What We Say 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
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Mission Codename: The Hunter becomes the hunted
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Hunter III in Napa Valley, and retrieve
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hunter III Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Rob Hunter
Backgrounder: Earlier this year, we learned of winemaker, Rob Hunter, through his work with Napa Valley wineries like Bennett Lane. Our Operatives
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and deep, like blackberry juice, with a darker heart. The wine shows off lovely wine-stained legs that cling to the glass when swirled
Smell – Sweet dark mixed berries of blackberry, blueberry and dark raspberry, with dark chocolate, dark candied cherry, black licorice and lavender oil. These are complimented by the subtlest aromas of black pepper, dark berry preserves and jalapeno
Feel – Round and supple, with a rich, chewy mouth-coating quality that seems to expand in your mouth as medium tannins take hold and flavors cascade across your palate
Taste – Lead by black cherry and dark mixed berries, additional flavors emerge, delivering fig tart, smoky black plum, Asian pear, fresh blueberry and mincemeat pie
Finish – Long and dark and very flavorful, with dark fruit, black coffee, apricot and soft slate that lasts a long time before flavors dwindle
Conclusion – Winemaker Rob Hunter first came to our attention with the wines that he so skillfully makes for our friends at Bennett Lane Winery in Napa. When I had the chance to get my spy-mitts on this Hunter III wines, I did not hesitate for a moment! Rob’s expert selection of grapes and attention to detail, together with the time and care he puts into the vinification process, yields amazing wine. Today’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a big, delicious wine with plenty of flavor – and plenty of character. For a wine with so much flavor, there is also a softness that give the wine a somewhat elegant feel. Blended from some of the finest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, today’s wine is a wonderful wine to sip on its own – but is even better with a great meal. Cheers!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Rob Hunter
DATE OF BIRTH: January 25, 1960
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, CA
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis, BS, Winery & Vineyard Management (Three Majors of Enology, Viticulture & Agricultural Economics)
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Internships @ Woodbury Winery, Dom. Chandon & Schramsburg. Asst Winemaker @ Groth V & W (83-86). Winemaker @ Robert Keenan(86-90), Lyeth(90-92) & Markam93-97). VP & Dir. Of Winemaking @ Sterling Vineyards(97-04). Winemaker @ Bennett Lane (2004 – present)
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To highlight varietal fruit flavor by picking at flavor maturity rather than numerical ripeness.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Aromatic White and Bordeaux Red Wines
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Helping make the Groth 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the first US Robert Parker 100 point Wine.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Being elected to be the President of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Society. I nearly flunked Biochemistry 101B, had a horrible time with Chemistry overall, and never thought or even still think of myself as a “technical” type of Winemaker!!
WINEMAKER QUOTE: My wines show my passion for perfection! One can never achieve true perfection, but they can strive for it through excellence. But you must always remember to keep your sense of humor!! Humor is infectious. Humor and Passion are the keys to life!
AGENT RED: Greetings, Rob. We are thrilled to be showing your Hunter III Cabernet today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WINEMAKER: My pleasure, Red. It’s good to be working with The Wine Spies, again!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: Yes, during my First internship working for Russ Woodbury.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
WINEMAKER: Probably working for Nils Venge at Groth. I learned about Winemaking at Davis, I learned how to make wine from Nils.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
WINEMAKER: To highlight the Varietal’s fruit flavor while taking a minimalistic approach in the cellar. Don’t over oak or over work the wines.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WINEMAKER: The wines of Trimbach
RED: How long have you been making wine?
WINEMAKER: Since 1981, so that’s 29 years!!
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: Napa Valley has such a vast array of soil types and micro-climates that make it a wonderful patchwork quilt of unique viticultural areas to choose from.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
WINEMAKER: Study up, and find a small Winery where you can intern at. Then watch and learn. Make sure not to ask too many questions!! (Winemakers can be moody souls when they get busy!)
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: Worrying about the rain!!
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
WINEMAKER: I was almost an opera singer.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
WINEMAKER: Chardonnay, Bennett Lane Reserve, of Course!!
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
WINEMAKER: With appropriate stemware. Poor stemware drives me crazy. You might as well drink it out of a coffee mug.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
WINEMAKER: What is your favorite type of cheese to go with wine? Morbier. It goes great with ANY wine, red, white, sauternes, even port!!
RED: Thank you so much for spending some time with us today.
What the Winery Says
Hunter III Wines
“I think of my wines as a tapestry of Napa Valley winegrowing. Each bottle of Hunter III represents the Napa Valley in all its diversity, with grapes from each distinct vineyard fitting together like the pieces of a puzzle in a perfect master blend.” – Rob Hunter
Hunter III Wines – Cabernet is King
About This Wine:
This is the second release of Cabernet Sauvignon from Hunter III and is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Deep inky color with hints of candied violets and blackberry. Cassis aromas follow through to a full body with soft velvety tannins. A long and luscious finish with loads of fruit and texture.
THE WOW FACTOR: Hunter III Wines are meant to impress and embody the WOW factor. Simply put; Hunter III’s winemaking practice is guided by a desire for wines that are varietally fruit focused—inky red purple color, intense ripe berry jam fruit in the nose, coupled with hints of vanilla and spice from French oak barrels. On the palate, Hunter III wines are typically soft and supple, yet integrated with appropriate levels of tannin, a rounded and full mouth feel, and very long finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is showing incredibly well and should age well for 7-10 years.
About The Winery:
Hunter III Wines was founded in 2004 to create Napa Valley wines from grapes grown in unique vineyard sites throughout the valley that embody what I call the “wow” factor – Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc that are varietally fruit focused, intense, and are a cumulative expression of my 25 years of winemaking for noteworthy wineries in Napa Valley. – Rob Hunter
A tapestry that illustrates the rich diversity in grapegrowing throughout the Napa Valley, Hunter III Wines is a new and exciting creator of high quality, extremely limited production wines made from grapes grown in some of the Napa Valley’s most prestigious vineyards and appellations. Hunter III Wines was founded in 2004 by second-generation winemaker Rob Hunter, whose more than 25-year career has afforded him the opportunity of working with many of the most respected names in the industry. A commitment to making wines from grapes that grow best in the Napa Valley has led Hunter III down the path of crafting Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc exclusively, with different blending components in each wine virtually representing a map of the best vineyard sites throughout the county.
A small family business at its core, Hunter III, under Rob’s guidance, has an eye on the future, with hopes that Rob’s daughter, Haley, will someday tap into her family’s winemaking roots.
THE VINEYARD SOURCES: Oakview Vineyard – Oakville; Barlow Vineyards – Calistoga ; Trio-B Vineyards – Yountville: Star Vineyard – Rutherford
Aging: Aged for 18 months in 1/3 new French oak barrels
Total Acidity: 0.58g / 100mL