The newly transformed Gemstone Vineyard has just released the2009GemstoneEstate Red Wine, an elegant limited-production Bordeaux blend.
Michael and Carole Marks purchased the Gemstone vineyard four years ago. Although some high-tech changes and new packaging have been put in place, the couple retains the original terroir vision and winemaker Philippe Melka, who has been with Gemstone since the 2005 vintage.
Gemstonevineyard is situated on a gradual, west-facing slope along the Silverado Trail near the town of Yountville in the Napa Valley. The 16-acre property is divided into 18 different blocks within the vineyard: five Cabernet Sauvignon clones, two Merlot clones, two Cabernet Franc clones and two Petit Verdot clones. Each clonal block is farmed and fermented individually to ensure the distinctive fruit and flavor of Gemstone. Each block is matched with different soil to the vine for optimum taste.
Gemstone's new upgrades include "sap flow sensors" to measure how much water the vines use—which helps avoid overwatering and dehydration, key components of making the perfect wine, an optical sorting table for crush to ensure that only the best grapes get pressed. Also on the property is a renovated barn for visitors and a new package for the wine.
The new Gemstone is producing high-quality wines. The 2009 Gemstone Estate Red wine is produced with the same techniques as the flagship Gemstone Cabernet Sauvignon. A mixture of grapes, I found the wine to be fruity and rich, complex and smooth.
Winemaker Phillipe Melk suggests aging it for a minimum of 20 years or enjoying it now.
More about the limited release 2009 Gemstone Estate Red (SRP $80) can be found at http://www.gemstonewine.com/home.html.