Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Always a great value, the 2018 California Red Wine is a Bordeaux blend put together by Andy Erickson. The wine reveals a ruby/purple hue as well as complex notes of red and black fruits, green tobacco, cedary spice, and spring flowers. These all flow to a medium to full-bodied, elegant wine that offers good overall concentration, seamless tannins, and a great finish. Very much in the style of the 2018 vintage with its more streamlined, elegant style, it’s going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age (although it’s far from unapproachable today) and keep for a solid 10-12 years or more. This is one of the more age-worthy examples of this cuvée that I recall.
The 2018 Red Wine is a plump, juicy Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine to drink now and over the next handful of years. The 2018 is not quite as flamboyant as some other recent editions, but it packs plenty of punch. A rush of dark red/purplish fruit, crushed rocks, menthol, rose petal and spice build into the intense, layered finish. The 2018 can be enjoyed upon release, but it is at its best with an hour or two of aeration. Drinking window: 2021 - 2028
“With all of the other projects I work on, for Favia, as well as for my winemaking clients, the focus is always on producing single vineyard, site-specific wines. With Leviathan I have complete latitude to create something unique from many different parts. It is like a brain-teaser, and very fun and exciting. California is rich and diverse in terms of grape-growing regions, and I love working to create something that reflects the best that California has to offer.” - Andy Erickson, Winemaker
Leviathan grew out of our work with the vineyards that are the source of the Favia wines produced by Andy Erickson and Annie Favia. In 2004, after creating the blends for Favia, Andy started playing around with various components from nearly all of their vineyard sources—Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Quickly the concept began to take shape: to create one singular wine per vintage, drawn from all four of these varieties, that would highlight the best of California, and take on a character all its own. Since then, we have slowly expanded our vineyard sources, but remained true to the goal of producing a rich, delicious red blend every year.
California is a winemaking colossus; by itself it is the fourth largest producer in the world. Red wine accounts for 56% of the total by volume, and red grapes 63% of total acres planted. In addition, a number of California red wines are heralded as being among the most prestigious and sought-after wines in the world.
While the state’s incredibly diverse geography, soils and microclimates allow for a wide array of styles, the key factor unifying California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season. This leads to well-developed fruit marked both by impressive ripeness and balancing acidity.
The state’s most famous red wine region, of course, is Napa Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as king. But California boasts a wealth of other impressive appellations. The much larger and climatically varied Sonoma County also produces world class California Cabernet, along with wonderful examples of California Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Fine versions of Cabernet and Zinfandel hail from Paso Robles as well, which is also gaining fame with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache. As for Pinot Noir, terrific examples can be found from AVA’s such as Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. Wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are making wonderful Syrahs, and the Sierra Foothill appellations are proving to be an experimental hotbed, with Italian and Spanish varietals employed to great effect.
This of course is a mere sketch. The subject of California red wine is as deep and broad as an ocean, and absolutely a joy to explore!