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96pt Aetna Springs Cellars Cabernet Napa 2006

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There are limited production labels, then there’s Aetna Springs. Pumping out 500 cases of a selection is about as abundant as it gets around here; considering that winemaking legend Rob Lawson’s behind the label, this obscurity tends to pair with a frantic clamor amongst the oenophile set. The requisite feeding frenzy is dialed to 11 with this decadent yet sophisticated Cab Sauv, as only 100 cases were made. Of course, Rob makes securing a bottle worth the effort. Boldly intense and lushly textured, this fruit-forward phenom is driven by a voluptuous body and nuanced terroir expression. It’s a label that practically makes the notion of “blink and it’s gone” into a literal phrase.

About the wine

Everyone knows about appellations like Atlas Peak and Rutherford, but only the cool kids know about Pope Valley. This rustic, under-the-radar appellation possesses envy-inducing conditions for growing Cab Sauv, making it a sourcing oasis for vintners that know their stuff. And there’s no question Rob Lawson knows his stuff, as his work with viticultural titans like Helen Turley and the late Denis Malbec demonstrate. He takes full advantage of the AVA’s secret goodness to make this splendid selection by guiding each grape through a meticulous process that combines old-school technique and New World innovation. The result is a robust, elegant indulgence that captures the true essences of the terroir. Swirling aromas of blackberries, rose petals, tobacco, spice, and dark chocolate get the party started. The notes transition to a densely textured, full-bodied palate attack built on concentrated layers of black cherry, cocoa, and pepper that undulate to the finish. This is a limited production’s limited production, as a mere 100 cases were made. Buy this beauty sooner than later to guarantee a spot amongst the hip wine lovers.

Winemaker: Rob Lawson
AppellationNapa Valley 
Accolades:
96 pts, Christopher Sawyer, Somm to the Stars
95 pts, Alex Casella, WSET Advanced
GrapesCabernet Sauvignon
Vineyards: Historic Aetna Springs Resort
Cooperage: 20 months in French oak, 50% new
ABV: 14.5%

About the winery & vineyards

Aetna Springs Cellars provides a refreshing respite from Napa’s gargantuan viticultural beasts. The winery virtually redefines the concept of limited production; cranking out over 500 cases of any given vintage is considered boundary-pushing. This tiny-lot philosophy fits right in the wheelhouse of winemaking wizard Rob Lawson, whose career is partially built on his uncanny ability to shepherd super small-batch selections to the public. He adds to his illustrious reputation through this killer Cab by adhering to the winery’s deep respect for the land and regional terroir. Rob carefully sources succulent cab grapes from vines near the historic Aetna Springs Resort in the rustic Pope Valley AVA. Tucked behind Howell Mountain, this humble, rustic appellation is a hidden haven of viticulture, as its elevation and distance from San Pablo Bay bless it with growing conditions that give more famous appellations like Atlas Peak a run for its money. Rob’s world-class skill set leads him to cajole even the tiniest speck of nuance from each morsel of fruit plucked, resulting in a sublime Cab Sauv that puts this little winery on the map with Napa’s big boys. 

About the winemaker

Rob Lawson was practically destined for a career as a winemaker. After all, he comes from a nearly unfathomable Napa bloodline; his father was Robert Mondavi Winery’s VP of Marketing, and his grandfather was President of Beringer. The heritage gives Rob instant vineyard cred, and to say he’s used this status for good is an understatement. His impressive resume includes a stint as CEO of the prestigious Napa Wine Company, where he helped breathe life into over 60 popular boutique labels including Byrant Family, Staglin, and Blankiet. He’s also flexed his impressive winemaking talent over the years by working with Napa heavyweights like Paul Hobbs, Helen Turley, and the late Denis Malbec. These cherished partnerships have routinely resulted in mindblowing Cabs whose teensy production is nearly as famous as their otherworldly quality. Rob’s unmatched blend of family pedigree, phenomenal vintner skills, and collaborative acumen are a such a perfect storm, serious oenophiles track his every masterful move with hawk-like precision.

96 pts, Christopher Sawyer, Somm to the Stars

"While it’s true that kids can be very cute when they are young; their real defining features and personality really start to shine as they mature. Same is true with world-class wines that show their strengths with more time in the bottle. The latest case in point is the Aetna Springs 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Made with estate grapes grown on the rugged hillside above the quaint town of Rutherford in Napa Valley, the wine was young, bright and vibrant when it was first released. But because this library selection had more time to develop in the bottle, it’s elegant and sexy from the minute the cork is popped. In the glass, the aromas are filled with lofty notes of ripe red fruits, wild berries, fresh sage, lavender, leather, and cigar box. As the wine opens up, the lovely flavors of plum, ripe raspberry, black currant, and blueberry are enhanced with nuances of fresh mountain herbs, mineral, and a subtle touch of oak. With a long dry finish, silky tannins and plenty of backbone, this wine represents pure luxury and seamless craftsmanship in every sip. With food, try this special cellar selection with charcuterie, risotto with wild mushrooms, espresso-crusted Ahi tuna, slow-roasted pork tenderloin, seared duck breast, or an inch-thick cut of prime rib." 


95 pts, Alex Casella, WSET Advanced

“Ruby color with brick hue setting in on the rim. The nose is constantly changing and even better after a day of being opened, which shows it has some years to grow. However, it’s in a fantastic place now and really giving off secondary aromas of black cherry, dried raspberry, red currants, mint, leather, incense, dried tobacco leaf and fine grained oak. The palate is balanced and demonstrates stylistically what Napa Cab is all about with age. It is refined, fresh, savory and takes you to a sense of place.”

 

 

Other Details

Alcohol percentage:
14.5%
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Cellared 2006 Napa Cabernet fr Winemaker Rob Lawson!
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Cellar-Raid: 2006 Napa Valley Cab fr 100pt Wmkr Rob Lawson
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Cellar-Raid: 2006 Napa Valley Cab fr 100pt Wmkr Rob Lawson
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Legendary winemaker Rob Lawson creates a robust, elegant Cab that captures the true essences of Napa Valley!
offer_email_text:
Legendary winemaker Rob Lawson creates a robust, elegant Cab that captures the true essences of Napa Valley!
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Ultra-rare: Only 100 cases made
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100-point Parker Fav Winemaker
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#offer_end_date:
2017-5-19 23:59:00 -08:00:00
#review=Christopher Sawyer, Somm to the Stars:
96 / 100
#review=Alex Casella, WSET Advanced:
95 / 100
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#shipping:
Free shipping on 4 or more bottles - mix & match all wines!
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