, both based around a core of Cabernet Sauvignon: their ‘flagship’ LEVY & McCLELLAN, and a second wine called AMPERSAND.

Facts:

Martha earned her degree in Oenology and Viticulture from the University of Geisenheim in Germany. In addition to LEVY & McCLELLAN and SLOAN ESTATE, she is the winemaker at Checkerboard Vineyards, and Vineyard 7 & 8.

Bob studied at the famed UC Davis, initially as a pre-med student before changing his career path to winemaking. His classmates include Tim Mondavi, Randy Dunn and Mike Martini.

Main Image:

Martha and Bob in their Estate vineyard, 500ft above Calistoga, located just to the north of Diamond Mountain