Sunday, March 14, 2010

Calafia Cellars Red Table Wine

Calafia Cellars is a small hidden gem in Napa Valley. Winemaker Randle Johnson has extensive knowledge of winemaking in Napa Valley, first working for Souverain Winery as a viticulturist and later as winemaker for award-winning Stags’ Leap Vineyard and currently a winemaker for the Hess Collection. Calafia is his personal brand where he makes his wonderful Bordeaux blend.

The name Calafia is derived from a legend about a queen and her society of amazons on an island in the West Indies that was recorded in the log of Columbus’ first voyage. This legend was made popular by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo in his novel published in 1503 in which he named the queen “Calafia.” When explorer Hernado Cortez landed in Baja in 1513 he was reminded of the rugged terrain described in Montalvo’s book and believing it Baja was such an island, he named it “Calafia’s Land” which later becomes California. According to legend Calafia’s great wealth was guarded by griffins which were half eagle and half lion. Calafia Cellars use these same griffins on their logo, protecting the fruit of the vines.
The 2005 Calafia Red Table Wine is a Bordeaux blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The blend is produced from grapes from five different vineyards in the premium areas of Napa Valley, including Mt. Veeder, St. Helena, Spring Mountain and Yountville. After fermentation the wine was aged in 50% new and 50% used French oak barrels for 30 months. The intense delightful nose is brimming with concentrated aromas of blackberry, dark fruit and cassis with a touch of licorice, pepper and allspice. The flavors live up to the promises of the aromas, delivering the same dark fruits with pepper and clove spices and a touch of dark chocolate. The wine has great depth and balance, leading on to a long rich finish. It is ready to drink now, but if you can possibly restrict yourself from drinking this wonderful wine now, it can age for 5-7 years.

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