Four years ago I met Peter Spann at a restaurant called Sparrow near downtown Denver. It was a cold, snowy night and the restaurant was empty. Peter and I sat at the bar spending the evening talking about wine. What struck me was how Peter was so easy going and unassuming, but had a rich knowledge of wine. He had traveled the world with his wife visiting wine regions from Austria to South Africa. In his 30+ years in the wine business, Peter had learned from some of the best.
Spann Vineyards is a small winery run by Peter and his wife, Betsy in the Mayacamas mountains between Napa and Sonoma. The first time I visited them I saw they were the hardest working people in the wine business doing everything themselves from vineyard maintenance to cellar work. It was impressive really to see how hard they worked doing something they loved.
To say the wines are stellar would be an understatement. If you sat down and tasted through the Spann wines you'd notice a distinct style. All their wines have impeccable balance. On the palate the wines have finesse and depth that feel "round" because of how well balanced they are. There's a few interesting blends in the lineup including the MoZin which is a blend of Mourvedre, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. I find this wine to easily pair well with a wide range of foods. I've brought the MoZin and Chardonnay/Viognier to many o' party and entered them in many o' blind tastings. They usually are picked blind as the crowd favorite every time.
But that's not why I love Spann Vineyards. When I concocted a plan to propose to my girlfriend in 2007 I had planned to do it in Napa Valley. Our family jeweler said he'd send the ring to me at Spann Vineyards as I'd be at the Broadbent importer annual meeting. Long , the ring got lost in the mail. It didn't show up to the vineyards, and I was going to be proposing to her the next day. Suffice to say I was crapping my pants, but trying to keep it on the downlow so my girlfriend wouldn't pick up the scent (it was a surprise). short
Peter and Betsy saved the day. Although I didn't have the actual ring, they had a prop ring from a Napa charity auction the year before. It looked like a real diamond ring with a big fake 20-carat looking diamond on it. There's a funny story there but I won't regale you with it here. The Spann's not only made the engagement possible, but she said 'yes' and we were married last year. We served Spann Vineyards MoZin and Chardonnay/Viognier at our wedding. Our guests said they didn't expect such good wine at a wedding. We ran out.
That's why the first wines to be selected for Rick's Picks is the Spann Vineyards MoZin and Chard/Viognier. I hope you get chance to try them and see why we like the wines so much. The people behind the label are the kind of people you love to support in the wines business. Cheers!