About the Wine
When you think of iconic and pioneering California wineries and winemakers, Frog’s Leap and its owner John Williams must be one of the first ones that come to mind. John’s story is a favorite around here at Big Hammer Wines. He started out on a dairy farm, went to Cornell, and started his wine career on the East Coast. In the early 1970s, John went cross country and became Warren Winiarski’s only employee at Stag’s Leap, helping to bottle the 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet.
You may have heard of that wine. A bottle of it now resides at the National Museum of Natural History in D.C. It is literally a national treasure, having confounded and mesmerized the wine world at the 1976 Judgment of Paris. Fast forward five years to 1981, and John launched his own winery—Frog’s Leap. In 1987, he released his first Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1984 vintage, the predecessor to this 2019 Frog's Leap Estate Grown Cabernet SauvignonRutherford.
That first vintage was not grown in Napa’s Rutherford. It would be decades before Williams released a Rutherford Cab. He had first to find just the right spot in the highly sought-after Rutherford AVA and then take the time to dry farm it organically before producing a wine that would be impossible to grow outside of the 10 square miles that define its appellation.
The 2019 Rutherford growing season was long and warm, with cool nights, which helped to set the vines up beautifully for an extended harvest season. A little extra heat at harvest compared with the previous year gave the 2019 wines anextra dose of power and tannin, but the wine still abounds in the famousRutherford ‘Dust’— which Frog’s Leap defines as “a synergy ofherbs and black fruit, the tension between the flavors, and along finish reminiscent of rough velvet.”
The 2019 Rutherford vintage will be one for the ages. As it cellars and will cellar for 15+ years, this Frog’s Leap Cab will develop all of the hallmarks of a wine that reflects Rutherford.
Aging: 20 months in French oak barrels, 23% new
Tasting Notes: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc. Telltale Rutherford dusty aromas plus black currant, leather, and tobacco. Flavors of black cherry, plum, mint, and mineral notes. Long, velvety finish.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown is a firm, classically built wine that is going to need a few years to come into its own. There is admirable depth as well as character. Red cherry/plum fruit, spice, tobacco and mocha lend quite a bit of aromatic nuance to this mid-weight, super-expressive Cabernet from Frog's Leap. ~94 Points, Vinous Media.
Perfumed nose of dried flowers, cassis, baked blueberries, and chocolate orange with a touch of cinnamon. It’s full-bodied with fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. Vibrant and zesty cabernet. Drink from 2023. ~91 Points, James Suckling
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