2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Peter Murphy Vineyards.
NAPA VALLEY VINTNERS WINERY ALERT!: We love to showcase wines that come from Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) member wineries. So far, the wines that we have sampled from these wineries have been stupendous! Check back every day for more NVV wineries, especially on Thursday’s, where we always feature one
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!: Double Gold medal winner! If there were such thing as Double Platinum medals in wine judging, today’s wine would likely take a few home. This wine is remarkably great!
SUPER SAVINGS ALERT!: Clever Operatives will get Free Ground Shipping when they purchase 6 or more bottles with promotion code: CABSPY
Mission Codename: Peter Murphy’s Law
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Follow up on leads that have been pouring in, about a certain Double Gold medal winnner in Napa Valley. If reports that Peter Murphy’s 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is as stupendous as we have heard, secure an ample quantity for our Napa Cap-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peter Murphy Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Art Finklestein
Backgrounder: Our Operatives are crazy for Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Each time we feature one here, its certain to go fast. Often, our Operatives snap up entire allocation before our one-day offer is even over. Today, Agent Red hunts down the illusive winemaker and vineyard legend, Peter Murphy, a busy man that supervises the growing and harvesting of the grapes before he turns the grapes into wine. Agent Red caught up with Peter between bottling and a stint as a wine judge at the California State Fair, a prestegeous wine judging event. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report immediately following to learn more about this wine – and why Peter Murphy is revered as a modern wine god!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A beautiful ruby red in color with a heart of deep plum, this wine has a very fast surface, concentrated color right to the edges and tightly-spaced and fat legs that move down the glass at varrying speeds
Smell – Lush and aromatic with balanced fruit, floral and earth components. The wine is deeply layered with rich dark aromas of currant, dark cherry, violet, tomato vine, tobacco and mildest cedar
Feel – Incredible mouth-feel, round and slightly warm (but not overly alcoholic, mind you!), velvety and rich, but not heavy, with medium tannins and an all-over-mouth coating effect that I really enjoy
Taste – This wine brings really big but also very balanced flavors! The Cabernet Franc sings out from underneath layered flavors of blackberry, dark ripe stonefruit, currant, with the leather and the mildest whisps of tobacco and vegital
Finish – Cool and coating, then slightly drying with fantastic flavors that linger, tapering off very slowly
Conclusion – This is a fantastic wine from a new Wine Spies favorite winery! This wine outperforms even some of the wonderful 2004 vintage Cabs that we have been raving about recently. Peter Murphy knows how to choose the best fruit from the vineyards that he tends, but then his winemaking prowess shines through as he masterfully ages the component parts of the wine (in separate barrels!) and then blends them together before bottling. This wine is a current release, but the winery could only allocate a small quantity of cases. A warning, my dear Operative, grab a case or two before we run out!
Seemingly a million different influences affect the life of a wine. Wines start in the vineyards and, almost magically, they end up in our glasses. Along the mystical route so many things can go right or wrong – and these things all determine whether we’ll love a wine or not. Forces at work also determine whether we’ll even get to ever see, smell, or even taste a wine that we desire. If a wine is too good, chances are most folks will miss out, due to frenzied demand for the wine.
Today, The Wine Spies are able to bring you a wine that is headed for such greatness. Today’s wine, a perfectly balanced 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Murphy Vineyards, is not as over-the-top as some Napa Cabs, but it is fantastic!
Where some Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon can have too much intensity of flavor, this wine finds harmonious balance of fruit, flavor and feel. Where big Napa Cab can be almost chewy, clumsy or overly heavy, this wine has poise and grace – without being too dainty.
When we first learned of this wine from a field asset who we’ll call Major Majors, we were interested. After Major Majors passed vetting, we conducted an investigation of Murphy Vineyards. The first thing of note was that Peter Murphy was a man of the vineyards. In our opinion, it is in the vineyards where great wine is really born. Without great care in tending and managing, vineyards can turn out grapes that make sub-par wines. Peter Murphy’s life has been focused on vineyard care first.
On closer inspection of Murphy Vineyards, we learned that Peter had enlisted the masterful winemaking skills of his long-time friend Art Finklestein. You know Art well from a previous mission to Judd’s Hill Winery in May when we sold out of Judd’s Hill wine that we featured.
The pairing of these two wine-crafting legends ensures that all Murphy Vineyards wines are great. Today’s wine is really great, and we hope that you have a chance to enjoy some.
Be sure to sign up for our Daily Dispatch. We are certain to feature great wines from Murphy Vineyards in the future.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the vineyards where the grapes for today’s wine were grown is Classified. This is a common practice in the wine industry, especially when a winemaker is given access to the highest of high-end grapes from wineries that charge $100 or more for a bottle of wine made from the very same grapes.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
DOUBLE GOLD BEST OF CLASS – 2006 San Francisco Chronicle Winejudging Competition Class: Cabernet Sauvignon $20-$30 see details at winejudging.com
About This Wine:
This wine is a smooth rich blend of complex cabernet flavors. Fruity complex aromas and smooth taste with moderate tannin and mild astringency make this wine stand out in competitions and taste good with food and happy times.
The 2003 growing season was excellent and harvest conditions were near perfect. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for this wine came from Larry Paraday’s Vineyard on Ink Grade Road in the Aetna Springs area of the Napa Valley. The Merlot grapes came from Thompson vineyard located at the end of Second Avenue in east Napa. The Cabernet franc Grapes came from the Loomis area of Placer County. Each variety was made separately and aged in oak barrels for 18 months. The varieties were blended prior to bottling.
The Blend was made to improve overall wine structure and balance. The flavor components from each variety are meant to complement each other and to add complexity of the wine.
About The Winery:
At Murphy Vineyards we are dedicated to making premium wines. With our years of experience in the grape and wine business, we have acquired connections with grape growers and wine makers in the Napa Valley and California.
With our vineyard management and development company, ATS – Ag Tech Services, Inc., we are able to choose the best grapes for our wine and get them at reasonable prices.
Murphy Wines are made at several facilities at our direction and under our control. With control of grapes, barrels, blending we are able to produce incredible blended wines at value prices.
The style of Murphy wines is elegant and easy: fruit aroma, mild tannins, smooth finish.
*Wine Composition: *
Cab Sauv Napa (Aetna Springs) 80%,
Merlot Napa (east napa) 10%,
Cab Franc Sierra Foothills 10%,
Aging potential is estimated to be about 15 years.