Vinum Cellars

2006 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Hoffman Vineyard

California: Napa Valley

Offer Expired:Aug 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon selection is a fantastic, varietally pure and focused wine most worthy of your consideration. A perfect wine for our Elite Operative Saturday.


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Mission Codename: Taste 1 of 1800

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Return to Vinum Cellars and acquire their extremely limited Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for our Elite Operative Saturday

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Vinum Cellars

Wine Subject: 2006 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Richard Bruno, Chris Condos


We all love Napa’s Cult Cabs, with many receiving the top ratings, awards and accolades. We deserve these wines, but at prices of $100-200 – or more, they are difficult to justify in these difficult economic times. This is the motivation behind our mission to bring you today’s superior wine.

In today’s selection, we’ve been negotiating with the winery to be able to offer you this exceptional, and extremely small production wine (only 6 barrels), at an unbelievable one-day only price. Once this wine gets out into the mainstream, it will be gone fast. This is your chance to stock up for your own Cult Cellar Collection.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Extremely dark with a beautifully dense purple robe and an nearly black but barely clear heart. Along the edges the color lightens just slightly to deep garnet-purple and when swirled, fat color-stained legs widely ring the glass and are followed by thinner legs that hang before slowly descending.

Smell – Bold and rich with classic black-fruit Cabernet aromas including blackberry, black cherry and cassis. Add in a framework of cedar cigar box and toasted oak, hot spice and classic green herb and vegital notes for a healthy dose of complexity that invites a long contemplative sip.

Feel – This full-bodied, expansive, dry wine has expansive highly textured finely grained firm tannins and lively acidity. Dusty textured minerality blends with the mouth-filling tannins and lingers into the finish.

Taste – Abundant black fruit including blackberry, black cherry, cassis and dark plum lead off with the green herb and vegital notes following in succession. Notes of sweet tobacco, cedar cigar box, hot spice, toasted oak and white pepper linger and frame the delicious fruit.

Finish – Extremely long, textured and generous with the fruit cleanly fading away leaving notes of the other complex flavors to be framed by the spice and minerality.

Conclusion – The 2006 Vinum Cellars Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a pleasant, varietally pure wine that is both complex in aromas and flavors but with great focus as well. Perhaps still young, you’ll want to decant this wine or let it breathe or cellar for ten years or more. A great wine to pair with your classic grilled porterhouse steak or simply sitting on the porch on a clear starry-night evening with someone special. Ah, the simple life is most delicious!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Richard Bruno

WINE EDUCATION: Fermentation Science (Enology) from the University of California at Davis. Prior to that 12 years in San Francisco fine Dining including: Rubicon, Masa’s and Zuni Cafe. I worked with MS Larry Stone at Rubicon.

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Don Sebastiani & Sons, Director of Winemaking 2001-2009 Niebaum-Coppola, Consultant 1999-2001 Tom Eddy & Associates, Consultant 1998-1999 Started Vinum Cellars, 1997 Bonny Doon Vineyard, Distiller 1996-1997 Gloria Ferrer Winery 1995, Harvest Intern 1995 Storybook Mountain Winery, Harvest Worker 1994

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: In the vineyard – To work with growers to maximize quality in the vineyard and harvest at optimal maturity. In the Winery – We use traditional winemaking practices, but use a variety of yeast strains to maximize the varietal character of each wine. As a rule, we use only French oak, but the newest barrels are second year (used once, we buy from another winery’s white program). We prefer integrated flavors, not heavy handed oak aromas or flavors.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Wine is a part of a healthy lifestyle (if consumed in moderation), therefore it should be affordable.”



AGENT RED: Greetings, Richard, and welcome back. We are thrilled to be showing your *2006 RESERVE Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon * today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

RICHARD BRUNO: Thanks Agent Red, this special Reserve Cabernet is a limited-production wine that we are very pleased to share with your Operatives.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

RICHARD: I don’t remember the exact first time, but my mother is a wonderful cook. Not an Alice Waters, more of a Julia Child type cook; my family’s roots are from the Mid-west and East Coast. Anyway, while in High School (and playing a lot of Soccer), my mom would cook early dinners (after practice) and serve a little wine that went with the evening’s meal that she and a friend would prepare. Her friend had a great cellar and brought over a lot of cool stuff like Guigals from the 1970s, Napa Cabs from the 60s and 70s and the occassional Chateau Palmer or Margaux. I was always taken by the importance of wine’s role with a meal based on these experiences. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

RICHARD: My old boss, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard. I was so intrigued to learn how to make Old World wines from new world grapes.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

RICHARD: I have always made wine for myself, by shunning too much oak in favor of a more European Food-Friendly style.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

RICHARD: The 2006 RESERVE Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that we made just 6 barrels of (137cases) – and we only have less than 40 cases left. It comes from a vineyard near Atlas Peak on a dry farmed, gravelly hillside that produces very small berried, intense Cabernet grapes due to the low yields and well drained soils. 2006 was one of our finest vintages for Cabernet which is why we felt it worthy to select a reserve from this lot. We picked the best 6 barrels and left them in their same barrels for 30 months. The result is a massive cellar candidate which we think will hit optimal maturity between 2016 and 2020.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

RICHARD: This wine is well suited for grass fed beef dishes. I like a bone-in rib eye with dry-rubbed spices and served with any kind of mushroom reduction, although Morels are best. If you don’t eat meat, anything mushroom and/or eggplant based will pair well with the juicy fruit and woodsy tannins.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?

RICHARD: The Napa Valley is arguably the best appellation year to year for Cabernet Sauvignon next to the Bordeaux region in France. It is an ideal area due to warm days moderated by afternoon fog, so the grapes ripen slowly and maintain their natural acidity longer.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

RICHARD: We are bottling like crazy as we prepare for another harvest. Since it has been very cool (cold actually) this vintage, the quality will be very good, but the yields will be down.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

RICHARD: Relaxed and without ceremony. It’s wine, not a painting. I think our wines are so balanced that people often don’t notice how good they are until second or third sip.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

RICHARD: I still feel like I’m 21, but I’m still trying to figure out who that guy is that is looking back at me in the mirror every morning.

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!

What the Winery Says

About the Wine

This textbook Bordeaux colored deep plum-brick red colored Napa Cabernet is from a hillside vineyard in the eastern side of the Napa valley well known for its superior quality among winemakers. The intense aromas of cassis, pencil lead, black cherry and concentrated layers of fruit express the high level of quality of this vineyard. The very ripe palate is layered with blackberry, tobacco, backed with boysenberry and rich black cherry all on a matrix of supple fruit, refined and sappy French oak flavors. The tannins in this wine have soft edges but are present underneath and will reward careful cellaring over 15 to 35 years or more.

This wine should be regarded as cult.

About Vinum Cellars

Vinum Cellars is a small California Winery well known for producing wines of the highest quality. The grapes are selected from premium coastal and cool climate growing areas within California. The wines are made by hand in small batches to allow the varietal character of each wine to express itself.

Vinum Cellars is a collaboration of winemaker’s Richard Bruno and Chris Condos, who first became friends while they were students at UC Davis. They share a long standing passion for Chenin Blanc and fondness for the more obscure grape varieties.

After graduation, Chris went to work for Pine Ridge an Enologist, and Richard wehnt to Bonny Doon as their distiller. Shortly after, their friendship was solidified over Chenin Blanc with the creation of their first wine “Pointe Blanc”. Currently the Vinum Cellars team is working with over 10 grape varieties from El Dorado and San Benito Counties to Napa Valley.

Our basic winemaking philosophy is to work with great grape growers to develop the best fruit in the vineyard. We pick the grapes at optimal ripeness and gently process the fruit. We are very experimental with yeast strains and use different cultures for each variety. Our whites are barrel fermented slowly and aged Sur Lies in small French Oak barrels. With our reds, skin contact is optimized by the use of small open top fermentors, hand punch downs and extended maceration before pressing. Our belief in the use of older French Oak barrels allows the varietal fruit of our wines to be expressed. We are committed to experimenting and learning new winemaking methods while preserving an old world approach.

Technical Analysis:

Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Small production, 100% Napa Cab at its best. Dry-farmed, Hillside Vineyard with yields between 1 & 2 tons/acre.

Appellation: Napa County

Designation: Hoffman Vineyard

Winemakers: Richard Bruno, Chris Condos

Harvest Brix: 25.2O

Alcohol: 14.9%

TA (g/100ml): 0.62

pH: 3.45

Barrels: 100% New French Oak for 26 months

Production: 137 cases 750ml

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