100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California.
SRP of $50 and available for as low as $40 for wine club members (Saturday Splurge). Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
"The grapes for Stella Monsi (Latin for "Star of the Mountain") are grown on Howell Mountain, which is renowned for premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Each vintage is produced from a mix of high and low elevations, combining the best traits of mountain and valley fruit. One taste and we know you will agree that this wine is truly the "Star of the Mountain".
When I heard that the Stella Monsi brand was owned by someone from way up north in my home state of Minnesota, I was definitely intrigued. After all, the city of Duluth is about as far from wine country as you can get. So how does a corporate attorney from Minnesota launch a successful wine brand featuring Napa Valley and Dry Creek Valley fruit? With the help of a custom winery known asThe Wine Foundry (formerly known as Crushpad, which you may remember from their now defunct blog that I happened to contribute to).
The Wine Foundry is a custom crush facility that allows you start a wine brand from the ground up, offering you as little or as much support as you need. They cover everything from choosing from among a number of participating vineyards, constructing a plan for your wine (varietals, style, etc.), creating your wine (sort, crush, ferment, press, etc.), designing your packaging and developing your final blend. They even offer a business platform that provides licensing, sales processing, order fulfillment, shipping logistics, and customer support.
Joel Kanvik, the aforementioned corporate attorney from Duluth, MN started Stella Monsi in 2007 with two friends and business associates. In addition to today's wine, they also offer a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($90 SRP) and a Dry Creek Zinfandel ($30 SRP).
The 2008 Stella Monsi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon begins with wonderful aromas of dark fruit and loads of vanilla along with caramel, mint and a bit of spice. Give it some air and you'll find even more. When tasting this dry, smooth wine the vanilla bonanza continues. While quite delicious now, this one still has quite a bit in the tank as evidenced by the substantial tannins. Give it a few more years and it should really shine. It ends grippy and a bit chewy on the dry, long finish which also features a bit of oaky spice.
You can order the wines direct from the Stella Monsi website.
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