von Strasser Winery
2009 'Rudy' Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is so astonishingly great, especially given its very low price, that we give it our heartiest recommendation.
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Mission Codename: Brilliant Successor
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to von Strasser Winery, a wine Spies Operative favorite. Procure their 2009 “Rudy” Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine whose prior vintage still holds the honor of being our Top 3 Best-Selling Cabernet of all time. Secure as many cases as possible.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: von Strasser Winery
Wine Subject: 2009 Rudy Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
Winemaker: Rudy von Strasser
Backgrounder: Best known for its exceptional, ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon, von Strasser Winery sits stop Napa Valley’s high-elevation, on Diamond Mountain. von Strasser Cabs are revered for their elegance and exceptional quality. Having recently won two perfect 100 Point scores for their Cabernets, von Strasser wines are in hot demand.
Winery Backgrounder: von Strasser winery is located in the Diamond District AVA (American Viticultural Area) at the northern tip of the Napa Valley. The higher elevation of the region sees more direct sunlight and less cooling that the rest of the valley, leading to the production of some of the most concentrated and delicious Cabernet Sauvignon in the entire Napa Valley.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect ruby red, with perfectly even color, from the heart of the wine, out to the edge. After a hearty swirl, tall, skinny columns of tightly-spaced legs start high up on the glass, before running slowly downward.
Smell – Heady, lush and full, with bright aromas of juicy Bing cherry, red currant and cranberry. These sit just atop dried meats, dried violets, soft spice and a hint of sweetwood.
Feel – Softly grippy on entry, the wine then glides across the mid-palate. Then, it settles onto the entire palate, slowly introducing a spread dryness as fine tannins and a soft acidity bracket the delicious flavors of the wine.
Taste – Delicious and juicy, with black cherry and blackberry in even proportion. Then, a cascade of additional flavors seems to pour onto the palate, even after the wine is swallowed. Flavors include candied cherry, raspberry, soft brown spice, smoky red currant and hints of leather and soft spice.
Finish – Long, flavorful and very dynamic. As the initial flavors peak, follow-on flavors seem to appear out of nowhere. These last for a very long time, initially increasing before they fade. At the tail end, a softly peppery feel persists on the gums.
Conclusion – We were astounded with how excellent the 2008 Rudy was – and we are absolutely blown away by how much more we love the 2009 Rudy Cabernet Sauvignon! No hyperbole, here. This wine is spectacular and if you are looking for an approachable wine that drinks way above its price class, we give it our highest recommendation. Loaded with fruit, on the nose and on the palate, and delivering other complex flavors, this wine is an exciting and delicious treat. We paired ours with roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary, and herb-rubbed broiled chicken breasts. The combination was divine! Stock up, dear Operative, you won’t likely have the opportunity to purchase this wine, again.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The gorgeous location of the steeply sloping von Strasser vineyards, high atop Diamond Mountain, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Think of this wine as our entry-level Cabernet Sauvignon. Just don’t think of it as a typical entry-level Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is so much more. For those wine drinkers that have never sampled our award-winning Mountain Cabernet, this is the perfect wine by which to get to know us.
This approachable wine is blend of our five single vineyards all within the Napa Valley. The wine offers a softer, refined style that is framed its fruit forward nature. Right out of the bottle, the fragrant nose is pleasing and inviting. Layered with dark fruit of blueberry and blackberry, the wine leads to fig, cassis and pie spice. Finishes off with supple tannins to enjoy now or up to 10 years.
About The Winery:
The von Strasser Story – With a family connection to Eric de Rothschild, Rudy wrote a letter asking to do an internship at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each year the Chateau had been hiring an intern from the French winemaking program at Montpellier. Thinking that two minds are better than one, Mr. Rothschild invited Rudy to work for the 1985 harvest as their first American intern. (The result was so successful, that each year since the Chateau has chosen a new Davis graduate to work as an intern at the winery.) Rudy returned to Napa Valley in the spring of 1986 and was hired as the enologist at Trefethen Winery and Vineyards. In 1988, he became the assistant winemaker in charge of production at Newton Vineyards in St. Helena.
Shortly after their marriage in 1989, Rudy and Rita von Strasser set out looking for a vineyard property to make their home. Having already developed a deep passion and talent for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Rudy was committed that the property must be in a microclimate blessed with the ability to grow and produce the finest red wines in Napa Valley; wines worthy to carry the von Strasser family name. Serendipitously, the old Roddis Estate Winery on Diamond Mountain had just been put on the market, and in the spring of 1990, the von Strasser label was born.
The history of the property reads like a who’s who of early California Cabernet History. After being denied a permit to turn his estate into a golf course, William Bounsall decided to subdivide his property, and in 1968 sold 1/3 of his property to Albert Brounstein. Canadian born, Al pioneered the modern decade of winemaking in this AVA by planting Cabernet Sauvignon in three distinct vineyard sites and bottling each separately under the name Diamond Creek Vineyards. The next year, 1969, Bounsall himself decided to get into the grape business and planted 2 acres to Cabernet Sauvignon with bud-wood from the famous Martha’s Vineyard. In 1978, Bill Roddis bought the Bounsall ranch and started Roddis Cellars. The wines were made by Andre Tcheistcheff, and in their days where considered by many to be the biggest wines made in the Napa Valley. In 1985, the winery was sold to the Gilby family (British gin), who used it as a corporate retreat. The vineyards, now totaling about 7 acres, were leased to Pine Ridge Winery, who bottled the grapes separately as their “Diamond Mountain” Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1990, Rudy and Rita von Strasser bought the property and began the fulfilling task of renovating and modernizing the estate and the vineyards to make the property one of the gems of Diamond Mountain.
The building that houses the winery is an historic barn that was built in the late 1880’s. Through careful planning it has been remodeled into a modern winemaking facility while retaining its working-ranch charm. To take full advantage of the hillside location and to better control the variables of winemaking, the von Strassers added caves to their property. Dug into the virgin hills, these caves retain an ideal climate for barrel aging, and average temperature of 55 degrees and an average humidity of 80%.
Varietal Make-up: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Zinfandel, 1% Merlot
Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 100% French Oak, 30% New Barrels
Production: Very Limited