2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is an incredible Cabernet Sauvignon wine, handily earning it this special recognition. While we always feature wines that we love, when one really shines, we issue these special alerts.
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Mission Codename: Satisfaction
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Faust Winery, the unique ultra-premium label from esteemed vintner, Agustin Huneeus. Procure an ample allocation of their brillian 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for our demanding Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Faust – Napa Valley
Wine Subject: 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Charles Thomas
The fruit from this wine hails from select vineyards in both Rutherford AVA and the Coombsville AVA. Rutherford, just south of Saint Helena is of course perhaps the most famous AVA in Napa and the lesser known Coombsville region is just east of Napa City proper. Both regions are world-renowned for producing exquisite Napa Valley Cabernets.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pure dark garnet hues with a deepening core. At the edge of the wine, a fine ring of light ruby catches the light. Spin the wine and it leaves behind tall columns of skinny legs that cling to the glass for a long time.
Smell – Right out of the bottle, the wine delivers a striking cracked black pepper aroma. This unique note is intriguing and not at all out of place as is it soon joined by lush blackberry, plum, braised black mission fig and soft brown spice. Swirl the wine and you’ll coax out additional aromas of anise, brown spice and dusty blackberry bramble.
Feel – Initially grippy, the wine softens after a little bit of swirling, taking on a more plush and supple feel. Medium firm tannins give the wine great structure, without being overpowering. At the back palate, a hint of black pepper gives the wine a bit of liveliness.
Taste – Dark black fruit of blackberry, black cherry and baked, yeasty pie crust. Brown spice, dark chocolate, cigar box and a hint of dusty earth.
Finish – Long and lush with lingering black fruit, spice and earthy notes. At the tail end, a lovely hit of freshly cracked pepper adds an exotic zing.
Conclusion – We are very lucky today, dear Operative, to be able to bring you another vintage of one of our favorite wines. Today’s 2009 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a really fantastic wine. It is drinking beautifully, for such a young wine, but it also holds so much promise. This is a wine that will continue to progress for another decade or longer, with proper care. Bold, delicious and well-structured, this wine delivers everything that you would expect from an ultra-premium Napa Valley Cabernet, but at a fraction of the price. We enjoyed our review bottles with a thin-crust, wood-fired pizza with Italian sausage and spicy red peppers.
We were unable to secure an interview with winemaker, Charles Thomas, so today The Wine Spies go Old School by recapping our original mission to Faust, back in 2009:
Every once in a while, Ops asks one of us to ‘investigate’ our fellow operatives and while none of us enjoy being second guessed or having someone look over our shoulders, its a part of the job. We need to ensure that the wines that are selected are indeed of exceptional quality and character. Thus, when I was asked to verify Agent Red and Sparkles love of the wines from Agustin Huneeus and his classic tribute to Napa’s noble grape , I knew I had to tread carefully.
Red has an impeccable palate although every once in a while he goes overboard for a wine, I trusted him and as such, having a wine with such a tremendous reputation, my report on his tastings and missions would be easy. Great wines justifies great reviews…
The mission, codenamed “Elemental Force” was supposed to be simple. Acquire a wine sample, taste it, compare with previous tastings and indicate through our W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) our calibrated taste profile. Well that’s when things went south, and fast. Red must have gotten word that he was being investigated. I tried to be discrete in my travel planning as to avoid even crossing paths, but no such luck. As soon as I arrived at the top secret tasting site I noticed Red sitting there with my bottle, open, a glass poured for himself and an evil grin on his face…
“Nice spy craft,” he said, as he beaconed me over and poured me a glass. “Hopefully, you do a better job on your overseas missions!” he cackled
“Don’t worry, this one is easy, its that good,” he continued.
I just smiled as I lifted the glass to my nose and then took a sip. There was no point in trying to hid it. The _2005 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon_ was great and my report to Ops will reflect that.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the approximate Faust in Rutherford can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
“If feelings fail you, vain will be your course, and idle what you plan unless your art springs from the soul with elemental force.” – Faust (Goethe)
A decade after the first release from his Quintessa estate, Agustin Huneeus felt the thrill and excitement of a new endeavor beckon. The underlying premise for all of the wines he has ever produced has been that great wines must be a reflection of a great vineyard. Faust is not. Instead, Faust is a tribute to Napa Valley’s noblest grape—full-bodied, decadently rich and unctuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Faust also honors the legend of Dr. Faust, a scholar and respected man of society who was tempted by the Devil to seek new renewed passion and youth in exchange for his soul. Faust is indeed the fruit of renewed passion for Agustin, though Mephistopheles has not yet appeared to claim his soul.
Awards & Accolades:
About Ths Wine:
The 2009 Faust is a benchmark example of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine opens with aromas of red and black cherries, ripe raspberry, hints of violets and a lovely perfume. A lush, full entry on the palate with blackberry, cassis, coffee and dark chocolate flavors leads to a rich, supple mouthfeel. A complex finish with dark fruit lingers in the mouth. The wine continually evolves in the glass, making it worthy of another taste.
The Vintage: The 2009 vintage brought moderate spring weather with alternating warm and cool days, which was very similar to the last few years. Early and mid-summer temperatures were temperate with expected warm spells.
Late summer heat pushed flavor development and ripening in the crop of small, concentrated berries. The majority of the grapes were picked before the short period of rain and those picked afterwards were hearty Cabernet Sauvignon from hillside sites. De-leafing of the canopy, selective picking and careful sorting ensured that the grapes received at the winery were in optimal condition.
The grapes were hand-picked, double-sorted and crushed at Quintessa, then cold-soaked and fermented in both French oak and stainless steel tanks. After an extended maceration, Faust was aged for 19 months in 30 percent new and 70 percent once-used French oak.
To capture the complexity of the grape and diversity of the Napa Valley, Faust seeks Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Agustin’s family vineyards in Rutherford and Napa’s soon-to-be named Tulocay viticultural area in the eastern foothills south of Atlas Peak, as well as small lots from diverse mountain and valley terroirs.
2005 was a long, relatively cool year, ideal weather for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. Mild summer weather followed a slightly early spring bud break. Cool weather in early September extended the growing season well into October. At harvest, the grapes were intensely fruity, with good concentration. The grapes are double sorted and crushed at Quintessa then cold macerated and fermented in oak and stainless steel tanks. Faust is aged for 18 months in 30% new and 70% one-year-old French oak.
About The Winery:
Faust, the wine, celebrates a legend which has inspired many great minds, among them the German poet Goethe, from whose masterpiece we draw our inspiration. In Goethe’s most famous work, the aging scholar Dr. Faust barters his soul in the afterlife in exchange for another chance at youth. He gets his chance, yet ultimately his soul is saved by love.
A balance of ancient art and contemporary technology transforms the finest grapes grown in our vineyard into nectar of magnificent proportions. A bold wine that will harmonize with fine food and encourage animated conversation, this seductive Cabernet Sauvignon may tempt you to make rash, even devilish choices. But fear not, love will save you in the end.
Faust is the epitome of the style that has made Napa Cabernet Sauvignon world renowned: bold and powerful, yet elegant and concentrated. Top Cabernet Sauvignon lots are selected from vineyards Agustin Huneeus owns in Rutherford, a Napa Valley appellation synonymous with the best of Napa Valley Cabernet, as well as the up and coming, soon to be named Tulocay viticultural area south of Atlas Peak.
Both vineyards are carefully tended to produce low yields and great concentration. The grapes are double sorted and crushed at Quintessa, one of the Napa Valley’s most technologically sophisticated wineries, featuring gravity-flow design, oak fermentation and naturally cooled caves.
Varietals: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec
Aging: 19 Months in 100% French Oak, 30% New