Hans Fahden

2004 Mountain Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

California: Sonoma County

Offer Expired:Dec 24, 2008 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say

2008 Wine Intrigue Award Winner: Best QPR Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Superior Wine Alert!

This is an exceptional wine and we are astounded that it sells for so little. We featured this wine as an exclusive pre-release and now we’ve been able to secure an additional allocation. For EXTRA SAVINGS, be sure to use the promotion code SPYHANS for free ground shipping on orders of six or more.


Mission Codename: It turns out that you can improve on perfection!

Operative: Agent Cuvée (under the watchful eye of Agent Red)

Objective: Send rookie Wine Spy, Agent Cuvée, into friendly territory, on his inaugural mission to return with the new vintage of Hans Fahdens great Cabernet Sauvignon – before the winery even releases the wine

Mission Status: Accomplished! (way to go Agent Cuvée!)

Current Winery: Hans Fahden Winery

Wine Subject: 2004 Mountain Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Israel Montanez

Backgrounder: The 2003 Hans Fahden Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the most popular Cabs we featured in 2007. When featured here, the wine was a smash hit and sold out very quickly. Today we are proud to bring you their newest vintage. Read Agent Cuvée’s tasting notes and mission report below to see how this vintage compares to the 2003

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep burgundy color with a dark black-plum heart and chubby legs that are slow to form – then quick to streak down the glass (unique!)

Smell – A big blast of concentrated aromatics of cherry, ripe blackberry, oak, smoke, soft leather and mild spice

Feel – Initially soft and then the wine expresses medium to big tannins as it coats and then drys the mouth

Taste – This vintage is as delicious as the last, with juicy flavors of dark smoky blueberry, blackberry and plum, with earthen mushroom, mild leather and oak

Finish – Long-lasting, all over mouth flavors that taper off beautifully as the wine dry and coats your mouth

Conclusion – Here is what Agent Red said about the 2003 vintage:

If you love great Cabernet Sauvignon wine that possess balance, character, flavor and great aromatics, this is a great wine for you. I believe that this wine drinks like a $50 or higher-priced cab and have told this to the folks at the winery. Their answer is simple: “People keep telling us to raise our prices. This is the perfect reason to keep them low. We want everyone to be able to enjoy our wines and we will continue to create great wines at a fair price”. The Wine Spies look forward to their next vintage!

Here’s what I say about this 2004 vintage:

This wine has many of the same qualities, but is even better!

For your best experience with this wine, decant for a few hours as it will soften and its aromatic qualities and deep flavors open up. This wine is certainly ready to drink now, but I have to think that it will only approve with a little bottle aging. When you purchase some today, be sure to get bottles to enjoy now, but also cellar some. You’ll thank me both times!

Mission Report:

Agent Cuvée here, reporting on my first ever solo-mission. Today I am a full-fledged Wine Spy!

Agent Red recruited me six months ago, at my place of work at one of Monterey’s best wine establishments. I can’t blow my own cover by telling you where I work, but Agent Red calls me a “Big Wheel” in the Monterey wine scene.

Its because I am so well known in Monterey that Wine Spies Central Command sent me on this particular mission. I need to keep my legend in tact so mission to other regions will be my de rigueur.

For this mission, I had to infiltrate Hans Fahden – and return with their new Cabernet Sauvignon. “Easy,” you say? Under normal circumstances, maybe, but I had to grab the wine before the wine was even released to the public!

The Wine Spies featured Hans Fahden’s superb 2003 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon and our Operatives loved it (see Agent Red’s previous mission report, below). It was a great wine and Wine Spies Operatives snapped it up and we sold out quickly.

On visiting the beautiful winery in Sonoma County’s Mayacamas Mountains, overlooking the town of Calistoga, I am taken by the serene beauty of the place. On meeting its people, I understand why the wine has the sweet flavor of Amour; the third generation winemaking family that grows the grapes here pour their hearts into their craft.

It turns out that I didn’t have to resort to any sort of clever tactics to procure a pre-release quantity of this wine. Agent Red had called ahead to the winery to tell them to expect me. I was given a tour and a tasting and, within minutes, the winery had graciously offered us a handful of cases to share with our Operatives.

And so, dear Operative, my first mission, while not all that intriguing, ends with great success. I am very pleased to be able to bring you this fine wine today and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Cuvée, Out.

For those operatives that are interested, what follows is our original mission report, in which Agent Red first discovers Hans Fahden’s exquisite wine:

: : San Francisco, California : : Fort Mason : : Family Winemakers of California Tasting event : :

With more than 400 wineries and only two days to taste, I needed to employ my best strategic planning skills. There was simply no way I would be able to taste everything available to me.

Central Command had compiled a list of High Priority Target wineries, and I was tasting wines of all varietals and in all price ranges. Most of them good to great, and only a few real stinkers.

During the latter half of my second day, I initiated the final phase of my tasting which had me tasting only the highest end wines available. This was a phase I was looking forward to and after giving my palate a much needed rest, I reentered the pavilion like a man on a mission. Oh, yeah, I really was on a mission!

After tasting 2 or 3 really superb wines (you’ll enjoy learning of these in a future report), I spotted on of my newest assets, Codename “Shank”, chatting at one of the winery tasting tables.

Shank, so named for his passion for golf, is a wine industry insider. He works for a leading wine industry technology provider and hails from a winemaking family.

I walked over to the table and Shank introduced me to Karen Fahden of Hans Fahden Vineyards. Karen immediately poured me a glass and I took it for a swirl. I was instantly wowed and I explained that I had been seeking out $50+ wines. I thought that this one would fit right in and I asked Karen if the was $50 – or more. I was shocked by her answer. Karen explained that she gets that reaction a lot.

Right there at the table, I negotiated a nice quantity of bottles for our Agents. Any wine that drinks like a $50 bottle but costs less than half that deserves our best attention.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Dry Creek Valley can be seen in this satellite photo

What the Winery Says

Check out The Wine Spies on Wine Library TV

About This Wine:

This full-bodied wine is layered with complexity from start to finish. A supple core of ripe black cherry is enveloped in elegant tannins. The oak is well integrated with hints of vanilla, leather, and spice that linger on the long finish. This wine will age gracefully for many years.

About The Winery:

The Fahden Family, now in its third generation as growers, produces Cabernet Sauvignon. The limited production of 2,500 cases per year comes from our estate vineyards, located in the mountains on the western ridge above Calistoga.

Our Sonoma County Mountain Cabernet is always deep in color and distinct in flavor, due to the influence of the volcanic ash soils in which they are grown. There is a unique note of earthiness not found in wines grown on the valley floor. Our first vintage was bottled in 1986. It was made in the traditional style producing a wine which was a chewy, tannic monster. We have spent the last decade developing a more elegant style of wine which is consistent vintage after vintage. This style reflects a balance between the intense character of mountain fruit that ensures aging ability, and makes the wine more approachable for enjoyment during the wine’s youth.

The new style has been further complemented with a program of tannin management and blending a small amount of Merlot to create a more complex mid-palate, pleasing mouth feel and smooth full-bodied finish. The wines are aged predominantly in American oak from Appalachia and Minnesota that adds a hint of vanilla leading to a smooth finish.

Winemaking & Vineyards:

Located at 1200 feet in the Mayacamas Mountains, Hans Fahden Vineyards stretches over 100 acres and features panoramic views of Mt. St. Helena.

Early wines were crafted in the traditional California style and exhibited intense and jammy characteristics. Earthy aromas accented by smoke and cedar overtones distinctive of Bordeaux were direct results of the volcanic soil.

The Fahden Family, now in its third generation as growers, produces Cabernet Sauvignon. The limited production of 2,500 cases per year comes from our estate vineyards, located in the mountains on the western ridge above Calistoga.

Due to the influence of the volcanic ash soils in which they are grown, our Sonoma County Mountain Cabernet is deep in color and distinct in flavor and exhibits a unique note of earthiness not found in wines grown on the valley floor.

Our winemaking style reflects a balance between the intense character of mountain fruit that ensures aging ability, yet it is approachable for enjoyment during the wine’s youth.

Technical Analysis:

Alcohol: 14.5%

Appellation: Sonoma

Year: 2004

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