Quivet Cellars focuses on extremely small production Cabernet Sauvignon (with a tiny production of Syrah) using the finest artisan techniques, hands on wine making, top vineyard sources and limited production often highly allocated French Oak barrels. Quivet Cellars is a partnership between four partners who needless to say, all have a passion for fine wine. The name Quivet comes from Quivet Neck, a very historical area in eastern Massachusetts located on the bay side of Cape Cod geographical fishhook.
The Quivet Neck part of Cape Code was among the earlier settlements from Europeans in the United States – initially in 1637. The Native American’s called part of this landscape Quivet. Like wine in the Napa Valley, Quivet Neck historically has been home to a rich natural resource – in this case, salt. Salt was first mined from the deposits commercially around the Revolutionary War and became a valuable product among the colonial settlements. Later the site was home to a prosperous shipbuilding industry (the original clipper ships were called Shivericks).
Several of the partners involved with Quivet have strong family ties to this east coast region.
One of the partners was introduced to winemaker Mike Smith who at the time was assisting Thomas Brown with some of his wine making projects. Later Mike was asked to become Quivet’s winemaker and has been on board since the beginning; Mike has already helped make wine for Napa notables, Schrader Cellars, Maybach and Outpost. Today he runs his own small label called Myriad which we have also reviewed.
The source vineyard for Quivet’s Syrah is from the Sonoma side of the Carneros region located close to the cooling effects of the San Pablo Bay. This is a cool weather Syrah but the actual vineyard site is located in a bowl, which helps protect the vineyard from the notorious windy conditions of the Carneros region and geographically helps retains additional heat. The vineyard site and terroir produces fruit which has excellent acidity year in and year out.
It is always nice to try a Syrah that is balanced and doesn’t show big amounts of pepper both in the bouquet and on the palate. We tried the 2006 vintage. The bouquet is elegant and balanced; it is very aromatic, almost perfumy. The bouquet shows an interesting display of cooking spices. The mouth feel is soft and rounded throughout; it is rich, plush and juicy with intense flavor including cherry and dark berry fruit. The long finish so characteristic of Mike Smith’s hand crafted wines is clearly evident here. The good news is this is a very enjoyable wine; the bad news is only 48 cases were made.Quivet Cellars focuses the rest of their production on premium Napa Valley vineyards – at last count and at the time of our last update to this review, they are sourcing from 5 vineyard sites in the Napa Valley. Two of these are extremely historic, the Beckstoffer owned and managed Las Piedras Vineyard and the Pellet Vineyard, both in St. Helena.
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the same vineyard as another Cabernet Sauvignon made for Mike’s own label, Myriad Cellars (the fruit source is the same for both wines – even picked on the same day) but stylistically it is very interesting to notice the differences in part based on the different winemaking programs. This wine is sourced from a very steep hillside hand terraced vineyard at about 900 feet in the Mayacamas Mountains in the Spring Mountain Appellation.
The nose starts out wonderfully with aromas of the smell of dry earth on a warm summers day, mineralities and crushed rock. Good spices and notes of cedar are also present. The palate is full of ripe fruit, boysenberry, and blackberry with notes of dark chocolate. A touch of toasted oak helps complete the finish which is well structured yet also very well balanced. Any notes of oak in this wine are subtle, found on the nose and then again on the finish. As with the Cabernet Sauvignon made from this vineyard for Myriad cellars, this wine is all about the terroir and well represents this particular vineyard site.
Quivet also makes a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Kenefick Ranch located in the northern part of the valley. We had a chance to try a barrel sample of the 2007 vintage. While not yet built as a “complete wine” (still needing future blending), this is already a showy wine with great fruit with intense mouth filling flavors.
Because of their extremely small distribution, Quivet’s wines are available exclusively to mailing list customers. For more information visit: www.quivetcellars.com