The Spottswoode legacy began over a Thanksgiving weekend in Napa Valley in 1970. Jack and Mary Novak were visiting friends, and became immediately hooked with the region. By 1972 they had packed up their car and were driving to their new home in St. Helena with their five children.

The only problem was that their old station wagon was towing all of their life's possessions, and over the Altamont Pass, their engine burned out. Rolling into a motel parking lot, they spent the night. Once they finally arrived, they faced major renovations to the property, but the kids only saw this as an opportunity to camp on the porch every night.

Today, the family continues to run Spottswoode, and they are doing something that not everyone can achieve: creating some of the most vibrant cabernet sauvignon wines in the valley. The dark, rich fruit and creamy body are there, but there is a fresh energy to their estate cab, (approximately $182) that can't be beat. For early pictures of the site and family, visit the Spottswoode website and go to News & Events/Looking Back.

Catherine Bugue is the Star’s tasting panel writer. Her weekly pursuit of a good glass of wine provides a nice supply of choices for the Wine of the Week column. If you’d like to submit a Napa Valley wine for this column, please send it to the Napa Valley Wine Academy, 2501 Oak St., Napa, CA 94559. There’s no guarantee your wine will be chosen to be featured, but all wines will be evaluated and considered.

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