Looking for a top tier Napa Cabernet without the hefty price tag? Try reaching for a second label of one of the most esteemed Napa Valley producers.
Faust is the second label of the sought after Quintessa. Over the years, many winemakers have realized that there is a big market for the juice that simply falls short of their highly esteemed premier label.
While this wine tends to be outstanding in its own right, it just misses the mark to be worthy of the top label. This is actually great news for you and me! We get a lot of the beautiful nuances and sought after Napa fruit of the premiere label at a much lower price point. While the Quintessa Cabernet tends to fetch roughly $150 per bottle, you can get your hands on the Faust for about a third of the price. Many wine makers have established second labels that are attracting their own cult calling. Opus One is just another example. They recently launched a second label called Overture.
I have had many vintages of the Faust and have always been pleased. I was anxious to try the 2011 vintage because it was an exceptionally challenging year in Napa. In fact, it was the most challenging season in decades with spring frosts and plentiful rainfull throughout spring & summer. The vintage was essentially saved by a warm September and a long Indian Summer. While many critics have completely written off the juice of this season, there are others that are intrigued by the elegant balance many of these wines have been able to accomplish despite a miserable lashing from Mother Nature.
I fall into the latter category. I tend to like my wine a little more restrained with more balance and layers upon layers of subtle nuances. I love Old World wines and coming from that frame of reference, this wine did not disappoint. This is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% each of Malbex and Cabernet Franc. The wine is vibrant ruby red in color with aromas of dark cherry, cassis, spice box, anise, dark chocolate and the lingering notes of that earthy Rutherford dust with silky smooth tannins on the palate. This wine is more reminiscent of a Left Bank Bordeaux. There was a hint of green bell pepper indicating a touch of underripeness, but overall this is an excellent wine considering all of the obstacles of the season. The wine improved throughout the evening. Decant for atleast 30 minutes before drinking.