Andy Erickson is a legend of the wine world. After being installed as the winemaker at Screaming Eagle in 2006 (a job that one doesn’t exactly fall into without already having quite the reputation), in 2007 he achieved their first 100 point score in a decade, and followed it up with a string of hits at his own winery Favia as well as as a consultant at a number of other top estates.
Most wines that Mr Erickson goes anywhere near have prices in the stratosphere, but at Favia he’s also spent more than a decade fairly quietly working on the wine I was thrilled to discover recently; Leviathan. Made from Cabernet from the Red Hills and Moon Mountain, Syrah from Nimble Vineyard in Lake County, and Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the Hudson Vineyard in Carneros. I tried it just before Christmas and it absolutely knocked my socks off. I don’t often write up Californian wines as I find the quality to price ratio matches up a little less often than elsewhere, but when it’s right, my goodness how it’s right.
Key of course is getting the freshness right in combination with all the natural warmth, ripeness, and pure deliciousness that California can naturally imbue. Something Erickson has absolutely nailed. If you like something full bodied and powerful from time to time, or want something to go with a hefty piece of red meat, you’ll find this has got the stony fresh finish to go along with the juice, and you could not do better than this at this price. This is a big wine, but entirely savoury and meaty rather than gloopy and sweet as I find a bunch of CA red blends to be. This is made by a master, and it shows.
We all need BBQ reds as we head into summer, and there are few that deliver this much oomph, with this much class. And $5 of every bottle will be going to the Restaurant Strong Fund. This is a no-brainer!
2017 Leviathan Red Blend $31.99 NET
$5 of every bottle sold will be donated to the Restaurant Strong Fund
94 pts.: “Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah brought up in 25% new French oak, the 2017 California Red Wine sports a deep ruby/purple color as well as a rich, powerful, opulent style that certainly puts a smile on your face. Notes of currants, chocolate, spice box, and earthy, herbal notes all emerge from this sexy, seamless effort that has full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and outstanding finish. It’s a smoking value…” Jeb Dunnuck