The most underrated great Cabernet produced in Napa Valley….with perhaps the best second label wine in Napa, the Caravina Cabernet…keep in mind I have Seaveys going back to 1990 in my cellar.”
– Robert Parker, Wine Critic, The Wine Advocate, Dec 2008.
2007 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 95-99 Points]
2005 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 95+]
2003 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 96]
1997 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 96]
1991 Seavey Cabernet [RP: 97]
In the early 1870’s, the Franco-Swiss Farming Co. was established along a lovely stream, which flowed down the center of Conn Valley, an eastern spur of the Napa Valley. Grapes were grown on the South facing hillsides, and a stone winery and distillery building were built next to the wagon trail that is now Conn Valley Road. A handsome stone dairy barn was constructed in 1881, the same year that the stone foundations were laid for the bridge across Conn Creek. Those foundations today continue to support the bridge across Conn Creek.
In 1979, after a long period as a horse and cattle ranch, the original acres east of Conn Creek were purchased by William and Mary Seavey, who began to replant the vineyard. Initially, the planting and managing of the vineyard was sub-contracted by the Seavey’s to Roy Raymond, Jr., and all of the grapes were sold to Raymond Vineyards.
Since the inaugural 1990 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, all Seavey Vineyard grapes are used exclusively for our estate produced wines.
In addition to grapes, the Seavey’s raise a small number of beef cattle, whose primary function is to keep the grass down on the 200 acre property. They also provide a welcome source of organic beef for family and friends.
In 1989, the Seavey’s renovated the original 1881 stone dairy barn as their winery and tasting room, and in 1990 began to make Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay under the Seavey Vineyard label, adding Merlot in 1994. The success of their early vintages encouraged them to expand production, especially of Cabernet Sauvignon, and required construction of a second winery building in 2000.
In 2003, the Seavey’s installed one of the first solar energy systems used by a Napa Valley winery. The project eliminates 24,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The Seavey’s practice old world grape growing techniques while utilizing modern technology.
Our flagship offering is the Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon, known for its classic Bordeaux styling, richness, and longevity, with some vintages achieving 30-40 years of cellaring potential. This wine is built for strength and ageability, with long macerations and three years of barrel and bottle aging prior to release. Certain vintages remain 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Although, recent vintages have included very powerful and concentrated Petit Verdot from the steep rocky slopes of the top of Seavey Vineyard, with grape yields at or below 1 ton per acre. These wines are very well-received by critics and fans alike.
A second label Cabernet Sauvignon was initiated in 1999, the Caravina Cabernet. Caravina is Latin for “dear vine”. The Caravina is a handsome, opulent, very approachable wine upon release, still in small productions of 800-1000 cases annually.
While Seavey is known for crafting world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, we take great pride in our very small 400-500 annual case production of Merlot, which has in the last decade has developed a fan following of its own.
And let us not forget the ever-popular Burgundian Mersault styled Chardonnay, with a scarce production of 40-70 cases annually. 100% Chardonnay with arrested malolactic conversion at 0-25%, so as to fully express the rich minerality and terroir of the vineyard. Barrel fermented, unfiltered, unfined, and without cold-stabilizing tartrates…a 19th century approach to a 21st century wine.
PHILIPPE MELKA, SENIOR WINEMAKER
Winemaker Consultant Philippe Melka has been with Seavey since 1995. A graduate of the University of Bordeaux, he holds degrees both in enology and geology with a specialization in terroirs and clones. Before joining Seavey he worked at a number of well-known wineries in France, Italy, and California. His advice has been valuable in the vineyard as well as in the winery, where he strives to produce a perfectly integrated wine with classic structure, balance and elegance. He treats his wines gently and controls the amount of oak, so that the fruit flavors will not be lost. In addition to viticulture, his favorite hobby is surfing. Jeremy, Philippe & Bill Seavey work very hard to find the best possible blends of wines from the separate harvest lots.
World-reknown wine critic, Robert Parker, of The Wine Advocate, posted an article in a Summer 2008 edition of Food & Wine magazine, that he considered Philippe Melka among the 9 most influential winemaker consultants in the world. Philippe continues to achieve international acclaim, including Food & Wine’s prestigious 2005 AWA Winemaker of the Year Award.
P.S. – Philippe’s dog, Mocha (above), is famous in the Valley. Mocha is always hard at work in the vineyard at Seavey, along with Philippe, inspecting the Cabernet Sauvignon before Fall harvest…
From MelkaWines.com website:
Philippe spent much of his early life in Bordeaux, receiving his geology degree in 1989 from the University of Bordeaux. In his final year of study, he took a wine course purely out of sheer curiosity, and from that moment on realized his passion–and future–lay in the world of wine. In 1991 he completed a masters program in Agronomy and Enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, a reputed specialist with regard to terroir. Philippe was fascinated by the relationship between soil and wine quality and his appreciation of the study of soil agronomy continues to this day in his work as a viticulturist as well as winemaker.
Philippe set out for the New World to discover its wines and expand his knowledge in the process. In 1991-1992, he worked for Dominus in both winemaking and vineyard management. He split 1992 between working harvest at Chittering Estate in Western Australia, and returning to Dominus to study grape maturation and ideal picking times. In 1993, Philippe studied soils at Badia a Coltibuono in Italy as well as the emerging Sangiovese varietal. In the spring of that year, he was once again on French soil, joining the J. P. Moueix company in Libourne, where he stayed until returning to Napa Valley in 1994 to devote himself to winemaking and continuing soil studies.
Fifteen years later, Philippe is one of the most sought after winemakers and viticulturalists in California. His extended family of wineries represents a diverse range of vineyard sites and soil types, from cool-climate, shallow, volcanic soils to deep, rich, warm-microclimate clay. Philippe’s wines express the voice of the soil as much as that of the winemaker. This common stylistic thread is apparent in the following wines crafted by Philippe Melka:
Marston Family Vineyard
Vineyard 29 & Aida Vineyard
Flanagan Family Vineyards
PreVail Winery Estate
Skipstone Ranch Winery
FROM FANS OF SEAVEY:
“Your 1991 Cab is one of my all time favorite California wines!”
Gary Vaynerchuk, WineLibrary.TV in NJ
“Dear Brandon: Thank you so much on behalf of myself, Jacque, and Leslie, for the above-and-beyond experience you gave us at Seavey yesterday. The wine was amazing, the land and winery beautiful, and the experience truly educational and FUN. We talked about it all afternoon, from getting to see the full operation and the stages of the winemaking process to getting to hang out with Scooter and Leife. It was truly a special day that you made for us. Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Lisa B. in Bronx NY
“Brandon, my wife, Keiko, and I received our shipment of Seavey wine yesterday to our great delight. Thank you so much, and we can’t wait to enjoy it and share it with friends in the weeks ahead. It brings back fond memories of our great visit there. I hope you are well and are in the middle of a terrific fall season.”
Very best regards,
Phillip Y. in Rochester NY
“For those of you from San Diego that don’t know this wine it has SD roots…the proprietor (William Seavey) is the former mayor of Coronado…but, regardless,the wine is AMAZING! If you can find it TRY IT…I am a particular fan of the Caravina but anything you can find with this label is unreal…you will not be disappointed! I love wine and this is an amazing producer. I have paid for every bottle from this producer so this is not a paid endorsement. It is that good. Robert Parker doesn’t hand out 90+ ratings, so this IS that good. No puff here…I have visited the winery and it is bare bones but evidences a commitment to quality in the product and the proof is in the wine. Get it while you can…this is a cult wine but not for long. In fact, I don’t know why I am telling you this. DON’T RAISE MY PRICE POINT!”
Brad B. in San Diego CA
“Awesome…one of the very best Cab’s domestically produced…”
Marc A. in New York NY
“Bill / Brandon: Seavey is my favorite California Cabernet. I must tell you how much I prize your wines. The 1991 is legendary and the 1997 is merely excellent … perhaps slightly too young at this point. In one of my wine group’s tastings of 90 to 92 California Cabs, your 91 took honors over 3 Montelenas, 1 Togni, 2 Shafer Hillsides, 2 Mondavi Reserves, 2 Newtons, 2 Ridge Montebellos, 2 Silver Oak Napas, 2 Fisher Coach Isignia, and 1 Fisher Wedding Cuvee. I look forward to the 2001 to 2005. Meanwhile we are enjoying the 2003 Caravina … which we think is better than most people’s top cuvee.”
Scott P. in Atlanta GA
“Brandon: You may remember my wife Anna and I visited you early on the 20th of August—thanks again for opening the vineyard so early that day for our visit…and I hope you don’t mind that we’ve told anyone that will listen that Seavey was our favorite winery visit in our 5-day tour!”
Thanks and all the best,
Ben & Anna S. in Greenwich CT
“Brandon: Just ordered the 2006 release. Denise and I were there last year and had our first taste of the Cab and a wonderful tour from you. One of the best we have ever had. We are huge Seavey fans now, as it our neighborhood “wine club”. Of course I now hide it from them.”
Mike and Denise in North Richland Hills TX
“Brandon – Just wanted to drop a quick email to thank you again for having all of us at Seavey Vineyard. Everyone really enjoyed meeting with you – the tour was great! It goes without saying that the wine was wonderful. Mandy and I really enjoyed meeting Mr. Seavey as well – we would have loved to have spent more time talking to him, but then we would have held up everyone else even longer! Please send him our regards. We did go see Ehlers Estate – thank you for arranging that – it was well worth the visit. While we managed to go to a number of other wonderful wineries, Seavey was our favorite.”
Jim R. in Dallas TX
“Brandon – Hey thanks again for having us out at Seavey. My parents had a great time. We had the ’06 Caravina at Bottega that night and it was killer!”
Ryan Clark in Calistoga CA
“Hi Brandon – We shared a magnum of your ’99 cab with our waiter at Town (a steakhouse in San Carlos) when we recently celebrated my son’s birthday (my son was born in 1999, so he didn’t get to drink it!) and he told us that it may have been the best wine that he tasted this year :-)”
Mark C. in San Mateo CA
“Hi Brandon: Exciting news about your new Cab releases. I have been a fan of Seavey wines for several years, thus am thrilled to see the accolades for yet another exceptional vintage. Congratulations!”
Lisa F. in San Francisco CA
“I’m a huge Seavey fan (20% of my cellar is Seavey) – and I just bought my 2006 Cabernets…”
Craig C. in Pittsburgh PA
“Brandon – I love your wines…I have been coming to northern CA to drink wine every year since 1981. Anyway, I have been saving my Seavey. I have many years back, but have only opened one bottle. Wonderful!!! The Seavey wines we have had are made with remarkable structure and complexity and we would love to visit with you and the winemakers. I know many more people participate in the final product, but it is obvious Seavey has always had great leadership. I am really!!!!!!!!!!!!!! interested in ’07…”
Edwin F. in Houston TX
“Hi Brandon, Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality today. It was a real pleasure tasting the beautiful Seavey wines and seeing the property…”
Brook D. in Santa Rosa CA
“You guys have fantastic wine!”
George C. in New York NY
“Have been a Seavey fan/customer for awhile…every year words spreads and you all get more and more buzz. Well-deserved! Need to get my next order in now :)”
Bob Q. in San Carlos CA
“Brandon, we recently attended a niece’s college graduation from the University of Colorado and had a fabulous bottle of Seavey Cabernet at the Flagstaff in Boulder. We visited the winery a couple years ago and fell in love with your wine.”
Steve L. in Madison WI
“Brandon: Thanks again for taking the time to meet with Wendi and I last week. It was truly a highlight of the trip. Thanks also for the Larkmead suggestion. I was also quite impressed with their offerings. I passed your name to two other people in town. I strongly suggested they try to get their hands on some Seavey!”
Scott N. in Chicago IL
“Brandon: Wanted to send you a very special thank you from Paul and I. We both enjoyed our visit with you. We learned so much. We enjoyed our 10th anniversary at French Laundry along with your gift, the 2007 Seavey Chardonnay. And we kept your signed bottle!”
Take care and very best wishes,
Paul & Paula V. in Atlanta GA
“Brandon, I hope the harvest season is going well for all of you. My wife and I visited you at the winery for a tasting in August on a beautiful Sunday and we ordered the Seavey collection. We recently enjoyed a bottle of the 2004 Seavey Cab at a local restaurant (we were shocked they had it – great surprise!) last week. The ’04 is wonderful! It is one of those wine you thoroughly enjoy every sip over the course of an entire meal.”
Thanks so much,
Don A. in Hartford CT
Brandon St.Martin, Wine Director
Seavey Vineyard, Napa Valley
“The greatest underrated Cabernet in Napa Valley…”
[2007 Seavey Cabernet: 95-99 Pts], Robert Parker Jr.
Philippe Melka, Senior Winemaker Since 1995
Jeremy Weintraub, Winemaker