STERLING VINEYARDS

1111 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, California

by Sergio Sismondo


You do not have to be in the Alps to reach a winery by cable car. Right in the center of Napa Valley, just north of St. Helena and just south of Calistoga, on Dunaweal Lane, is Sterling Vineyards, built crowning a hill. You get to the winery by cable car.

Sterling Vineyards is the legacy of Peter Newton, an English business man with a splendid vision and tons of good taste. The winery was founded in 1964, and has grown leaps and bounds since. Its vineyards extend to 1000 acres. The winery's main building is among the most fascinating in the valley. The view from the winery, three-hundred-and-sixty degrees around, is

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nothing short of superb. And the wines are splendid, to match in the palate the visual treat offered by the location and environment.

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View of Sterling Vineyards
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The building is modeled after the whitewashed towns of the Aegean's islands. It stands out in Napa as an unusual form, but blends perfectly with the landscape, and has become an integral part of that landscape. It fascinates all visitors, without fail. The view "from the top" is splendid, to say the least. The breathtaking panorama includes spectacular views of the Mayacama's to the west, Howell Mountain to the east, and lovely views of Napa Valley's vineyards and wineries to the north and south.

They offer a range of wines, from ordinary to special reserves, which we find to be excellent, with our ratings being in the upper eighties to middle nineties.

Vice President of Winemaking Mike Westrick has maintained a consistent emphasis on crisp and clear wines, with classical aromas and flavors. He obviously has contributed much to the success of this winery, one of the most spectacular wineries of the valley.

Most of all, the staff at this winery makes visitors feel welcome and relaxed. The magnificent quality of the wines, the beauty of the natural setting, and the splendid architectural complex make a visit to this winery an absolute must for any serious wine aficionado and indeed, for any visitor to Napa Valley.

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OUR CHOICES

Following is a list of the wines along with our ratings for each.

Cabernet-Sauvignon 2002 86
Cabernet-Sauvignon   2003 88
Cabernet-Sauvignon Vintner's Collection, Central Coast, 2002 86
Cabernet-Sauvignon Vintner's Collection, Central Coast, 2003 88
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2002 89
Cabernet-Sauvignon Diamond Mountain Ranch, 2002 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon Diamond Mountain Ranch, 2003 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon Reserve 1997 93
Cabernet-Sauvignon Reserve 2001 93(2)
Cabernet-Sauvignon Reserve, 2002 92
Bordeaux Style Blend Sterling Vineyards Reserve (SVR) 2001 92(4)
Bordeaux Style Blend Sterling Vineyards Reserve (SVR) 2002 90
Bordeaux Style Blend Sterling Vineyards Reserve (SVR) 2003 92(1)
Chardonnay Napa Valley 2004 89
Chardonnay Gold Standard Reserve 2004 91
Chardonnay Winery Lake, Carneros, 2005 88
Malvasia Bianca 2005 89
Merlot Reserve 1999 94
Merlot Reserve, 2001 93(3)
Merlot Reserve, 2002 92
Merlot Three Palms, 2001 92
Merlot Winery Lake, Carneros, 2001 91
Muscat Canelli 2004 88
Pinot Gris 2004 88
Pinot Gris 2005 88
Pinot Gris Rose 2004 88
Pinot Noir Napa, 2003 90
Pinot Noir Winery Lake, Carneros, 2001 90
Sangiovese 2003 88
Sangiovese 2004 89
Sauvignon Blanc 2004 88
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View of the valley from the winery

(1) SVR is a traditional blend of Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec.

(2) This wonderful 2001 reserve Cabernet-Sauvignon received a Gold Medal at the Riverside International Wine Competition of 2004; Gold Medal at the Taster's Guild International Wine Competition, 2004; and a Gold Medal at the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition of 2004

(3) This robust Merlot received a Gold Medal at the Taster's Guild International Wine Competition, 2004; Gold Medal and Best of Class at the West Coast Wine Competition, 2004; Gold Medal, Sweepstakes, at the San Diego National Wine Competition, 2004; and Gold Medal at the Grand Harvest Awards Wine Competition, 2004.

(4) This marvelous 2001 Bordeaux blend received a Gold Medal at the StarWine Competition, 2005 and a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, January, 2005.

The 1997 reserve Cabernet-Sauvignon is an exceptional wine, clear and very dark, with intense aromas, emphasizing purple fruits and aromatic herbs. There is a touch of smokiness from the oak. It fills the mouth with intense flavors, bringing out the black cherry and some of those typical northern Napa earthly characteristics. It is a well-balanced wine, crisp and smooth, elegant and complex. The 2001 reserve Cabernet-Sauvignon is one of those magnificent wines about which we will be speaking for years to come -- a great vintage and a great product! No wonder it is crowned with a collection of gold medals!

View of the winery from the valley

 

A WORD ABOUT STERLING VINEYARDS CELLAR CLUB.

Sterling Vineyards also offers membership to a wine club. The "Sterling Vineyards Cellar Club" offers members a number of privileges, including monthly mailings of two bottles of wine, 15% on gift merchandise and 20% on wine purchases , complimentary tastings at the winery, invitations to special events, such as dinners and picnics, and much more. You will be pleased with the shipments of wines you will receive if you join this club. You will taste wines which, due to their small production, are difficult to find anywhere else. It is a great opportunity to try new and different varieties. We heartily recommend this wine club. If you wish to have more information you can visit the website www.sterlingvineyards.com.

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