2006 DARE Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Lewelling Vineyards
California: Napa Valley: St. Helena
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT
Today’s fantastic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, from a Wine Spies favorite, Viader, blows us away. At today’s price, we assure you that you will also be impressed!
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Mission Codename: Sultry Delight
Operative: Agent Petite Verdot
Objective: Send new recruit, Agent Petite Verdot (herself no wine rookie), to infiltrate our old friends at Viader – to retrieve their delicious and elegant 2006 DARE Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Viader
Wine Subject: 2006 DARE Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Delia Viader
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have long been fans of the fine wines made by Viader. Today, we are pleased to return to Viader, where Agent Petite Verdot was able to negotiate a small stash of their stupendous 2006 DARE Cabernet Sauvignon. Her wine review, below, is followed by her interview with winemaker, Delia Viader
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Brilliantly, deeply dark, with reflections of deep plum and ever so slight mulberry glints, just at the rim of the wine. Dancing in the glass when swirled and coming to rest with a trail of seductive legs!
Smell – Vanilla oak and mild nutmeg rise up out of the glass to greet you, accompanied by aromas of dark fruit, sugared plumb, a hint of cigar box and an ever so faint note of eucalyptus.
Feel – A dry and sultry cab that is full bodied with rich crushed velvet tannins yielding satin at the back of the mouth.
Taste – What a mouthful! Blueberry and blackberry create the initial introduction followed by black currant and candied walnut. Incredible dark cheery shares the palate with anise and green fig. As this cab makes its way to the back of the palate notes of soft french oak make their presence known.
Finish – Lengthy and elegant! the finish on this cab boasts sweet dark fruit and supple spice.
Overall – Incredible. What an amazing 2006 Cabernet this is. The combination of flavors and aromas create an intimate tasting experience. Definitely a seductive and sultry wine! There are hundreds of wonderful pairing options for a full bodied cab like today’s wine. For example, I think that this wine would pair beautifully with a cigar, fantastic company and Fillet Mignon. Any way you prefer to enjoy your cab, this one is sure to be remembered. YUM!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Delia Viader, PhD
WINE EDUCATION: European upbringing made wine part of the everyday experience since a very early age. Completed a Masters at the School of Fermentation Sciences at UC Davis.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: “Winemother” for VIADER wine and present winemaker, my son Alan Viader
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Allow the vineyard terroir to express itself naturally in every glass
WINEMAKER QUOTE: When you taste wine from a great vineyard it has a distinct personality: a taste, a feel, a look; something that makes it different from any vineyard in the world. This distinct personality, however, is the sum of a variety of personalities within the vineyard itself. Understanding and interpreting those personalities is the greatest challenge in the evolution of a great vineyard and the wine produced from it.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Fall 2001 – 1989 VIADER proprietary Cabernet blend
AGENT RED: Greetings, Delia Viader. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DELIA: You’re very welcome. Fire away!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DELIA: When I was about 12 years old, my father passed me a taste from his glass and asked for my opinion. I thought it was the nicest wine I had ever tasted. It turned out to be a 1970 Petrus! It was his favorite “Merlotte” (he would pronounce the “t”) that he would bring out for special occasions.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DELIA: In terms of shining the light on aspiring towards elegance in wine, I would say Emile Peynaud.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
DELIA: I make wine for people to enjoy with food and to encourage conviviality.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
DELIA: With the 2006 DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon, we were looking to create a wine that was finely ripe rather than ultra-ripe, with soft dark cherry flavors that leave an impression that’s pretty rather than bold or heavy.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DELIA: Rack of lamb with a red wine reduction sauce.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
DELIA: The perfect combination of soil, climate – and the “woman’s touch.”
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DELIA: I am getting ready for my trip to Asia, where I will be visiting Korea, Japan and China to promote VIADER wines.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
DELIA: Expect to be pleasantly surprised by the approachability, the purity of the fruit, and the elegance of structure.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DELIA: Do your heart a favor, drink a glass of wine with your meal!
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 Viader winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon comes from fruit sourced from Lewelling Vineyards in St. Helena, and occasionally includes select barrels from our estate vineyards on Howell Mountain. Notably one of the oldest family-owned and operated vineyards in the Napa Valley, the Lewelling Vineyards has produced quality Cabernet Sauvignon since 1864 and is an excellent complement to the fruit from our family-owned and organically farmed VIADER estate vineyards.
TASTING NOTES: The 2006 DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon opens with rich aromas of blackberry, ripe blueberry and caramel, hints of earthy leather and sweet Indian spices. Very dark in color, on the palate it shows ripe currant, cherry and licorice flavors perfectly integrated with the sweet oak tannins. The intensity of ripe fruit, coupled with fine tannins guarantee early drinking pleasure. This wine will liven up a meal and impress the discerning collector.
WINEMAKING: Alan Viader fermented the fruit for our DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon in small batches of fewer than 6 tons each in stainless steel tanks with whole berries and long cold soaks, turning the volume of the tanks constantly. Fermentations were quick, at temperatures below 85-88°F to preserve the delicate aromas. The gentle extraction slowly building the middle structure of the wines. Extended maceration periods, more than double of previous vintages, was done to balance tannin structure with richer and denser fruit notes. Wines remained sur lees for a period of 4 months with batonage (stirring) every 2 weeks.
GROWING SEASON: The 2006 growing season presented a few hurdles, from record rainfall at the New Year to delayed bud break due to a cool spring. In June, the shoots eagerly pushed, and proper canopy management was critical. In July, temperatures soared over 100° for well over a week, but our grapes were protected by the canopy with vine rows oriented
East-West. Manual leafing was performed to expose the fruit zone and improve air flow for uniform ripening. Temperatures cooled down in August allowing a steady ripening pace. Harvest took place on Oct. 21st. Hand-harvesting starts at 5am with the cold fruit arriving to our cellar immediately after.
About The Winery:
Founded in 1986 by Delia Viader, VIADER is located 1200 feet above the Napa Valley floor just northeast of St. Helena on the steep, rocky slopes of Howell Mountain. Emulating a European design quite rare in California, the vines are oriented up and down the steep hillsides, a planting method that optimizes sun exposure, vine density and erosion control. Planting on such a steep grade of 32 % is a challenge and requires meticulous hand farming.
The first VIADER wine was produced in 1989 and with that vintage a proprietary estate blend was established that features Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon as its base element. At the time, this blend was a daring diversion from other Cabernet-based wines being made in Napa Valley. This blend has come to be the signature wine from VIADER.
Over the years, the winery has grown to include an estate Syrah and a Petit Verdot Blend labeled “V.” The “V” is a reserve Bordeaux-style blend featuring Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon fromt the VIADER estate. The DARE line features three distinct wines – 100% Cabernet Franc, 100% Tempranillo, and 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – incorporating fruit from selected vineyards.
Born in Argentina, Proprietor Delia Viader spent much of her formative years in Europe and especially in France. She developed an international approach to business and a long range vision of success. Delia came to the United States as a post-graduate student and earned her PhD.
While raising four children on her own, Delia forged
the vision and design for this unique estate vineyard property, wine blend and brand.
Because of Delia’s dedication, persistence and attention to high ideals, VIADER was recognized early on as a first growth property and the wines have been highly coveted since inception. In the last few years, Delia’s children have come back to help manage and operate the business making this a true family concern. Alan Viader is Direction of Operations and Winemaking, Janet Viader is Director of Marketing and Sales. Mariela Viader (married to Alan) is in charge of the Culinary Program. In the winter of 2006, Michel Rolland, the world-renowned enologist, and family friend, was brought on as a winemaking consultant.
Delia has earned the reputation as a pioneer for planting the vines running directly down the mountain, in a style normally found in Bordeaux. After receiving initial cirticism, eventually Delia’s vineyards on Howell Mountain were regarded as an ideal model for growing super-premium quality grapes. The original focus on Cabernet Franc as the main blending component, thought to be radical upon release, was a natural harkening back to Delia’s European roots and her love of Cheval Blanc. The idea of a single woman running a successful winery business while raising a family of four children on her own was a rare happening in Napa Valley’s developing fine wine business in the late ‘80’s.
Over the years, Delia has remained true to her vision. Today Viader Vineyards is a thriving family business producing world-class wines from a magnificent, mature estate vineyard property complete with small bonded winery, underground caves, and a Hospitality Center which offers tours and tastings by appointment and a sophisticated wine and food pairing Culinary Program.
HARVEST DATES: Oct. 21, 2006
WINEMAKERS: Alan Viader (son) & Delia Viader
APPELLATION: Napa Valley
AVG. BRIX AT HARVEST: 25.7