66% Cabernet Sauvignon; 34% Cabernet Franc. While fit with a good measure of well-defined curranty fruit, this very complex Bordelaise blend is less outwardly fruity than it is slightly woodsy and spicy, and it smacks variously of vanilla and thyme with glints of green tea in the background. Its supple beginnings give way to a raft of mildly drying, late-to-arrive tannins, but it keeps fruit comfortably in its grasp every step of the way and will handily stay the course as it grows into maturity some six to ten years down the line.90 points(August 2014)
A 2011 with tension and austerity, in the good sense.Medium to full body with silky tannins and a fresh finish.Bright and fruity. Shows class and finesse. A subtle blend of 66% cabernet sauvignon and 34% cabernet franc. Drink now. 93 points (May 2014)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar:
Delicate perfume of redcurrant, rose petal and earth. Supple and perfumed in the mouth, with a restrained sweetness to the vibrant flavors of red cherry, redcurrant, flowers, baking spices and herbs. Finishes long and ripe, with firm tannic spine and terrific buoyancy. Very successful for the vintage, and showing the floral character of this cuvee in spades. 92-94 points (May/June 2013)
Bright, dark red. Lovely spicy lift to the aromas of currant, coffee, mocha and flowers. Suave, vinous and nicely delineated, with lovely inner-mouth floral perfume to the flavors of redcurrant, plum and coffee. Elegant and suave but firmly built too, finishing with sweeter tannins than the "V" and excellent length. 92 points (May/June 2014)
Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide: 2013 Best of Year
97 pointsCellar Selection
Viader has a long history of producing great Bordeaux-style blends grown at high elevation on Howell Mountain. This 2010 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with almost the same percentages as the superb 2009 bottling. The wine is rich, dry and complex. It shows a fantastic array of blackberries, dates and dark chocolate, with fascinating notes of lavender and dill. The tannins are gorgeous, the acidity fine, and the application of oak is deft. It’s hard to describe just how good this wine feels in the mouth. Drink now, after decanting, or within the next 20 years.–SH (Dec 2013)
Quarterly Review of Wines
“Best of the Best:
California Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet-based blends”
Five-Star Wines:Wines of extraordinary character and quality — in a class by themselves.
Deep, complex wine. Give it time. Blackberry and cherry with oak spice, rich mocha notes, firm texture, with soft and slightly sweet finish.(Jan 2014)
Explosive nose offers perfumed red cherry and rose petal scents that reminded me a bit of a Barolo. Then nicely vibrant in the mouth, with lovely floral lift and purity to the red fruit flavors. If the aromas are Barolo, then the texture is more Burgundy. Tightly wound but already displays lovely sweetness. At least as lively as the 2009: will it be as fine? Incidentally, Alan Viader noted that alcohol levels for these wines are now "down to the low 14s," as the estate is making better use of irrigation to minimize vine stress so that they can pick grapes with riper skins and seeds before the sugars get too high. 92-95 (May/June 2012) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer
Good bright medium red. Aromas of redcurrant, red cherry, mocha and nutty oak. In a lush, sweet style for this bottling, with a very fine-grained texture and good floral lift to the red fruit flavors. Substantial but very sweet tannins coat the front teeth on the long, plush back end. This seemed more explosive from barrel--or maybe it suffered by being served after the electric 2011. But this has the stuffing and balance for a graceful evolution in bottle. 93 points (May/June 2013) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer
Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate
This dark ruby/plum/purple-tinged blend... reveals attractive raspberry, black cherry and black currant fruit intermixed with hints of forest floor and flowers. Elegant, medium-bodied and delicious with no hard edges, it offers a sweet inner-core of fruit, so drink this attractive, stylish 2010 over the next 10-12 years. 90 points(Oct 2013)
Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive, herbal,cedary, cassis and blackberry fruit aroma with overtones oftoasty oak; full body; forward, earthy, dark fruit flavors thattend to be a bit lean on the finish; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Approachable now, though another three to fivemore years of aging should help to mellow out the tannin.Highly recommended.(Oct 2013 v. 39)
Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine
Redolent of ripe cherries, black walnuts, cola and briar with a vague hint of licorice lurking far in the rear, this bottling starts out with a fair bit of richness but takes a hard to turn toughness as it crosses the palate. Its blatant back-palate tannins obviate any near-term appeal and relegate it to a lengthy stay in the cellar with only a modest promise of polish. 88 points (Dec 2013)
2009: A Napa Cabernet Vintage to Cellar
The 2009s are tight and structured, good candidates for aging
The overall strength of the 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet vintage adds another layer of intrigue for fans of Napa Cabs.
...The milder temperatures of the year are evident in virtually all of the wines I've tasted. The 2009s are very tight, concentrated and well-structured—the kinds of wines that are great choices to cellar...But these are wines that are certainly pleasing to drink now, as well. They will reach a nice plateau in five to 10 years, and the best will age much longer.
...the strength and style of the vintage is apparent: Astounding quality, great structure. (James Laube, 7/26/2012)
It has every hallmark of a young Napa Valley Bordeaux blend. It’s dry, smooth and complex in tannins, with balancing acidity and an incredible array of flavors, including blackberry, black currant, cherry, chocolate, dried herb, smoky oak and spice. It has that important but hard-to-define quality of sophistication. It’s delicious now, and it should develop in the bottle for at least 10 years. 95 points (December 2012) http://www.winemag.com
Lovely cabernet franc-dominated aromas of flowers, menthol and caraway seed, plus a whiff of dusty clove. Silky-sweet and vinous, offering seamless yet sharply delineated flavors of redcurrant, graphite and flowers, plus a whiff of meat. This really pleasures the mouth. Beautifully made and graceful wine with a very long, edge-free finish. "Two thousand nine was a classic vintage for us," noted Alan Viader. This should evolve gracefully. 94+ points (May/June 2012) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer
Best of the Best: California Cabernet Sauvignon
Score: 93 Red proprietary blend of Cabernet (70%) and Cabernet Franc (30%). Bordeaux-like. Blackberry, cedar, and plum. Smooth, soft, elegant, and lush. (Summer 2012) http://qrw.com/index.html
The California GrapevineHighly Recommended. Medium to medium-dark ruby; herbal, cedary, black cherry and red berry fruit aroma with notes of cassis and cocoa; medium-full to full body; big, rich, supple, spicy, cherry and red berry fruit flavors; medium-full tannin; a bit hard and drying on the finish; lingering aftertaste. Approachable now as it developed with airing, though deserving of needed bottle aging. (September 2012)
8 Outstanding Napa Cabernets
New reviews of California Cabernet-based blends that follow the Bordeaux model
These wines go beyond that minimum and embrace the Bordeaux tradition of blending different grapes together to create wines of complexity and quality. Blending also implies that by adjusting the mix, flavors, colors and tannins are altered as the vintage requires.
Tight and well-built, with firm, grainy-gravelly tannins, but also a pleasant core of dark berry fruit that folds into a forest floor loaminess. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2024. 1,028 cases made. 91 points (MaryAnn Worobiec, 8/6/12)
Shows the luscious fruit and softness of previous vintages, with rich, layered raspberry, cherry, cassis, vanilla, caramelized oak and spice flavors that go on and on into a long finish. The tannins are sturdy from this blend of the two Cabernets, Sauvignon and Franc, which was grown on the lower slopes of Howell Mountain. Yet it’s so sweet and fruity, you can drink it now. Misses some of the complexity of the 2007 vintage, but still very fine and polished. 90 points —Steve Heimoff, http://www.winemag.com
Good full red. Enticing, complex nose combines aromas of cherry, raspberry, violet, minerals, coffee and spices. Broad, lush and smooth, with pretty floral lift to the red fruit and spice flavors. Nicely delineated in the middle palate and long on the back end, where the ripe tannins coat the teeth. The crop level here was reduced by a bad flowering, said Alan Viader, but the loose clusters were an advantage later in the season. The harvest was ultimately very early. 92 points (May/June '11) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
"Full medium red. Cherry, flowers, licorice and minerals on the nose. Then energetic and intense in the mouth, with savory fruit and floral flavors joined by a strong element of crushed rock. Not at all a candied style of Napa cabernet; in fact, this is downright serious. The tannins reach the front teeth on the long, juicy, floral finish. This is a full degree lower in alcohol than the 2007, according to winemaker Alan Viader, who left the leaves on the vines to protect the fruit against late-season heat spikes and parching sun. "The season never got too warm," he told me, "although the ripeness was jagged. It took work to get the density needed to fatten up the wines." This looks to be a worthy successor to the superb 2007. 91-94 points (May/Jun 10) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
The California Grapevine
Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive, plummy, complex, cedary, dark cherry fruit aroma with herbal notes and hints of chocolate and mint; full body; textured, cedary, cassis and blackberry fruit flavors that are a bit tight and drying on the finish; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Needs a few more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended. (June/July 2011, Vol. 37, No. 3) http://www.calgrapevine.com
This dark ruby colored blend from Viader opens with a fragrant black cherry and plum bouquet with some hints of leather. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and soft. The flavor profile is a tasty black currant with integrated oak and a hint of black pepper. The finish is rather dry and its big and chalky tannins linger for a very long time. The panel thought this wine could benefit from cellaring. In the short term we would suggest decanting and serving with pot roast or braised short ribs with a mushroom risotto. Enjoy – KWGTP on 11/22/11. KWG Score: 92 (based on 5 reviews)
(Nov 15, 2011) Offering mature plum and baked berry pie flavors that are atypical for a wine this young. Elegant and detailed, with subtle plum and berry notes that are pleasantly complex. Drink now through 2018. 88 points –James Laube http://www.winespectator.com/
Tanzer describes the 2007 VIADER as: "Good deep red-ruby. Lovely violet lift to the dark cherry and licorice flavors. Suave, juicy and energetic, with terrific inner-mouth aromatic appeal to the sweet berry and floral flavors. Not an opulent style but plenty sweet for 2007. Finishes with lovely length, firm but fully ripe tannins and lingering minerality. Delia Viader told me she's really proud of this wine." 94 pts (May/June 2010) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
This lush wine epitomizes the modern Napa style of soft richness and extreme drinkability when young. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it's beautiful now for its blackberry, black currant, dark chocolate and cedar flavors. For all its approachability, it should age well for the next six to eight years. 94 pts ("Buying Guide," Feb. 2011) Downloadable PDF
The 2007, a similar blend, is made in the same mold, with striking elegance, slightly sweeter fruit, and more aromatic ripeness and projection, thanks to better vintage material. This is a well-balanced, understated, gracious wine to drink now and over the next 15 years. 90 pts (December 2009): https://www.erobertparker.com/entrance.aspx
2007 VIADER, Napa Valley – Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive, plummy, spicy, cedary, cassis and dark berry fruit aroma with hints of green olive and licorice; full body; forward rich, textured, complex, cedary, black fruit flavors with good depth and concentration; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste.Very highly recommended. (Oct/Nov 2010, Vol. 36, No. 5)
Good bright ruby-red. Aromatically complex nose offers blackberry, licorice and violet. Sweet but quite backward, with noteworthy energy to the black cherry and licorice flavors. With the lowest percentage of cabernet franc since the 2003, this finishes quite firm, with building tannins and lingering notes of minerals and graphite. Today the "V" comes across as riper and more expressive, but this may be more serious. 91-94pts (May/June 2009) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer
Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2009): Currant and violet on the nose. Supple, sweet and nicely aromatic in the mouth, offering more breadth than the "V". The violet note carries through to the back of this ripe and attractive wine, which finishes with firm, building tannins. Winemaker Alan Viader has been doing more extraction since 2005, including a longer pre-fermentation cold soak and more post-fermentation maceration. He told me that total time on the skins in 2006 was between 55 and 69 days, whereas not long ago it was more like 30 to 35 at VIADER. (92 pts) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
Four-Stars by Decanter magazine, "California 2010" (9/2010): Sweet, ripe, berry nose. Powerful yet not too heavy or extracted, firm ripe tannins, a bit austere and chewy, but should come round in time. Good length. 2012-2020. -Stephen Brook http://www.decanter.com
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s Wine Advocate (December 2009):
The 2006, a blend of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, is laid back, restrained, yet an enticing style of wine made with a picture of Bordeaux clearly in its sights. Subtle graphite, raspberry, and black and red currant notes, along with some crushed rock and floral scents, emerge from this elegant, medium-bodied wine, which has avoided the rugged tannins sometimes present in this vintage. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. (88 pts)
2006 VIADER Napa Valley Score: 90
Bordeaux-like in its mix of flavors and structure, offering loamy earth, dried currant and berry, with touches of anise, sage and mineral. Ends with firm, dry tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2010 through 2016. 1,799 cases made. —J.L.
May/June 2008 Issue 1382006 VIADER
Good deep red-ruby. Subdued but rip nose offers cassis, black plum, bitter chocolate, rose petal and sexy oak spices. Bigger, broader and lusher than most past vintages of this bottling, with rich, smooth flavors of dark plum and bitter chocolate. For all its weight (this is clearly a larger-scaled wine than the 2005), it managers to retain a light touch. Finishes with big, broad, rich tannins that reach the teeth. Still a bit youthfully musclebound but built for a slow and positive evolution in the bottle. This was the first vintage to be vinified by Alan Viader, who does a longer maceration than previously and makes greater use of delestage to aerate the must and extract color and flavor. The flagship wine was macerated for 45-50 days in both ’06 and ’07. (91-94 pts) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
(May/June 2008 Issue 138) 2005 VIADER Highly complex nose offers currant, plum, blueberry, bitter chocolate and herbs. Suave, silky and downright creamy in the mouth, with lovely breadth and palate coverage. Fresh but harmonious acidity gives this a rather sophisticated texture. In comparison to the easier, fruit-forward 2004, this one is more characterized by its bite and structure. 92(+?) points http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
2005 VIADER “V” Good full ruby-red. Notes of licorice, leather, flowers and mint on the nose. The palate offers a juicy, high-acid impression, with a leathery edge to the intense flavors of bitter cherry and dark chocolate. Conveys a slightly leafy Medoc aspect and offers lovely inner-mouth aromatic character. Finishes with firm tannins and a lingering floral quality. 89(+?) points http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
2005 VIADER – Cellar Selection. It is entirely conceivable that this blend of the two Cabernets could improve dramatically with time in the bottle. Currently, it’s a very dry, firmly tannic wine, with black currant, mocha, cherry and new oak flavors that have a distinctive edge of sweet herbs, figs and tobacco. Improves considerably with airing in the glass, so decant if you drink it anytime soon. 92 points
Best of Year, 11/28/2008
2005 VIADER Sleek and elegantly styled, with spicy currant, sage, dusty berry, mineral and pleasant herb and sage notes. Well-balanced, even delicate and detailed. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Cabernet Franc. Best from 2009 through 2014. 2,119 cases made. (91 points) –JL (September 30, 2008)
2005 VIADER Barrel Tasting
Firm and concentrated, with spice, anise, currant, herb and cedar flavors that are well-proportioned, tightly focused and rich and persistent on the finish. (92-94 points) -JL (Issue: Aug 31, 2006)
California Wine Guide for September 2008: “Cal Cabs to Hunt Down”
2005 VIADER rated as a Four-Star wine!
“Effusive nose of violets, dried herbs and black fruit. Slightly jammy, but crunchy acidity, solid tannins and creamy vanilla moderate the ripeness.”
TASTED Magazine: The Wine Guide by Andreas Larsson, “Best Sommelier in the World” (Winter 2008/09)
Andreas does not use a score system, but rather assigns categories such as “My Top Picks” and “I also liked.”
“My Top Picks”: 2005 VIADER Proprietary Red Blend
“I also liked”: 2005 VIADER "V" Petit Verdot Blend
Best of The Best :
California Red Blends
Blending is an art form, as these wines ably demonstrate.Many California wineries offer, in addition to 100-percent-varietal red wines, top-end blended reds. Most of these blends are based on Bordeaux models, and contain varying proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The aim is to achieve a wine in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts...
5-Star California Red Blends
Wines of extraordinary character and quality — in a class by themselves
2005 VIADER - 5 Stars
2005 VIADER (Napa Valley)
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc. Lush, round, elegant, blackberry, coffee and vanillin flavors. (May 2009)
May/June 2006 Issue 126
2004 VIADER Good deep ruby-red. Understated but precise aromas of dark berries, graphite and sweet oak. Then sweet, lush and soft, with a texture of liquid silk. Flavors of black and red cherry complicated by licorice. Finishes with very fin, suave tannins and lovely length. A distinctly feminine style of wine. Proprietor Delia Viader describes the 2004 vintage as elegant and supple, even soft, while 2003, she says has more punch, and shows more obvious tannins and alcohol. (92 points)
2004 VIADER Warm and black, this is a superripe Napa Valley red – 60 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent cabernet franc – with a ferrous edge of tannin. It’s soft and ready to decant for steak. (90 points)
2004 VIADER Smoke, black cherry and currant aromas are clean. Supple, elegant and balanced, this keeps the fruit at the forefront, ending with mild tannins. Drinks well already. Now through 2012. -JL (87 pts)(June 15, 2007)
Master of Wine, Andrea Immer-Robinson
2007 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone
This “wonderfully smooth” Napa Cab blend feels like cashmere for the tongue. Its “glorious fruit,” sweet complexity are “as good as any of the cult Cabs” but an elegance that’s rare in the category. Taste: Outstanding