Mission Codename One giant leap
HAPPY THANKSGIVING DEAR OPERATIVES!
And Now, All Salute Agent Ribbits!
Naturally, ALL of us were over the moon with the opportunity to bring you this special wine and winery. A wine Galloni described as “incredibly fairly priced by today’s standards” in his 95 point review.
And that was before we got our hands on it and turned the price down even further.
Yet all these years, Agent Ribbits squatted quietly, waiting for this moment to take that one giant leap for frogkind. His kind. On a wine bottle. Naturally once again, pun intended, as that’s just the way things are at Frog’s Leap Winery, he could not help but wonder how and why his kind ended up where no frog has leaped before?
The Old Guard in Napa Valley, beacons such as Montelena, Mayacamas, Heitz, and Corison all have one thing in common. An ethereal timelessness. It was with this vision, and with the guidance of Larry Turley (of Turley Wine Cellars) and Warren Winiarski (of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars), John Williams started Frog’s Leap Winery. He was, after all there as the only employee at Stag’s Leap when their mythical Cabernet won the historic Judgement of Paris in 1976.
In 1988, Frog’s Leap made history again as the very first winery in Napa Valley with 100% Certified Organic vineyards. The respect they have for the land and vineyards is simply unmatched. Williams sums up the obsessive attention to detail by Thinking Like a Vine, where he rightfully declares that “the best wines in the world are grown and produced with this knowledge, and we are proud to be recognized among them.”
So, what’s in the glass? A deep ruby, with bright scarlet accents upon a first glance. The nose LEAPS out of the glass with cassis, dusty red cherries, savory herbs, and pencil shavings. Once sipped, you get why this is neoclassic, the impeccable equilibrium between juicy fruit, and fine-grained tannins lie in perfect harmony with the silky texture, and earthy depth. Elegance and grace carry over a lengthy, and complex finish that boasts further layers, upon layers, of fascinating flavors. Cliché perhaps, but this “food wine” is meant to be sipped with pretty much any fare you see fit, be it classic or modern.
We particularly are a big fan of Eric Asimov, wine writer for The New York Times who once drank a perfect bottle of 1959 Inglenook with John Williams, inspiring him to acknowledge that “The prevailing style of Napa Cabernet today emphasizes power, weight, and extravagance, but Frog’s Leap is one of a small but significant number of Cabernet producers that form a kind of alternate Napa universe. They are making wines of balance and restraint that are a direct link to Napa’s past when wines like the 1959 Inglenook forged the region’s reputation as a source of great Cabernet Sauvignon wines.”
He continued, “The Frog’s Leap wines are subtle and nuanced. Like the Inglenook they’re easy to drink with a meal and rewarding, especially for one who has despaired of finding Napa Cabernets that are table wines, not jammy fruit bombs that overwhelm food.”
Without visionaries like Frog’s Leap carrying that Inglenook heritage, Napa Valley’s glorious past could not have guided a whole new generation into the future. San Francisco Chronicle wine critic Jon Bonné’s highly acclaimed book “The New California Wine – A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste” is all about this historic transition where Frog’s Leap, naturally, gets recognition.
With such a legacy, Frog’s Leap does not need deals, reviews, or ratings to sell. Notwithstanding, they do not hurt to have either, right? Antonio Galloni’s Vinous took a first leap at recognizing the recent leaps in quality with 2017 being their highest-scoring ever, and deeply meaningful praise recognizing, “one of the most distinctive and reasonably priced Cabernets in Napa Valley.”
Further words would be superfluous.
95 Points - Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Year in, year out, John Williams Frog’s Leap makes one of the most distinctive and reasonably priced Cabernets in Napa Valley. Frog’s Leap is one of Napa Valley’s older-guard estates. The wines are classically built, delicious and incredibly fairly priced by today’s standards. If that isn’t a compelling value proposition, I don’t know what is. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is such a gorgeous wine. In 2017, the Frog’s Leap Cabernet has a bit more depth and richness, as it often does in warmer years. Cedar, tobacco, mint and sweet red cherry are all pushed forward in a succulent Cabernet with tons of character that still retains its super-classic, mid-weight feel. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s aromatic nuance and silkiness. The Frog’s Leap Cabernet remains an under the radar gem in today’s Napa Valley. Drink 2022-2037.”
What the Winery Says
2017 Estate Grown Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
- Winemaker / proprietor
- John Williams
- Assistant winemakers
- Paula Moschetti, Rory Williams
- Frank Leeds
- 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot
- Rutherford, Napa Valley
- Harvest dates
- August 30 - October 14, 2017
- Brix at harvest
- Total acidity
- 6.0 g/L
- 20 months
- 25% new French oak