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 all share 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’s geographical fishhook, with no traffic about a 90 minute drive from the center of Boston.
The Quivet Neck part of Cape Code including the community of Dennis was among the earlier settlements from Europeans in the United States – initially in 1639 only 32 years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. The Native American’s called part of this landscape Quivet. Like wine in 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).
The actual physical Quivet Neck is a strip of sand accessed by driving past the Quivet Neck Cemetery, soon reaching a dirt road which winds past Crowes Pasture Conservation Area before ending at a locked gate with several nearby parking spaces. One then can walk a short distance along a sandy road, or better yet, along the white sand beach. Our recommendation for visiting this area is during early to mid Fall, hopefully enjoying a clear and brisk day with next to no one on the beach. And one should spend a little time wandering through the tiny community of Denis including a stop for lunch or dinner at the excellent Scargo Cafe.
Several of the partners involved with Quivet have strong family ties to this east coast region.
Quivet Neck, Cape Cod
Quivet Neck Cemetery
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 making the wines since the beginning; Mike has already helped make wine for Napa notables including Schrader Cellars, Maybach and Outpost. Today he runs his own small label called Myriad Cellars which we have also reviewed on this website.
The longtime source vineyard for Quivet’s Syrah (including from many years ago when we visited with Mike) is from the Sonoma side of Carneros located close to the cooling breezes 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. Mike continues to source grapes from this site each year along with several other producers including Mike’s own Myriad brand and Orin Swift.
It is always refreshing to try a Syrah that is balanced and doesn’t show overly spicy, both in the bouquet and on the palate. The 2006 Quivet Cellars Syrah Hulda Block Las Madres (meaning the mothers in Spanish) Vineyard Syrah offers an elegant and balanced bouquet; it is very aromatic, almost perfume-like. 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 latest update to this review, they are sourcing from four premium vineyard sites in Napa Valley. Two of these are extremely historic: Beckstoffer owned and managed Las Piedras Vineyard and Pellet Vineyard, both in St. Helena.
The 2006 Quivet Cellars 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 originally hand-terraced vineyard at about 900 feet in the Mayacamas mountains in the Spring Mountain District. The bouquet starts out wonderfully with aromas of the smell of dry earth on a warm summers day, mineralities and crushed rock. Some darker spices and notes of cedar are also present. The palate is full of ripe fruit including 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. With that said, 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 sources grapes from Kenefick Ranch located in Calistoga. We had a chance to try a barrel sample of the 2007 Kenefick Ranch. While not yet built as a “complete wine” at the time of our tasting, (still needing future blending), this was already a showy wine with powerful fruit with intense mouth filling flavors.
Because of their extremely small distribution, Quivet’s wines are available exclusively to mailing list customers with releases occurring several times a year including in February for the Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc and in May for their Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
For more information, to join the mailing list (for immediate allocation to wines if available) or to schedule a tasting, visit: www.quivetcellars.com
Note: this review has been identified as needing a **major** update.