2009 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Affinity

Year: 2009
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 91
Connoisseurs' Guide: 89
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :
$39.95
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"Tight, with a gritty edge to the tannins. Offers refined flavors of intense dark berry, spice, herb and cedar. Best from 2013 through 2023. 6,000 cases made." (WS)

"The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Affinity bursts from the glass with an exciting array of dark red berries, flowers, licorice and sweet spices. Floral notes reappear on the finish, adding brightness and lift. This gorgeous, mid-weight Cabernet Sauvignon should continue to drink beautifully for at least a handful of years. In 2009 the blend is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017. " (WA)

"(includes some merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec): Good full ruby-red. Crystallized black cherry, coffee, mocha and loam on the nose, lifted by spices. Broad, smooth and tight-grained, with lovely intensity and lift to the flavors of black fruits, licorice and dark chocolate. Finishes with dusty tannins and a firm spine of acidity." (IWC)

"Showing accents of root beer, briar and a bare bit of leather to its central themes of well-ripened cassis and black cherries, this very solid, somewhat stiffly structured young wine is presently bound in grippy, tongue-drying tannins. It is fairly stern and far from friendly just now, but it has the fruity center of a Cabernet that will age well, and we expect that it will not reach its best until a decade has passed. -Reviewed: August 2012" (CG)

"Robert Craig’s Affinity bottling really got on the map after Robert Parker awarded it 96 points in the 2007 vintage. I bought 4 bottles without tasting it. I’ve only had one and I’m very happy with the purchase. It’s an exceptional wine.

That wine is long since sold out but, having drunk both pretty recently, I actually think the 2009 is drinking better today. Time will tell which ends up as the better wine, but today the 2009 is a massive Cabernet with a ripe nose of dark fruit with a background of oak. But where this wine really stands out from other Napa cabs in the price range is the velvet texture and exceedingly long, highly nuanced finish. A true Bordeaux-like elegance exists with Affinity, which makes since because it’s grown just south of the Stags Leap District in a cooler part of Napa. I’ve drunk several Margaux recently and this wine could easily pass as one in a blind tasting.

Robert Parker’s (more picky) protege, Antonio Galloni gave it 92 points. I’m very impressed by this wine and will be tracking down some more when my budgetary probation is lifted.

Update from night 2: This is a very serious wine that opened up significantly with some air." (Nickel and Dime)

Winery Notes:
Created by Robert Craig in 1993, this classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Craig's estate vineyard in the foothills south of Stag's Leap is always predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. Petit Verdot is added to the blend for deep, concentrated flavors and a touch of Malbec introduced for further weight, complimented by silky Merlot and Cabernet Franc spice. The fruit is hand-picked, hand-sorted and kept in separate lots during fermentation and barrel aging. The blend is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Tasting Notes:
Aroma: Complex fragrance of black cherry, blackberry, cassis and dark espresso, with underlying crushed granite and floral notes of dusty rose petal and violets.

Flavors:
Rich, concentrated black and red fruit flavors are wide and deep. Sleek, silky tannins bring substantial weight to the mid-palate, topped with layers of cassis, graphite, roasted coffee and violets.

Finish:
The sweet tannins stride down the finish, bringing along black pepper, cigar box spice and a pronounced minerality.

Vineyard Notes:
The Affinity estate vineyard is located to the south of Stag’s Leap, in the southeastern foothills of Mt. George. Average yield: 2.8 tons/acre. Elevation: Varied foothills elevations and exposures. Soils: Sparse, rocky alluvial. The Bordeaux-like growing conditions produce concentrated black-red Cabernet fruit that provides the foundation for a full-bodied wine of great power and elegance.

Production:
6,000 cases