Tasting Cabernets With Napa Insiders


Hal Oates of Porthos is Andrew Harper's wine concierge. For personal wine recommendations and seasoned expertise, email Hal and the Porthos team at [email protected].

Andy Erickson has been called Napa’s “leading man” thanks to his role in the creation of several of the most highly prized — and priced — Cabernets in history. After all, Erickson is the winemaker behind the release of Screaming Eagle 2007, rated 100 points and currently trading at auction for more than $3,000 per bottle. He has also garnered numerous 98- to 100-point ratings for other “cult” Cabernets, including Dalla Valle and Ovid. Erickson recently opened a tasting room to host collectors for the first time.

Over the past decade, Erickson and his wife, Annie, have been quietly fashioning small lots of delicious wines under the Favia label (Annie’s maiden name). She is the protégé of Napa’s most celebrated vineyard manager, David Abreu, whom she assisted for more than a decade, planting and replanting preeminent vineyards, including Screaming Eagle.

The vineyards at Favia in Napa Valley, California - Jimmy B Hayes
A selection of cabernets available at Favia in Napa Valley California - Jimmy B Hayes

Favia Cabernets earn lofty ratings from critics such as Robert Parker, who awarded the most recent release 98 points. But since they are still relatively under the radar, they are priced hundreds of dollars below Andy’s cult Cabernets. Boutique production means that Favia Cabernets and ultra-rare Syrah blends have traditionally been accessible only to visitors to the Napa Valley and a select list of restaurants outside California.

It will now be possible to sample the full spectrum of Favia’s highest-rated wines at its brand-new estate tasting room. The property was first planted by Napa Valley pioneer Antonio Carbone in 1886. Thanks to a multiyear refurbishment project, visitors can taste new Favia vintages in the historic barrel room of the original winery.

Given sufficient notice, I will personally escort collectors to Favia. Both Annie and Andy are consummate Napa Valley insiders, and spending time with them should rank high on any wine connoisseur’s bucket list.

By Hal Oates Guest Contributor

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