Myriad Cellars was founded by winemaker Mike Smith with his first vintage released in 2005. The name “myriad” has its origins in Greece and one of its translations means “innumerable” which can directly equate to wine making based on the “innumerable” aspects it takes to create a great bottle of wine.
Myriad Cellars is Napa artisan wine making at its best; extremely small production (even by artisan standards), hands on wine making, use of limited production premium French Oak barrels and a clear and focused attention to detail. Mike does all the cellar work himself; as he says, by doing all the cellar work himself, he is “closer to the wines” and has complete control of the entire wine making process from start to finish.
As a long time consumer with a passion for old and new world wines he made a career change after a family business in Oregon sold and then he moved to the Napa Valley. Initially, for three harvests he trained under the well respected winemaker Thomas Brown and has helped make wine for Napa notables including Schrader Cellars, Maybach and Outpost. The wine industry in Napa has a number of producers who have not come from wine making families and we have met several of these winemakers during this project. Fueled by passion and a willingness to learn these individuals move to the area and learn the trade. It is always admirable when we meet producers who are in this situation – those who have changed directions mid career and have become successful winemakers after taking a risk to follow their passion.
Mike describes his wine making as “purist” in style. He is not tied into one type of wine making, rather he bases his efforts on each particular vintage. He is a versatile winemaker having already built up a resume of making various styles of wines for boutique producers. Myriad has been able to source fruit from a variety of high end vineyards including on Spring Mountain, in Carneros as well as from one of Napa’s better known sites, the Dr. Crane – Beckstoffer managed Vineyard.
If you want a mouth filling Spring Mountain hillside grown wine available at an affordable price considering the quality of the vineyard source and attention to detail with the wine making, Myriad’s Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent choice. This is a classic show of this appellation’s fruit. The vineyard sits at about 900 feet and has provided the fruit for Myriad’s Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon since day one. The site is extremely steep and rocky with only 1 to 1.5 tons produced per acre. With a small production like this no dropping of fruit is necessary; the grapes are already extremely concentrated and intense in flavor, which directly translates to the wine.
The juice is fermented to become slightly sweet and then placed in barrel. This process helps round out the oak influence from the new French barrels and in part helps make the oak a contributing component to the wine rather than a dominating one. The 2006 vintage starts with an elegant bouquet that features ripe blackberry and boysenberry, a dustiness and just a delicious hint of vanilla in the background. Some of the earthiness on the nose continues to the palate which also shows some unique mineralities. The mid palate is rich, layered and focused. The super long finish is intense and definitely carries some weight.
Mike also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon for Quivet Cellars which we have reviewed from the same part of this vineyard but based on the wine making style and aging program it is very interesting to note its unique characteristics (when compared to the Myriad Cabernet Sauvignon). Myriad also makes a very limited Syrah, usually around 50 cases so this wine does not last. Hint – can’t get this Syrah from Myriad? Try Quivet Cellars as their Syrah sources from the same vineyard.
Because production is so limited their wine has a narrow distribution and vintages tend to sell out rather quickly. For the extremely small production, quality of the vineyards and wine making, Myriad’s wines are priced very well. Several wine shops in Southern California carry Myriad and locally V Wine Cellars in Yountville and ACME Wine Shop in St. Helena sometimes have it. However the best way to acquire their wine is via the mailing list on their website. Visit: www.myriadcellars.com
Videos of Mike Smith