Favia: A Perfect Blend

Favia Wines is a marriage that sings beautifully. This winery is the work of husband and wife team Andy Erickson and Annie Favia, and it is a pairing that works extremely well.

Just recently, I had the chance to visit and taste the current releases from Favia. I had discovered their wine back with the 2006 vintage. My first introduction was the Cerro Sur Red Wine. This is a blend of predominately Cab Franc and Cabernet. (The Cerro Sur is a blend – for a wine to be characterized as a certain varietal, it must contain at least 75% of that grape.) I am a big fan of Cab Franc, and this one was done splendidly. I was hooked.

The portfolio of Favia is very deep, and I have enjoyed their entire line-up. They produce balanced wine that is ageable. These are well-structured wines that deliver on fruit and textured flavors throughout the sipping experience. I have a soft spot for the Rhone varietals, and they have a Grenache-based wine called Rompecabezas, as well as a Syrah. Both these wines are made from grapes out of Amador County, east of Sacramento, CA.

Favia’s tasting room is located in the town of Napa, CA and set in an industrial area. While the location is not in the vineyard or on a hilltop, the tasting soars with quality wine. Kimberly, Favia’s Director of Sales & Hospitality, was a pleasure to meet. She is knowledgeable and engaging with the experience of the wines. Tastings are by appointment only and a real value. The wines are wonderful and the welcome warm and friendly.

We tasted through a great line-up that day, starting with the Viognier, which was wonderful. Favia also offers a Sauvignon Blanc that is fresh and inviting – especially in the coming summer months. The reds were rich and smooth all the way through the tasting. This is a winery that is truly worth the time to visit and join the mailing list.

Be on the look-out for anything that you may find from this winery. Here are a couple of reviews for their 2012s, yet to be released:

2012 Favia La Magdalena Red Wine Napa Valley
, October 2014 | The Wine Advocate | 100 Points
: The 2012 La Magdalena is the Favia/Erickson equal-part blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a dense ruby/purple color and 100-point aromatics that are compelling and addictive. The inky bluish/purple color is followed by intense floral aromas mixed with pure blueberry, raspberry and blackcurrants. Surely there’s plenty of new oak used in the upbringing of this wine, but you’d never know it the way this wine tastes. It is full-bodied and opulent, like Chanel’s newest haute-couture creation. This is a flawless, perfect effort that proves their mastery of this craft of winemaking. The finish goes on for a good 40-45 seconds.

2012 Favia Cerro Sur Red Wine Napa Valley
, October 2014 | The Wine Advocate | 97 Points: 
The 2012 Cerro Sur, a proprietary blend of 62% Cabernet Franc and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a real killer, demonstrating how well these two grapes blend together when crafted by two brilliant viticulturists and winemakers, Annie Favia and her husband Andy Erickson. Dense purple to the rim, with a glorious nose of spring flowers, blueberry, raspberry, a hint of camphor and subtle charcoal in the background, the wine is medium to full-bodied, silky textured, with gorgeously integrated tannin and acidity, and a layered mouthfeel that builds incrementally. This is pure genius and a great cuvée, not only showcasing the talents of its makers, but the brilliance of 2012. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.


Decanting to Add Enjoyment

There are two very good reasons to decant wine. The first relates to aged wines, and the second is about aeration.

Let’s start with aged wines. Wines with some years “under their belt” age and evolve. Part of that evolution may be the formation or evidence of sediment in the wine. This is not desirable to taste or drink – therefore decanting is the best approach. Decanting the wine will allow the sediment to sink to the bottom, and the pleasure of the wine will be at its fullest.

The second reason is actually about aeration. Just recently, I was in a class and heard some interesting facts. One – that 90% of all wines purchased are consumed within the first year. Two – the next 9% are consumed within 5 years. That is not a lot of aging time for a wine. Many wines require some time in bottle to truly show their best “stuff.” So if only 10% of wine is truly laid down to age gracefully for at least some time, then what is a person to do? That is where a decanter can be a really good friend. It will allow your wine to “open up” and provide greater accessibility to the aromas and flavors. Aeration will enhance your wine experience and make it more accessible for your enjoyment.

Many times you have been in restaurants and brought or bought a bottle of wine. Good servers will ask if you would like them to open the bottle and let it breathe. Yes, this is a good idea, yet it really does not accomplish all that much. Consider a principle called surface area. Opening the bottle is okay – there just isn’t that much wine exposed to the air (oxygen) to make that big of a difference. Have them decant the wine for you (which provides more surface area for aeration) and wait a bit. You will be rewarded with a richer tasting wine and greater drinking experience.

The other avenue is to buy wine that is ready to drink. There are wines that are wonderful from the bottle, yet how do you know? Again, aerating that wine will help with your enjoyment. There are many gadgets to help that by the glass. The Vinturi is a simple aerator that is available in any wine store. The cost is less then $20. This hastens the process and does it glass by glass. It is economical and convenient to enhance your wine experience. As you can tell, that is my mission.


World Malbec Day

Last Friday, April 17th, was World Malbec Day.  It was the fifth year of this recognition that was instituted in Argentina to celebrate and bring recognition to this varietal.  The grape was first grown in the Southwest of France and brought to Argentina in1853.  In this new environment, the varietal grew and flourished and has become the flagship varietal of the country.  The celebration this year was marked by more than 70 events in 64 cities in 44 different countries around the world.  That is a big deal for a grape!

What makes and has Malbec be so distinctive and attract such attention?  At its best, Malbec has a dark purple color with plum and violet aromas.  On the palate, you have lush, rich fruit with a ripe tannic structure.  Typical of the varietal are flavors of plum, raisin, and hints of tobacco.

Argentina has some well-known producers whose wines are available in many locations.  One of the labels you can count on (and probably find) from Argentina is Catena.  I have many a fine bottle from them.

In honor of World Malbec Day, I pulled a well-aged bottle from the cellar from another fine producer that is more difficult to find.  Achaval-Ferrer is a wonderful winery, and the wine was all that one would expect.  Rich, full bodied and velvety.  Please open your palate to Malbec and discover this great varietal, so you’ll be ready to celebrate World Malbec Day on April 17, 2016!