#8: The 2013 Bevan Cellars ‘Sugarloaf Mountain’ Proprietary Red, Napa Valley

Wine Spectrum’s #8 Wine of 2015

2013 Bevan Cellars ‘Sugarloaf Mountain’ (Inquire HERE)

Proprietary Red  |  Napa Valley

Wine Spectrum Rated 98+, Robert Parker Rated 96-100: The opaque purple-colored 2013 Proprietary Red Sugarloaf Mountain, a blend of equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot, reveals gorgeous precision and purity, good acidity, nicely integrated oak, and a layered, skyscraper-like mouthfeel. It is a glorious, pedal-to-the-metal, balls-to-the-walls, singular red wine to enjoy over the next 15 or more years.

Bevan logo“I would say my path has been paved with golden opportunities; having had the auspicious beginning to my winemaking career from Kal Showket who offered me fruit from his best block in one of the most coveted vineyards in the Napa Valley and then following Heidi Barret as winemaker for Showket in 2007. Since that point I have had the good fortune to work with fruit from some of the most spectacular vineyard sites throughout the Napa Valley.” — Russell Bevan

The Story of Bevan Cellars

Back in 1995, when Victoria and I started dating in Des Moines, our favorite game was “Guess the Wine.” We would take turns bringing a blind wine and make the other person guess the varietal and region. When I look back on those dates, there is little mystery about how we arrived where we are today.

Soon after that, we moved to Minneapolis and fell in with a group of wine lovers whose passion and knowledge fanned our flame. We started taking regular trips to wine country in California, where we met many of the finest winemakers. We were so inspired by them that to this day we follow many of their principles. We learned first-hand about Philip Togni’s attention to every minute detail…. Saw how Bob Foley would only pick fruit if his palate — not some lab test — told him it was time… Heard Greg La Follette telling us how careful you have to be when making decisions in the winery because even the smallest decision has an impact on the final wine. Our conversations still reverberate with me whether I am at a vineyard or in the winery.

“Russell was a syndicated wine columnist, who has taken his passion for wine from the keypad to the crush pad.” – James Laube, Wine Spectator

Soon enough we were searching for property in our native California. Victoria spent three years trying to find the right site. Finally, she found her dream home on eight acres of land in Bennett Valley, just a few miles from where I grew up. It only took one visit by Kal Showket to plant the seed that led to our estate vineyard. Little did we know that Kal would be key to many of the major changes in our lives from that point on. Later that year, the Showket’s gave us a ton of Cabernet Sauvignon from their best block to see if we would enjoy winemaking.

When that ton of fruit arrived at the winery, we had a dozen friends help us sort the grapes. For fifteen hours we worked, examining each grape by hand and sorting them into three groups: plump and juicy, dimpled, and very ripe. We fermented each batch separately. Tasting the lots two days later, the differences were staggering. The hook was set.

–Russell Bevan and Victoria De Crescenzo

The Man

Russell close up cave weblargeWinemaker for Bevan Cellars, Showket Vineyards, Wren Hop, and Chateau Boswell

Wren Hop: Passion is a term killed by exhaustive overuse. Still, there’s no other word for Russell’s obsessive love of all things wine. Not only is he the Hemi engine behind Wren Hop, he taught us about exacting work on the sorting table, the principles of fastidious winemaking and the sometimes dark art of pacing a vineyard to coax greatness. (He also wants nothing less than to blow your head off with a bottle of wine.) Wine geeks, oenophiles and heodonists be forewarned, Russell is headed your way with corkscrew in hand.

Chateau Boswell: Russell is an extraordinary winemaker both in skill and passion, who has shown us that his ability to know every barrel from beginning to end and to figure out where each barrel fits perfectly into our final blends is an exceptional talent. This is what places him in the category of people who love what they do so much that they surpass others in accomplishing excellence in their field. His enthusiasm is infectious bringing every member of the Boswell team into the fold which has unified our facility and created a focus upon excellence and total enjoyment in the process of wine production from vineyard to client hand.

“A Draconian approach to vineyard management, good energy and karma in the cellar, and total focus from vineyard to bottle is what makes the difference between good and memorable wines.” — Russell on his winemaking philosophy

Other Articles on Russell from around the Web

How it all started: One Couple’s Journey from Virtual Reality to the Vineyard – Wine Spectator, January 31, 2005

Great audio interview: Talking Wine with Russell Bevan – Grape Radio, July 14, 2008

Some great “Bevanisms”: Russell Bevan, indefatigable and inimitable – Decant This, April 23, 2012

It’s that time of year again…

…when everyone publishes their top cars, movies, books, TV shows, and wines of the year. Wine Enthusiast (#1 San Felice 2011 Il Grigio Gran Selezione Chianti Classico) revealed theirs, and Wine Spectator (# 1 Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Au Paradis’) unveiled theirs. Now it’s time to release ours.

Over the next few weeks we will be releasing our lists of the top wines that we tasted in 2015. We took the thousands of wines that we tasted and narrowed it down to the best of the best. Our rankings are based upon our staff’s ratings during tastings, as well as popularity with our clients.  Lucky for us – and you – most are currently available.

Q. Why should I pay attention to the Wine Spectrum score?

A. The reason is simple. We taste and score wines with our entire sale’s team – the owner, the wine buyer, the sales manager, and all of our sale’s advisors. It’s not only one person’s opinion and rating of the wine, but a total average of the whole tasting panel. That adds up to  decades of combined tasting experience to ensure that we bring only the BEST wines to our clients. 

It is because of this and many other factors that our clients have come to respect our score and use it to help determine what wines they want to procure for their cellars and display on their tables. At Wine Spectrum you get a much better representation of how people will ENJOY a wine.

2015 wines of the year release schedule

December Schedule

12/10: #10#9, and #8 ranked wines

12/11: #7#6, and #5 ranked wines

12/14: #4 and #3 ranked wines

12/15: #2 ranked wine

12/16: #1 ranked wine

12/18: #11 – #25 ranked wines

12/21: #26 – #50 ranked wines

12/21: 2015 Winemaker of the Year

12/22: #51 – #75 ranked wines

12/23: #76 – #100 ranked wines

January Schedule

1/4: Top Chardonnay’s of the Year

1/7: Top Pinot Noir’s of the Year

1/11: Top Cabernet Sauvignon’s of the Year

1/14: Top Other Domestic Red’s of the Year

1/18: Top International Wines of the Year

1/21: Top Wines of the Year under $60


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