2009 Viader Black Label Red Wine Napa Valley (May/June '11)
(50% cabernet sauvignon, 44% syrah, 5% cabernet franc and 1% malbec; this is the new name for the Estate Limited Edition, which in turn replaced the estate's syrah bottling): Good deep red-ruby. Spicy dark berries, caramel and brown spices on the highly aromatic nose. Supple and broad but youthfully reticent, and not yet showing the verve of the Dare Howell Mountain cabernet in spite of its exotic suggestions of spice and orange peel. Finishes with substantial, slightly dry tannins. I wonder if the syrah component is costing this blend some of its lift.
2008 VIADER Proprietary Cabernet Blend
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
(May/June '11) 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 http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
(May/Jun 10) "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 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/
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2010): 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) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
(Wine Enthusiast Magazine, "Buying Guide," Feb. 2011):
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) Downloadable PDF
Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s Wine Advocate (December 2009):
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)
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. -CA Grapevine, Oct/Nov 2010, Vol. 36, No. 5
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2009):
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) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2010): Good deep red. Fresh, new-oaky aroma of blackberry and licorice. Much more closed and medicinal than the flagship blend, but with a similar floral quality in the mouth. This is tougher and less expressive today but not at all heavy for all its breadth. Rather powerful acidity currently accentuates the wine's tannins, which coat the teeth. Finishes with a note of bitter chocolate. This actually boasts very good balance and depth for petit verdot but will require patience. (91pts) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2009):
Good deep ruby. Musky blueberry aromas lifted by violet and orchid (the note of exotic flowers comes from the very ripe petit verdot component in 2007, says Delia Viader). Sweet, dense and lush, combining good inner-mouth perfume with serious underlying structure. Cocoa powder and spice flavors resound on the expanding finish, where sweet tannins dust the front teeth. (91-93pts) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
2007 VIADER Syrah
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2010): Good red-ruby color. Dusty violet and black raspberry on the fresh nose. Sweet, smoky and intense, with lovely inner-mouth floral character providing lift and perfume. There's a hint of smoked meat here, but this shows more of the floral side of syrah; still, I find it more varietally convincing than most recent vintages of this bottling. Finishes clean and persistent, with plenty of tannic support for development in bottle. A big success for this cuvee. (91 pts) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2009): Bright red-ruby. Varietally expressive nose offers raspberry, smoked meat, rose petal, violet, mocha and brown spices. Sweet, spicy and juicy, with vibrant notes of spices, flowers and cocoa powder. There's no new oak to get in the way of the wine's red fruit perfume. This has a pH of 4.0, notes Alan Viader, and yet the overall impression is one of freshness and lift, probably due in part to the 12% whole clusters that went into the fermentation tank. One of the most convincing barrel samples of syrah that I've tasted here to date... (it seemed a bit more pliant and floral [since] last year.) (90-93 pts) http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
(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)
(Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, May/June 2009): Aromas of black-cherry, licorice and bitter chocolate. Juicy, spicy flavors of black fruits and flowers; not a fleshy wine but silky and fine-grained. Finishes with firm but ripe tannins and lingering notes of currant and dark cherry. 90(+?) pts http://www.wineaccess.com/tanzer.
High-End California Cabernet
Fourteen of the most highly sought-after Napa Cabernets from the 2006 vintage
Posted: August 17, 2009
While there have been many flashy, supple, opulent 2006s, this group shows the vintage in its tighter, more compact, tannic and backward persona. These wines need cellar time, more so than many other 2006s.
2006 VIADER Napa Valley Score: 90 | $100
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.2006 VIADER “V”
Good red-ruby. Currant, pepper, licorice, rose petal and nutty oak on the nose, plus a light meaty nuance. Supple, broad and juicy but not at all sweet. Nicely ripe, pure flavors of blackberry, bitter cherry and violet. This shows less of the leafy quality of the 2005 version. Elegantly styled wine, finishing with good breadth and a lingering flavor of bitter cherry. (90-92 pts)2006 VIADER Syrah
Good full ruby-red. Bitter cherry and licorice on the nose; a bit less animal than the 2005, which I preferred on this most recent tasting (I scored it 90 points this time, vs. 88 a year ago). Juicy if a bit rigid in the mouth, offering flavors of bitter cherry, dark chocolate, minerals and mint. Finishes fresh and leafy, with rather polite varietal character. This reminded me of a drier-styled St. Joseph. (88 pts)
Wine Review: This bright dark ruby colored Cab based blend opens with a shy mild black raspberry bouquet with hints of earth and tobacco. (91.7 pts) more >>>
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.
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.
2005 VIADER – Cellar Selection
Best of Year, 11/28/2008
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)
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 “V” Good red-ruby color. Blackberry and licorice on the nose. In the mouth, this comes across as juicy and firm-edged following the estate wine, less silky and more brisk. Perfumed notes of orange peel, jasmine and licorice add interest. Finishes with very firm tannins. It must be noted that my sample was almost entirely petit verdot, as the cabernet had not yet been blended in. (90 points)2004 VIADER Syrah
Good ruby-red. Pure, ripe aromas of raspberry, black cherry and flowers. Suppler and sweeter than the 2003, with intriguing hints of smoke, earth and game adding flavor interest. This has lovely purity of fruit. The crop level was under a ton an acre, says Viader. (89 points.)
Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine (
"This impressively extracted youngster [of Syrah] is still rather withdrawn and slow to show what it has, but it slowly unfolds and offers glimpses of tantalizing dark-berry fruit with touches of minerals and a full measure of very rich oak. Its deep and fully extracted flavors may be a little more forward, but they are closed out by youthful tannins, and, while an edge of heat emerges in its raw, unpolished finish, the wine guarantees better if held for three or four years." (91 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