2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Debunking Murphy’s Law
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire the latest vintage of Peter Murphy’s exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peter Murphy Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Art Finklestein
The Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) in this wine hails from the Wilms Ranch vineyard near Aetna Springs in the Pope Valley region of unincorporated Napa County. Pope Valley is in the mountainous (Mayacamas) north-eastern region of Napa County. Technically on the other side of the eastern mountains, the region is predominantly known for the Sangiovese grapes grown here. As with all California wines, if the wine is more than 75% of a single varietal, it can be named for that grape. This wine also has 14% Napa Merlot and 6% Sonoma Cabernet Franc.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Lighter and more clear than your typical Cabernet, this wine is clear and luminescent garnet and ruby red with pinkish and brick hues along the edges. Slow medium thick legs creep down the side of the glass when swirled indicating a slightly viscous texture.
Smell – Medium bold flavors of black fruit including blackberries and currants with a distinct blackberry component at the end of the bouquet. Other flavors include an earthy forest floor aroma, oak and green and black pepper.
Feel – Youthful and dry with firm tannins, medium to full-bodied and slightly acidic that once opens smoothes dramatically.
Taste – Being a young wine, the flavors of are just starting to fully integrate with each other but you will taste tart fruit components of blackberry, dark cherry, green pepper and that herbaceous forest floor with hints of tobacco and oak as well.
Finish – This wine finishes long with lingering sweet tannins throughout the finish with hints of fruit, cigar tobacco and vanilla.
Conclusion – This Cabernet Sauvignon, while youthful shows great balanced flavors of fruit, oak and pepper. The acidity makes this wine exceptionally well suited for pairing with food; and if you have the patience to cellar this wine the flavor components will continue to integrate making this a wine you’ll want to stock up on now.
The following is a mission recap, which retells the story of how Agent Red first became acquainted with Peter Murphy Vineyards:
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.
The location of Napa County’s Aetna Springs region can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
BRONZE MEDAL – 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – Class: Cab $20-30
About This Wine:
This wine is a smooth rich blend of complex cabernet flavors. Fruity complex aromas, smooth taste with moderate tannin and mild astringency makes this wine stand out in competitions. Pairs great with food and good times.
These grapes produced a Cabernet Sauvignon with a slightly lighter color and a beautiful aroma of vanilla, black cherry, currants and blackberries. A burst of black cherry and blackberry greets you in the font of the palate. The tannins and acidity are finely balanced throughout the mid palate and is followed by a pleasant finish that ends with a hint a tobacco and smokiness. The finish is shorter than the bigger cabs but it doesn’t leave you feeling like you missed anything.
About The Winery:
Peter Murphy founded Murphy Vineyards and Murphy Wines in 1995 and began making wines in 1995 with a special select lot of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Rosenquist Vineyard in the Mt. Veeder Appellation of the Napa Valley.
The distinction of Murphy Wines comes from small production from specific vineyard selections, intense quality control of vineyard operations, meticulous winemaking, and barrel selection; each wine is a reflection of weather, grape growing, winemaking, and aging.
Grapes for these wines come from vineyards managed or selected by Peter Murphy. In 1987 Peter and Nancy Murphy established Ag Tech Services Inc. as a vineyard management and development business. Ag Tech Services (ATS) specializing in small vineyard estates, Murphy Wines are made from grapes from these vineyards.
Over the past thirty years in the wine and grape business, Peter Murphy grew grapes and made wine in various jobs. In 1995, involved in the intensity of vineyard management and development, Peter Murphy arranged with his friend Art Finklestein of Judd’s Hill Winery to make the wine for Murphy Vineyards. Art’s love of winemaking is reflected in each vintage.
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.
About Peter Murphy:
Peter came to Napa Valley in 1974 to put his degree in Fermentation Science from UC Davis to work. He started with the vineyard development of a 4000 acre ranch converting cattle land to producing vineyards. He then moved into the winemaking side of the business with crush and cellar work at Cuvaison in Calistoga. Peter worked for a large vineyard management and development company before establishing his own company, Ag Tech Services, Inc. (ATS) in 1987. ATS specializes in small vineyard estates. Peter works with the owners to develop the distinct characteristics of each vineyard site.
Peter developed a deep connection to the soil and desired to create his own wine. He felt each soil and vintage had a character and story that needed to be told. Peter founded Peter Murphy Vineyards and Murphy Vineyards in 1995. For the first vintage, Peter sourced out a special select lot of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rosenquist Vineyard in the Mt. Veeder appellation of Napa Valley and asked his friend Art Finkelstien of Judd’s Hill Winery to make the wine for Murphy Vineyards, from this small start came Murphy Vineyards.
Peter continued to develop relationships with small vineyard owners through his vineyard management business and sourced small production vineyards. Each year, he continued to build the wine business with selective lots of unique and interesting grapes. Once the second generation of Murphys became involved, the official name of the business became Murphy Vineyards to reflect the involvement of the entire family.
Today, Peter continues to oversee the vineyard management and wine business, Kevin is directing sales and helps in vineyard operations. Melissa helps with administration, and Michael helps with equipment. Nancy runs the office. You can also find Peter at wine pouring and wine tasting events or winemaker dinners making sure that the story of each wine is being shared with new and old customers alike.
Cab Sauv Aetna Springs (Wilms Ranch) 80%
Cab Franc Sonoma (ThaliaVineyard) 6%
Merlot Napa (Thompson Vineyard) 14%
Production: 305 cases