2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: 20/20 Cabernet
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Track prolific winemaker, Rob Hunter, to his latest endeavor – Hindsight Wines. Sample his Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that he proclaims to be an Premium wine at a down to earth price. If the wine meets our exacting standards, procure an allotment for our Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hindsight Wines
Wine Subject: 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Rob Hunter
Winemaker Backgrounder_: We first came to know Rob Hunter through his work with Bennett Lane Winery, Y3 Winery and his own Hunter III label. Rob has also brought his winemaking talents to bear on Charter Oak Winery, The Terraces Winery, Jack Brooks Wines & James Konrad, Crossing Paths Wines, and of Cliff Bar Family Winery. As assistant winemaker to Nils Venge at Groth Vineyards & Winery, Rob was on the team honored by the critic Robert Parker, Jr. with a perfect 100 score.
Varietal Backgrounder: Napa Cabernet Sauvignon continues to dominate as the leader in California red wine. For good reason, too, as Napa produces some of the richest and most delicious examples on the planet. Today’s wine is a perfect blending and cross section of vineyard fruit from the Napa Valley.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Somewhere between Burgundy and garnet, this wine shows even color from darker core, right out to the edge. Spin the wine and it settles quickly, leaving behind tall, wine-stained tears that march steadily down the glass.
Smell – Shy on opening, but as the wine breaths, it reveals a vibrant black fruit and spice character with blackberry, black cherry and black raspberry that mingles with cinnamon and clove. Softly toasty oak rounds out the nose, nicely.
Feel – Cool and light on the initial attack. Then, the wine shows ripe tannins, giving the wine a light weight and grippy character. Eventually, a soft dryness spreads its way around the palate, drying the tongue, cheeks and lips.
Taste – Shy, here, too – at first. Then, as the wine opens up, it begins to take on more dimension on the palate. Young blackberry, young raspberry, black cherry and brown spice sit atop subtle cedar, tomato vine and dried dark flower petals.
Finish – Long and bright, with young fruit giving way to softly smoky cinnamon and clove. After a moment, the palate is left with a fine dryness that reminds you to take another sip.
Conclusion – This young wine is drinking really well, especially after you decant for an extended period. Youthful and vibrant, with a bright acidity, this wine is approachable and drinkable. We are really excited to see how it progresses over the next few years. We expect that it will soften, somewhat, and reveal even more fruit on the nose and palate. With its bright acidity, we recommend this wine as an easy companion for most meals. We think it’ll go really well with stronger cheeses, a spicy pasta dish or a a garlic rubbed steak.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Rob Hunter
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis, B.S. Winery & Vineyard Management, 1983
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Started at GROTH in 1983, was Winemaker at ROBERT KEENAN 86-90, LYETH 90-91, MARKHAM 92-97, VP of Winemaking at STERLING 97-04. Consulting Winemaker for BENNETT LANE 05-10, Y3 07-present, ROBERT HUNTER 92-present, CLIFF BAR 05-07, CHARTER OAK 05-09. Owner HUNTER III 04-present, Winemaker & Partner HINDSIGHT WINES.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To make Varietaly fruit focused wines that are immediately and immensely enjoyable to the consumer.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “It’s got to have Wow Factor!!”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: As a Winemaker? Probably ROBERT KEENAN 1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay. For HINDSIGHT, 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay
AGENT RED: Greetings, Rob. We are thrilled to have you back with us, today. We’ll be showing your 2009 Hindsight Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today, and we are excited to hear more about this new brand! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ROB HUNTER: I’m honored to be asked back and thrilled about the new HINDSIGHT WINES.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ROB: I grew up in a family where my Parents were wine collectors, and I built their cellar in my early teens. (I have always been a woodworker by hobby.) Our home had an undisclosed pre-Prohibition Wine Cellar that my Dad and I discovered. I guess you could say I’ve been fascinated with wine since I was a kid.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ROB: I cut my teeth working for Nils Venge at GROTH where we were making big, jammy Cabernets, this included the famed 1985 Reserve, to which Robert Parker gave 100 points. (I had no clue who he was!)
RED: Who do you make wine for?
ROB: Well neither I nor the Wine Reviewers buy any wine, so I make it for the Consumers. Luckily, I like to say I have a ’consumer’s palate’, and not a ‘snooty Winemaker’s palate’.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ROB: This is an extremely bright fruity Cabernet, that’s soft and approachable at an outrageously affordable price for such quality.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ROB: I just recently had an amazing Lamb Burger that was over the top with this wine. It’s also great with Salmon, Ribs, Duck and even Oriental Food.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley such a special place for Cabernet?
ROB: The regionality of flavor due to the soil types, combined with the terroir. It is so amazingly distinctive to taste Calistoga vs. St Helena vs. Rutherford vs. Oakville etc. throw in Spring Mtn,, Howell Mtn., Mt. Veeder, every one is unique and distinct.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ROB:Trying to get the young reds to finish up primary and malolactic fermentations. Battening down the hatches for winter, and looking at next year’s blends.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
ROB: With a corkscrew in one hand and a glass in the other.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
ROB: Yes, Drink what you like but like what you drink! There are so many great wines out there, you shouldn’t drink mediocre wine.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Napa Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About The Wine:
Using 100% Napa Valley fruit we were able to craft this approachable, easy drinking Cabernet at an affordable price. Aromas of cherry, berries, minerals, and coffee follow through to the palate. This wines shows good weight, a full round mid-palate, and a long lingering finish. Aged 12 months in French oak, the 2009 Cabernet is ready to drink now or age-able for 3 to 5 years, This Cabernet pairs well with grilled meats, pasta, or to enjoy a glass at the end of the day. An exceptional value for Napa Valley Cabernet, Winemaker – Rob Hunter
About The Winery:
Hindsight Wines were created with the goal of producing high quality Napa wines at value prices. After years in the wine business selling high end wine, and watching that segment of the market get smaller and smaller, Rob Hunter and I realized there is a huge market for Napa Valley wines at fair prices. We felt that the wines in the market already were either second labels or not crafted with the goal of producing high end wine at value prices. We looked to reduce overhead by using custom crush facilities to produce our wine, and get the wine to consumers with a more stream-lined distribution model with less layers. We then pass along those savings to the consumer.