The DEFINITION of Cult Cab

Black garnet with bricking edges.  Closed-off, and not really much to unwind.  Beautiful meaty round nose with not incredibly un-subtle briar and wet pencil-lead.  A bit of smoke and oak, but not an explosive or exotic bouquet at all.  Almost meager.  So typical 99.  Taste gives you fairly simple dark ripe cherry and serves you your plate of soft tannins almost immediately.  Round and thinnish-full in the mouth-feel, and everything fades away gently into that great silence.  A classic Alex of a fundamental, old-school upbringing which is safe on all accords and doesn’t overwhelm or insult.  I wouldn’t exactly call this wine *boring*, but the low levels of all things wonderful makes you really think and grasp at nuances in light of today’s typical somewhat-steroidal offerings we are all accustomed to drinking.  I like this wine.  Hafner is one of those classicist houses which strive to produce wines of a consistent WINE-MAKING style which will of course emphasize vintage variables.  This is the way A LOT of wines in Napa used to be.  BV Rutherford, Beringer Knights Valley, Simi Alex, Krug Napa Valley, Martinelli, Ch St Jean Sonoma, and I could list a plethora of others who for many years produced wines which were so consistent, yearly differences could be seen and tasted.  Those days are over, I feel, as Davis and Cal Poly churns out hundreds of cellar-lab-job-candidates who have a degree in MAKING wine.  See what I did there?  MAKING wine.  Not merely *wine-making*, but MAKING the wine perform–no matter what the conditions–into a product which the reviewers will rate “drinkable” (that basically means 89+ and a death-knell for anything caught in this huge area between F and A where no wine exists and must rely on the shelf-tag-quotes of second- or third-rate reviewers to sell to people too stupid to buy a wine without direction).  Hafner is indeed the embodiment of the classical establishment.  Family-owned and run; All estate fruit;  Winemaking by someone named ‘Hafner’;  No tasting room–appt only;  Tucked away out of sight;  No sales to restaurants or retailers–friends and mailing-listers only.  This is a dying breed of producers–something totally out of the 70’s–but they seem to be doing it well and enjoying it with no signs of caving into the tourist-palate OR the hyper-boutique Cab arena.  Can you buy this wine?  Yes.  Hafner Vineyard.  Will you like it?  That all depends.  It is wonderful, WONDERFUL wine–but be prepared to take a decade-step back into clean, thoughtful nuances, a winery true to itself, proud of it’s wine and the loyal people who buy it.

1999 HAFNER VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Sonoma 13.5

3 thoughts on “The DEFINITION of Cult Cab

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