Deep purple color with a big Mount Veeder nose suggesting truffle, vanilla, Bing cherry, manzanita and blackberry
Luxuriously mouth filling fruit (blackberry, cassis, cocoa) with a good tannin grip and texturous palate feel and silky-smooth finish resulting from extended time in the barrels
A voluptuous and well-structured wine that is attractive now and should easily age ten to twelve years
In creating some of the world’s finest resorts: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Phoenician Resort & Spa, Kahala Resort & Spa, Halekulani, Kapalua Bay Hotel, and the Ihilani Hotel and Spa, the most important ingredients are care and passion.
Care in every detail from the site selection to maintenance, blended with a passion for design and production, yields the essence of quality and enjoyment. Likewise, care and passion are blended in the creation of wine at Godspeed. We hope you find this evident in our wine as well as our architecture.
- Larry P. Stricker, Architect and Vintner
Not for sale online, $720 suggested retail per case
About The Winery
Winery: Godspeed Vineyards
Owners: The Larry Stricker Family
Location: Mt. Veeder
Godspeed is an artisan grower in the Mount Veeder Appellation of Napa Valley situated at an altitude of 1500 ft. The vineyard is the project of the Larry Stricker family. Larry is an acclaimed architect who has created world class resort hotels, including the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona; the Marriott Desert Springs Resort and a series of Hawaiian properties including the Halekulani, Kahala Resort, Kapalua Bay Hotel and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. At his Mount Veeder estate, he has over time sold his world-class fruit to recognized wineries including Robert Craig, Bremmer, William Hill, Newton & Monticello. Since 1990 he has taken advantage of his exceptional vineyard by bottling half his production under his own label.
Three wines are produced at Godspeed: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Trinity. All three are made in a very elegant, almost European style, with an emphasis on the vineyard’s unique microclimate, as expressed in the wine’s balance and fruit element.
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FedEx Ground: Monday, September 17th - Wednesday, September 19th
@molarchae and I brought a bottle of this home from this summer’s RPM Tour at WD’s suggestion. The email letting us know this was coming out tonight was too late to let us have this with dinner (Austrian smoked bacon carbonara), but it’s not too late to write some notes!
This has been sitting upright since our return from the tour, at room temp. I popped and poured into an ISO tasting glass that Tim distributed at the Corison 27-year vertical tasting. I immediately recorked the remainder to sample tomorrow night. I doubted that little bit of air would hurt this wine.
Colour: red to slightly purple-red - like the skin of a red plum or a Bing cherry, almost completely clear of any sediment - i.e. just shy of crystal clear. No signs of bricking or anything else untoward here. This colour combined with the 13.9% alcohol in a cooler year make me think this is NOT a fruit-bomb type of wine.
Aromas: Confirmed the non-fruit bomb assumption. Nose is more about herbs, jalapeno, warm spices (clove?), and a hint of earth or dust. The suggestion of fruit is minimal, but its character is firmly in the red fruit part of the spectrum.
Taste: I expected this to be much firmer than it initially was. First sip was almost soft, but the second sip has a lot more heft to it. I guess the acids and tannins take a few seconds to show themselves. Flavours include the spices from the aroma, ripe plum, cherries, mint, and maybe a touch of cinnamon. The wine is in the medium weight category, but with a touch more of a glycerine element/higher viscosity than I’d normally associate with a medium-bodied wine. There is plenty of acid here and it’s in my wheelhouse for balance. A bit more acidic than your average Corison, if that helps.
Finish: This is where things really shine, imo. Finish is long-ish (maybe 15-20 sec), and changes from a nice ripe cherry to a mint and oregano herbaceous quality. Each sip so far has been different, and all of them enjoyable. Just about all of the descriptors from above have made an appearance so far.
Overall: This is a nice wine that will appeal to some. I think most people would enjoy this more with food than by itself. This is not a take-it-to-a-party wine, unless it’s a party of wineaux who will enjoy contemplating the bottle.
Drinking window: I think if paired with a nice steak, or even turkey or duck, this would work well now. I suspect a few more years in the bottle would reward those with patience, but you will probably find more of the jalapeno and associated funky aromas if you wait until this wine is 12 years old. For me, I’d drink one of four now, then try the next in about 18 months to see how it was doing.
Value: now that I’ve sipped, I checked the winemaker’s notes and sale info. I think this is fair value at the 2-bottle price and a solid value at the case price.
I did notice Brad Alderson, who provided some invaluable behind the scenes input for the tour this year, also had a leftover bottle from our farewell dinner at his digs.
I asked him if he could pull the cork and comment.
From CT: “At seven years this wine has aged into its plateau. Dark color, mild black olive and cherry nose, it is completely developed in the mouth. The acidity is ample and the tannins all soft and structural, and the mild flavors mirror the aromas. This is a very harmonious wine, nothing overpowering, yet very much there and supple. Lovely food wine. Will hold like this for a few years but why wait.”
@rjquillin Thanks for remembering and reaching out to one of best wine judges in California (ask Scott…) - so the moral here is this is a Cabernet to drink now. This should not be surprising given the vintage: 2011 was one of the weaker vintages of the century so far, which means that they don’t go through the typical life cycle that wines from stronger vintages do. Some nice wines, as apparently this one is, but not wines likely to be long lived. Your call on whether the QPR is there.
My husband and I were excited to get word that we were going to be lab rats. As it happens, this bottle came on a day when we had taken his mom (not much of a wine drinker) out to Napa to visit wine country and taste some wines. We do love wine, but we generally don’t find Cab Sav to be a great value. Grenache or Tempranillo are more apt to be our thing.
First impression, bottle: the label talks about owner Larry Stricker’s architectural projects, with what seems like little mention of the wine. YMMV, but the fact that he apparently designed the Phoenician doesn’t seem particularly germane. A little research tells us that this is a boutique winery that does a very restrained, European style of wine. That sounds appealing. The 2011 vintage was notably wet and cool in Napa, and the Mount Veeder appellation is known for being rugged even in a good year, so even though this has a good amount of age for a new release, we wonder what we’ll be getting.
First taste: we poured everyone a splash. We found it drinkable but definitely tight, with plum and blackberry notes. Body was moderate, with a light finish.
Then we decanted it, and also poured a taste of 2015 Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon (a nice low-end Napa Cab, at ~$20/bottle) to compare. The initial impression was that the Buehler gave up much more fruit right off the bat, although Mom says, “the more I drink of this Godspeed, the tastier it is.” It is still quite restrained and the acidity seems high. Husband makes a dinner of aged ribeye with cauliflower and garlic mashed potatoes, which we thought would be a good pairing. It is pleasant, although the Godspeed still doesn’t give up too much. There are definitely more earthy notes at this point (mushroom) and maybe some cherry. Mom says she likes this better because it’s not as strong. We kept checking in for another hour or so with very little development.
Put the wine back in the bottle, vacuvin’ed and put in the fridge overnight, and wow, what a difference! Not so very unexpected, but the next day the Godspell at ~24 hours open seems fairly plush, with lovely soft tannins and a little cocoa powder. The Buehler had clearly gone downhill overnight, although Mom still likes it.
Day #2 - We decide to try the Godspell with some cheese. It is a nice pairing for the most part (gruyere, truffle cheese, goat cheese) except for an intense blue cheese. It’s still a bit contrary when tasting with our wines, but there’s no question that it has softened dramatically in the past ~24 hours. Definitely has a lot of earth and dark fruit.
Given our tastes I am inclined to get another couple of bottles but I’m not sure if we’ll pull the trigger on a full case. This had so much personality, we definitely want to explore it just a bit more.
I was definitely a bit tipsy when writing my comment last night, and it appears that we can’t edit comments, so please forgive the style. I wanted to be sure to get it in early. In the end we decided that the qpr wasn’t there for us, but I think this deal could be a good value for Cabernet lovers and it is unquestionably a good price for a Napa Cab. It looks like they’re currently selling the 2002 at the vineyard, albeit at twice the price of the Casemates deal. We’ll have to get an appointment next time we’re up there.
Since I grew up in the Sierra foothills, I do know manzanita.
So, are you talking the odor of the foliage, or the flavor of the flowers.
Used to love nibbling on the flowers in the Spring…Poncho liked 'em too.
@canonizer I’m also surprised there’s so little discussion. No winemaker? No questions about the rat reports? Although the three impressions so far are reasonably consistent, I suppose. We’ll see what Ron says tonight and what the day of air does to my bottle.
This Cab is a rare exception to the 2011 Napa vintage
The fruit was harvested a month later than normal due to the cool summer. Many growers harvested in mid October before the rains, however this smaller Cab block
was allowed to ripen into November. Canopy management was the key. Pulling leaves around each cluster to allow the mountain breeze to keep the fruit dry and ripening.
@Winedavid49 I am. We have always enjoyed wine with food so no high alcohol fruit bombs made here.
Our fruit grown at 1500 ft elevation above the valley
produces slightly smaller, more concentrated berries
with great acidity that allows us to produce a more traditional, well structured, and age worthy wine.
An average of three years in the barrels helps to soften the tannins and integrate the flavors in this
exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. It should continue to reveal it’s nuances for at least another five years.
@BrotherLorenzo Wondering if you could pull some lab notes for us lab rats?
AbV is nice, but might you also be able to provide TA, pH and RS.
Perhaps some discussion on how you aged this, and in what. Bottling date? The cork looked like last month or so.
Thanks for hanging out with us. @thumperchick; where’s his badge?
Tech notes on 2011 Cab as requested:
Estate Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1987
Rich Kunde Clone 8 and Clone 338
Harvest : Nov. 2, 2011
Fermentation: 14 days on the skins in open top fermenters
Barrel Aging: 40 months in Oak…67% Vosges,
33% Missouri/Blue Grass
Production: 668 cases
pH 3.59 volatile acidity 1.09 g/L RS 2.5 g/L
GOLD MEDAL in the American Fine Wine Competition 2017
Strangely enough, I don’t have a whole lot to add tonight. The wine is substantially the same on night 2 as it was yesterday. Of course, I did not have a whole lot of air in the bottle and it was only open a couple minutes.
The bottle has been open almost 2 hours tonight and it’s still not changed a whole lot.
I’m enjoying the wine on its own, it’s balanced, medium weight, and enjoyable. I agree with Brad that this will have plenty of years ahead of it where it’s at least this good. I do still wonder if there’s potential upside for a few more years.
Well, much has been said, and it’s difficult to contradict or add much too; looks like I’m going to be the one to claim title to having the palate of a yak this (late) evening.
Pulled the natural cork late last evening, only a few mm staining, (when was this bottled?) for a quick sip without taking notes, and to let this begin to air out a bit for a day.
Color; I’m going with heavier on the purple than red side of hue, typically suggesting a younger wine, but at ~7 years this isn’t really young. Also not crystal clear, but this bottle has only had ~6 days to settle.
Would be interested to know how/if this was filtered.
Nose: Poured at 12C and allowed to warm to 16.5C, from meters away, to me this just screamed old barrel room; like a Pedroncelli lunch on tour, just a wonderful aroma. Close up, after a bit, the nose was actually shy, and that surprised me based on the PnP. I did coax out dark berry and some spice, and as it warmed some earthiness.
Taste: Initially a bit sharp when cooler, but still reserved. First sip, both yesterday and today, this was showing off it’s acid on entry, but as it’s warmed the fruit comes more into play to balnace it out. Also, despite the extended hang time (yes, I’ve read the winemakers posted notes), and thankfully, as others have mentioned, not even close to resembling a fruit bomb, so much more in line with my wheelhouse. As this has aired out, a nice earthiness has developed. While at this point not all primary like a barrel sample or just bottled offer, it’s had time to integrate nicely and is drinking well, while not surprisingly lacking hits of leather and tobacco suggestions of tertiary evolution at this age.
Finish: While not highly complex, medium+ in length, and continues to evolve while warming to 22C. It acutally is a rather interesting bottle, and I’ve reserved a bit for tomorrow.
But given my hours, likely rollover will have already occurred.
Klez pretty much sums it up; not a party wine, nor something to pour to impress wineaux; just a quite plesent bottle that does better with food than solo. It well complemented some leftovers of pulled pork, spinach and shrooms and roasted cauliflower, and did quite well with some Molinari salami I picked up on tour, Teahive from Woot, and some long thin cracker things I don’t recall the source of.
Would be interested in a split given the case offer pricing.