Spelletich Family Winery was founded in 1994 by Tim and Barb Spelletich in Napa. They make about 3,000 cases a year under the Spelletich label and 5,000 cases a year under their daughter Kristen's Spell Wine brand. The family operation makes a wide range of bottles from $18-75, and cover the classic grapes of the region. I got a chance to try four of them recently.
2006 Spell Wine Syrah
$20, 14.4% abv.
250 Cases Made
Black pepper and plum with firm tannins and a long, lingering finish. A bold red that will stand up to a dish of lasagna with plenty of spicy sausage in it.
2007 3 Spells Blend GHK
57% Merlot, 28% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
$26, 14.2% abv.
300 Cases Made
Black pepper and cherry with a solid tannic structure. While delicious now, I think this wine could age for another couple of years with great results.
2006 Spelletich Cellars Reserve Merlot
$45, 14.2% abv.
400 Cases Made
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.
2009 Spelletich Cellars Reserve Chardonnay
$27, 14.5% abv.
200 Cases Made
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.
Second-generation winemaker and Director of Operations Kristen Spelletich was kind enough to take a break from harvest to answer a few questions for BWR:
I grew up around the Memphis International Airport where my Dad worked, so I got to fly a lot and help with de-icing equipment and run around all kinds of cool airplane equipment as a child. What's it like growing up when the family business is an "adult" beverage that you won't really get to experience or appreciate until you're much older?
Funny you should ask that questions, When I was super little I used to have little sherry glasses and my mom would have dinners parties all the time and she would pour me wine and ask in front of everyone what I thought, they found it so funny that a 7 year old could talk about French wines. And when we moved to St. Helena when I was 12 and they started things... I had no desire... I wanted to get into pathology and do something like a CSI would do. I got caught sneaking out in 9th grade and my punishment was hand labeling our entire first vintage. But as I grew and got into college and was studying abnormal psychology and I got a job at the French Laundry everything changed. I had a palate for food and wine... and everything I had grown up with clicked. And I knew that this is where I should be.
Your Spellwine bottles have some pretty interesting names. Can you pick a perfect pairing of one of them with a fantasy or horror movie to enjoy as Halloween approaches? And why did you choose that particular pairing?
I am a horror movie freak, even as a child I loved them... I even named my son after a character in a Stephen King book. Wow this is hard... to pick just one... As a child, I loved The Shining, that is still one of my top five. Killer Klowns From Outer Space was another one I really liked. When I was super little I saw Piranha and I had nightmares for a few months after that. We may have to talk more about that... or give me some more time.
I love that you named one of your wines after your son. [The GHK blend/Gage Henry Kahler.] Does he do any work in the vineyards, and is he interested in the wine industry?
I wish...we need to wait a few more years for that. He turns 4 in December. He does come and help as he can... but mostly spends the day riding on the forklift and pretending to fix things with his Papa’s (grandfather's) tools. He did spend the first year of his life here every day. We used a macro bin as a play pen. It was great!
How has interacting via social media helped your company? What works best, Facebook, Twitter, the website, etc?
I am a big facebooker; Twitter is still very foreign to me. I think Facebook is worked very well and now I hear I need to figure out Pintrest…so many things to keep up on...but it’s great that so much marketing is at my fingertips for free!!
Note: These wines were received as samples.