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Robert Craig Cellars Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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Winemaker Notes

As with Robert Craig's other 2015 Cabernets, Affinity is startling for its sheer size and weight. The older vines deliver classic black raspberry, licorice, espresso bean and crushed stones in the nose and on the palate. The tiny yields are responsible for the intensity of the color and structure this year. The Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec help to give the Cabernet Sauvignon a lovely plushness and roundness in the middle. This beautiful wine should show well upon release, but a year or two (or a decade) of cellar time will help the wine show its best.

Blend: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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JS 94
James Suckling

Very pretty stones, oyster shell, blueberries and underbrush character. The palate is very composed with lots of bright, tangy fruit, grainy tannins and a minerally yet at the same time fruit-driven finish. A unique wine. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. Drink in 2020 even if delicious now.

JD 92
Jeb Dunnuck

The entry-level wine is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Affinity and it just about always delivers. I’m just now finishing cases of the 2003 and have enjoyed every bottle. The 2015 is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, all of which spent 18 months in 60% new French oak. With a deep purple color and beautiful notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, graphite, and scorched earth, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and balanced, with good acidity and ripe tannin. Drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years.

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Robert Craig Cellars

Robert Craig Cellars

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Robert Craig Cellars, Napa Valley, California
Robert Craig Winery showcases four Cabernet Sauvignons produced from Napa Valley mountain and hillside vineyards, including Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate vineyard, Affinity, a classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet, and powerhouse Cabernets from Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain. Each wine conveys a unique personality derived from the soils, climate and varietal characteristics of the growing region. Robert Craig has been a pioneer in mountain vineyard development for over 30 years. During the 1980s, he directed vineyard and winery development on Mount Veeder. Robert Craig wines debuted in 1992. The winery facility is located at 2300 feet atop Howell Mountain, with a Tasting Salon in Downtown Napa.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

YNG285253_2015 Item# 517659