By Kerry Winslow, grapelive
Lawrence Fairchild is a name to watch, he is producing two outstanding Napa Valley Cabernets under his own label, both made by Paul Hobbs at Hobb’s Winery itself. One is sourced from top fruit at Beckstoffer’s To Kalon Vineyard and the State Lane Vineyard made famous recently by Kapscandy Estate, while his own estate on the eastern side of the Valley is maintained by the famed vineyard manager Jim Barbour is high up near Lake Hennessey, it is called Sigaro. This tiny estate vineyard only produces a ton and a half of fruit an acre and there was only 4 barrels made in 2006!
The To Kalon blend, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is also a small production wine with only 140 cases crafted, and seems to be a steal in the ultra cult league, especially given that Paul Hobb’s own To Kalon goes for about $300. Early barrel tastings by the critics garnered praise for the richness and for Paul’s elegant hand in the winemaking. It seems hard to believe this vintage is all ready Fairchild Estate’s fifth release and they are still a well kept secret, though it won’t be for long!
2006 Fairchild Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.
This stunning Cabernet is one of the finest new wines I’ve tried over the last year! I must say Kudos to Lawrence Fairchild and his winemaker Paul Hobbs on their dedication and efforts on this amazing wine. Without question Fairchild must be the best kept secret in the Valley, as it is right up there with Bond, Insignia, Schader and it just blows away the likes of Opus and Dominus. The nose is elegant and perfumed with wild flowers, vanilla and dark currants leading to a huge palate of blackberry, boysenberry, cassis, dark chocolate and cedary spices. The full-body and thickness is remarkably well balanced and the fine tannins feel smooth and sweet, but focused and firm. The finish is pure and super long leaving a savory, smoky vanilla and red currant aftertaste. After some air it picks up more interest, with melted licorice, mineral and liqueur notes coming out, making this a world class contender Cabernet! ($125 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive
2006 Fairchild Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Sigaro” Estate, Napa Valley.
This wine is a surprise with both elegance and power in spades, showcasing its terroir and hillside fruit to perfection, all the while feeling young and Bordeaux like. Only four barrels were made from this intense vineyard site that only gave only a ton and a half of fruit per acre, that is less than half the amount of grapes than other top vineyards give and this leads to more depth and fullness in the wine. Paul Hobbs must have used most of his talents to tame this wine and let it show its class and grace, while at the same time letting the natural brawny side show through, at least now in its youth. The nose is full of sage, briar and classic Cabernet currant, black olive, chocolate and sweet dark fruits before a grippy palate of mouth-filling black fruits that include wild blackberry, plum and tangy cherry. The mountain fruit really feels strong and vibrant with lots of bramble, earthy mint, licorice and spice adding to the whole package, making me almost certain that some good cellar time would be in order and give great rewards, in fact I feel that it will surly age well for a couple of decades, much like Dunn and or Diamond Creek have done over the years. Could this be a new California Chateau Latour? It just might be… ($150 Est.) 94-96 Points, grapelive