Located in the heart of the prestigious Hunter Valley, the SLOAN Estate has been a proud part of the Hunter Valley wine industry since the 1800’s. A special holding of the SLOAN Estate, the vineyard at Steen’s Hill was the first vineyard in the Hunter Valley to be planted by the SLOAN family. Today, the vineyard is the largest planted vineyard in the Hunter, with a total of over 6,000 vines and an average grape yield of 30 tons per hectare.
It’s a great time to be a wine lover in California. Sure, the days of Napa Valley being a mainstay on just about every wine lover’s list are gone for good. But right now we’re seeing some surprising releases that are going to blow your palate away, and some that will leave you wanting more.
The right wine will change your life, so it’s worth investing in a bottle that you will love and enjoy for many years to come. We are excited to announce that our new SLOAN Estate is now available online from The Wine Bar.
The estate of SLOAN. Sloan Estate, which was formerly part of the Sacrache Vineyard, is 40 hillside acres with 13 acres of grapes planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The location is nestled in the Rutherford Hills and has not only breathtaking vistas, but also well-drained soils made up of broken volcanic rock, sandy loam, and a white volcanic ash (tufa). Hall’s Sacrache Vineyard and Auberge du Soleil, a posh resort, are also nearby.
While the property is situated on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas mountains, it has a straight line of sight to the valley and benefits from the winds that blow through it. Fog may sometimes reach the vineyard in the mornings, adding to the chilling effect.
Stuart Sloan, a businessman and philanthropist, bought the home in 1998. Stuart established Sloan Capital Companies, a Seattle-based private investment firm; he previously served as Chairman and CEO of Quality Food Centers in Bellevue, Washington (now a subsidiary of Krogers). Sloan’s first vintage was in 2000, and it was made in a tiny area adjacent to the house by winemaker Mark Aubert (before the cave was constructed). After just one harvest, Mark departed, and Martha McClellan took over as winemaker on June 1, 2001, and she continues to supervise the winemaking today.
Napa Valley wine cave pioneer Alf Burtelson, a general engineering contractor who established his business in 1964, designed the magnificent cave. Alf is now in his 80s and has long since retired, but he still lives in Napa Valley’s northern reaches. Alf’s first cave project in the Napa Valley was in 1972, when his firm successfully repaired the old Beringer caverns. He supervised the digging of a 360-foot tunnel through the hillside for SLOAN Estate, which was gently inclined from one end to the other and completely temperature regulated.
Although it is not one of the valley’s biggest wine caves, it is one of the most aesthetically beautiful. Ancient bricks from Austrian houses were transported to the Napa Valley and placed in the cave’s ceiling, reaching down to the sidewalls (some of which are still stamped with ancient family crests). Local stone was mined and utilized to build the cave’s walls.
Pan Sutong, a Hong Kong businessman, visited the location in 2011 and fell in love with the plants, vistas, and general vibe of the place. He bought the property from Sloan and retained the viticulture and winemaking teams, with McClellan overseeing the winemaking operations. Michelle Rolland has been a consultant for SLOAN since 2001; he was introduced to Sutong by Bernard de Laâge de Meux, SLOAN’s General Manager, and continues to serve as the winery’s Bordeaux-based blending consultant.
Sutong’s Goldin Group would subsequently buy Château Rolland-Maillet in Saint-Émilion as a result of his connection with Rolland. Sutong also owns Pomerol’s Château Le Bon Pasteur and Lalande-de-Château Pomerol’s Bertineau St-Vincent. He owns the 1200+ acre Goldin Farms in Barossa Valley, Australia, a horse breeding property previously known as Lindsay Park Stud, in addition to significant real estate interests in China, including important infrastructure in Tianjin (overseen by Goldin Properties Holdings Limited).
Two years after his original purchase, the Goldin Group purchased land next door that was already planted to Grenache, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon, thanks to his closeness to Goldin Farms. The wine from this site is packaged as Tarrawatta, with Godswalk, a very limited production red blend, being the most premium wine produced.
David Abreu and his crew oversaw the replanting of vines at SLOAN in 1997. (Abreu continues to manage the vineyard). The vineyard’s elevation varies from about 875 feet to almost 1000 feet. The annual yield from these mature vines is typically between 25 and 28 tons. Harvest is done in small batches – even a small section of the vineyard may be harvested several times. The grapes are harvested early in the morning, so they arrive to the winery cool. They are cold soaked for approximately 7 days before fermentation, which takes place in both small lot tanks and oak barrels. Extended maceration may last anywhere from 45 to 60 days after fermentation.
Martha earned a degree in Oenology and Viticulture from the University of Geisenheim in Germany. Prior to moving to the Napa Valley she worked at wineries in Germany and Australia. She became an assistant winemaker at Merryvale in 1995 helping make several of the Harlan Estate wines including several vintages at Merryvale and later at Harlan Estate once the production facility was completed. Martha also oversees all winemaking duties and decisions at LEVY AND MCCLELLAN. In addition to being winemaker at Checkerboard Vineyards, she is currently consulting winemaker at Vineyard 7 & 8 on Spring Mountain.
Martha recognized the significance of tannin presentation, including structure and tongue feel, early in her winemaking career. Martha ferments a portion of their output each year in new French oak barrels, which is a labor-intensive and time-consuming procedure, not to mention expensive, due to the quantity of and high quality wood utilized (Taransaud and Djarnajou barrels). Each barrel’s heads are removed by hand, the grapes are carefully put inside, and the heads are reattached. Rather of performing mini-punchdowns, each barrel is placed on OXO rollers and gently moved throughout fermentation, allowing the fermenting juice and floating grapes to be exposed.
This cuts down the winemaking process into micro lots, with each barrel being meticulously cared for during the fermentation and aging process. This method enables her to get the tastes, color, and tannic feel she desires (even early on in the winemaking). In terms of tannins, this degree of winemaking removes a lot of tannins, yet they’re soft and accessible in their youth, while also giving the wine a strong backbone to age.
Select Wines The inception of the SLOAN’s accompanying label, Asterisk, began with the production of three barrels of wine intended as a private label offering to one of Sloan’s friends in Seattle. Ultimately this wine was never sold and the decision was made to produce a second label. Stuart originally intended to call this wine Ampersand (&) but one day he discovered this name had just recently been trademarked. He mentioned his dismay to Martha and she immediately informed him that she and her husband Bob Levy were the ones who registered the trademark for this name as part of their LEVY & MCCLELLAND wine. Pivoting slightly, Stuart chose the name Asterisk. This wine is a blend of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The aroma of the 2017 Asterisk is beautiful, with hints of aged cedar box, violets, and rose petal. It’s a little salty. In its infancy, this wine is very accessible and balanced, with notes of cherry, plum, and blackberry providing plenty of enjoyment on the tongue. It has a wonderful suppleness to it, with finer and rounder tannins that linger gently and are well balanced with intriguing acidity. It’s a joy to sip this wine.
The 2016 Asterisk is dark crimson in color, with a touch of rose stem on the bouquet that soon gives way to luscious fruit and notes of dust. The fragrance develops with time, revealing desert spices and mocha. The wine is rich, with black berry and cherry notes and a pronounced mid-palate heaviness. This wine’s structure is a standout feature, with long-lasting, pleasant tannins that have a medium grip and a rounded feel. A striking brightness complements the finish well.
The SLOAN Proprietary Red is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot (varietal ratios vary by year).
The SLOAN Proprietary Award for 2015 The color is rich red, and the fragrance emphasizes the fruit and, without a doubt, the location; the wood is a nice match. Aromas of blackberry, fig, and chocolate are present. As the wine matures, a sweeter flavor of dessert spices, especially mocha, emerges. This is a powerful wine that is well-layered and well-balanced. However, 6 years after the vintage, at the time of our tasting, it still showed signs of youth. We like how robust and thick the tannins are as they roll over the palate, with a somewhat long lasting grip. It has a lengthy, vibrant, mouth-watering finish.
SLOAN Proprietary Red 2013 is a fantastic wine. Dark crimson in hue, with deeper fruit aromatics, especially plum, on the scent. The white volcanic ash-like soils of the vineyard may be detected in the dust and minerality aromatics at first. Licorice, plum, and black cherry notes are well-layered in this wine. The tannins have a ‘sloanesque’ texture, which Martha describes as “clearly evident but nicely blended with a rounded gravelly feel.” However, it is very long-lasting. We drank this wine eight years after it was released; it’s a strong wine that’s still extremely young and active, with a long life ahead of it. Its vigor is still strong. This is a wine that sticks with you and that you won’t quickly forget.
SLOAN Estate also makes a very limited quantity of port-styled wine (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon), although it is never bottled. Vintages have been produced in 2010, 2012, 2018, and 2019 thus far.
Each vintage’s total production is usually between 500 and 600 cases, with the majority of it sold directly via a members-only allocation list. They do, however, have limited worldwide distribution in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore (sometimes as little as 60 bottles each area). Visit www.sloanestate.com for more information on the wines and to join the waiting list.
The company is known for it’s distinctive “Keep Calm and Drink SLOAN” branding, but SLOAN Estate is far from being a lifestyle brand. In fact, the company is focussed on helping winemakers around the world to produce better wines and reach their full potential.. Read more about rutherford estates winery and let us know what you think.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- sloan estate asterisk
- sloan estate wine
- sloan estate winery
- sloan estate 2016
- sloan wine goldman sachs