BAY AREA NEWS GROUP (San Jose Mercury News/Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times)
April 29, 2013 By Jessica Yadegaran
“Napa Winemaker Barb Spelletich Blazes Her Own Trail”
“Five wines to try: Spelletich Family Wine Company”
THE FOOD, DRINK & TRAVEL REPORT
The Best of Napa's 2011 Cabernets: Tasting at Premiere Napa Valley
RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2010 Spelletich Cellars "Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Dec. 20, 2012 (thefooddrinkandtravelreport.com)
By Brian Freedman
2006 SpellWine Severed Head Red
Black and red currant aromas, as well as slightly dried black and red raspberry, are joined by a beautiful range of supporting notes, including cherries, sandalwood, licorice, sage, and coffee grounds. Very enticing, indeed. Flavors of currants, dried cherries, vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, cigar humidor, and licorice powder follow through to a long finish that lingers with ample acidity and flecks of black peppercorn. Very well-balanced. Drink now - 2018.
BENITO’S WINE REVIEWS
Oct. 5, 2012 (benito’swinereviews.com)
2006 Spell Wine Syrah
A bold red that will stand up to a dish of lasagna with plenty of spicy sausage in it.
2007 3 Spells Red BlendGHK
While delicious now, I think this wine could age for another couple of years with great results.
2006 Spelletich Cellars Reserve Merlot
2009 Spelletich Cellars Reserve Chardonnay
Classic hints of plum and leather with a soft finish. I usually go with Pinot Noir when it comes to salmon but this could be a contender
Light splash of lemony acidity and a bright profile, restrained flavors with mild oak and a touch of vanilla. Break out your best lemon rosemary roast chicken for this one.
THE FRUGAL TASTERS
July 28-Aug. 21, 2012(Thefrugaltasters.com)
SPELLwine 2009 Chardonnay
Fresh, lively and just the slightest touch of vanilla and oak. I definitely picked up on some tropical flavors of pineapple, grapefruit, and some green apple as well. The acidity is very well balanced which makes this Chardonnay a great wine to enjoy all on its own or with some light appetizers.
SPELLwine 2006 Severed Head Red
SPELLwine 2006 Syrah
Kristen Spelletich, the creator of SPELLwine comes from a family of winemakers. … The labels on SPELLwine bottles are funky, creative, and eye-catching. We love it! This 2006 bottle was absolutely lovely. … They say Napa Valley is known for their Cabs and I think this bottle just drove that point home. This Cab blend just hit a home run with us. It seems that there is a lot of fruit left on this Cab. I tend to drink dry Cabs with a bit of spice to them but this wine is so refreshingly different. I suspect the Merlot and Syrah added a nice element to it that really smoothed it out and made it very elegant. Focused, dark fruit flavors of plum, blackberry, and black cherry entertain the palate from beginning to end. Full bodied, muscular, fruit driven, impeccable balance, and such a clean finish. The fact that it’s just $18 makes it taste that much better. What a steal! Get your hands on a bottle of this if you can.
... Jam packed with bright fruit flavors of raspberry and blueberry along with bright acidity, a little kick of spice, and some mild tannins. A very meaty, intense Syrah. Although I am a fan of the Severed Head Red
much more, this Syrah is still definitely a great buy.
BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD
July 6, 2012 (Biggerthanyourhead.net)
By Fredric Koeppel
2007 3 Spells Red Blend GHK
Dark ruby-purple; rates an initial “wow”; ink, iodine and iron, graphite, lavender and licorice, violets and bittersweet chocolate; black and red cherries, raspberries and plums; smooth and mellow but something born free about it, almost feral; plush and voluptuous but held in check by resonant acidity, substantial tannins and granite-like minerality; definitely Californian and all the better for it. 300 cases. Now through 2015 to ’17. Excellent. About $26 and Worth a Search.
AMERICAN WINE SOCIETY WINE JOURNAL
“21 Wines to Watch” By Ellen Landis, Summer 2012
2007 SPELLwine Sangiovese
Fresh wild berries and dried cherries wow the nose and juicy red and black fruit flavors remain consistent on the palate amid exotic spices and rustic overtones intertwining throughout. Nicely textured and well balanced, finishing lively and clean.
Food Pairing: Capellini Pasta with savory Italian sausage and sun dried tomatoes
CHEAP WINE RATINGS
June 4, 2012 (cheapwineratings.com)
By Tim Lemke
Tonight it’s time for a double-header review from one of my favorite new small winery discoveries, SPELLwine
. Both wines are red blends from Napa Valley, both are super tasty and both have crazy-fun labels. The woman behind this wine, Kristen Spelletich, told me that that restaurant buyers have told her that “they can’t have a bottle that looks like that sitting on the table.” Really? I think she’s talking to the wrong restaurants. I’d love to dine at a place that’s un-stuffy enough to put these on the wine list. I mean, how fun would it be to have a fancy dinner with a bottle called Severed Head Red on the table? Seriously, I think the labels are bright and eye-catching but they're not offensive. Would you be turned off seeing this sitting on your table at a restaurant? Regardless of the design, the juice that’s in these wines is superb. Both are from the 2006 vintage too, so you get a wine that has a few years of maturity to it and is tasty now, but they both certainly have a number of years left in them if you want to tuck a bottle away for a while.
2006 SPELLwine Severed Head Red
Wowee does this show a lot of spice on the nose. It offers nutmeg, allspice and cedar aromas with intensity that’s intense! There is also plenty of blackberry and cherry mixed in with that. There’s nothing subtle about the palate either. It has big, concentrated flavors like blackberry, cherry and plum. And while it’s big, and aggressive, it’s not jammy or offensive. It’s harmonious and delicious. I say, well done!
2006 SPELLwine Spellonu
The nose on this wine is rather aggressive, with strong toasted oak, black currant, cherry and spice aromas. The palate is a bit more tame, and delicious, with loads of ripe cherry, blackberry and plum flavors. It also offers a nice, spicy kick on the palate. The mouth feel is fantastic, with tannins that grab a hold of the roof of your mouth. The finish is quite long with spicy cherry flavors.
2007 3 Spells Red GHK Blend
Wowee, this is an interesting wine. The nose is loaded with powerful spicy aromas, like nutmeg, caramel and chocolate. It also shows some fruit, like cherry and currant. There’s nothing subtle about this wine on the palate. It’s overflowing with ripe cherry, blueberry and currant flavors evolving into caramel in the midpalate and into a long finish. The mouthfeel is good, although I’d prefer a touch more tannin to give it more texture. The acidity is great. This is a rich, powerful and exciting wine.
2006 SPELLwine Syrah
I have a prejudice against Californian syrah. I’ve had far too much of it that is over-extracted, syrupy sweet and too overpowering to pair with anything I eat. It’s not the grape’s fault. I’ve had plenty of syrah-laden wines from Cotes du Rhone that are awesome! And with this syrah from SPELLwine
, winemaker Kristen Spelletich proves to me that it’s not California’s fault either. It’s the choices the winemakers are making. Kristen approaches syrah in a way that she says is “appropriate for the varietal.” And she does it well, proving my prejudice is misplaced. California can create a balanced, approachable syrah. And the SPELLwine syrah is also one with enough structure to last a few years.
This syrah offers a beautiful, harmonious nose with aromas like black pepper, black raspberry, plums and toasted oak. The palate brings scrumptious fruit flavors that come through as full but not jammy. It starts with plum and berry flavors, then evolves into spice on the midpalate. The tannins are just enough to give some texture to the mouthfeel, although I wouldn’t call it silky. This is a well balanced and structured wine, but it’s little agressive on the edges, making it just shy of elegant. But it’s still a spectacular wine and a great example of what I wish more Californian winemakers would do with this varietal.
2006 SPELLwine Sangiovese
I couldn’t agree more with Kristen about her take on the SPELLwine Lodi sangiovese. It is a great food wine. And it pisses me off that they don’t sell more of this too. It’s a great wine and if you’re not drinking it, you’re missing out. The nose of this sangiovese is awesome! It has bright cherry aromas along with plenty of spices like nutmeg and clove, all with good intensity. Beneath all that there’s a slight floral aroma lurking behind the corners and adding a touch of intrigue. The palate hits you with outstanding acidity and tasty cherry flavors. The tannins aren’t too heavy but there’s enough to add some texture to the mouth feel. The finish is relatively long, with lingering cherry and raspberry flavors. I would classify this as a “best of both worlds” wine. It has the acidity and some of the tannins I would expect from an old world sangiovese with the fruit I would expect from a new world producer, but it’s not over the top. It’s a nice balance.
May 9, 2012
“Mom, Daughter Vintners Agree to Disagree” By Dale Robertson
Like mother, like daughter? Well, not quite. Given their generational differences, you might at first think Barb and Kristen Spelletich come from different planets. But, when it comes to wine, they speak the same language, albeit with different inflection, accents and attitude. To oversimplify, Barb - the mom - is a classicist. Kristen - the daughter - likes pushing drinkers' buttons.
May 26, 2012
Wine of the Week
By Kristine Hansen
2006 SPELLwine Severed Head Red
WINE OF THE WEEK
Earlier this week, Kristen Spelletich cruised through the state to promote her new line of wines (Spell), which became available in Milwaukee only recently. As an offshoot from her mother’s winery, Spelletich Wine Cellars, in Napa Valley, the 33-year-old’s label is funky and artsy – and at a lower price point. Over dinner at Hinterland she uncorked a few bottles for me. The 2006 Spell Severed Head Red Wine ($18) is a full-bodied and fruit-forward beauty with a eucalyptus nose, bright red cherries, deep complexity and – towards the end of the palate – cocoa before a peppery finish.
March 27, 2012
Good Wine That Are Excellent Values, by Dale Robertson
2006 SPELLwine Syrah
Overall Score: 18.9 (8.9 quality; 10 value)
Our tasters: Gave it a unanimous recommendation with three scores of 9 or higher. "Fruit! Oak! Alcohol! One big mother of a wine."
My score: 9. Winemaker Kristen Spelletich, the daughter in the only mother-daughter winemaking duo I'm aware of, created the family's Spell lineup to attract young wine drinkers like herself. But she drew in a few of us old codgers too with this fruit-driven, in-your-face Napa syrah. Sassy, passionate and proud of her "tats," Kristen says she likes to make wines that "smack you around a little."
Feb. 26, 2012
Napa’s Best Cabernets
By Alder Yarrow
2009 Spelletich Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
“Bright, rich juicy cherry”
SARAH JANE ENGLISH NEWSLETTER
2007 Spelletich Chardonnay, Ghisletta Vineyard, Carneros
2005 SPELLETICH Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Silky spun gold hue with lavender and caramelized apricot aromas that lead to a perfectly balanced mouth feel with a tantalizing soft hint of cream. Fresh summer green apples are laced with grapefruit notes mid-palate that glide smoothly and develop into a clean, crisp and refreshing finish.
This fine wine exhibits the structural characteristics and lush, rich, fruit qualities that have been synonymous with excellent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for many decades. Aromas and flavors of black fruits and balanced layers of integrated tannins add to the complexity and lead to a long silky finish. Throughout a tasting the wine delivers intensely concentrated layers of ripe, lively black cherry, blackberry, mocha and plum. Spices contribute touches of anise, cinnamon and a hint of fennel with toasted oak nuances and rich, creamy, mouth-watering tannins that add a memorable finish.
2006 Spelletich Reserve Merlot
Rife with ripe cherries and decked out with lots of very sweet oak, this flashy wine is as open and inviting as it is wonderfully rich. At five years of age, it has become supple and smooth on the palate, yet it is backed up by a spine of integral tannin and has a good life line before it.
2006 Spelletich Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon
… This wine surprises by coming through in the mouth with a full-measure of well-defined, cassis-like fruit, and its message is all Cabernet. It is comfortably balanced and its youthful edges are beginning to round off.
2005 Spelletich Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Spelletich’s Reserve is a full-bodied outgoing wine of considerable richness. … Its patiently upfront manner makes it easy to taste now, but it has the structure and tannin to improve for another five or six years.
2008 Spelletich Reserve Chardonnay
Initial aromas of citrus-tinged apples get a helpful boost from an underlying suggestion of honey, and that same extra richness fills out the wine in the mouth. Balancing acidity keeps everything in good order across the palate.
2008 SPELLwine Chardonnay, Napa Valley
87 points Good Value
This one comes with a garish label and plenty of stuffing for the money. And, while the label suits the price, the wine, with its lemony-scented, appley character and its baked custard richness is pretty much all one could ask of a $16, medium-full-bodied, carefully balanced Chardonnay. Too bad the winery only makes it in limited amounts.
MUST LOVE WINE
Oct. 17, 2011 (mustlovewine.com)
2007 SPELLwine Sangiovese, Lodi
Wine Spies Tasting Profile
– Beautiful ruby hues, from edge through the slightly darker core. Swirl the wine and it settles quickly, leaving behind tall columns of skinny tears that run slowly down the glass.
– Cinnamon sweet candied cherry, dried orange peel, blackberry and dark blueberry mix with more subtle aromas of gentle clove, earth and a hint of dried tobacco leaf.
– Round and soft on entry and across the mid-palate, the wine settles onto the rear palate, where it takes on a fuller, more grippy feeling. Plush tannins and a bright acidity work a unique magic on the palate, adding complexity and driving flavors into the long finish.
– Layered and packed with rich, diving flavors of black cherry, dark plum, and bramble. These are closely followed by spiced dried orange peel, earthy bright red cherry, clove and cinnamon.
– Bold flavors last a great long time, with rich fruit ultimately yielding to spice and earthen characteristics. The earthy cherry and spice make a surging appearance and then tail off slowly, leading to soft spice and a hint of oak.
– A beauty of a wine, this delicious Sangiovese is a delicious, multi-dimensional wine that has more character and more fruit than a traditional Italian Sangio. I ound myself inhaling deeply of this wine – again and again – before ever taking my first sip. When I did sip, I was enthralled; This is a delicious, complex, fruit and spice-driven wine that delivers on all fronts. Approachable, delicious and easy to love, this wine is a great solo-sipper, but I would suggest pairing it with a delicious meal. I paired my review bottle with cold Penne with fresh Sage, lemon juice, capers, fresh goat cheese and slivered parmesano Reggiano.
WINE COUNTRY INSIDER
Mar. 5, 2011 The Next Generation
By Frank Thorsberg
The Spell cabernet sauvignon presented bright cherry fruit with mild tannins. The Spell 2006 zinfandel is an even better buy at $16. Made from Amador County fruit, it tasted of plum jam with just a hint of eucalyptus on the nose.
On a more refined note, the Spelletich 2005 reserve merlot is a delicious discovery. From the first sip of merlot, I got a lip-smacking mouthful of luscious plum fruit that lingered on the tongue. This wine got even better when paired with a chunk of buttery brie on a slice of sourdough bread.