The Spire Collection Is More Than Just Maggy Hawk

[pullquote]From the renowned mountain vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma to the remarkable hillsides of Bordeaux and Tuscany, The Spire Collection is comprised of the most esteemed wineries from the Jackson Family portfolio.

The wines of The Spire Collection express the unparalleled terroir from some of the finest vineyards around the world — reflecting the family’s resounding commitment to quality and excellence.[/pullquote]

Our first stop — and the motivation for this trip — was at the Spire Collection in Calistoga.  This operation is owned by Jackson Family Wines.  We’ve written extensively about Barbara Banke, Maggy Hawk, and Windracer before.  This time we were looking forward to tasting a variety of Maggy Hawk pinot noirs.  And we were not disappointed.

The Wines

Spire Collection Home Page

Spire Collection Home Page (click for larger image)




Maggy Hawk produces five pinot noirs, each from their Anderson Valley vineyards. Each wine is from a single block and one clone. Every vintage year Jolie, Afleet, Unforgettable, and Stormin’ and  are produced.  The fourth, Hawkster, is only made when a vintage is deemed worthy of that name.  If you’re curious about all these names, they are racehorses that Barbara Banke loves.  Maggy Hawk, a horse she owned, is her all-time favorite.  All the wines are priced at $66.  We rate this a bargain for the quality.

Maggy Hawk Bottles

Maggy Hawk Bottles (click for larger image)

The 2010 Jolie leads with aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, hint of licorice. The flavor is a Little plummy, with hints of vanilla.

The 2013 Jolie is lighter than the 2013 with more red raspberry and licorice aromas. A zesty palate leads to a nice, long finish.

We also had the opportunity to taste the 2013 Jolie large format (3 liters, a double magnum) This one needs a few more years to develop.  It’s denser than the 750 ml version with darker fruit and a chewy texture. If you have the patience, this one should be ready to open in about 2022.

The 2013 Afleet opens with red raspberry and cherry aromas. The palate is sparkling, with a nice acid balance on the finish.

By contrast, the 2013 Stormin’ is more brooding and intense. Aromas and flavors of ense forest floor and leather are the main notes..

Saving the best for the last, the 2013 Hawkster features cherry and black raspberry aromas. The palate seemed a bit lighter, but that may have been our reaction to the Stormin’.

The Winemaker

Tony With Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas

Tony With Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas

We had the opportunity to meed Maggy Hawk’s wimemaker, Elizabeth Grant-Douglas.  She revealed that the winemaking operation is actually in Windsor — where we were staying.  Next time we’ll arrange for a private tasting at the winery to avoid the trip to Calistoga.  She also mentioned how much she loves the Maggy Hawk vineyards, visiting them as frequenttly as possible.

The Venue

Tony and Chris

Tony and Estate Host Chris Schreiner

The Spire Collection event space and tasting room is located next to The Geysers north of Calistoga. Tastings are by appointment only. Phone (866) 399-0261. The address is 3299 Bennett Lane.   A good review of the tasting room and venue is on the Napa Wine Project blog.

And did I mention the bacon bar?  Three different locally-produced bacons.  Or, as the invitaiton put it, “Wine and Swine.”  Thanks to the great folks at Jackson Family Wines for including us in this special event.

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