Featured Producer & Wine (s) on Rick's WineSite Journal

Producer: Robert Craig Vineyards
Appellations: (CS) Napa Valley, Howell Mtn, Mtn Veeder, Spring Mountain, Atlas Peak
Featured Wine (s):
 

Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux style blend, Syrah, Chardonnay, Zinfandel

Winemaker (s): Robert Craig, Chad Tucker
Website:

http://robertcraigwine.com

   
See our Robert Craig Cellar Selections
Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Label Robert Craig Nap Valley Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Label Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 label Robert Craig Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Label Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity 2005 Label Robert Craig Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006 label
 

Robert spent several years as vineyard manager and general manager of the Hess Collection Winery on Mt. Veeder which he championed to gain its own appellation district in 1990. Robert Craig Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon debuted in 1992 joined in 1993 by his now legendary Mt Veeder and Howell Mountain selections. We discovered Robert Craig wine beginning with the 1994 vintage and were honored when Robert, his wife Lynn, and associate winemaker Rudy Z were featured quests at our  Napa Wine Experience 98 and again in 1999 at the fabulous Greystoke/CIA. We had a spectacular delightful visit to their Howell Mountain Winery in our Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Robert Craig.  Having roots back in Chicago where he studied at U of C, Robert is a perennial favorite producer and cellar selection. Perhaps his best work was the outstanding 1997 vintage - one of our favorites - (see review). We were fortunate to get some of his early limited releases when as few as 38 cases were produced (first year Chardonnay). We're all fortunate to have greater access to Robert Craig wines as he continues to increase production. Thankfully, and to his credit, we applaud Robert for holding the line on prices. Today his flagship Affinity is a great value in quality Napa Cabernets.  Enjoy.

Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Robert Craig
Napa WIne Experience 1999 at the fabulous Greystoke/CIA.
Napa Wine Experience 1998 again at the fabulous Greystoke/CIA.
Journal entries: Date, Wine, Rating, Price, Comments
Robert Craig Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons - Howell Mountain, Mt Veeder, and Affinity Robert Craig Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006 label Robert Craig Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Label
 August 15, 2008 - Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - Robert Craig Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (from barrell) - Robert Craig Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2005 - Robert Craig Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2006 (from barrell) - Robert Craig Chardonnay 2006 - Tasted at the winery on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. See Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008 - Robert Craig.
April 1, 2009 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - RM 91 - Rich medium full bodied. Fruit filled with black currant, black berry, raspberry, cassis, hint of black pepper and smoke with silky tannins on the finish. (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc). This wine shows remarkable fruit and staying power. Robert Craig was a featured producer at our Napa Wine Experience 1998, 1999, and our Napa Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008.
   
Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Label August 4, 2008 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 - RM 93 WE94 - Distinctive Howell Mountain terrior taste - rich, firm, concentrated black currant, black berry, raspberry, spice, a hint of mineral and firm silky tannins on the long finish. Previous tastings of this wine were at two spectacular restaurants - T Cooks, Scottsdale and Sullivan's in Naperville. Robert & Lynn Craig and Rudy Z, their associate winemaker were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99 and Napa 98, RC website. Tasted at Sullivan's again w/ Joel N and Rob R. 
Robert Craig Nap Valley Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Label June 15, 2008 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (RM 94 WS 94) (WSCS) $59; A tribute to Robert Craig at its best. One of my favorite wines from one of my favorite producers. A great fruit bomb from a spectacular vintage. Rich purple colour. Huge full berry flavor, full rich balanced yet soft on the finish cherry, berry, and spicy chocolate. Previous tastings of this wine were at two spectacular restaurants - T Cooks,Scottsdale and Sullivan's in Naperville. Robert & Lynn Craig and Rudy Z, their associate winemaker were featured winemakers at our Napa Wine Experience 99 and Napa 98, RC website. Tasted at home w/ L, Alec, Erin & Johnnie for gala Father's Day surf & turf dinner.
April 28, 2007 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity 1997 - RM 93 - Rich full bodied. A bit earthy.  Fruit filled with currant, black berry, cassis and black cherry. (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc). Better than earlier tastings, this stellar vintage is just starting to come of age. Perhaps the best Bob Craig Affinity in a long while.
October 28, 2006 -  Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 - RM 91 - Full, flavorful, black berry, black currant, and licorice on a long smooth lasting finish.

"Lush, firm tannins. . .this Cab lets its fruit star. The black currant, black cherry pie, mocha and vanilla spice flavors are delicious and compelling, and the finish is dry, elegant and upscale." Score: 91 - The Wine Enthusiast, December 2005

"Magnificent! Concentrated and dense in the nose with a thick mantle of violet and cedar aromas merging seamlessly with flavors of lush cassis and black plum. Drink 2006-2014." 94 points - Vinfolio (www.vinfolio.com)

"Bright fruit, earthy, packed with flavors but with finesse." Four Stars - Decanter Magazine, California Report, September 2005

"Sweet perfume of framboise, black currants, licorice and crushed rocks is followed by a broad, concentrated, ripe, impressively-endowed Cabernet boasting sweet tannin as well as a savory, supple palate. It can be drunk now, but promises to evolve for 10-12 years." - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, Issue 162

"Floral, cherry aromas with hints of juniper and cocoa; Full body, big, dense, concentrated. . .ripe black cherry and blackberry with notes of cassis and coffee." Very highly recommended - California Grapevine, Oct-Nov 2005

"Full bodied, round. . .supple, moderately rich. . .black currant, toast, aniseed and plum." Four + Stars - Ronn Wiegand, Restaurant Wine, Issue 106

"Lipsmacking black cherry, plum and licorice are balanced with aromatic cedar, dusty cocoa, and vanilla. Fruit stays sweet and ripe through the generous finish. A big, powerful wine. Ready to drink now and over the next six or seven years." Splurge Selection - Wine Skinny (www.wineskinny.com), Sept-Oct 2005 Issue

"Mountain tannins bind the fruit within a mineral-edged structure. . .with air, the berry fruit component comes forward, ranging from cranberry to blackberry to dried fruit. Cellar it for a decade or decant now for a rib eye." Score; 90 - Wine & Spirits, October 2005

Aug 27, 2006 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Blend 2002 - RM 92 - Full forward fruit of blackberry, hints of tar, raspberry, currant, cedar and a whisper of mocha and licorice with a long big finish accented by firm tannins. A perennial favorite, this remains a good value Napa cabernet as Robert has continues to hold price at a reasonable level while maintaining consistent top quality. Great complement to L's fabulous beef tenderloin dinner. Even better accompaniment to the double chocolate cake dessert! This wine should soften a bit and be more approachable with a little age.
May 31, 2006 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 - RM 91 WS91 RP 89 Ripe, complex, smooth and polished wine, rich currant, plum, blackberry, and what WS refers to as "toasty mocha-laced oak and firm yet creamy texture ending with chewy tannins". Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Tasted w/ Eric W. at Flemmings in Tysons Corner.
May 14, 2006 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - RM 90 Beautiful deep purple color, taking on an earthiness to complement a smooth polished taste of strawberry, pear and berry with a nice balance. Perfect complement to beef tenderloin Mother's day dinner with L, E & Johnnie, G'ma Evelyn and Keith, and Ryan. A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mtn, Mt Veeder, and Napa Oakville.
April 9, 2006 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Chardonnay 2000 - RM 88 $27 - Rich full bodied, creamy, buttery and full predominant oak.
Sept 9, 2005 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Affinity 1996 - WS 92 RM 92 $40 Cellar Selection - Consistent notes and rating from earlier reivew (s). Beautiful deep purple color, delicious smooth polished taste of sweet currant, strawberry pear and sweet apple berry with a nice balance. Perfect complement to beef tenderloin dinner. A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
May 8, 2005 - Robert Craig Russian River Valley Sonoma Chardonnay 1997 - WS 93 RM 92 $25 - WS Review - Smooth and creamy, with a pretty toasty oak and vanilla-scented edge. The rich core of pear, fig, apple and melon is bright, rich and concentrated, turning enormously complex. Only 215 cases made. (JL);
April 30, 2005 - Robert Craig Mt Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - RM 90 $32. Intense dark firm and full - currant and blackberry fruit - pepper and tar on a long finish.
Nov 25, 2004 - Robert Craig Napa Valley Carneros Chardonnay 1997 - WS 93 $25 - WS Review - Smooth and creamy, with a pretty toasty oak and vanilla-scented edge. The rich core of pear, fig, apple and melon is bright, rich and concentrated, turning enormously complex. Drink now through 2002. 215 cases made. (JL)
Feb 3, 2004 - Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 WS 89 RM 90 $40 Tasty supple but slightly austere cherry fruit with hints of currant and subtle plum and mocha on the finish. Central Coast Syrah 2000 RM 88 - Dark colour, berry and spice with a light easy drinking well balanced long finish.  Tasted at special Robert Craig tribute tasting at One North Kitchen and Bar on the  edge of the financial district in Chicago, sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank. It was delightful as always, to see the Craigs, this time on our home turf braving our single digit weather. Welcome to Chicago!  Well done SVB for a tasteful (no pun intended) and successful evening of wine and networking of tech clients and Chicago industry execs. It was great to meet some key contacts and renew previous acquaintances.  Thanks and kudos!

Jan 22, 2004 - Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley 1996 WS 92 RM 92 $40 Cellar Selection Beautiful deep purple color, delicious smooth polished taste of sweet currant, strawberry pear and sweet apple berry with a nice balance. A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Robert Craig is one of our favorite producers with three fabulous offerings in his flagship Affinity blend and his Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder cabernets.

Nov 27, 2003 - Robert Craig Amador Country Zinfandel 2000 RM 88 $22 Limited release from this producer, . Full ripe berry with a hint of cassis.

Apr 16, 2003 - Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley 1999 WS88 RM/RC90 RP 91 $48 Complex currant, black cherry,  cedar and spice flavors, mocha finish turning smooth and polished. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 1996 RM/RC91 WS91 $48 Smooth, focused currant, black cherry, tar and anise lingering on the finish. Tasted w/ RC and Gordon Leigh, Manager, Sommelier @ Capital Grill in Tyson's Corner.

November 22, 2001 - Thanksgiving dinner - what do you server on this special day? 1997 Robert Craig Amador County Zinfandel.

Sept 22, 2001 - 1997 Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet WS Cellar Selection (RM 94 WS 94) (WSCS); 1997 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet (RM 92 WS 92).  A tribute to Robert Craig at its best. A great duel of two fruit bombs from a spectacular vintage. Enjoy these while you can. Huge full berry flavor, full rich balanced yet soft on the finish cherry, berry, and spicy chocolate. The Howell is only slightly behind. They're both on the great winelist at Sullivan's here in Naperville; with Rick C, DRH, and S.

August 2, 2001 - 1997 Robert Craig Paso Robles Syrah; $24 WS 89 RM 90 Rich, tasty, plum and berry, with a hint of oak and cedar and spice on the finish.1997 Robert Craig Chardonnay - $25 WS 93 RM 92 No doubt you dont think on Robert Craig and Chardonnay but perhaps you should If you can find this limited production release (200 cases), its a great bargain. WS says it this way... smooth and creamy, with a pretty toasty oak and vanilla-scented edge. The rich core of pear, fig, apple and melon is bright, rich and concentrated, turning enormously complex. I don't do enough whites be adept at verbalizing the experience. Find this if you can!

May 8, 2001 - Robert Craig 1997 Paso Robles Syrah  $24 (WS 87 RM 92!) This is a new release from Robert.  Only 200 cases are available - its delicious and a good value. Hopefully, production will increase! Cherry, plum & hint of smoke with a smooth mocha finish. What fun! See earlier review & links. In Vegas w/ TR & PP

March 19, 2001 - 1997 Robert Craig Mt Veeder CS (RM 92WS 94) (WSCS); 1997 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah; 1997 BV Tapestry -  (see my earlier reviews below of these - some of my favorite wines.)  - What a trio of great wines from T Cook's WS Award of Excellence wine list! The Craig was over-powered early by the dueling fruit bombs but opened up eventually to reveal full rich tight but soft on the finish cherry, berry, and spicy chocolate.  Tasted w/ TRR, Lloyd M., and Tom L. at T Cooks, Phoenix.

July 26, 2000 - When tasting several wines, its customary to start with the lightest wine and progress to the heaviest. This prevents the more delicate or subtle nuances of a 'smaller' wine being over-powered and lost in a bigger, heavier, more forward one. So, typically a merlot would be followed by a meritage, followed by a Cabernet Sauvignon. What a  role reversal of this tasting of 1997 Liparita Merlot, 1997 Robert Craig Affinity, and 1997 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon and the confusion when I prescribed tasting in reverse order!  Groth (RM88) was light backward and closed for at least twenty minutes before it opened up with subtle berry, currant and plum. Affinity followed in form as cited below. Liparita (RM 91) (label and website) brought up the rear, firm, complex, full bodied with tightly wound tannins yet didn't hold back its blackberry and plum fruit with a lingering cherry, chocolate and cedar finish.  I am holding '95 Liparita merlot magnums.  Tasted at Spanish Bay in July 98, it was memorable: the '97 is another to buy & hold (enjoy) as well! a rich, intense character. CRTSF Board Mtg dinner at Voignier in San Mateo w/ JAC, RLC, K. Hutch, Bob G. JJ, Jennifer V, and Steve H.

June 23, 2000 - Robert Craig Affinity 1997 Napa Valley - (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc) - Dark rich blackberry, medium bodied with soft tannins. (RM 89)  One of our featured producers at the 98 and 99 Napa Wine Experience. See their website & label.

Feb 12, 2000 - Robert Craig Affinity 1996 - ($36) - (WS 92)  One of our favorite producers (Napa Wine Exp 98 | 99) Robert and Lynn Craig's Affinity is their flagship bordeaux style blend of Howell Mtn & Mt. Veeder CS, 14% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc. Wow! Huge fruit, a mouthful, wonderful finish, smooth, balanced - tasty! Berries, jam, caramel - and its approachable and ready to drink now. Hard to find but their 97 release is coming next month ... get in line - stay tuned. 

August 17, 1999 -  Celebrating our anniversary with a cellar favorite - Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 WS 94 RM 94 $30 Robert Craig on redefined Mount Veeder extracting from his mature vines up there dark rich elegant fruit with flavorful black cherry and hint of cedar and spice and anise. Perfect accompaniment to a good steak.

July 3, 1998 Robert Craig Affinity Napa Valley 1994 - WS 94 RM 94 $30 Wow. Rich full forward black cherry and currant fruit rounded out with pleasant plum and a hint of anise. Great offering and achievement that reflects the best of Napa Cabernet.

Robt Craig Dinner @ CIA. wpe1B.jpg (30547 bytes)

With the Robert Craigs and Reuben Katz (hiding) at CIA.
Napa Wine Experience 19
99.

Robert Craig, Shelly & Linda Robt Craig winemaker & AJ

Robt Craig Dinner @ CIA.

With Robert Craig at Chai (top left) and Associate Winemaker Rudy Zedema (rt),
CIA Dinner with Robert Craig and winemaker Rudy Zedema (above).
Napa Wine Experience 1998.

 
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