2018 Carbone by Favia Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.
Andy Erickson’s Favia Carbone Cab is an ultra deep, lush and luxurious wine that shows a fine balance and energy, it should continue to please and improve for many years to come and I was very impressed with the total quality here, it is very much in line with Cabernets that cost twice or three times the price. Erickson, of course has incredible experience making elite wines, including his wines at Screaming Eagle, Staglin, Dancing Hares and Ovid to name a few, is an exceptional winemaker, who I think is celebrating his 20th year as a head winemaker in Napa, so it was great to check in on his wines. Andy and his wife Annie now make there home in the Coombsville AVA, a small part of Napa with a long history, as they note, goes back to the later part of the 1800s. Back in the early days of Napa Valley viticulture, the Erickson’s tell, three brothers settled in what is now known as Coombsville, they, Antonio, Lorenzo, and Nicola Carbone also were the first Italian immigrants to inhabit this quiet, rolling hilled area east of the city of Napa, and records show they were cultivating crops as far back as 1872. They, as the Erickson’s continue, planted grapes on the hillsides, and they, as tradition in the area planted fruits and vegetables closer to the main house, which was erected in 1886, and they constructed a stone cellar that still remains today. The property became known as the Antonio Carbone Winery and Italian Gardens, and now it is home to Favia Wines, after Andy and Annie painstakingly restored the old residences, winery, orchards and the gardens. They have made this property home there family and farm a percentage of their own vines that go into this awesome Carbone, named for the original owners, Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2018 vintage of the Favia Carbone Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot and is the first vintage to be called “Cabernet Sauvignon” on the label. As prior releases were more classic Bordeaux blends, this year’s wine, as the winery notes, maintains the stylistic opulence and fruit density, with the Cabernet Franc to the aromatic quality and adds distinct spice detail. The Cabernet Sauvignon is dominate as would be expected and delivers a thick sense black fruits, including blackberry coulis, hints of blueberries, plum and creme de cassis, as well as providing the structure and power here. Texture, a signature trait in Erickson’s wines is paramount and is seductive in this vintage, and remarkably seamless for such a young wine and the aftertaste goes on and on with touches of dark florals, exotic spices and anise. This Carbone is sourced from our favorite vineyards in the cooler Coombsville AVA, here at their estate and from a high end Oakville site, all of which gives this Cabernet Sauvignon its velvety tannins and complexity, underneath its expressive fruit. This wine was aged for sixteen months in French oak barrels, with enough new to give it a sweet toasty vanilla scent in the background, and it was bottled without fining and filtration. This inky purple/crimson wine really makes an impression and showcases the Favia house style, making it a gateway into their top bottlings. While not inexpensive, it is not outrageous, especially for what you get in the bottle. Also, the more limited efforts here sell out quickly, with 1,144 cases produced, the Carbone is much more available, so you’ll likely be able to find it and I recommend it for those looking for something a little more affordable than what you’ll see in this quality tier.
($75 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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