von Strasser Winery
2006 Post Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon • Post Vineyard
California: Diamond Mountain (Napa)
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The Wine Spies Winemaker of the Year
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Mission Codename: Postgraduate
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to von Strasser to procure their Post Vineyard Cabernet, von Strasser’s first-ever 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Diamond District Cabernet Sauvignon that embodies the best that the unique region has to offer
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: von Strasser Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Post Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Diamond Mountain District Estate
Winemaker: Rudy von Strasser
Backgrounder: Best known for its exceptional red wines, von Strasser Winery sits stop Napa Valley’s high-elevation Diamond Mountain. Until the release of today’s remarkable wine, von Strasser has never produced a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine. This wine is drinking beautifully now, but has brilliant aging potential.
The Diamond District AVA (American Viticultural Area) at the northern tip of the Napa Valley, is part of the Mayacamas Mountains. The higher elevation of the region sees more direct sunlight and less cooling that the rest of the valley, leading to the production of some of the most concentrated and delicious Cabernet Sauvignon in the entire Napa Valley.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This wine shows off hues of dark red cherry juice and a pure magenta core that seems iridescent when the wine is swirled. The wine is perfectly clear, even through its darkening middle. Color is concentrated and even, from center to edge. After swirling, a wine-stained waterfall of skinny legs seems to pour from high up on the inside of the glass.
Smell – Bold intensity, with sweet red cherry, black cherry and blackberry. These gradually yield to dark violets, soft oak, smoked meats, cranberry and dusky bramble. As the wine opens up, dark chocolate, mocha and salt-licorice appears.
Feel – A voluptuous, round, silky entry turns softly grippy as fine-grained tannins add a slowly-spreading dryness. Bright and balanced, the wine delivers acids and a hint of flint at the end, making the mouth water.
Taste – Bold and concentrated, this wine packs in lush flavors of darkest black cherry, plum, earthen blackberry, bramble, soft cedar and flint. Decant for 30 minutes or more and you’ll discover additional flavors of violet, subtle cocoa powder and a hint of toasty, vanilla oak.
Finish – Ultra-long, with flavors that are guided through to the end by the wines structure and easy acidity. Sweet flavors yield to slightly tart as the palate becomes slightly dry. This dynamic effect make your mouth water, urging you to take another generous sip.
Conclusion – The 2006 von Strasser Winery Post Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a lush and elegant wine that delivers big flavors and big aromatics – without placing any stress on the palate. Some Napa Cabernet Sauvignon can tend to overwhelm the palate, or a fine meal, but this is a wine that one could enjoy several glasses of, without your mouth feeling fatigued. Made from only from Cabernet Sauvignon, today’s wine marks the first release of a 100% Cab Sauv from von Strasser. We have to admit, Rudy von Strasser and his crew have crafted a superb gem of a wine in this Post Vineyard Estate Cabernet. Pair with your favorite beef dish or even barbecued chicken (hey, why not!), or sip it all on its own. Drinking beautifully now, be sure to cellar a few bottles for up to 10 more years.
We were unable to secure an interview with Rudy von Strasser, today. What follows is a recap from a previous mission to von Strasser Winery:
While my life is almost completely consumed with wine, I do have other interests. One of them is treasure hunting.
I am constantly receiving intel for my assets around the wine industry – and sometimes that intel has noting to do with wine.
Recently, I received a report that the world famous Diamond District, in the norther tip of the Napa Valley, was so named because a cache of stolen diamonds was buried high up in the Mayacams mountains, among some of the fines Cabernet grapes known to humankind.
This report included clues to the specific whereabouts of the diamonds, valued at an estimated $5 million. My source provided a map, general coordinates and a few old photographs from the 1920’s. I agreed to a 50/50 split and set of to Napa.
Once up in the Mayacamas, a gorgeous vine-covered region at the northern tip of the Napa Valley. Juggling the old photos and my portable GPS, I managed to make my way what was almost certainly the right vicinity.
An open wine glass? Up here? My Wine Spies PDA is never wrong, and that alert was difficult to believe. Utilizing the PDA’s direction finder, I made my way toward the wine. I made my way down a vineyard row, turned a corner – and witnessed a remarkable sight: A small table with a white tablecloth with a single glass of wine atop it!
I approached the table and saw that its surface was strewn with… with… loose diamonds! My heart raced. Ignoring the note card that sat next to the wine glass, I grabbed a diamond and examined it with my jewelers loop. My heart sank. These were no diamonds. Instead, just fakes.
I stood there for a moment, stunned. Eventually, I snapped out of it and reached for the card. It read, “Agent Red. My apologies for the subterfuge. To make it up to you, I have arranged a special allocation of a very special wine for you. Sincerely, [CENSORED] – von Strasser Winery.”
This note was significant and I felt instantly better. I had been trying to infiltrate the von Strasser Winery for months. Their wines, particularly their Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, is the stuff of legend.
I grabbed up the glass, inhaled deeply, and took a sip. Heavenly.
Then, my phone rang.
“Agent Red. [REDACTED] here, from von Strasser….”
The rest is obvious, dear Operative, for today you have a unique opportunity to sample one of the best Cabs from one of the best regions – by one of Napa Valley’s best wineries.
Diamonds? Who needs diamonds, when you have a wine this good?
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The gorgeous location of the steeply sloping von Strasser vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
96 Points – Wine & Spirits – Winter 2009. In 1992, Rudy von Strasser planted this vineyard adjacent to his estate on Diamond Mountain, under a 25-year lease. It’s 2.75 acres, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2006, von Strasser grafted the half-acre of Merlot at Post to Malbec, so this vintage is only Cabernet Sauvignon, a rarity for von Strasser. Its currant, mushroom and juniper scents hover while the black mineral character of the tannins make a soil impression that lasts. There’s brightness at the center of the wine and savory, coniferous darkness around the edges. The tannins finesse all their earthy power into something delicious, with the Pacific cool that Diamond Mountain brings to Cabernet. (475 cases)
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
About This Wine:
The Post vineyard is located adjacent to the von Strasser Estate, where it enjoys many of the same outstanding soil profiles and exposures. The vineyard was planted by von Strasser Vineyards in 1992. Intensely structured, the 2006 Post exhibits deep aromas of black cherry, pie spices, and cassis. The palate is meaty and bold with flavors of black tea and smoky oak that exude subtle hints of lavender and clove. A rarity at 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this robust gem is one for the cellar.
The Post vineyard is our youngest and smallest vineyard and usually the closest we come to 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
About The Winery:
The von Strasser Story – With a family connection to Eric de Rothschild, Rudy wrote a letter asking to do an internship at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each year the Chateau had been hiring an intern from the French winemaking program at Montpellier. Thinking that two minds are better than one, Mr. Rothschild invited Rudy to work for the 1985 harvest as their first American intern. (The result was so successful, that each year since the Chateau has chosen a new Davis graduate to work as an intern at the winery.) Rudy returned to Napa Valley in the spring of 1986 and was hired as the enologist at Trefethen Winery and Vineyards. In 1988, he became the assistant winemaker in charge of production at Newton Vineyards in St. Helena.
Shortly after their marriage in 1989, Rudy and Rita von Strasser set out looking for a vineyard property to make their home. Having already developed a deep passion and talent for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Rudy was committed that the property must be in a microclimate blessed with the ability to grow and produce the finest red wines in Napa Valley; wines worthy to carry the von Strasser family name. Serendipitously, the old Roddis Estate Winery on Diamond Mountain had just been put on the market, and in the spring of 1990, the von Strasser label was born.
The history of the property reads like a who’s who of early California Cabernet History. After being denied a permit to turn his estate into a golf course, William Bounsall decided to subdivide his property, and in 1968 sold 1/3 of his property to Albert Brounstein. Canadian born, Al pioneered the modern decade of winemaking in this AVA by planting Cabernet Sauvignon in three distinct vineyard sites and bottling each separately under the name Diamond Creek Vineyards. The next year, 1969, Bounsall himself decided to get into the grape business and planted 2 acres to Cabernet Sauvignon with bud-wood from the famous Martha’s Vineyard. In 1978, Bill Roddis bought the Bounsall ranch and started Roddis Cellars. The wines were made by Andre Tcheistcheff, and in their days where considered by many to be the biggest wines made in the Napa Valley. In 1985, the winery was sold to the Gilby family (British gin), who used it as a corporate retreat. The vineyards, now totaling about 7 acres, were leased to Pine Ridge Winery, who bottled the grapes separately as their “Diamond Mountain” Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1990, Rudy and Rita von Strasser bought the property and began the fulfilling task of renovating and modernizing the estate and the vineyards to make the property one of the gems of Diamond Mountain.
The building that houses the winery is an historic barn that was built in the late 1880’s. Through careful planning it has been remodeled into a modern winemaking facility while retaining its working-ranch charm. To take full advantage of the hillside location and to better control the variables of winemaking, the von Strassers added caves to their property. Dug into the virgin hills, these caves retain an ideal climate for barrel aging, and average temperature of 55 degrees and an average humidity of 80%.
Varietal Make-up: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: 100% Diamond Mountain District
Cooperage: 100% French Oak
Maceration: 24 days
Production: 475 cases
Release Date: April 2009