2014 Fabulist Red Blend
Every family has one – the raconteur who captivates his or her listeners with tales of family lore, the one who extends the dinner conversation long after dessert has been served. In the Komes family, that person is John Komes, our own fabulist, a man of legendary storytelling ability who has kept us enthralled for decades. Fabulist is a tribute to him.
There are two vineyard sources for Fabulist, both in the Rutherford appellation of Napa Valley. Our Windfall Vineyard hosts just 2.2 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.79 acres of Merlot on organically-farmed, rocky bale loam soils. The vines here are tightly spaced, creating competition for nutrients and lowering their overall production. The Komes Ranch, also in Rutherford, surrounds the home of John Komes and is the source of the Malbec and Cabernet Franc in this wine. Both vineyards are tended by hand with copious canopy management and culling to ensure low yields of beautifully rich and concentrated wine grapes.
One hundred percent handpicked and sorted, the grapes for this vintage were harvested in several passes as each variety reached optimal ripeness. Ten percent of the grapes were fermented in French oak barrels, a technique which imparts a lush, silky texture to the finished wine. The remainder was fermented in traditional stainless steel, and 100% of the wine was aged in small French oak barrels for 20 months. Racked several times to soften the tannins through exposure to oxygen, the wine was bottled without fining.
Although 2014 saw the continuation of California’s drought, heavy rains in late February and early March gave the vines plenty of water as they emerged from dormancy. A warm, relatively frost-free spring allowed bud break, flowering and fruit set to proceed without incident, and warm, dry weather throughout the summer brought the grapes through veraison to perfect ripeness. A relatively early harvest capped of a near-perfect growing season. 2014 was the third outstanding vintage in a row for Napa Valley, one that produced wines of enormous concentration, depth and flavor.
From another spectacular Napa Valley vintage, the 2014 Fabulist is bold and expressive, with core fruit flavors of blackberry, black currant, and blueberry attended by sweet notes of mocha, allspice, vanilla and sassafras. Sumptuous and richly-textured, the Cabernet-dominated wine deftly balances dark fruit and oak, with just enough acid to keep it lively on the palate. It has a lasting finish, with silky tannins that expand at the back to reveal hints of black tea, dark licorice and cedar. The wine can easily be enjoyed now, but can also be cellared through 2030.
The Wine Advocate
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Fabulist is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest equal parts Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Attractive, complex notes of forest floor, black and red currants, camphor and spice jump from the glass of this dark ruby/plum/purple-colored wine. It is medium to full-bodied, round and juicy, opulent and consumer friendly. Drink it over the next 10-15 years."
- Robert Parker, December 2016
"From its nicely focused aromas of black currants, cola, loam and sweet oak to its slightly juicy, mouthfilling flavors, the Fabulist is a rich, easy-to-access Cabernet that, while nominally tannic and not at all deficient when it comes to proper varietal grip, is surprisingly free of youthful toughness. It is a supple, comparatively polished look at the grape that will come into its own without a protracted stay in the cellar and should start showing its best in four or five years, and, with proper cellaring, it is certain to hold comfortably for at least that many more."
- Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
Varietals: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Rutherford, Napa Valley
Aging: 20 months in 100% French oak barrels