Spelletich Family Wine Company – A Review & Wine Pairing
Spelletich Family Wine Company is a relatively small family owned Napa winery, started about 20 years ago. While not well known outside of the region, it has a loyal following (check out their Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews). The husband wife team (Barbara and Timothy Spelletich) and their daughter Kristen are responsible for all aspects of the winemaking, marketing, sales and direction of the winery; Barbara has been the winemaker since their founding in 1994.
They produce Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend called Bodog Red (which combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah). Their premium brand is the Spelletich Reserve collection, while their Spell Wine brand and 3 Spells brand are all under $25. Their fruit comes from Napa County as well as several other wine producing counties within California; winemaker Barbara focuses on a “natural” style that emphasizes the characteristics of the native fruit.
The Serious Foodie team was able to visit the Spelletich winery recently, and we were impressed with their artisan and family-oriented approach to their business. Their tasting room felt more like walking into a friend’s family room, were a glass of wine and a friendly smile is always waiting for you.
Here we report on the following wines from their Spelletich Reserve collection: 2011 Reserve Chardonnay Napa Valley (website price: $38), 20th Anniversary Bodog Red (website price: $62), and 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir (website price: $35). Production on these wines are extremely limited, so it is unlikely that you’ll find these in your local wine store – your best bet is to order directly from the winery’s website (http://www.spellwine.com/)
The 2011 Reserve Chardonnay Napa Valley pours out as a typical California chardonnay – straw yellow in color, a nose of oak and citrus fruit with a bit of floral notes. The wine is medium bodied, perhaps heavier than other current Napa versions. There are some nice initial flavors of pear, lime, green apple, and vanilla, with strong notes of oak and cedar. The wine finishes with minerality and citrus notes.
With its moderate acidity, minerality, and medium body, this wine would pair well with salads, fish and seafood, smoked seafood, and light meats. It will also stand up to a bit of spicy flavors. In fact, we were inspired to try this wine with our home-smoked salmon & the Serious Foodie Orange/Fig sauce. We use an East Asian spice rub (soon to be released on our e-commerce website), which works well with the tangy Orange/Fig sauce. The Spelletich Chardonnay was able to match well with the smoky, slightly spicy, oily salmon, while also working with the slightly sweet sauce. The fish was served along with a classic warm spinach salad with bacon, caramelized onions, and apple cider vinegar. This chardonnay worked particularly well with the salad, also – its acidity and woody notes was a good match for the rich smoky flavors infused by the bacon.
The Spelletich 2012 Reserve Pinot Nior (Elkhorn Peak Vineyards, Napa Valley) is an intense wine – it’s strong nose, flavors, and high alcohol remind us more of zinfandel rather than pinot noir. However, there are a lot of very typical pinot noir notes throughout the wine – a deep burgundy color, with strong red berry and blackberry aromas along with earthy notes. The taste is as full bodied as you’ll find in pinot noir, with flavors heavy on the red berries, chocolate, current, and plum. The wine finishes with plum and mushroom flavors.
There is surprisingly balanced acidity for such a fruit-forward wine, which helped us to pair the wine with various foods. We paired it first with cheeses, and found it worked well with gorgonzola, taleggio, and aged pecorino (all of which we served with the Serious Foodie Orange/Fig sauce).
We also tried this wine with chicken glaze with the Serious Foodie Pomegranate Sauce – which was a perfect pairing. The red berry tones of the wine were very pleasant with the sweet/tart sauce.
Spelletich Bodog Red is the signature blend for the Spelletich winery. The winemaker Barbara changes the blend every year. For their 20th anniversary bottling, she uses 78% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and ages in both French and Hungarian oak. According to the winery’s website, “This wine is comprised of individual barrels I have been saving for this blend. Each year of production there are barrel lots that stand out to me as Bodog style. The appellation is 100% Napa Valley. But the vintages are 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 blended together to make this Anniversary Bodog.”
Like the other Spelletich wines, the Bodog Red is an intense wine: it pours out as a dense, dark purple, with aromas of ripe blackberry, red raspberry, currant, with some exotic spice (cumin and coriander), rosemary, pepper, and toasted oak.
The taste is very rich and full-bodied, and rather smooth – there is a nice balance of acidity and tannins. After our first taste, we immediately thought of pairing this wine with a Full-Monty burger (bacon, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg). The rich tastes of the Bodog red (fruit forward character with blackberry, red raspberry and plum with toasted oak) went perfectly with our version of the Full-Monty burger. The wine also went well with our salad of blackberry/lettuce/watermelon radish salad, finished with the Serious Foodie chocolate habanero/blackberry dressing, cutting through the spice and acidity of the salad perfectly.
Of the Spelletich wines we tasted, this one was our favorite.