Abreu: Checking in on the 2007s 


This recent tasting of David Abreu’s 2007s was a great opportunity to check in on the wines as they approach their tenth birthdays. More importantly, though, the tasting showed just how far some of the more recently planted vineyards have developed in stature since these wines were made. Aside from the Cappella, which is showing some effects of aging, the 2007s are still very young wines that will drink well for years to come.

Abreu, and his longtime winemaker Brad Grimes, farm four estate sites. Cappella and Madrona Ranch are both in the heart of St. Helena. Thorevilos is located in the eastern hills of St. Helena, just down the road from Herb Lamb, while Las Posadas is on Howell Mountain. For more background on Abreu’s vineyards, readers may wish to refer to the Vinous Maps of St. Helena and Howell Mountain. 

Two thousand seven was just the second vintage for both the Cappella and Howell Mountain (now known as Las Posadas) and also the second vintage made in Abreu’s current facility in Yountville. Prior to 2006, the wines were made at Sloan. One of the most distinctive signatures of the Abreu wines is a preference for co-fermentation that is based on the concept of picking fruit when it is at optimal ripeness, regardless of variety, and fermenting that fruit together, an approach that is being increasingly adopted by other winemakers in the valley. Abreu was also among the growers to champion Cabernet Franc, a variety that plays an important role in all of these wines. When the 2007s were made, a few of the smaller lots were fermented in open-top puncheons. Today, all the wine is fermented in steel. Harvest ran from September 5 through October 9, which is more or less in line with historical norms. 

The 2007 Cappella is starting to show the first signs of aromatic nuance and complexity. Dark cherry, plum, chocolate, mocha, spice and leather open up nicely in the glass. Although an attractive wine, the 2007 is also a reminder of how far Cappella has come in just the last few years. I would prefer to drink the 2007 sooner rather than later, as there appears to be limited upside from further cellaring. 93/Drink: 2017-2025

David Abreu’s Cappella vineyard, St. Helena, as shown in the Vinous Map: The Vineyards of St. Helena & Conn Valley. 

A huge, imposing wine, Abreu’s 2007 Madrona Ranch still needs time to shed some of its massive tannins. Bold, ripe and explosive, the 2007 possesses superb depth, not to mention tons of unbridled power. A rush of red stone fruit, rose petal, smoke, licorice and plum, all buffered by beams of tannin, hit the palate in this potent Napa Valley wine. Hints of sage, underbrush and sweet tobacco round out the wine’s multifaceted bouquet. With air, the 2007 can be enjoyed now, but it will drink well for another 15+ years. Production was just four barrels. 97/Drink: 2020-2032

Madrona Ranch, St. Helena, as shown in the Vinous Map: The Vineyards of St. Helena & Conn Valley.

Abreu’s 2007 Howell Mountain (known today as Las Posadas) shows the pedigree of this site in spades. A classic Howell Mountain wine, the 2007 offers fabulous depth and striking inner sweetness, along with remarkable translucence. Graphite, smoke, licorice, plum, lavender, wild flowers and crème de cassis add nuance throughout, but it is the wine’s balance that is truly remarkable. The 2007 was made entirely from the lower section of the vineyard, which was planted in 2002. The 2007 is gorgeous today and will drink well for another decade plus. 97/Drink: 2017-2032

Las Posadas, Howell Mountain, as shown in the Vinous Map: The Vineyards of Howell Mountain. 

The 2007 Thorevilos is another wine that is stunning today. Rich, deep and tannic, but with more than enough sweetness to fill out its ample frame, the Thorevilos is the highlight in this set of 2007s from David Abreu and Brad Grimes. Lavender, crème de cassis, blueberry jam, sage and violet infuse this deep, powerful wine. With air, the 2007 is approachable now, but there is still plenty of upside. The overall tension and delineation of flavors makes the Thorevilos one of the wines of the vintage. 98/Drink: 2017-2032

Thorevilos, St. Helena, as shown in the Vinous Map: The Vineyards of St. Helena & Conn Valley.