Vellum Wines – a new winery in Napa Valley, CA from Jeffrey Mathy and Karl Lehmann

HE and SHE both say: We had the opportunity to sample some terrific wines at the Stars of Cabernet tasting at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills.  Designed by Learn About Wine, this was an excellent event, as we got a chance to talk with several winemakers and try some new wineries.  We decided to focus on the 2007 cabernet vintage from Napa.


Jeff Mathy from Vellum Wines

HE SAYS: Vellum is a new winery, a partnership between proprietor Jeffrey Mathy and winemaker Karl Lehmann.  We got a chance to meet and speak with Jeff, a very personable, down-to-earth/up-to-earth guy.  I say that because Jeff and Karl were mountain climbing buddies.  After scaling some of the highest peaks of the world, they’re now out to scale the heights of winemaking.  According to their materials, the winery name, Vellum, “is inspired by an ancient form of canvas known for its incredible ability to age,” which translates well to red wine.  Their goal is to make Bordeaux style wines in Napa Valley, especially ones with lower alcohol and balanced acidity.  They’re located just east of the town of Napa in Coombsville, CA. You can read more about Vellum Wines on their website

2007 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon – This wine is their first ever release ($50), which is 84% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot and 6% petit verdot.  The grapes were organically farmed, hand harvested and came from a two-acre vineyard near the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley.  It was made in the style of St. Julien region in Bordeaux, France.  Since it was their inaugural production, it sat in 100% new French oak barrels for 15 ½ months, and is unfiltered and unfined.  The alcohol level is about 14%, and they made 800 cases.
HE SAYS: The ’07 was very soft and supple, with wonderful berry and cherry flavors. The tannins are medium to low, and the wine is very balanced and drinks great now and has some aging potential.  I found it to be a terrific wine, especially right out of the gate, and I scored it a 16.

SHE SAYS:“Ooooh!  You’re so stroooong!” 

2008 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon. (Did you notice our focus expanded to 2008 already?) Jeff was even more excited about his second vintage.

HE SAYS: I felt it didn’t have as much body as the ’07, and the acidity was greater.  The alcohol was a bit less (13.8%) and Jeff thinks it has better aging potential.  They just bottled the ’08 in September 2010, so it was likely suffering from bottle shock. Thus, I chose not to rate it.  Both vintages though serve notice that Vellum is a winery to watch.

SHE SAYS: Not much nose, but a whole lot of mouth.  A classic in the making.

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