It is with a measure of sadness and joy we present this selection. The sadness comes from the fact that it is the first vintage in the last 36 at O'Neill that wasn't crafted by Kent Rasmussen. We're proud to have featured more than half of those vintages and are very grateful we had the opportunity to do so.
Our enthusiasm is punctuated by the fact that Marty Spate is the new Vice President of Winemaking and Grape growing. We are very familiar with Marty from the great wines he crafted for us at Treasury Estates, owners of some of the finest wineries in the world like, BV, Beringer, Penfolds, and Stags Leap.
Spate grew up in Central California where he tended grapes for his family's farm. His farming experience, as well as a love of cooking and wine, led him to study Enology at California State University, Fresno. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree Spate began his career in the wine industry as winemaker for two years at family-owned Joseph Filippi Winery, one of the best bulk wine producers in the state. Accomplice is Marty's first vintage with O'Neill and it's a typical Spate spectacular offering. It is an integrated amalgam of three disparate grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel. Yet, as different as these grapes are, they work perfectly together.
The strawberry and pear blossom jump from the glass to the palate where it blends beautifully with melon and light cherry. The dramatic finish leaves the lilting memory of a wine that would shine with a cheese plate or tuna salad.